Website traffic statistics options for company marketing
The market has no shortage of statistics systems for setting up website traffic records. There is no question that Google Analytics has, deservedly, maintained its market leadership in Latvia. The system has a very broad range of options; it is linked to other Google products for building traffic, but most of all – using Analytics carries no additional costs. When the Google Analytics solution arrived on the market, Mediaparks too, discontinued the development of its own system InStat and later also its maintenance because, at that time Analytics was technically more powerful and free.
We have to be honest though, an ordinary user/website owner does not know how to utilise the great majority of the options proffered by Analytics. The setting up of Goals is frequently mentioned as one of the first stumbling blocks. Analysis of the received data and the ability to spot linked and common patterns is not just a question of regular usage, but one of competence. The website developer, when setting up Google Analytics for the customer, has not provided the necessary information.
Google Analytics itself costs nothing. There is a small installation cost relating to the developer’s time setting up a Google user account, the copying of code and related tasks regarding the customer’s domain names or languages, but quotations for these actions never seem to list product training.
In current times, it seems inappropriate to discuss statistics systems attracting licence and subscription fees, but they should not be ignored. The market is also prepared to pay for the integration of statistics systems into their solutions, but where Google Analytics, seen by many Latvian website developers as more or less the standard solution, is concerned, other options are rarely considered.
There are solutions. Having researched the market, we have identified several solutions, in our opinion, more appropriate to ordinary users, from German and Finnish IT companies. These provide more options for further marketing activities using the recorded data. These products cost money however. Is this service worth paying for?
First of all, ‘whois’ information. Who is our visitor? Google Analytics provides information about the country and city the visitor is from, his internet service provider, but not the name of his company. For example, legislation in Estonia and some other countries stipulates that internet service providers, when concluding contracts with companies, must indicate the company’s name when establishing the connection.
Many Latvian companies, especially those with foreign capital, also utilise this as good practice. For example, mediaparks.opti.parks.lv. If the statistical service provider has an appropriate database, these types of visitor can be viewed, not just as IP addresses or the names of internet service providers, but as company names which, in turn, creates opportunities to contact these companies and research exactly which pages and products were of interest to the visitor.
For this reason too, it is not appropriate to list numerous service descriptions on one page. Naturally, if you have purchased your website as a ready-made package with a limited structure, you may not be able to avoid this. Consequently, you will not know which of the services listed on a page holds the most interest.
Secondly, the more your statistics system is integrated into the actual page solution during website development, the more precise the information you can glean from it. For example, a small piece of tracking code generally remains unchanged. Alternatively, if the system recognises and accepts various parameters you can, in a single line of dynamic code, include the name of the registered user currently authorised on the website, cookie information, the names of the items selected in the shopping basket and other information.
Other differences worth mentioning are the ability to view outgoing links, the creation of self-defined statistical cross-sections, saved for regular reports, reports on the total activity of individual users within particular time periods (which can be measured in years), or the option for the system to provide feedback to the website to draw visitors to the target pages.
Statistics systems have value if the data they provide is used and the options fully utilised. Clearly, the main beneficiary is the company’s marketing department. System options enable marketers to e-mail specially generated reports to all of the product and service groups listed on the website with the names of companies and detailed information on their activities within the product’s pages. All that remains is to prepare quotations and get in touch with a very precisely defined target group.
A good statistical records system will also be a useful instrument for the organisers of direct mailing campaigns. If the letter’s own links incorporate information about the recipient, then your website will be able to address the visitor by name and the statistics system will store campaign data and the additional activities undertaken by the already-identified user. By additionally integrating cookie data, you will continue to recognise the customer.
Similarly, a system will be an invaluable instrument for loyalty programmes, advertising campaigns with banners or links in portals, and for determining the effectiveness of different media. For example, identifying how new or existing users react to advertisements in the traditional media – the press, radio or television with separate, special links. Also, working with customer cards and user registration, it is convenient not to burden visitors with the filling out of superfluous forms, because we already know them.
The options provided by the solutions from several suppliers are numerous. Whichever system you choose, you will get the most out of it if your website developer can offer solutions to attain the goals of your marketing people, integrating these solutions into both the statistics system and the website.
The key to your success continues to be your cooperation partner, not the software, even if it is technically superior to others. In turn, the less you have to work with raw data, the more expensive your statistics system will be.