Analytics: The Who, What, When, Where of a Website
Analytics. Everyone talks about them, but not everyone is entirely sure what they are or how to use them. Here is an overview of what you need to know to use them strategically.
For starters, analytics are the reports tracking how people engage with your website and online marketing, such as when people log in, how long they spend on your site, how many pages they view, etc. You should have access to these, and honestly, you should consult them regularly. They tell a very importan
t story about your organization.
Different analytic reports can tell you information that will help you “see” your data in different ways. For instance, if you go to a trade show, or have some sort of marketing blast and see in your analytics a spike in traffic on your website that could be a result of your marketing efforts. Your analytics will let you know if the marketing you are doing is working.
So what kind of analytics are there? To begin with, your website should have Google Analytics, which offers critical basic information. This gives you broad information about what countries website visitors are coming from, how they found your site (direct, referral, Google search, social media, etc.), what pages they landed on or exited from, how much time they spent on different pages, what devices they used (desktop or mobile), and more. If you aren't currently accessing them for your regular website, speak to your website administrator. If nothing has been set up, you can sign up here: Google Analytics Set Up. We provide Google Analytics links for all the websites we set up for ZoomProspector Enterprise - beware of vendors who attempt to charge for this, as it is a free service.
The next level of analytics takes you a bit further, with more specific intelligence. GIS Planning developed ZoomProspector (ZP), Analytics for clients usingour GIS location analysis software, because Google Analytics couldn’t deliver the specific details important for economic developers. ZP Analytics lets you see which sites/buildings your website visitors look at, which cities or counties are most searched (multi-jurisdictional sites), the ranges of space being searched, and type of building/site being searched. This is valuable information and can be used in multiple ways beyond tracking what users are looking for. A great example of this is if your ZP Analytics show you have had several website visitors searching for Class A office space and you have none available, that is great data to show a developer for a potential project. You can prove you have a need.
This year GIS Planning has added the ultimate deep dive analytics, known as Lead Gen ID. This tool, (bundled with your ZoomProspector Enterprise and Intelligence Components), shows you the exact name of the company on your website, how many times they visited, their specific search criteria, and exactly which properties/sites/reports they are looking at (mic-drop). You now know not only who is on your website searching, but what they are interested in (see example below).
I can’t give away names, but have a client who used the analytic reports to start researching a company who they knew from their Lead Gen ID, that they were looking at a few specific available properties. A week later, they received an RFP from a company that was searching for the same size sites and was described as the company they knew had been on their website.
They were able to tailor their RFP to this company’s specific need and even did pre-emptory research to determine which competing communities and states offered a property with the desired size and specs. They could narrow down which other locations the company was considering. Actionable intelligence doesn’t get better than that!
When it comes to analytics, you need to know that you should not be charged extra for such services. We’ve heard from clients that there are vendors charging fees to access Google Analytics (which should be free). Additional analytics should be part of your existing software package, not abused as an opportunity to upsell.
Mobile – The promise of mobile is access to information whenever you need it. Why should your economic development website and online data tools be any different?
That being said, not all mobile websites are created equal. Most of us have experienced websites that require us to zoom in on small screens to enter data, and awkwardly navigate desktop sites on our phones to find the information we seek. It’s very frustrating, and we usually click away.
Web vendors for both GIS and websites are very familiar with this term. It is sometimes thrown around as if building a site in responsive design is a true feature, when it should really be standard! ZoomProspector Enterprise is mobile optimized, which means it is a separately built website for clients. This boasts the same features and functionality as the desktop version, but designed to work on your smartphone and tablet. It allows you to search/view and save a site or property, view/modify/create new reports, email them, and even access turn by turn driving directions! Try out this link on your smartphone to see just how easy it can be.
Imagine being in the field with a site selector and looking at available properties: In the past, they would do the research in the office, print flyer sheets and plan out the drive. Today’s location advisors expect to be able to do all of that from their devices. With mobile-optimized ZoomProspector Enterprise, you can do that on the fly with a few clicks, find the supporting (and very detailed) business and demographic information, email it to site selectors and take advantage of directions to get there.
We hope you have found this Ultimate Guide to Economic Development Websites series helpful (check out part I and part II here for a refresher). Hopefully, you can now walk away with a new thought or idea on how to improve your current website and mobile presence. Want to know more about how your community can benefit? Click on the button below to schedule a live demo.