Web analytics tools allow you to track exactly where visitors go on your site, how long they spend on each page and how they interact with your site or app. This allows you to understand more about your potential customers and to measure, analyse and report on your traffic. Web analytics tools answer four key questions:
Who visits your website – in terms of number of visitors and their characteristics?
Where do your visitors come from – the source of traffic?
What do visitors do when they get to your site – which pages do they visit?
Where do they go afterwards – if you have links to other sites (e.g. you are an affiliate)?
This is useful to know so that you can begin to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and the performance of your website. Unless you measure something you won’t know if you are getting better or not and what changes to make to improve performance and revenues. This means using web analytics tools to set benchmarks and start monitoring changes over time.
Web analytics tools allow you to measure:
How many visitors land on your site every day?
Your audience and their demographic profile – the gender mix, their age, what are their interests?
What geographic location do your visitors come, such as the city or country?
What proportion of your visitors are new or returning visitors?
Audience behaviour – engagement levels and frequency of returning to your site?
What browsers are they using? Important to know so that you ensure you support old browsers if lots of your visitors are still using them.
Technology – what devices are your visitors using and their screen resolution? Again very useful because you want to optimize your site according to the devices & screen sizes of your visitors.
Landing and exit pages – what are they?
Which is your most popular content – which pages do they visit most? Critical for prioritising effort and A/B testing.
Which channels drive most visitors to your site – organic, direct, referral, paid, social?
Which campaigns generate most visitors to your site?
Referrals – Which domains are generating most visitors for your site.
Keywords used by visitors to find your site.
You can compare website traffic against your key competitors on metrics such as bounce rate, time on site and source of traffic by using a website audience comparison tool. These tools use information collected by ISPs, panels and other sources to track competitor website traffic and demographics.
Using Web Analytics Tools To Set Goals:
This is all interesting information, but what really matters is whether you are achieving your business goals. Web analytics tools allow you to set up your organisational goals to measure performance over time and identify reasons why you may not be achieving them .
One of the main tasks of conversion rate optimisation is to align each individual webpage with the relevant business objective. So for instance if you have an e-commerce site you will want to set up goals that lead towards a sale, such as view a product page, add to basket, enter checkout and finally complete a sale.
For a blog you will be more interested in engagement metrics, such as time spent on site and number of pages viewed. Once you have defined your key metrics you can set up automated reports to monitor your conversion rates and begin to investigate any changes that occur.
Next you need to better understand your visitor behaviour to identify user journeys and whether you can improve goal achievement through making changes to your site. You should monitor bounce rates and page load speed times to ensure any changes you make to your website don’t put visitors off browsing your site.
One of the most useful benefits of web analytics is the ability to look at the visitors’ path to purchase so that you can identify the drop-off rates at each step in the journey. You will be able to see if any particular stage is more problematic than the others so that you can consider what changes might help reduce this leak in the conversion funnel.
You should then begin to investigate whether your conversion rate at each step in the funnel varies across some of the metrics we have just listed. This might highlight that your website is not that user friendly for visitors on small screens or that your site doesn’t render properly in certain browsers. You can then use one of many cross-browser testing tools to view what might be causing the problem.
If your overall conversion rate is significantly lower in Germany than the UK and there is no obvious reason why this is the case you might want to review your copy as German tends to use more characters than English and direct translations can sometimes fail to allow for local cultural differences. A/B tests have shown that cultural differences can influence how visitors respond to a user interface and so ideally web optimisation needs to allow for cultural preferences in design and behaviour.
Source of Traffic:
Web analytics tools can tell you where your traffic is coming from and which channels are converting better than others. If you are paying for traffic this helps you to understand if you are getting a reasonable return on investment. Again, investigate why you see differences in your conversion rate to try and understand if it relates to your website or the nature of the traffic for each channel.
Find Broken Stuff With Web Analytics Tools:
If you see a sudden drop-off in conversion or decline in traffic from a reliable source this may indicate something is broken on your or a referrer’s site. Use your analytics to flag up when and where on your site there may be a problem with your site so that you can prevent it going unnoticed and costing your organisation significant sums in lost business.
With most subscription web analytics you can set up automated reports that will be emailed to you on a daily basis to help you monitor your key metrics. This will save you having to login every day and allow you to monitor site performance even when you are out of the office.
