Web Analytics Helps Determine Customer Intent

(Note to Client: we are unable to bold phrases in the TCA editor, so I have not been able to do this.)

Customer intent in web analytics is one of the most important, and yet overlooked areas of web site analysis. Most of the available web site tracking tools have a variety of ways that the web site owner can test and track intent, and by using web analytics correctly, the performance of a site can be vastly improved.

The classic use of web analytics is to simply measure the click-through-rate (CTR) from the search page, and then the so-called conversion rate. There have been many studies linking the position of the search engine result to the CTR, as well as those that link conversion to organic versus paid search results.

However, customer intent, as revealed by the actual keyword usage has been very seldom measured in standard web analytics packages.

The key is to use the data provided by classic web analytics packages to maintain a list of those keyword phrases that actually result in a web site action. After all, the main reason to measure web site performance is to improve it, and that can’t be done unless the correct measurements are made in the first place.

Usually these measurements include the path of the visitor through the site — from the entry point (or landing page) to the point at which they leave the site (exit page). Obviously, what constitutes a positive or negative action — both vital for tracking performance — will be both reflected in the exit page, and also different depending on the type of site.

For example, the web analytics for an affiliate site, where the positive result usually is the customer leaving to buy a product on a third party site should reveal a high exit rate in favour of the third party site.

(These could even result in a very high bounce rate, when only one page is visited, usually considered in web analytics circles to be a bad thing, but normal for a one-page site selling a single product as an affiliate.)

Obviously, for more complex sites, selling their own products, or gathering information and providing content — training, for example — web analytics and customer intent takes on a different meaning: in such cases the watchword is ‘engagement’.

Most online web analytics packages support tools to measure on-site engagement, and these can be easily linked to measures of intent to help improve performance: in whatever form it takes.