When you spend money, you want to understand what you’re buying and know that you are getting the results you expect, right? Imagine an investment portfolio. Investors review portfolio activity and performance, and if something is not working, they might move things around to focus on the areas with the best performance and return on investment.


Tracking your online activity is the same concept. The most well-written content will not do you any good if the people who visit your website are not taking desired actions to convert them into customers, or even worse, aren’t making it to your site in the first place. So, what website analytics should you be tracking, and why?


Website visitor activity: When you understand what visitors do when they come to your website, and how that activity meshes with the goals of your website, you are on your way to more conversions and sales. There are a number of tracking services out there; the most widely known being Google Analytics. Tracking website activity can help you understand:


  • How visitors are getting to your website. The four main sources of website traffic are:
    • Organic search: Which search engines and search terms did they use?
    • Paid search: Examples include Google AdWords and paid Facebook or Twitter ads
    • Social media: A direct link from a social media platform – we’ll discuss that more in a minute.
    • Referral: An example could be a direct link from a blog post. (Referrals are great!)
  • What are visitors reading on your site? Are they scrolling and finishing the entire page? How long is it taking them to finish?
  • When are visitors leaving your site, and what were they doing just before they left, or “bounced”?


Valuable stuff, right? There are even heat map tracking services that let you see exactly where people are hovering and spending the most time on your site.


Social media activity:  Monitoring the social media activity for your business helps you understand who is talking about your brand, what they are saying, and what you are offering that they find valuable enough to share with their own networks. It can also tell you when and how you should be posting to get the most desired results from your audience. Social media offers consumers a strong platform to make their voices heard; many people turn to their social networks for advice before making a purchase. Measuring this activity can help you determine where your business needs to focus in order to achieve its goals.


Email activity: Email campaign tracking software tells you who opened your email and when, who marked it as spam, who clicked on links, and who shared it with others. You can even test two versions of the same email to see which version more people open. Some software shows you a map where you can watch people open your email in real time around the world. Pretty cool, and useful information to have as you plan your next email marketing campaign, or the next move in your sales process.


The other day I received an email from a vendor I occasionally use. I saw something that caught my eye and opened the email, and within a few minutes was drafting a message to the vendor to inquire about services. Before I could press “send,” the vendor contacted me, thanking me for reading the email and asking me how they could help. That is powerful, and it is all thanks to content tracking!


The value of tracking your online marketing activity is understanding what works so you can focus your efforts there, and eliminating what is least effective. What tracking tools are you using for your website and marketing? Let us know in the comments!


This article was originally posted on March 3, 2015. It has been updated to include the most current information.

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