What it is, and what it isn’t
Let’s start off by saying (to calm the salespeople) that there are two kinds of analytics. Web analytics gives you insight on your website visitors, marketing analytics gives you data on your marketing initiatives (e.g. social media, blogging, email newsletters, etc) in order to determine the true ROI of those activities, and understand how well they’re meeting your business goals.
This is NOT Search Engine Optomization (SEO).
What we’re trying to accomplish in SEO has to do with structuring your news content for Google/Bing/Yahoo to put it in front of more people. Analytics allow CAPEMS to track and measure how effectively we’re doing this, and can give guidance on how to do it better. If SEO is a blueprint, Analytics is the ruler.
We’re still partial to Google Analytics, but Bing’s platform has made impressive advances. And there’s no reason we can’t use both.
What can we track?
Everything. (If you’re doing it right.)
A WordPress site tracks visitors to the site. The blog is part of the site. Newsletters feeds back to the blog and the site, and has its own additional tracking bits to see who read/clicked/etc. Similarly, social media integration feeds back to the blog site.
We can track the performance of an email, a story, or a page on your site. Do we get more traffic (or any) from Facebook or LinkedIn?
By fully integrating each tool (web, email, social media) into the process, we get the best possible data on the efficacy your web presence.
So what do we do with this?
All of the insights, information, and data we gather is really only useful if you do something with it. By following the traffic over time, we can tailor future content to the intended audience. We learn how visitors use your site, how they arrived there, and how to keep them coming back. The goal is to collect as much useful data as possible, for as long as possible, and use it to plan more effectively.