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  • Daniel Phillips

10 things I look for when doing an analytics review


At just 5 months old, Aftermath Digital is still a very new business. In starting a Virtual Head of Digital Marketing service, I began the business with a clear idea of what might resonate in this market, what my process might be and where I thought I could add the most value.


In general, I’ve not been massively surprised with a lot of the feedback and insights I’ve had from clients:  Digital is still hard, many companies have invested lots but not got it right and most struggle to know what to do next in digital marketing.


But the one thing I’ve been hugely surprised by is the almost universal lack of time spent understanding website analytics. 


Almost without exception, when asked if they were across their analytics, clients respond with a flippant 'nah, it’s not really my thing’. 

If you’re not naturally analytical, the mere thought of jumping in to analytics can be massively daunting. But the insights and learnings business can get from it are huge. Understanding the data led dynamics of your website sales, knowing what works and what doesn’t is the absolute lifeblood of getting to better digital performance.


The most daunting part of analytics is knowing what data to look for. If your business’ online presence isn’t working, and there are thousands of data points in Google Analytics to search through, how do you even start?


With this in mind I wanted to share a few of the key things I look for when doing an analytics review. These are in addition to the basics like traffic volumes, conversion rates and cost per conversion etc… it’s analytics 201, if you will. 


Note, before we get in to it, when I refer to a ‘conversion', I’m referring to whatever the primary objective for your website is: make a purchase, sign up, become a qualified lead etc. And this list assumes you have analytics tracking properly set up (which unfortunately many business don’t).

  1. What is the most effective channel at driving converting traffic to your website? Are you optimising your media spend based on that info?

  2. Are there any channels you’re not utilising to their best advantage. E.g Pinterest can be huge for traffic driving in certain sectors - but often the use of it is overlooked. 

  3. How long (as in how many days after their first visit) does it take the average customer to convert? How many times does the average person return to your site before converting? Is your retargeting strategy helping to speed that up or encouraging return visiting behaviour.

  4. Apart from your homepage are there any pages that get a lot of traffic or drive a lot of conversions. What can you learn from those pages?

  5. What devices are people using your site on: is the website experience genuinely helping people on the most popular device?

  6. Is there any time-of-day based behaviours you can identify. Eg Do people research your product from their desktop at work, then come home and buy from you on mobile while they’re sitting on the couch?. Or is there a day that people convert more readily? How do you adjust your media spend to enhance those behaviours?

  7. Is there a channel that drives very poor traffic (low time on site or high cost of conversion) that you need to reduce investing in? Spoiler alert - if there is one, it will most probably be display or programmatic. 

  8. In terms of volumes, how does your organic and direct traffic compare to paid traffic? If organic traffic is low, you have an SEO problem. If direct traffic is low, you have a brand problem. 

  9. Whats the average value of a single visitor to your site? Are you getting a return for paying $1 (for example) for a click to your site? Or do you need to need find cheaper traffic? Or how do you increase the conversion rate or basket size so every visitor is worth more. 

  10. Google Analytics provides 'in-market’ data. This shows what other things your website visitors are interested in buying. Can you do anything with this insight?


While this list isn’t comprehensive, I’ve found that in the hundreds of analytics reviews I’ve done over the years, if you can answer (and take action from) most of those questions, you’re well on your way to digital marketing success. The same rules tend to apply whether you’re getting 1000 or 1,000,000 visitors to your site. 


I hope this was helpful.


(image source: https://dribbble.com/shots/1327531-Dark-Analytics-App-Gif)