Thinking Out of the Box with Web Analytics

web-analyticsWebsites’ functionality varies from serving as a corporate information page to a social network. However, regardless of the use of a website, one thing stays the same – the need for web analytics.

Now most people, which are familiar with the term – analytics, associate it with Google analytics – an advanced and elaborated web analysis platform which is free to access and use and is powered by Google. However, there are two additional analytics types which are critical for a managing your online activity properly:

  • Inhouse BI – your own personal analytics on which you have full control
  • Competitive analytics – researching your competition web analytics

In this post we’ll go over both types and explain the advantages of each and how you can access them.

Inhouse BI

Personal BI can be very similar to Google analytics or it can be completely different. You’re the one of create the database structure and you’re the one who creates your dashboards. A great system for this type of web analytics is Piwik. Piwik is an open source analytics platform which can be downloaded to your own local servers and can be integrated with any internal data you may have about your website traffic, users’ activity and payment funnel. Integrating Piwik in your site requires an experienced programmer and preferably an experienced analyst that will define the tracking and visual requirements of the platform.

piwik

Advantages of using an internal Web Analytics:

  • Complete control on data segmentation and cross-checking of any dimension.
  • The ability to import and integrate data from different sources such as: Adwords, Facebook ads, SalesForce (or any other CRM system – customer relationship management), Billing Systems and basically anything with an API.
  • It’s not a sample – as opposed to Google analytics, which samples the data, your own internal analytics is complete. You don’t lose any piece of traffic and user’s engagement data coming to or leaving your website.
  • Fully customized reporting options
  • The ability to view individual user paths rather than in aggregated format (like you have in Google analytics).

Competitive Analytics

Competitive analytics is running the same extended checks and analysis you run on your own website, but doing it on your competitor’s website. So if, for example, you check your referring traffic sources, referring keywords, user’s behavior etc. for your own website, by running the same checks on your competitor’s website you’ll be able to:

  • Compare between the two and learn where you’re behind or ahead of your competition
  • Learn about your competitor’s strong and weak points and adjust your strategy accordingly
  • Find new opportunities which you didn’t consider before but you see your competitor succeeding at.
  • Never be surprised – you can basically predict the future of any change you’re thinking of making by researching these same changes on competitors’ that already did them

SimilarWeb and SimilarWeb Pro are such platforms and with them you can use it to research a competitor or an industry and so identify trends and build your marketing strategy based on educated probabilities rather than rough guesses.

similarweb-free-version

With SimilarWeb, which is a free platform, you can view your competitor’s traffic sources, including the traffic volume from each source. You can also see that website’s users’ engagement and you can see how the site is ranked for its category and country, as well as globally.

SimilarWeb PRO gives you all that but on a larger scale – while SimilarWeb is limited to the top 10 results, the PRO packages vary from the top 50 to unlimited results. There are also additional sections which are unique for the PRO such as the industry analysis tab, which gives you a complete view of an entire industry, including that industry’s leaders per traffic source. So for example, if I want to know who’s getting the most search traffic in the insurance industry, I simply navigate to the ‘Insurance’ category and go to – category leaders -> search. Now I can see who’s my biggest threat and who should I aspire to learn more from.

industry-analysis

So we went over two important types of web analytics that should not be over looked. If you’re taking your online business seriously, you can’t afford to not include both types in your day to day work of improving your brand visibility and increasing your traffic.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about these web analytics types. Share your personal experience by commenting on this post.

About the Author -

Natalie Halimi is the Head of Marketing Communications & Education at SimilarWeb. With over 10 years of experience in marketing, Natalie has promoted services and products in the B2C and B2B arenas, in various industries.

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