Web Analytics Tools – Recommendation:
I’ve used all the most popular web analytics tools on the market from IBM Core Metrics, Adobe Analytics to Google Analytics. The clear winner for me is the free version of Google Analytics because it’s by far the most intuitive solution, it’s fast, very little delay in reporting and it integrates so easily with other tools. The support in terms of documentation is second to none and there is a wealth of advice on the web as so many professional optimisers user it.
It is difficult to beat Google Analytics if you are on a limited budget. If want a more sophisticated product then Google 360 is worth considering as this has all the benefits of the free version with the advantages of a paid solution.
18 Website Analytics Tools Compared:
Below you will find the 18 most popular web analytic tools, some of which are free, and so there is no excuse not to start measuring your visitors and their behaviour.
Previously Omniture/SiteCatalyst. Adobe Marketing Cloud is one of the most popular of web analytics tools on the market. An enterprise solution with e-commerce sites that you can fully integrate with Adobe’s Test & Target A/B, multivariate testing and personalisation platform.
A comprehensive suite of features, including mobile, ad-hoc analysis, and the ability for real-time and rule-based decision-making tools to target key customer segments.
This positions itself as a behavioural analytics solution as its focus is on tracking events rather than simply visitors. Amplitude offers real-time monitoring of user behaviour and unlimited individual user timelines. Pathfinder, their user flow analysis, allows you to better understand how visitors navigate through your site or app by visualising the aggregate paths that they take.
The behavioural cohorting feature allows you to define a group of users based upon the actions they have or have not taken on your site. You can then apply cohorts throughout your analysis to understand how different behaviours impact specific KPIs such as retention and revenues. The Microscope feature allows you to click on any point in a chart and create a cohort of everyone who did or did not take a certain action to investigate what is driving their behaviour.
Amplitude offers a free plan for sites or apps with up to 10 million monthly events. For organisations with up to 100 million monthly events the Business Plan costs just $995 per month.
This offers a suite of analytical and testing tools for tracking and optimising editorial content and advertising spend. It focuses on helping organisations understand what content captures and holds audience attention and monetize inventory on the page.
Real-time web analytics tool with an extensive range of features including data at an individual visitor level, on-site analytics, heatmaps, up-time monitoring, a flexible API, Twitter analytics, Google search rankings, video analytics and big screen mobile mode. Free for single websites.
An enterprise level web personalisation and analytics platform which is popular with e-commerce websites. Used by many of Germany’s top 100 online retailers. This solution combines high-end technology with an intuitive user interface.
Econda’s Cross Sell combines a recommendation engine with an online sales tool and re-marketing suite. Product recommendations are context-sensitive and all entry pages can be tailored for your visitors.
Formismo is a state of the art form analytics platform to identify how users interact with your forms and checkout fields. The tool tracks every input field so that you can identify which fields users don’t complete, plus when they do and don’t use auto-complete.
Your form or checkout is unlikely to work as well on all browsers, devices or certain languages. Advanced filters allows you to view all reports for a segment of your visitors to identify and remedy cross-browser or other performance issues. A highly recommended tool by many conversion experts.
Gauges is positioned as a low-cost real-time web analytics tool for small to medium sized organisations. It was designed to be a website analytics API and the dashboard that you see on the Gauges front-end is a web client that consumes the API. 7 day Free trial available.
The default option for web analytics tools for many organisations. It’s free and being the most popular web analytics tool there is a constant stream of posts on how to get the best out of Google Analytics. What I love about Google Analytics is that the user interface is intuitive and because it’s from Google it integrates really easily with other Google solutions such as the SEO tool Google Search Console, their A/B testing tool Google Optimize and AdSense.
The tool is also generally fast to generate reports, no waiting around for data to be processed or sent to you via email. It’s a great tool to begin getting into web analytics.
The free version of Google Analytics offers most features that smaller organisations need and implementation is simple and quick. It uses sampled data when you have over one million unique dimension combinations in standard reports, or more than 500,000 for special queries, such as in custom reports.
The new enterprise suite of six applications which aims to directly challenge Adobe’s Marketing Cloud. It combines Google Analtyics Premium (now called Google Analytics 360) and Attribution 360 (previously Adometry) which it acquired in 2014. You will also get access to an enterprise version of Google Tag Manager.
