Digital Analytics 101: What Is It and How to Collect Digital Data?
What’s digital analytics? How can it help product and marketing teams make data-driven decisions and improve the user experience at different stages of the customer journey?
If you’re after answers to these questions, we’ve got you covered!
In this article, we also look at different kinds of digital analytics data, how to implement a digital analytics strategy, and the best tools to help you do it!
Are you in?
- Digital analytics allows teams to measure and analyze product performance to improve their digital strategy.
- Utilizing digital analytics enables them to make data-driven product decisions, and identify user friction and pain points.
- Digital analytics relies on data from various digital sources. This could be website data (e.g., acquisition channels), product data (e.g., feature usage), digital marketing data (e.g., social media engagement or email click-through rate), or feedback data (e.g., NPS scores or bug reports).
- Implementing your digital analytics strategy starts with goal-setting. These need to be in line with your product vision and should give teams a clear focus on what to achieve and how.
- The next step involves collecting relevant customer data with appropriate analytics tools.
- You should use the data to segment your users and analyze their behavior in more detail for actionable insights.
- Finally, it’s time to embed the findings into your product or marketing strategy.
- Amplitude is a powerful analytics tool that enables teams to track and store data about user in-app behavior and product performance.
- Google Analytics is a web analytics platform with a vast array of features. Its latest edition, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), supports app analytics as well.
- Userpilot is a product onboarding tool with user feedback and analytics features. It enables product managers and product marketing managers to act on the insights by engaging users with in-app personalized messages.
What is digital analytics?
Digital analytics is the process of measuring and analyzing the performance of digital content online.
In other words, it provides you with insights into user interactions with content like in-app engagement, marketing campaigns, or social media posts.
What are examples of digital analytics?
In marketing, examples of relevant digital analytics include website traffic metrics, like page views or bounce rate, SEO metrics, or email marketing metrics.
Software developers will be interested in digital analytics that focus on the technical performance of the website, like bug reports or uptime.
Why is measuring digital analytics important?
Why does tracking digital analytics data matter for product teams? Let’s check out a few of the main reasons.
Enables decision-makers to make data-driven decisions
For starters, digital data analysis enables you to make informed product decisions.
Without it, product managers would have to rely on anecdotal data, hunches, or luck. Not that these aren’t important in the work of a product manager or product owner, but lucky streaks don’t last forever. And when you run out of luck, the consequences could be painful.
Provides insights into user behavior and pain points
Talking of pain, digital analytics helps you discover the pain points that your customers have.
By tracking user behavior inside your product, you’re able to tell when and where they come across obstacles or which tasks they fail to complete. With such knowledge, you can look for ways to solve them.
Or take keyword data as another example. Tracking the most popular keywords can help you optimize your product offer to meet unsatisfied market needs.
Identifies friction points in the customer journey
Friction is one of the common causes of customer pain. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to jump through one hoop after another, especially when trying to complete a simple task.
This means their progress along the customer journey will be painfully slow or it won’t happen at all and they will churn.
Tracking user progress enables you to find friction and drop-off points so that you can help them move on.
What are the different sources for collecting digital data?
Digital analytics uses data from various sources. Which of them you should track depends on your goals. Let’s have a look at a few data types and when they could be relevant.
Website data gives you insights into who visits your site and their behaviors once they are there. The metrics you could be looking at are:
- Number of new users/unique users vs. returning ones
- Acquisition channel (direct, organic search, organic social, referral)
- Page views
- Time on website
- Bounce rate – % of sessions with no engagement
- Demographics (country, city, language, age, gender)
- Technology (device, operating system, platform)
- Conversion rates
With such website data, you can optimize the website’s SEO performance, tweak your copy to better reflect the needs of your audience, and drive conversions.
Indirectly, when combined with other data, it can help you forecast revenue. For example, if you know your demo conversion rate, you’re able to predict how many leads will turn into paying customers and how much they’ll spend.
There’s a range of product metrics you may want to track and various techniques that you can use to do so.
What are some examples?
- You can track product or feature usage with feature tagging, heatmaps, or session recordings.
- For activation data, you can track goals or carry out funnel analysis.
- Flows and paths allow you to map out all the routes users take to reach a key stage.
Digital marketing campaigns data
Apart from the website, marketing relies a lot on social media channels and email marketing.
What data could you track?
- Follower demographics (just like website analytics)
- Engagement (likes, comments, shares, retweets, etc.)
- Reach (how many people see the content) and impressions (how many times it’s displayed)
- Hashtag analysis (which of them is most effective)
- Competitor performance analysis
- Open rate (% of users who opened the email)
- Click-through rate (% of users who clicked on a link, for example, a CTA)
- Conversion rate (% of users who completed specific goals, like a purchase or demo booking)
- Bounce rate (% of undelivered emails)
- Unsubscribe rate (% of people who unsubscribe from your mailing list)
Tracking this kind of data helps you assess the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and design marketing strategies that drive your product goals.
