If you design products and services that only 10% of people can or want to use, then only 10% will use them. The same goes for websites and your online presence. You need to understand who uses your website, how and why they use it and design everything you do with this in mind.

Web analytics help you reach this goal. They give you info about the needs, interests and behaviours of your users. This means you’re not guessing what they like – you know.


  • See the benefits of web analytics for your organisation
  • Ask the right questions, to improve your website and services to meet user needs
  • Select analytics tools that meet your needs

Read time:

7 mins

Chapter 1

Why use web analytics?

Read time:

2 mins

What web analytics do

When we talk about web analytics, we’re talking about tools that measure how people use websites and online channels.


They can measure:

  • How many people visit a website
  • How they got to the website, such as through social channels or by searching online
  • How many of them are new or returning visitors
  • What they do when they reach the website
  • The most popular pages in a website
  • Whether visitors take any actions that the website suggests


These tools also:

Capture data

Use it to measure number of visitors, page views and more

Analyse your data

Use it to answer questions that will help make decisions

Pull reports

To help you get more detail in an easy to read format

The benefits they bring

Analytics may seem complex or time-consuming, but spending time with them can save you much time and money. They help you work out how your marketing activities are driving traffic to your website. With their help, you can see if your customers are repeat users.

You can invest your money in the right places and turn visitors into users and even promoters of your organisation. You might be able to do this faster with the right tools.


What are the tools?

Your website’s platform might be able to do some analytics, like counting the number of site visitors. Some social channels also have built-in tools, like X Analytics and Facebook Page Insights.

Tools such as Google Analytics, Heap Analytics and Clarity give you more detailed info and a way to measure your visitor traffic. They also help with competitor and market research. Using these tools can help you see what works well in your website, and improve what doesn’t work so well.

Chapter 2

What these tools can show you

Read time:

3 mins

Who your users are

Whether your organisation has a local or worldwide audience, it helps to understand who they are. Where do they come from? What language do they want to use? Their age? Their gender? These tools can tell you.

This helps you get to know your potential customers in more detail. It shows you how you might want to target any related marketing. You’ll also see the parts of the world where you’re a hit.


The devices they use

People are now using mobile devices, laptops and PCs to access different things at different times. So it’s important to understand specifically how your customers are accessing your website. When you run analytics about what devices your customers are using to visit your website, you’ll be able to tailor your content, design and layout.

Think about how people engage on different devices. Analytics data can tell you about their needs. You may need to tweak your website and campaigns to make sure they work for each device user.


How they found you

Visitors can come from many sources - search engines, social sites, emails etc. They might even have typed your website address directly in their web browser. You can use this data to see the other sites and channels that your customers use, and which ones yield most visitors.

This data also works together with info about which content is getting the most time and attention. With this, you can understand if a recent campaign is bringing more visitors. Plus, it will show if you’re gaining useful interactions with your users instead of them just clicking away or never coming back.


What is their focus?

There’s always a temptation to put absolutely everything you think your users may want to see on your website. This can make it overwhelming and confusing for your visitors when they arrive on your site.

Analytics give detailed information so you can see the content that gets the most attention. You’ll also see how long people are spending on your site.

Usually your homepage gets the most traffic, but what about other popular pages on your website? Are you directing visitors to the right pages? Popular pages could include competitions, blog posts or customer case studies.


Where do they leave?

Do you have visitors who don’t stick around? Do they go away and not come back? You can use analytics to understand where exactly you’re losing them. Then you can decide how you could change the design and user journey, to stop this happening.

This process of understanding and improvement gets you a step closer to the best possible visitor journey every time. So you’ll be turning visitors into users and even promoters of your organisation much more easily.

You can also check the number of abandoned shopping carts or people who’ve downloaded information but haven’t since returned to your website.

If you capture this data, you can think about how to entice the customer back. Would a nudge email close the sale, or could you make it easier to sign up as a volunteer?

Chapter 3

Best practice and what others are doing

Read time:

1 min

Industry benchmarking

Analytics show you how many visitors you get. You then need to think about how you know if those numbers are good? That’s where benchmarking can help.

Tools like the benchmarking screen in Google Analytics can help you compare your own stats with others in your sector. So you can see where you fit in the industry – and if those numbers are good.

You tell the tools the industry you’re interested in. You can also set other filters, like location and time period. Then they give you the results for you and other organisations, based on the filters you set.

It’s important to bear in mind that this data isn’t 100% accurate but it’s a great starting point.


Think carefully about the filters you apply, as these will affect the sample size (how many others you’re being compared with).

Understanding best practice

It’s also worth looking at competitor websites, trying to put yourself in the shoes of a user. How does the site compare with your own? Do they do anything to make it easier for you to navigate? Do you feel tempted by the design? Can you find what you need?

With your user data and competitor examples, you can work out where to start making improvements to your own site.

Chapter 4

Taking the next step

Read time:

1 min

Marketing the right way

Your website is one of your most important marketing tools. It acts just like a shop window and is the first port of call for many potential customers. Think about the ways you can use analytics to boost your marketing plans. Monitor your overall traffic. Look at peaks and troughs - see if they match up with campaigns, seasons or events.


Take a piece of paper. Write a list of actions you’d like your users to do, on one side of the page. On the other side, write some ideas on how you can engage them to do these actions. These will form the basis of things you can do and test with analytics.

Pick the right tools

Make sure you select a tool that works for you. Each platform will explain how to install analytics onto your webpage. Take some time now to research the tools we’ve mentioned in this lesson, and about analytics more generally. Write a pros and cons list for each tool.

Make sure you really think about the needs of your organisation specifically and some of the issues you’re trying to solve.


Take time to learn

Analytics tools take a while to learn. And the more powerful the tool, the more complex it is. So give yourself plenty of time to find out what your tool can do, and how you can make the most of it.


Bank of Scotland Academy is committed to providing information in a way that is accessible and useful for our users. This information, however, is not in any way intended to amount to authority or advice on which reliance should be placed. You should seek professional advice as appropriate and required. Any sites, products or services named in this module are just examples of what's available. Bank of Scotland does not endorse the services they provide. The information in this module was last updated on 14th July 2023.