In years past businesses would spend money on billboards, magazine ads, radio spots, etc. and hope they saw an increase in sales. The only way to measure action taken specifically because of the ad was to add a “mention this ad for a discount” incentive or spend even more money on special phone numbers. And even that only told part of the story.
Internet advertising takes away the mystery. Every time an ad is shown, let alone clicked, it can be tracked. Advertising networks like Google, SiteScout or the specific website you advertise on can tell you how many times the ad was shown and how many clicks it received on their site. But don’t stop there.
Adding a free analytics program, like Google Analytics or Piwik, can tell where all of your traffic came from, what pages people visited, how long they stayed on your site and even whether they filled out a contact form, completed a sale or took another action that can lead to money in your bank.
Analytics can provide a ton of information you can use to refine your website, your product offerings and even which websites and networks you advertise on. If you have room in your budget, you may consider purchasing analytics software. This will give you the ability to tie your analytics directly to re-marketing programs. For example: if a customer abandons their shopping cart, you can send a reminder email and track how many people come back and complete the sale.
Here are some basic stats you can and should follow on your website whether you use a free analytics program or a custom installation:
- Visits per day/week/month
- Pages per visit
- Average time on site
- Most visited pages/products
- First page visited on the site — it’s not always the homepage!