An introduction to Digital Analytics
The definition of Digital Analytics is:
The quantitative and qualitative data analysis of your website/app and the analysis of the competition in order to continuously improve the experience of users, which leads most of the time to an increase of your organization's revenue.
Quantitative data refers to solutions that collect a lot of data without letting you know the answer that you are looking for. This is where you need to make assumptions (brain work) and test them out. Typically this is where solutions such as log server monitoring like AWStats and page tagging software like Matomo Analytics stand.
Qualitative data is about asking the question directly to end users. Page tagging solutions such as Matomo Analytics can also perform this while the interaction is happening on the page. But, most of the time, you will want to use products that are designed for data quality collection like Lime Survey, which, as its name suggests, allows you to do surveys and ask the end users questions directly in order to know if they have a good experience on your website.
Competition data analysis is a separate field. It consists in analyzing the strategy of others, either by using third party solutions to estimate the traffic of their website, practicing mystery shopping, analyzing their website and so forth. In this scenario, you would try to compare their data to yours in order to define if you are doing better or not. Solutions such as SEMrush are really good for that.
Most of digital analytics practitioners will consider that Digital Analytics is only about page tagging solutions such as Google Analytics (which is one of the biggest players on the market). But the truth is that this kind of software is only a part of the equation. A good digital analyst will have to play with many different tools in order to do a great job.
Here is a list of a few questions that Digital Analytics can provide answers to:
- Do I really need to optimize my website for old browsers?
- Do I really need to offer a mobile app to my audience?
- Do people struggle to fill in our forms on our website?
- How well are our pages indexed within search engines?
- How many not-found pages do we have on our website?
Digital Analytics can help you answer any questions you may have about your website/mobile app.
As its name implies, Digital Analytics is about analyzing data. And those data are in an electronic/digital format. In the past, we used to talk about "web analytics" because this area is mostly concerned with website analytics or anything related to web applications . Although, we cannot deny the interest for them, every information system needs analytics. That is why Digital Analytics is a more suitable term.
Digital Analytics is a really interesting subject as it is linked with all the other digital marketing channels you will use:
- Emailing: you will need analytics here in order to see if the traffic brought by your emails converted on your website
- SEO: you will need to analyze on which position your keywords are and see if the landing pages you are sending your users to are converting
- SEA: as well as SEO you will need to analyze the traffic coming from this channel to see if you spent your advertising budget wisely
- Website/Mobile development: you will need to analyze how users are interacting with those supports in order to improve their experience of the internet
- And so many other examples can be found
You can also use analytics to:
- Measure how people behave on an intranet and see if they are using the information system as they should. This is not only a matter of Return on Investment and also a way to check if your company is performing well.
- Monitor some APIs usage. Imagine that you are offering an API to external developers, you may be interested to know if they are using it and what the demand is, in order to improve your services for third party players.
As you see, analytics is very helpful as you need it everywhere.
What do you use digital analytics for?
To make it simple, you will use Digital Analytics in order to improve the experience of your end users and most of the time to make a profit out of it, either on the short, mid or long term. So to say, if you are good at Digital Analytics you will be the one giving valuable feedback to the decision makers so as to send the organization in the right direction.
Where are the data coming from?
This is a really good question. In fact data can come from very different ways, but we are going to demystify those data feeds by explaining the basics first, the log analytics.