It gives you access to Audience Center 360, a data management platform that integrates with Google’s own tools (including DoubleClick) and will take data from third-party tools. Of particular interest is the addition of Data Studio 360 which offers advanced data visualization and analysis solutions. This is powered by BigQuery – Google’s data analytics platform. This provides a native report building option for Google Analytics 360 with all the features of Google Docs (e.g sharing & multi-user editing).
Finally, Optimize 360 is a brand new A/B testing and personalisation tool which includes a visual editor interface to bring it in line with other leading A/B testing solutions. Optimize is the free version which allow you to run up to 3 A/B tests at any one time.
A real-time web analytics tools that gives you insights and access down to the individual user-level. A modern and intuitive user interface GoSquared offers business and enterprise solutions, together with a Free version for the small entrepreneur.
A unique real-time web analytics tool that doesn’t require any code to be implemented to setup event tracking. The Event Visualizer allows you to define analytics events by performing the action yourself and so anyone in your organisation can set up a conversion funnel or retention report in seconds. You can also search for an individual user to see every action they’ve done or find users based upon a specific behaviour.
Heap Analytics offers an integrated graphics solution to plot changes in key metrics over time. This allows you to adjust the range, granularity and visualisation as you require. The solution integrates easily with most popular data analysis tools and you can run your own SQL queries or export data to tools such as Tableau.
A free plan is available for up to 5,000 sessions a month or up to 50,000 sessions per month if you add their badge to your website. A 14 day free trial is available for the Custom Plan.
An enterprise web analytics tool incorporating near real-time web analytics, data monitoring and comparative benchmarking. The click-stream reports are very powerful and allow you to see how visitors navigate around your site.
You can expand the IBM Digital Analytics solution to include multiple sites, offline customer behaviour, ad relevancy, impression attribution and social media channels.
A highly recommended and powerful web analytics tool and digital marketing optimisation platform. The solution has three key advantages over traditional web analytics tools. It allows for flexible custom data with an easy to use API, it focuses on individual users and it tracks user behaviour on a multi-session basis.
By tracking user behaviour on a multi-session basis, and by aliasing anonymous cookie data with identifying information, (e.g. email address), Kissmetrics doubles as a customer database. You can collect detailed purchase information and analyse how it correlates with your behavioural analytics data. This provides a comprehensive view of an individual’s interactions with your site over time. This make it one of the most unique of the web analytics tools on the market.
The product is highly thought of for identifying holes in the conversion funnel. It allows you to build ad-hoc queries to drill down on very specific segments.
A comprehensive real-time web and conversion analytics tool. The free tool will show you how your Google Analytics stats match up with the industry standard. It offers a range of plans, including an enterprise solution. 30-day free trial available and a 60-day money back guarantee.
This is technically one of the most advanced of the web analytics tools on the market. It is superior to Google Analytics for behavioural tracking and is great for content-focused websites. It is also less relevant for e-commerce sites.
You can create easy funnels on Mixpanel and visualise them in the user interface. It also allows you to segment users based upon source of traffic or other characteristics (e.g. city) and how they interact with your site. The Explore feature enables you to create profiles for individual users which can be very useful for assisting Customer Services in supporting existing users.
Due to the complexity of the solution it requires a dedicated analyst who can manage it on a daily basis to fully understand the tool and ensure it is set up correctly to measure all your key metrics. To fully integrate API tracking within the solution also needs a fair amount of technical knowledge. It also requires frequent integration with your website if it has to measure specific events or you regularly update or release new features.
A self-hosted, open-source Free web analytics platform. Matomo is a comprehensive web analytics tool but unlike many packages, there is no limit to the amount of data you can store for free. It also has a mobile app. Because it is held on your own server you own the data and can integrate easily with your own internal systems.
A fully integrated and powerful enterprise web analytics tool that includes analytics, segmentation, testing, targeting and re-marketing. An excellent tool for tracking user segments, purchase funnels, scenarios, drop-off and bounce rates. The solution integrates with 3rd party data including app stores, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Webtrends analytics offers:
Unlimited data collection
Multi-channel measurement across social, mobile, web and SharePoint
Real-time tracking of customer activity across multiple channels including web, apps and emails. It provides a comprehensive profile for every user, customisable segmentation, funnels, retention and automated driven actions. A Free version is available.