Customer feedback data
- User onboarding feedback – on how easy it is to start using the product
- Product feedback – on how well it satisfies user needs
- Feature requests
- Customer sentiment and satisfaction feedback (NPS and CSAT surveys)
- Customer experience feedback (CES surveys)
- Product viability feedback (PMF surveys)
- Bug reports
How to implement a digital analytics strategy in your SaaS?
Designing and delivering your digital analytics strategy consists of 5 main steps.
Define digital analytics goals and relevant KPIs
Start by defining clear goals to give your team a clear focus. This should be aligned with your long-term product vision.
There are a number of frameworks that can help you set meaningful goals. A couple of the popular ones include:
- HEART: Happiness, Engagement, Adoption, Retention, and Task success
- OKRs: Objectives and Key results
Apart from choosing the goals, you must pick the right KPIs to measure your progress.
Once you have these, the final missing piece of the puzzle is how you’re going to achieve this. This may be difficult to figure out without a few iterations, but at this stage, you should have at least an idea about how you’re going to start working toward your objectives.
Use different tools to collect data analytics insights
Once you set your goals, it’s time to collect the required data. The kinds of metrics you want to track will affect the choice of software that you will use.
Here are a few possible choices:
- Website traffic and email marketing – Google Analytics
- SEO performance – Semrush, Ahrefs
- User behavior in-app – Userpilot, Heap, Amplitude
We’re looking at some of them in more detail in the final section.
Segment users to analyze data at a granular level
Once the data starts coming in, use it to segment your users. Which criteria you use, depends on your focus.
For example, let’s imagine you’re working on improving product stickiness and reducing churn. You could use the NPS survey responses and retention data to identify the most loyal users so that you can analyze what makes them stick around.
You can then look at the features they used most frequently or the paths they took to achieve these goals. That’s how you can identify happy paths for user segments with similar pain points, wants, or needs.
At the same time, you should be looking at the least successful users, like your NPS detractors or the churned customers, to investigate common themes in their behavior.
Act on data and inform your product marketing strategy
The insights that you get from detailed user behavior analysis for each segment should feed into your strategy.
For instance, if your power users engage with a particular feature a lot or follow a specific path, you could use in-app messaging to target users with similar objectives and guide them to the Aha! moment and activation.
Such in-app guidance could help users overcome the friction that slows down their conversions or makes them drop out.
The best digital analytics tools for SaaS companies
We’ve previously mentioned a few tools that you could use for collecting digital analytics data. Let’s now look at a few of them in a bit more detail.
Userpilot: Customer feedback and product analytics tool
The feedback and analytics features include:
- User segmentation (by user attributes, company data, tagged features, custom events, in-app experience engagement, and user feedback)
- Goal tracking for milestone analysis
- Custom events
- Feature tagging (tracks clicks, hovers, and text input)
- Real-time product usage data display
- Contextual in-app surveys
- Passive feedback/customer request widget support
- Quantitative survey analytics
- Advanced NPS score analytics, including qualitative response tagging
- A/B testing for in-app experiences
- Checklist and resource center analytics
- Integrations with analytics tools (Mixpanel, Heap, Amplitude, Segment, Google Analytics), and feedback tools (Typeform)
The great advantage of Userpilot over the other tools listed below is that allows you to act on your digital analytics insights with in-app experiences.
Amplitude: Standalone product analytics tool
Amplitude is a powerful analytics platform that can provide product teams with a wealth of analytics features that an adoption tool may not always match.
What are some of them?
Amplitude’s analytics features include:
- User segmentation / Cohort analysis
- Retention analysis
- Stickiness analysis
- Funnel analysis and conversion drivers
- Milestone analysis for goal tracking
- Custom dashboards
- Impact analysis for testing the effects of changes that you introduce
- Root cause analysis
- A/B test analysis
- Pathfinder for mapping out all the paths leading up to an event that users take
The main limitation of Amplitude as an analytics tool is that to be able to act on the user data, you’ll need a 3rd party adoption tool.
Google Analytics: Website analytics tool
Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool for tracking the performance of your web content.
Some important GA features include:
- Real-time reporting – you can monitor the activity on your website, like the number of current visitors, in real-time
- Audience reports – detailed data on your website visitors, including demographic information and behavior on your site
- Acquisition reports – breakdown of how your users found the site
- Behavior Reports: insights into visitor interactions with your website including the pages they visit or which actions they take
- Goal/Conversion tracking
- Custom dashboards
- Integration with Google Ads to track the performance of your advertising campaigns
The latest version, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), which has been around since 2020 and is going to replace Universal Analytics for good, can also track app performance.
Digital analytics enables teams to make data-driven decisions and shape their product and marketing strategies based on empirical evidence.
In practice, this means tracking website, product, marketing, and feedback data with appropriate tools, segmenting users, analyzing their behavior, and implementing the insights.
If you want to see how Userpilot can help you leverage digital analytics to make informed product decisions, book the demo!