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Avoid The Biggest Mistake Web Analysts Make

Avoid The Biggest Mistake Web Analysts Make

web-analytics1The biggest mistake web analysts can do is to work without a purpose. Web analytics tools are extremely powerful and they can churn out a lot of data. But if the basic purpose or objectives of the website and hence the web analytics project are not defined prior to the start of the project, it would have very little impact on business decisions and the entire project may fail.

How to avoid this mistake?

Most of the times, web analysts dive into the data first and then try to figure out some meaning from it. But the data generated by a web analytics tool is so large, that an analyst may get overwhelmed by this and simply drown into the sea of data without generating any useful insights. Thus the first step for any web analyst before starting a web analytics project is to create a measurement plan for web data analysis without going into the actual data. The measurement plan consists of objectives, goals, KPIs, Targets and segmentation.

A web analyst should follow a structured 5 step investigative approach given below to create a measurement plan on the basis of which he can implement the web analytics solution. We will explain this process in detail with the help of an example of an airline company- Indigo. Its website is

  1. What is the purpose of the website?

The analyst should browse through the website first and try to find out the objectives of the website. It is clear from the Indigo website that its business objective is to get visitors to book flights through this website. The most important macro conversion goal of this website is Book Flight. See the picture below.

indigo landing page

Then there are the micro conversions: Search Flights, Book Now, Chat with us, Weather Forecast, Log In, Schedule, Call,  6E Pass and Information. All these micro conversions lead the visitor a step nearer to the macro conversion goal of booking flights. Then there are another set of micro conversions- Holidays, Hotels and Car Rentals which are for the segment of visitors interested in package deals related to travel- Hotels, Car rentals, Route Maps and Holidays. These may ultimately motivate the visitor to book flights along with the additional services. Then there are other events such as social share on Facebook and Twitter and downloading the mobile app. The downloading of mobile app is an important event as it increases the probability of booking a flight due to its convenience. Thus by in- depth browsing of the website, the analyst can determine the macro conversion and the micro conversion goals of the website. Please note that the important micro conversion of registering with the website comes later in the book flight path. You can also determine a list of E- commerce tracking and goals to be set up in admin. Thus at the end of this first step you are clear with the business objectives and goals( macro conversions + micro conversions) of the website.

2. What parts of the website should be focussed upon first?

This can be determined by asking several questions such as

  • Which part of the website would be most valuable for the visitor?- It is clear that the ‘Book Flight’ tab is the most important for a traveller as it gives the schedule and prices of flights to the visitor for his required sectors.
  • Which content on the website drives macro and micro conversions?- It is clear that ‘chat with us’, search flights, book now, book flights drive macro and micro conversions. The ‘Call’ information drives off- line macro and micro conversion. Thus these parts of the website should be designed for better usability and great user experience.
  • What cross sell and up sell opportunities are there?- The bottom row of the above picture has leveraged cross sell and up sell opportunities. Here there are opportunities of cross selling Holiday packages, car rentals and Hotels. These multiply the revenues and also increase the probability of selling your basic service- Flight booking.
  • What do the top navigation and left/ right navigation groupings tell you?- In the above website, the right navigation bar is for quick booking. It shows sectors with lowest rates and hence it is a short cut for buyers in the most popular sectors. The top navigation bar is for general search.
  • What content areas are expensive to create and hence important to be measured for value?- The content relating to weather may be expensive to create and hence it should be tracked whether it really is adding any value to the website. Another area is the central promotional area which gives information about the new flights, features or promotions by the airline. It is interesting to find out how much of it is really contributing to micro or macro conversions.

Thus you can determine the important focus areas of the website that need to be analysed by the end of the second step.

3. What are the sources of traffic at their website?

It is important to find out about the digital marketing strategy of the company. Is the company carrying out paid search campaigns, email campaigns, social media marketing, off- line marketing etc. How high is their ranking in organic searches? How many fans they have for their Facebook page etc. We find that Indigo is not carrying out a PPC campaign and even if it is doing it, it is not showing up high in Google Ad Ranks. Even their organic search results are pretty poor and they do not appear on the first search page of Google for different keywords. At the same time, we find their competitors are doing pretty well, both on PPC impressions and organic search results. Thus it may seem that Indigo may be relying more on Direct traffic for their website. This may also create some questions such as- Does Indigo need to start a PPC campaign or improve SEO for higher Google rankings?

indigo sE

4. How is the website performing compared to its competitors?

We will carry out a comparative analysis of performance of the three main airlines of India- Jet Airways, Air India and Indigo in Google Trends. We find that the Indigo website is performing better than Jet Airways and almost as equal as that to Air India.

indigo comparative search

But the Indigo site is improving its traffic consistently since 2005 and has emerged as number one in 2015. See the yellow line for Indigo website’s performance. We can conclude that the Indigo website is performing well as compared to its competitors’ websites.

Another insight that is obtained from Google trends is the ‘Regional Interest’; ie. the usage of the website as per geographies. This trend shows more usage of the website in the Middle East.

indigo regional interestThe Google Display Planner gives demographic information of visitors. Thus you can get a good context about the website in relation to its competitors, geographies and demographics at the end of this step.

5. What is the fastest route to impact the business?

In this step, you can identify the low hanging fruits that could produce immediate results. Some of these are:

  • Technical errors such as broken links( 404) in the website that can be quickly fixed.
  • The central promotional content in this website seems to be occupying a significantly more area than the ‘Book Flights’ area. For a low cost airline, the primary aim should be more bookings and less amount of promotion.

Thus you could find out areas of improvement related to User Experience that could give results.

Now after these 5 steps, we have an idea of the context, the objectives, the goals of the website and the organisation can clearly arrive at the measurement plan for the website analytics.

Another things that can be checked are the technical parameters such as proper placement of javascripts tags , proper tagging of campaign tracking parameters etc. Please also note that the internal search engine is also available on the website. That means that internal site search metrics and dimensions could also be measured.

Thus having done this ground work, you can dive into web analytics and measure the dimensions and metrics as per the measurement plan.


Success in web analytics depends upon creating a measurement plan beforehand. The biggest mistake analysts make is working without purpose. Not having a structured approach to data collection and reporting, directly diving into data without a measurement plan are corollaries of the same basic mistake. We have seen above how to avoid these mistakes and follow a structured approach for web analytics.

Image credits:

Google Trends

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