Web analytics tools are critical to get visibility of what content your visitors are engaging with and to better understand visitor behaviour when they land on your site. For start-ups get yourself Google Analytics as this is a free and very comprehensive solution that will meet most needs. Other solutions often provide free trial periods and so if you are looking for more advanced web analytics tools there are plenty to choose from without having to commit to a major investment.
Do you want to use Voice of the Customer tools to get feedback from your visitors, but not sure how to go about it? I’ve outlined below a best practice guide on how to use online Voice of the Customer tools to gain insights and increase conversions. I’ve also reviewed over 15 online survey tools for you to use.
When to use Voice of the Customer tools?
Asking people questions hours, days, weeks or even months after a visit to your website is not going to deliver very accurate feedback on your customer experience. Our memories have to be reconstructed every time we recall them and as result they change on each occasion they are retrieved.
Voice of the Customer tools though allow you to gather data during the actual experience, allowing customers to express opinions and feelings when or immediately after an event occurs. This provides for much richer and accurate feedback on your site. Online survey tools can catch users in the moment when it is best to obtain feedback.
On-line Voice of the Customer tools provide an important input into the overall conversion rate optimisation process. Online survey tools can provide valuable insights to reduce friction and help you develop hypothesis to be validated using A/B tests. Online survey tools can also help in a number of areas including:
Whatare visitors looking for when theycome to your site and is it meeting their expectations? Identify the main use cases – what are people trying to achieve and are they successful?
What is preventing users to complete their task? Find out what is preventing visitors from completing everything they set out to do.
Are visitors finding everything they need on a particular webpage? For example, audit your homepage to compare the content with what customers say they are looking for on your website. Segment the data by new and returning visitors as they may have different requirements. This can help identify unnecessary content on your homepage and highlight other information that you should consider replacing it with.
Which of your competitors’ sites do your customers use? Digital marketing is a zero-sum game, if you can’t convince your visitors to buy from your website, one of your competitors may be more persuasive.
Voice of the Customer tools can be used to identify which competitor sites visitors are going to as their expectations will be influenced by these other sites. If your value proposition and customer experience does not compare favourably with these competitor sites you may struggle to convince visitors to convert.
What attracted new visitors to your website? Online survey tools can be used to identify what aspects of your value proposition are most appealing to new customers as this may not be the same as what you have on your website. Use this feedback to develop and test different proportion messages to see if this resonates better with customers.
When your site is broken visitors can provide you with the evidence you need to fix it. Some on-line tools automate this process so that you can get screen shots and technical details sent directly to an inbox for quick and efficient resolution of problems.
Online survey tools are ideal for finding out why visitors leave your site. When users have decided to leave your site you have nothing to lose by asking them to provide feedback on what they thought of your site. Ask them if they found what they were looking for or what would make them return to your site.
When someone abandons their basket this is a great opportunity to get their feedback to understand what is behind this behaviour. Has something on your site raised concerns or are they struggling to get the delivery date they require? Any feedback from these customers may help you identify issues that you can seek to resolve to improve your conversion rate. Online survey tools allow you to create a questionnaire and then you can email your customers a link to the survey to find out why the abandoned their basket.
A word of caution about Voice of the Customer tools:
Online survey tools are great, but don’t take what your visitors say literally. People are complex and we are not always fully aware of our own motivations and reasons for the decisions we may. Psychology shows us that cognitive short-cuts (e.g. stereotypes and confirmation bias) and our social networks are important drivers of our behaviour. This is why people will say one thing and do something completely different.
For this reason it is a good idea to validate insights from Voice of Customer tools by looking for supporting evidence from your web analytics, but also review session recording from user experience tools. If you have sufficient traffic you may also want to A/B or multivariate testing to measure the real impact on behaviour. Never only rely on online survey tools for informing decision making as user insights should be supported by other sources of evidence.
Enables users to report problem & automatically sends your company screen shots with details of the browser, the operating system, the path they took & even which browser plug-ins they have installed. An ideal solution for any site that has more than its fair share of bugs to fix. Free trial available.
