Advocacy groups can use website analytics to design better campaigns, provide much-needed information and ensure they stay relevant to the people they represent.
But because we can sometimes be a little intimidated by the technology, terminology and numbers, website data is often an underutilized resource.
What do we mean by website analytics?
It is the way you monitor the traffic on your website. It is much more than just knowing that you had a certain number of visits. You can use the information to identify where that traffic comes from, how long they are spending on your site and how many pages they viewed. You can see if they are new or returning users and what region of the world they live in.
Why does that matter?
Because you can use that information to design better campaigns.
You may find a page has a high bounce rate, meaning they just look at one page before leaving your site. That will show you that the content is not what those people were looking for, and you can think about why. Was the “hook” that brought them in eye catching but misleading? Did it attract the wrong people or maybe the content was not up to scratch?
If you can see visitors are spending long periods on your site, looking at multiple pages, you know you are offering them what they need. That doesn’t mean your job is over though. If you drill down into where visitors are spending the most time, you will see what you are doing right. You can then replicate that across the site.
Analytics can make a huge difference when running an awareness campaign. By monitoring which external promotional activities are bringing in the most traffic, you will understand your audience and their online lives better.
How do I get started?
The first step is to choose your platform. Most people plump for Google Analytics because it’s free, easy to use and compatible with every website. If someone else built your website, you might need to speak to your developer to get the account set up.
Next, think about your objectives and what it is you want your website to achieve. During an awareness campaign, you might want to drive traffic to a specific information page. If you are promoting an event, you might be looking for registrations.
Look at the key data that will help you understand how well you are fulfilling those objectives. Using Google Analytics, you can set goals, a number of event registrations for example, so you can track how well you are doing.
Check your data regularly and alter your content and marketing plans accordingly. It’s important to remember that the internet never stays still, and what works for your audience will change over time. The trends in your data will help you stay fresh.
What else do I need to know?
Don’t be scared of the data or the terminology. It might look like a mass of indistinguishable numbers to start with, but the more you use your analytics account, the more you will learn.
There’s nothing you can do on the analytics platform that will break your website, so have a play around with it. If you set up a dashboard to track a certain dataset then change your mind, you can just start again.
The only thing we advise against is not looking at your data!