Have you ever heard about something for the very first time and immediately after, realizing that everyone around you has already known about it for a long time? If you haven’t ever experienced that, I’ll sum it up: you feel like you’ve been living under a rock.
Web Analytics. Ever heard of it?
Its ‘techy’ jargon makes it seem complicated. But stripped down to its basic definition, it’s simply “the process of collecting, measuring and analyzing user activity with an ad and or website.”
Those who use web analytics software do so to better understand and achieve the intended objective(s) of a specific ad or website. This intended objective could be anything from getting more traffic to your website, finding out which specific buttons visitors are clicking on once they get to your website, which keywords they are searching for using your site’s search tool. This data shows the user if visitors are using the site in the way that the site owner intended for them to use it. If not, then the website can be tweaked accordingly.
Our guest lecturer, Brad Best used “google analytics” to show us how websites can use this powerful data to determine how the public are responding to a change. For example, the Missourian recently added a pay wall, which prevents people from seeing certain content without paying for a subscription.
Best was able to use web analytics to look at the Missourian’s website traffic a year before the pay wall was introduced, and compare that data with the Missourian’s current web traffic. It was amazing to see how the public reacted to the pay wall induction. As you probably guessed, people like free.
The Missourian did take a pretty big hit as far as web traffic goes; but as pay walls (or other methods of paying for content) become more common, web analytics will be able to provide the data for which kind of paid content does better or worse. This will be immensely helpful in the future for newspapers, magazines, etc. who want to have a large online readership but need to pay their journalists for their work.
The powerful insights web analytics provides, could be what makes or breaks many online based news. This is extremely important us journalists who want to have jobs and be successful when we graduate.
I don’t know much about web analytics, but if someone mentions it again in future lectures, at least I won’t feel like I’ve been living under a rock!