Plans range from $19 a month for a single user (Personal plan) to $99 for the Corporate plan with up to 5 users. For most small to medium sized companies the Start Up plan at $49 per month offers good value as it allows up to 3 users and 400 reports per month.
Voice of the Customer tools like Feedbackify use a fully customisable widget to deliver short online surveys for your visitors to complete. The Feedback Dashboard allows you to view answers with full context, including which page it was submitted from, your customer’s geographic location, browser, operating system, screen size etc.
Offers a Free full-featured 15 day trial. A single subscription plan costs just $19 a month.
This is a great solution that offers a range of visual analytics solutions (e.g. heatmaps, session recordings, & form analytics) together with customer polls, surveys and an on-site usability recruitment tool. See our review of Hotar analytics for conversion optimisation.
The Free basic service offers up to 3 on-site polls, surveys and recruiters for live usability testing each month. The Pro and Business packages both offer unlimited polls, surveys and usability test recruitment. The Business service also allows you to remove Hotjar branding from the feedback widget.
The Free Basic plan allows you to run up to 3 polls or surveys a month and obtain up to 300 responses. Pro plans start from €89 a month for up to 20,000 page views a day.
A Voice of the Customer tool that uses an “omnichannel” approach to gathering customer feedback, drawing from various channels such as text, email, video, social media, and more. Most powerfully, through machine-learning “active listening” technology, their platform encourages more in-depth responses from your customers by automatically formulating follow-up questions based on customer input. Finally, their robust analytics and reporting features will gather all your data to show valuable insights, allowing you to make informed business decisions.
InMoment is more geared toward enterprise-level companies, and you can request a customised demo. Pricing is determined by location and a company’s specific needs.
One of a number of free online survey tools. This delivers a pop up that asks three simple questions to website visitors. The three questions could include: “How would you rate your site experience?”, “What describes the primary purpose of visit?” and “Were you able to complete the purpose of your visit today?” You can use the feedback to understand how people engage with your website and find opportunities for improvement.
A Free and Enterprise plan. No prices on the website.
An optimisation solution that also provides Voice of the Customer tools including a flexible and professional online survey tools. This provides on-click surveys (triggered by clicks on a designated HTML asset), branching logic set up which ensures the questionnaire responds to the user’s answers and a segmentation engine for targeting of specific user groups. You can either serve pop-up surveys or use a widget which appears at the bottom of the page.
Free for up to 5,000 tested views and offers flexible paid plan (no pricing guidelines shown).
Offers a customisable widget for desktop and mobile devices. You can target questions to visitors anywhere on your site, and includes exit surveys to capture insights from visitors who are leaving your website.
They offer a Free trial and subscription plans start from $63 a month for desktop. The Professional plan costs $199 a month and includes exit surveys and mobile survey add-on. The Enterprise plan ($499) provides for integration with CRM tools and advanced segmentation.
Offers enterprise Voice of Customer tools that includes Site Interceptor which allows you to survey visitors as they browse your website. A fully flexible offering that includes over 100 different types of questions, drag-and-drop ordering, advanced flow logic, rich text editing, and the ability to include images, videos and audio in surveys. It also allows you to randomize the order of response categories, set quotas and set-up email alerts.
Voice of the Customer tools for those who have never designed questionnaires before and want some advice to complete the process. The tool finds respondents for your survey who meet your target audience from 17 countries by age, gender, geography and custom attributes.
You write your surveys questions, build your questionnaire using their self-service survey tool and an analyst will then review it and suggest edits based upon industry best practice. Upwave will then find the respondents for your survey and provide raw data in an Excel spreadsheet and in Statwing, a free partner analysis tool.
Plans range from $200 a month for Quick Read for surveys of up to 200 respondents per survey and $2,000 a month for Deep Read which offers up to 2,000 respondents.
For mobile forms Alchemer automatically re-formats questions for the device and only displays one question at a time. Mobile surveys also enable use of their File Upload question to gain access to the respondent’s camera and allowing you to capture photos for the study.
Automated reporting tools offer one-click advanced reports and cross-tabs for full analysis of your data. Export data to other data analysis packages. You can also schedule reports and email results to fully automate the reporting process.
Plans range from just $25 a month for Basic which offers over 30 question types and $95 a month for Premier. An Enterprise plan offers multi-user access for an unspecified price.
