3 Must-Track Web Analytics to Understand Customer Experience

Oct 24, 2022

I think analytics get a bad rap (bad rep?).

When people hear “data” or “statistics” … their eyes can start to glaze over, and their minds wander back to what they had been eating earlier that day.

But there are so many nuggets of great info hidden in your analytics that stepping out of this part of your business is you doing yourself a disservice.

You don’t have to have a masters in statistics to understand an analytics report. You also don’t have to analyze every.single.piece of data that your particular program throws at you.

Start small and simple by focusing on these 3 must-track datapoints as you revamp and refine your customer experience strategy. Working these 3 datapoint into your tracking will ensure you stay, well, on track.

Demographic Information

I’m going to assume you’re tracking 99.99% of your site data primarily through Google Analytics so that’s where this discussion is going to live. The data in Google Analytics is broken into several sections, with one entire section devoted to demographic info.

As of writing this, that demographic information is contained under the Audience tab.

Under Audience, there are quite a few places you can go. One of them is most obviously named “demographic” but there are other parts to this picture like the geographic location of a user, their interests, the devices they use, etc.

You care about this section of Google Analytics because the data you investigate here helps round out and verify any assumptions you make about your customer (especially when you’re mapping their journey).

Here are the points to consider in the Audience tab:

  • Gender and Age – check the gender breakdown and layer that with an age breakdown to get a handle on what generation really seems to be resonating with your content the most. Periodically check in on this to see if you notice any shifts (maybe with the season, or if you get a piece of viral content going).
  • Geography – this is important because if your typical visitor lives in a rural area but you are speaking to people with more urban concerns… your messaging may be falling flat. Know where your customer lives so you can get in their mind as to what they care about in their day-to-day life and what potential pain points may be that you can help solve.
  • Device – knowing the split between desktop and mobile, as well as the types of devices being used to access your site is really helpful when planning out user experience. You want to ensure your site has a seamless experience no matter the device, but you can use the information found here during testing phases.
  • User Explorer – this isn’t necessarily a metric to track, but it is very interesting. You can view the movements of a user (anonymously) through your site and actually watch a journey unfold. This is so incredibly useful when mapping your journey – you can use the data here to help validate assumptions, adjust where necessary, and hopefully gain a better understand of how your site is utilized.

Website Information

Under the Acquisition tab, Google Analytics will reveal the ways a visitor has arrived at your site as well as specific queries that brought them there.

In this section, your best bets to track are:

  • Acquisition Overview – the overview here is going to give a snapshot view into the number of users to the site, the bounce rate (how many people left immediately), as well as the time spent on the site. These things combined give a picture of the overall health of your site. These are datapoints you should be continually striving to improve. More users means more eyes on your content. A decreasing bounce rate means the people coming in are liking what they see and it’s relevant to them. An increase in the time spent on the site means your site is easy to navigate and contains additional content that this user wants to read. This overview report is going to be your number one KPI for tracking customer experience design effectiveness .
  • Channels / Sources – These are the specific ways a visitor came through to your site. Typically you’ll see social, email, direct, and search here. When you tab into these, you’ll have greater visibility to specific social channels that are assisting bringing in traffic, as well as which channel overall seems to be your strongest.
  • Search Console – under this area, you can view the queries being used and what pages or posts are triggering those queries. You can imagine the wealth of information here. I’d recommend tracking the top 50 queries so you can be aware of shifts in user behavior, as well as be able to know if you lose standing on any of them (this may indicate consumer perception has changed and you’d need to troubleshoot why your content isn’t the answer anymore).

Content Information

The final part is to analyze the performance of your content. This can be done through the Behavior tab. Here’s what to look for:

  • Site Content – in this section you’ll see your most popular posts and pages. This is important to note when auditing how well organized your site is. Are the pieces you want to be known for the ones that are getting the most traffic?
  • Site Search – here you’ll see where your gaps are. By analyzing what a user searches for tells you what you need to provide. This is a great place to go when analyizing the touchpoints on your customer journey map, especially if you feel stuck and are not sure if anything is missing there.
  • Behavior Flow – think of this as a visual, miniaturized version of one part of your customer journey map. Here, you can see how a person flowed from one landing page to the next. Are they taking the journey you want? If not, you’ll know there’s a navigational issue or messaging isn’t clear somewhere.

Let’s Recap

So, to recap, you should be focusing on demographic, website, and content metrics within Google Analytics in order to round out the total picture of your customer experience strategy.

If you had to choose only one metric to track, or if you needed an awesome starting point, it would be the Acquisition Overview because this report will give you a snapshot of the overall health of your site and where you currently stand with customer experience.

My final tip is to put together a few handy dashboards in Google Analytics so you don’t have to spend a lot of time individually hunting these reports down any time you want to reference them. Teams can share dashboards, as well, so this can be a way to cross-collaborate.

Do you think I missed anything? Let me know in the comments!


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