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»A way to understand your audience & to improve the usability of your website«
Web Analytics is a quantitative method that finds its application especially in the field of e-commerce, where specialists focus on measuring interactions between the user and the websites. The Web Analytics Association defines Web Analytics as follows: “Web Analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of Internet data for the purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage.” Its goal is to find the potentials to improve the usability and the success of the website. Besides that, according to Peterson, the main goal “Understanding the online experience such that it can be improved.” (2004:18). Therefore, Web Analytics is used to track the behavior of users in the form of data (e.g. Bounce (rate), pageviews, users/new users, conversion (rate), average session duration, etc.). For example, experts working in this field could aim at finding answers to the following questions:
- Which web pages are visited the most and which pages are less or not visited at all?
- Where do my visitors live?
- What websites send traffic to my website?
- What marketing tactics drive the most traffic to my website?
- How many visitors have I converted into leads or customers?
- How can I improve my website’s speed?
- Are invalid links redirecting to an appropriate web page?
- What content do my visitors like the most?
- More general: Does the website meet the business goals and user needs?
Each question gives website specialists insights – the so called key performance indicators (KPIs) – about the quality and therefore the usability of the website. Thus, to collect the right data for the goals, the steps on the second page are recommended. The following figure (Martin & Hanington, 2012:201) shows a general approach: Web Analytics can be combined with other methods, e.g. eye tracking, usability tests, A/B tests, and site search analytics. This gives a more detailed insight into user behavior.
- Computer and Website
- Access to an Analytics Tools, e.g. Google Analytics
No preparation needed.
- Connect your website with a Web Analytics tool
- Determine the kind of data you need for your goals
- Translate the segmented data into a comprehensive and short report for stakeholders
- Implement and act on the knowledge. Focus on the “what can I do now” not on “what just happened”
- Track which changes had an impact
- Focus on small course corrections (Focus on micro not macro)
- Document the results of the changes and which changes worked or should be avoided
Remarks, Tips, Limitations
- Optimization of Websites is an ongoing process
- Web Analytics is part of the Design process
- Get in touch with Web Analytics and start with the tool of Google Analytics. Google describes very well how to get started.
Hines, K. (2015). ‘The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics’. MOZ [online]. 24 June available from: < https://moz.com/blog/absolute-beginners-guide-to-google-analytics > [30.08.2020]
Martin, B. & Hanington, B. (2012) Universal Methods of Design: 100 Ways to Research Complex Problems, Develop Innovative Ideas, and Design Effective Solutions. Beverly: Rockport Publishers
Peterson, Eric T. (2004). Web Analytics Demystified: A Marketer’s Guide to Understanding How Your Web Site Affects Your Business . Celilo Group Media and CafePress. Sumeet (2019). ‘Importance of Web Analytics for Business’. Blog in Digital [online]. 16 August available from: < https://www.blogindigital.com/importance-of-web-analytics/ > [30.08.2020]
Web Analytics Association (2008). Web Analytics Definitions.
Contributed by Mariam Lehmann.