One of the most well-known and popular online survey tools that enables the creation of most types of surveys, including web, email, mobile, social media, and automated telephone surveys. If you need to find respondents, SurveyMonkey Audience allows you to define your target audience and will then provide you with the feedback you require.
Offers 15+ types of questions, customisable logo and branding and the ability to set skip logic by page and question. Fully integrated with the likes of MailChimp and Eventbrite. Comprehensive real-time reporting available, together with text analysis, SPSS integration, custom reporting, cross-tabs and presentation-ready charts and reports. A Free plan is available for 10 questions and up to 100 responses per survey.
Subscription plans start from £26 a month (Select) for up to 1,000 responses to £65 a month for Platinum that offers an unlimited number of responses.
One of the most popular Voice of the Customer tools. It positions itself as an enterprise survey tool that uses an intuitive drag and drop style editor to make it easy to build high quality online and cross-device surveys. You can also choose to edit one of their professionally designed templates if you prefer.
They also offer customer support via phone, email and built-in live chat to make the process stress free as possible. All support staff are engineers which means you can expect to receive a high level of technical support to quickly resolve any problems.
Allows you to set up automated email alerts based upon your own business rules to instantly respond to certain types of customers or responses. A flexible reporting tool which provides automated visual presentations in a variety of formats such as PowerPoint, Word, Excel, SPSS and as an interactive dashboard.
Surveypal integrates with Slack, Zendesk, Salesforce and many other apps. Their API also allows you to send, receive and track surveys. A Free plan is available for up to 100 responses.
Subscription plans cost $40 a month for Premium for 1,000 responses per month. An Enterprise plan is also available with an unlimited number of responses per month.
Voice of the Customer tools that aims to delight respondents, keeping them focused on one question at a time and the versatility of their forms. Provides an enterprise survey tool for use across all devices. Offers Free plan (Core) for basic users.
The Pro plans costs $20 a month with unlimited typeforms and responses. A Pro+ for teams is currently under development.
A Free tool that offers both online survey tools and feedback forums. The online survey tool allows you to ask for feedback about your website and gather visitor demographics in over 60 languages. You can either use the ‘ready-to-go survey or customise with your own logo, colours and questions. Survey results are presented in intuitive reports that can be easily shared and exported as PDF or raw data.
The feedback forums give you the opportunity to gather ideas on how to improve your website. It also allows users to report bugs, submit issues, comment on and vote for ideas online. It works across devices and is fully customisable.
Offers a suite of online survey tools for better customer service and engagement. The main customer feedback tool is their Ideas Forum which enables customers to ask questions, share ideas and learn. Customers can vote and you can gather critical feedback of what they like or dislike.
Users can login via popular social networks which eliminates the need to go through a registration process. In addition, the Knowledge Base will automatically search for answers when a user writes a query, and in the case of a match will display the item to the user.
UserEcho also enables live chat conversations with visitors on your site. 15 day Free trial.
Voice of the Customer tools that offers a all-in-one product management platform to make it easy to give customers, partners or internal teams a voice with private labelled feedback forums. You can collect customer feedback on web or mobile with a native user experience.
Uservoice does not require your customers to register which encourages participating. The forums work by visitors raising a ticket and then vote or discuss ideas and possible solutions. The tickets contain useful information on the user including their OS, browser and the page from which the ticket was raised.
Basic plan costs $499 a month and the Premium is $999 a month. An Enterprise solution is also available with quotations on request.
Create questions or use existing templates to poll your website visitors by embedding surveys onto your website or blog. If you agree to sponsored polls behind your own polls you will earn revenue for every sponsored opinion collected from your site. You can browse trending polls from other users add those to your website to see if they improve engagement with your site.
Voice Polls are a Free tool for online publishers. They can help you grow your traffic, engage your reader, learn from them, discover who they are and bring some interactivity on your pages.
For non-publishers each question is priced at $12.50 and $0.05 per completed survey.
Voice of the Customer tools that offers surveys, feedback forms and in-depth information (including screen grabs) to obtain and resolve customer problems and notification to display messages to specific audiences (e.g. shopping cart drop-off).
Collect insights from visitors. Target questionnaires at specific audiences using rule builder. Get real-time analytics and reports.
