Web Analytics Explained For Startup Businesses

June 24, 2022

At first, the concept of web analytics can be a bit confusing for new businesses, particularly since there are numerous related terms to understand and decisions to be made. One of the most common reasons for this confusion is the big scope of the concept. Web analytics is a wide umbrella that covers various disciplines and skills.

In this article, we are going to focus on web analytics and dive deep into the topic while giving you a clear and understandable perspective. To make decisions about web analytics, you should know what web analytics is, the tools you can use, and the metrics you can follow.

So, here is the table of contents: 

  1. What Is Web Analytics?
  2. Web Analytics vs. Reporting
  3. What is Clickstream Data?
  4. Identifying Which Web Analytics Metrics Suits You
  5. KPI vs KIA: Does One Equal the Other?
  6. Web Analytics Tools
  7. Web Analytics Checklist for Startups

What Is Web Analytics?

Web analytics, at the most basic level, is a way of generating valuable information about your website. Web analytics covers a set of processes of sifting through data and reports to obtain significant insights that can be utilized. The main aim is to better understand and enhance business performance. Analyzing data leads to fruitful findings that can help improve other aspects of your business. 

It also refers to collecting, analyzing and reporting a website’s data. Web analytics provides information about the visitors of a website and describes the behavior patterns that are exhibited while visiting the site. Sometimes, it also is considered a subset of business intelligence or data mining which helps in collecting and analyzing user information about the interaction with a product or service.

This can be accomplished through softwares and online tools that provide for data gathering and examination of the data collected. 

Although the tools and techniques used in web analytics are very diverse, it is sufficient to make a general analysis by focusing on the most basic metrics at the beginning. Therefore, it is possible to draw a startup framework for startup businesses.

Collecting and processing the right data is the most important part especially for a startup since it’s a misuse of resources when the data is not meaningful. So you should identify the right metrics, right data collecting methods, right tools.

Web Analytics vs. Reporting 

Do you want reporting or analysis? It’s an important decision to make. What is the best? Even though at first sight it looks obvious that you should choose analysis over the report (because it’s more comprehensive), the answer is something you should get used to hearing: it depends.

Reporting and analysis are two related efforts that use the same methodologies and tools but give extremely different outputs. Even though they are both about gathering, organizing, mining, sorting, and summarizing data; reporting does not include any comment, suggestion or road map.

Reporting is the process of summarizing information about the operations of an organization. With reporting, you can see “what is happening”.

The analysis is, on the other hand, finding answers in this data and providing actionable suggestions. With analysis, you can see “Why is it happening and how can we fix it?” 

According to Avinash Kaushik, Google’s Digital Marketing Evangelist, there are certain conditions that give reasons to want reporting instead of analysis. 

🤔 Decentralized Decision Making:

If decision making decentralized, leaders need data to work on, not analysis to tell them what to do. 

🏢 Company Culture:

If the company culture is about paperwork, and proof, the company needs data instead of analysis. 

🛠️ Available Tools:

Tool/feature availability is another factor to consider, some tools are designed for reporting data. 

👴 Maturity:

Maturity level is another criterion since old companies don’t need to move fast, just want to survive. 

✔️ Trust to Analyst:

Trust level to the analyst is important since choosing analysis over report means the analyst decides certain things. 

🎯 Distribution of Knowledge:

The distribution of knowledge in people/teams is a determining factor. If your analysts are disconnected from each other and context, it makes more sense to provide data for someone who can connect. 

🤹 Analytics Skills

Do you have an analysis in your team? If not, just collecting data is the best option since bad web analytics can misdirect you. 

What is Clickstream Data?

Over the years, the way we use web analytics has changed. With this shift in the industry’s behavior, we have had to change the way they collect and analyze data, as well. Clickstream data is not enough anymore in comparison to web analytics.

Clickstream data is the source of web decision-making for most practitioners. Most of them still believe that web analytics equals clickstream. In reality, clickstream data representing a site’s behavior and activity only comprise a small part of the overall data that’s being gathered and reported by web analytics platforms. 

A clickstream is a path that users take through their online experience. In terms of traffic data and analysis, clickstream data refers to the paths that users take and their movement through the site, how long they spend on each page, what pages they visit, where they leave your site, etc.

Clickstream data also can be determined as information that website owners can gather through tools and techniques they can also use for web analytics. Web analytics is a process used to monitor the behavior of visitors to a web-based site, allowing many issues affecting your site to be addressed. 

Clickstream data is rarely useful on its own, but it can be highly valuable when combined with other research sources for detailed insight into how users interact with a site.

Identifying Which Web Analytics Metrics Suits For You

Web analytics metrics is a term that can cause confusion for people who have just started to become involved with web metrics. Web analytics metrics are a very important and useful set of tools for website owners in order to measure the performance of their websites and easier identify areas where improvements could be made. 

Whether it’s clicks, conversions, or reach and engagement, web analytics data offers valuable insight into how users interact with your products and services when you keep an eye on the right metrics. Targeting the correct metrics can help you better define your goals and strategy for web analytics efforts. 

When defining KPIs for a business, it’s important to keep in mind the KPI definition. A KPI is a metric that allows an organization to measure success through quantitative, hard data. In the past, the term KPIs referred to the standard set of metrics that were used to measure goals and objectives defined in the annual business plan. Today, these are still relevant aspects of any business plan but they are not enough to help quantify success when defining performance targets or managing by exception.

