The Need for Web Analytics – Part 1

Part 1 – It is for Affiliate Marketers Too

Recently Google announced that Google Analytics was available and free for the asking with instant access to all comers. Up until a few days ago, you had to get in a pretty long waiting line to get an invitation code to gain access to Google Analytics because when first launched the demand was so intense Google simply could not keep it working as an open-ended system. We reported on this a few days ago as it was announced in Mark Barrera’s post,

Google Analytics Available Free to Site Owners I thought that was a good incentive for me to post today and do a short series about the general importance of Analytics Software be it from Google or any source.

Now most eCommerce companies that actively take orders on their own server do a reasonable job of tracking things via some type of tracking software. I find it is generally the Affiliate Marketer that fails to the highest degree to utilize such software effectively.

The issue for affiliates is that once they send a visitor to an Affiliates Site they must rely on the partner to report any further information. To put it another way, an affiliate marketer would ask how do I track conversions when the sales happen on my partner’s server?

There is actually a pretty good way to do this. First, the marketer would set up his site just as always but on his links that would send traffic offsite rather than link directly to his partner he would link to an internal page that would redirect to the partner site. So if his site was sales page rather then link to partnerdomain.com from there he would link to newswebzone.com and that page would redirect automatically to tsanewsblog.org. Why you may ask would anyone go through the hassle to do this? Because trust me the data gained is gold.

Let’s say you have a conversion rate on traffic to your sales page of 1% you calculate this with very basic information. Last month 2000 people visited that page and you got 20 sales from it. Yet there is so much you don’t know for instance if you don’t add the redirect page you may see that 1800 people exited your page.

But where did they go? Did they leave your site or go to your affiliate link?

The difference is of extreme importance because what you don’t know can cause you to make a poor decision. For instance, what you don’t know in this model is the conversion rate of your partner’s affiliate page nor do you know the conversion rate of that your sales page has for getting to the first goal (goal one is to get the user off your site to your partner’s site).

Without this how do you know which parts of your web site to dedicate time to or which partners to develop more sales pages for? Now what happens when you create that simple redirect page on the way to your affiliate link?

It is a lot like a school math problem, once you have all the necessary numbers to form an equation you can find the unknown numbers. In this case, what you did not know before is of the 1800 people that left who went to the partner page and who left your site to go somewhere else. Watch how simple the numbers end up if you have a redirect.

Our marketer sets up the redirect and tracks his sales over the next month, again he gets 2000 visits and 20 sales. His exits from the sales page are 1800 but he finds that his exits from the redirect page are only 800 and this means that over 1000 visitors a month are going elsewhere.

What does this do for him?

First, he now knows that 50% of all his traffic is leaving the site so he knows the place to make changes in on the sales page. He may need to improve copy or provide a second option or even make navigation of his site better so visitors choose to look around the site where they might choose to take a different positive action but he at least knows that he is losing those 1000 visits into nothingness and can try to do something to improve that stat.

Second, he now knows that his partner’s sales page and the product are doing very well, in fact, it is outstanding. The conversion rate for traffic to it is not 1%. No, it is actually 2.5% for traffic that gets there which is 150% better then he believed without proper tracking.

With this knowledge, he can decide that this particular affiliate partner is worth building better sales pages for or not because he is now tracking all such sales traffic. With solid numbers, he knows how much weight his site is pulling and how much weight the product and affiliate site is pulling so his efforts can be spent on the services that sell best and his improvements made to his own site in the areas with the greatest potential to increase revenue.

I will continue this series later in the week and the additional segments will apply to all marketers, not just affiliate marketers but I started with this one because it is the most complicated and directed to the group of marketers who generally are most convinced that they can’t obtain true conversion metrics.

In the online world, those who track things win the marathon over the fly by night sprinters and build solid systems that produce results long term. In the next segment, we will uncover an often missed gold nugget buried in most web tracking data. In fact, one most people look right at several times a week and just never bother with.

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