Add context to your feedback form with custom fields and automatic screen grab features.
A push messaging tool which lets you display offers, discount codes, product launch announcements etc. to visitors with real-time statistics.
Plans range from $49 for Basic to $949 per month for the Enterprise Lite solution.
Use Voice of the Customer tools today!
Many of these online survey tools provide free trials and many have free plans so there is no reason not to give online Voice of the Customer tools a go. Further, using such tools can also help encourage a more customer centric approach to optimisation and website development. People are naturally curious about what potential and actual customers think about their ideas and designs so assist this process by giving your colleagues the opportunity to capture such feedback.
Comments Off on 12 Must Read Digital Marketing Books
Here are twelve brilliant digital marketing books that will give you insights into conversion rate optimisation, marketing, design, usability and the psychology of visitor behaviour. These are excellent books for helping you define your strategy and identify insights to develop hypothesis for website/app and landing page design and optimisation.
The first three books are specifically on conversion optimisation. Each book brings a different perspective to the subject.
When I received this book in the post I thought it looked a bit dry and basic. It sat on my shelf for a few months. The more I read whole chapters I realised that this is a gold mine. It’s one of the most detailed digital marketing books you will ever read.
It is crammed full of ideas on what you should be testing and is especially good for outlining a systematic process for optimisation. Without a consistent and data driven approach to optimisation you will struggle to maintain focus. You will certainly not achieve an optimal return on investment (RIO) from your A/B tests and Multivariate Testing (MVT) tools.
Rich explains everything from investigating your analytics, and choosing tools, to putting together a testing plan for a page or journey. As well as being great for understanding the process of optimization there is a lot of detail on what to test. You can tell that Rich has a massive amount of experience. He holds nothing back to help you identify areas and approaches to testing. I found this book particularly good for developing check lists of how and what to test.
Chris Goward founded website optimisation specialists Widerfunnel and he shares their approach. Despite it being a fairly thick book I found I struggled to stop reading it. Chris brings insights from a wide range of sources and has a holistic approach to the process.
This is the most strategic of digital marketing books I’ve come across. It has a brilliant chapter on persuasion and models of human behaviour. The Lift Model that Widerfunnel employ has been widely adopted as best practice for heuristic evaluation of a page.
Chris’ book is also brilliant for dealing with objections to testing and how to engage people in the process of optimisation. There is also a huge number of examples of tests and many vivid images to illustrate the nature of these experiments. I found Chris is particularly good at advising how to develop strong hypothesis before you go ahead with an experiment. A weak hypothesis is often the cause of many unsuccessful tests. Although we learn from our failures you do need a regular stream of successful tests to convince your stakeholders to maintain their support.
A classic digital marketing book, as landing pages are the bread and butter of our trade. This book is a comprehensive guide on how to optimise the beginning of your funnel. Visitors can land on a multitude of pages, so it is important to seek to optimise them all.
Many people think that landing pages are simple to design and optimize. When you read the book you will get a better appreciation of how complex this process is. Tim and his co-authors take you thorough and systematic process of optimization.
This book is much more than landing page optimisation. Sure, it covers the seven deadly sins of landing page design. But it also outlines Tim’s conversion Ninja toolbox that helps you diagnose problems, identify psychological mismatches and fixing site problems. Other chapters include the strategy of what to test and the mechanics of testing. The book also has many practical examples and ideas for your testing roadmap.
95% of our thoughts, emotions and learning occur in our subconscious mind. Research suggests that our subconscious mind has often made a decision well before we become consciously aware.
Roger helps us understand how our brain works and how to translate this into improving our marketing and products. He has carefully extracted and summarised the insights from hundreds of interesting pieces of research on how to influence people using key behavioural drivers.
This is one of the easiest digital marketing books to read. It’s a great book for marketers who want a short-cut to understanding what can influence our brain and how this can be translated into marketing strategies.
Roger recommended this book to me over Twitter. The book is structured around seven drivers of behaviour:
The need to belong
The power of stories
Carrots and sticks
The desire for mastery
Tricks of the mind
It’s one of those books that you find difficult to put down as it’s packed full of interesting and useful insights. It’s also easy to dip into to find a particular topic. After each insight has been explained there is short summary of the related strategy, which assists you in digesting the important learning from each sub-section. It makes it easy for you to pinpoint relevant content if you want to return at a later date.
