The Three Stages of Analytics

Any visit can be broken into three distinct stages: finding the website, using the website, and leaving the website. Web analytics is the science of identifying segments of your visitors that go through these three stages in significantly different ways, and then focusing on segments that are the best for your business.

  • If a certain marketing campaign helps people find your site, all else being equal, you should put more money into that campaign.

  • If a certain kind of site content or layout encourages visitors to use your site in ways that are good for your business, you should focus on that content.

  • If certain content, layout, or page load speeds encourage users to stay longer and return more often, you should focus on doing those things more consistently.

  • If certain ad locations encourage your visitors to click on those ads, generating revenue for you as they leave the site, you should charge more for those locations and sell more of them.

Finding the Site: The Long Funnel

Getting traffic to your site is often the first thing marketers think about. If all else is equal, more traffic translates into more revenues and a healthy business.

Of course, all else is seldom equal. In addition to search engines, visitors come from a wide range of sources (shown in Figure 5-18), among them hundreds of social networks. Each visit has a different outcome. Some visitors stop by briefly, never to return, while others become lifelong readers or loyal customers.

By optimizing ...

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