Here is a list of basic metrics you should follow: 

  • Unique Visitor
  • Sessions
  • Session duration 
  • Bounce Rate
  • Conversion Rate
  • Interaction Rate

Unique visitors, sessions, session duration, bounce rate, and conversion rate are basic web analytics metrics, to begin with. You can see different names in different web analytic tools for each of them. They tell you how many people visit your website or blog, how long they stay on the site, how many of them leave as soon as they enter your site, and what percentage of them perform some sort of action you want them to do.

Unique visitors, throughout your site, are arriving at different pages of the same site. Each page they go to is called a unique session. The time each visitor stays on your site is called their visit duration. Bounce rate measures how many people entered your site and immediately left without engaging further. It doesn’t measure what that engagement is though, which limits its usefulness. Conversion rate measures not only how many people convert to customers but also how many sales you get from the number of visits. These metrics give us a look into how each person spent their time on the site, including things like how long they spent there, where they clicked and what page they left from.

KPI vs KIA: Does One Equal The Other?

Traditionally, businesses around the world have measured business performance with key performance indicators (KPIs). The types of data in these KPIs often fail to account for strategic differences in business operations and execution. In a time when we must compete more effectively using real-time, critical insights about our customers, a KPI must support the natural strategic differences in the way we do business. However, the growing trend is to consider the use of key insights analysis (KIA) to evaluate the performance of a digital asset based on results.

KIA (Key Insights Analysis) metrics and KPI (Key Performance Indicator) metrics are two different approaches to performing web analytics with better predictive power. During our long period of focus on KPI metrics, they have served as a way to give us insight into how our customers use our products and services. But quantitative measurements are insufficient for today’s digital age.

Key insights analysis is the process of identifying, tracking and actioning key business and market insights across an organization or market. Key insights serve as a basis for strategy, value and innovation while KPIs serve as tactical tools to audit performance and compliance. KIA captures the holistic growth of a business unit bridging the gap between strategy and execution through insights identification, tracking and investigation. 

There are actually some qualitative metrics you should consider: 

  • Click Density Analysis
  • Visitor Primary Purpose
  • Task Completion Rates
  • Segmented Visitor Trends
  • Multichannel Impact 
  • Brand Awareness 
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Net Promoter Score 
  • Voice of Customer
  • Stickiness 

Web Analytic Tools

Web analytics tools are varied and each of them has long been used in many industries such as retail, hospitality, finance, education and healthcare. So, how should you choose the most suitable one for you among the many paid and free tools?

These tools differ from each other according to their features, usability, the level of skill they require, and the level of data they provide and process. Some web analytics tools may have distinctive features such as real-time tracking, visitor tracking with unique codes, and different recording technologies. Therefore, as a startup business, it is not easy to decide on web analytics tools.

Google Analytics, Microsoft BI, Kissmetrics, Appsflyer, Hubspot, Crazy Egg, and RapidMiner are some of the analytical tools you can use to understand website traffic. Before deciding which tool to use, it’s worth remembering again that web analytics is a deeply ingrained discipline and requires skills that not all business owners have. Maybe you’re not the one to decide which tool should be used.

There are many different players in the web analytics game, but it might make sense to focus on the fundamentals first. In general, you can’t put everything together in one tool; The key is to understand the methodology, decide what’s important to your business, and choose the best solutions for specific jobs. So start choosing your tools by deciding what you want to achieve with your data collection and analysis, and research whether these tools deliver what you want.

Here is a list of common web analytics tools: 

  • Google Analytics
  • Microsoft BI
  • Kissmetrics
  • Appsflyer
  • Hubspot
  • Crazy Egg
  • RapidMiner
  • Chartio
  • Hotjar
  • Mixpanel

Web Analytics Checklist for Startups

We live in a world where data is everywhere and it needs to be analyzed to get meaningful information. In this world, there are too many opportunities for a startup business especially when it’s come to data. Web analytics is one of the best ways to benefit them and get insights from business efforts. Today’s startup businesses not only use big data for growing their business but also properly benefit from their own first-party data. 

Performing continuous metrics and analysis through web analytics is a must for any small business owner operating today, allowing you to optimize your site or product for the highest conversion potential.

We will finish this beginner’s guide by creating a web analytics checklist.

Here is a list of actions to take that may be helpful for startups: 

Determine the things you want to achieve with analytics. Make sure that they are in line with what the company really needs. Maybe reporting is enough for you. 

Begin using the fundamental tools and learn how to use them by watching videos, reading blog posts and articles, joining forums and networking groups, Googling specific problems etc. There are too many free and accessible tools such as Google Analytics. You can use them for the beginning and decide what you need later.

Determine your capacity for data mining. Do you have someone who is willing and able to do this on a regular basis? Maybe you should outsource. 

Concentrate on the right metrics. For example, ask your data what is the current status of user acquisition and engagement? 

Prioritize compatibility. Make sure your web analytics data is comprehensive enough.

To sum, 

As your startup begins to experience growth, you’ll need to collect and understand data to help identify what’s working and what isn’t. Analytics can help you measure the important metrics that drive revenues, inform product development and make strategic decisions. You need to know about web analytics and make some decisions. 

Good decision-making requires data, so a good place to start is to identify the important measures that are critical for a company’s survival. It is important to note that based on resources and goals, some companies may focus on different metrics. The choice you make regarding the level of analytics maturity depends on the amount of resources you have to spend, but it is always important to begin somewhere.

Hopefully, this article helped you see the value in web analytics, follow us on IG to not miss the next article! 

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