One of the most well known digital marketing books you will come across. It is a relatively short book to make it easily digestible for people who are involved in building websites and apps. Steve’s mantra is about keeping it simple and focuses on a few key things that everyone should know.
The book begins by setting out a few guiding principles of web usability, “it should be self-evident. Obvious. Self-explanatory”. This might appear basic advice, but it is amazing how often simple principles are forgotten. The advice given is an excellent understanding of how people browse the web and how they interact with content and navigation elements.
An important aim of the book is to make the reader understand that usability testing does not need to be complicated. Steve is a great believer in doing-it-yourself. One usability test is 100% better than none. He also makes a critical point that “Focus groups are not usability tests”. Focus groups are a potentially misleading method of research. They are inappropriate for evaluating the usability of a web page or user journey.
This is an excellent book for you to grasp they key principles of how and why people interact with user interfaces. The book has useful statistics and insights that support the design rules outlined.
The first chapter “We Perceive What We Expect” begins with how perception is biased by experience, current context and goals. Jeff explains how our brain filters our perceptions accordingly and the importance of considering mental processing when designing a user interface.
Other topics covered in the book include how our vision is optimised to see structure, limits on attention shape our thoughts and actions and much more.
If you are interested in understanding the psychology of how human decision making is subconsciously influenced by our names, labels, colours, etc… this is a brilliant book to read. You will be shocked by how our behaviour and perceptions are affected in obscure and surprising ways.
Adam provides some fascinating and useful insights that can be used to challenge design thinking and develop hypothesis for A/B testing new customer experiences. All too often we assume that most people view the world in the same way that we do, but this book explodes that myth. Perhaps not the most obvious of digital marketing books but sometimes I think you need to look outside your topic of interest to find new and useful insights.
This is another classic text and should be on any list of digital marketing books because it deals with psychological persuasion. The 6 principles of persuasion are now widely adopted by many digital marketers. There is a constant flow of articles based upon these psychological weapons.
Commitment and consistency,
However, the book is still worth reading as Cialdini uses detailed research to explain some ordinary and extraordinary cases of persuasion. Each individual principle is a complex construct that Cialdini carefully unwraps.
You will be shocked by the nature of some of the behaviour Cialdini uncovers. Many famous and infamous events are dissected and explained using Cialdini’s deep understanding of human psychology. The book is useful for generating ideas on how to make content more persuasive, but also how to avoid falling foul of people who are trying to manipulate you for their own personal gain.
I’ve noticed this book on almost every reading list I have come across on social media. Given this was written over 70 years ago you might wonder why it is on a list of digital marketing books. Well, when I read it I was amazed at how informative and useful it is. These principles are applicable to online as well as offline marketing.
This book is a brilliant and practical guide to human behaviour and how to get the most out of people, whether you are trying to persuade or just motivate them. It is highly applicable to website optimization. Why should you treat people any different when they come to your site than you would if they turned up at the door to your office? I highly recommend this book to to improve all aspects of your life. I’m sure it will also help generate some powerful ideas for improving your website and how you communicate with your customers online.
Phil Barden is a knowledgeable marketer who brings together the latest psychological and neuroscience research and combines it with his marketing expertise. This is a fascinating and highly practical review of what we now know about what drives people to buy products and brands. Although this not an obvious choice for digital marketing books it is an insightful read on the science of buyer behaviour.
Source: Decode Marketing
From a marketing perspective his research into the 6 key implicit (psychological) goals that drive brand purchase is invaluable. The psychological goals outlined in the book offer an essential framework for positioning a brand and evaluating the relevance of proposed marketing communications. It challenges a lot of the myths created by listening to what consumers say are important to them. This gives you a reality check so that you can avoid some of the traps many marketers have fall into.
An excellent book for understanding our ‘herd instincts‘ and how far reaching and ingrained the influence of others is in driving our behaviour. This book explodes many myths about economics, word of mouth marketing, market research and human nature. A must read for all marketers and anyone interested in human behaviour. Mark is an experienced advertising executive and puts his research into context by offering practical advice on how to apply herd theory in a competitive business environment.