Guide | Web analytics
Understanding reach and depth of digital engagement through Audience Finder and Hitwise...
What do you know about the people who engage with your organisation online? Do you know if the people who interact with you online are the same kinds of people who engage in person? How do people get directed to your website, and where do they go after they leave your site?
Cultural organisations, funders and policymakers are increasingly interested in how to reach audiences through digital means (in practice this predominantly means through a web presence of some kind). Hitwise reports have the potential to provide cultural organisations with information about their online audience engagement, which they can track over time.
By becoming a data contributor in Audience Finder you can free access to reports relating to your organisation’s website, provided by Hitwise. Or get in touch to find out what else we can provide using this tool.
What is Hitwise?
Their integrated approach involves the collection of data from several sources: large Internet user panels, individual websites and other third-party data. As of March 2015, Hitwise has added additional large-scale user panel data to its sample, which has significantly increased the overall size of the sample. Historically, data has also been sourced from Internet Service Providers (ISPs), but due to the limitations of this type of data when it comes to capturing secure traffic, mobile traffic and user-centric data, Hitwise has now phased out ISP data from the sample from 6th September 2015.
The reports available to Audience Finder users are designed to provide some top level information about audience visits to organisations’ websites. Similar to other profiling tools, Hitwise collects information at a household level, this means that the data is representative of a household rather than each individual internet user within that household.
Information in an Audience Finder Hitwise report
Who are they?
Hitwise uses Mosaic to profile web visitors. Reports provide a snapshot of which groups are currently the most common visitors to your site which updates on a rolling basis. Organisations can use this information to compare profiles to their offline audiences, which can then help inform marketing channels and messaging.
Future Developments: We are working with Experian to integrate the Audience Spectrum profiling into the tool so you can profile your online audiences in the same way that you do your physical audiences in Audience Finder.
Where are they?
A further report helps you to see where visitors to your site are physically located, by postcode area, or region where postal area information is not available. You could compare this to the profile of your audiences that attend to help identify where and how to target audience development activity.
What do they do?
Hitwise’s Clickstream data shows the proportion of traffic that comes from and goes to the subject website. Clickstream refers to the data trail made by web users based on their mouse clicks.
Upstream reports show where visitors to your site went immediately before they arrived at your site. This can help to inform decisions about marketing activity or help locate potential partners or collaborators.
Downstream reports show what websites visitors went to after they have left your site. This can be useful to help you see how they are interacting with content on your site and can also help inform future marketing and promotional activity.
Ways of using clickstream reports
A clickstream is a record of a web user’s activity, including the websites and web pages visited, length of visit and order of the user journey. Both ISPs and individual websites are capable of tracking a user’s clickstream. However, due to the high volume of data which can be gathered and privacy regulations, many organisations rely on pre-programmed applications to aggregate and interpret data and generate reports.
Clickstream data can be a useful tool for marketers and web content developers in understanding the ways in which audiences arrive and leave particular websites or content and demonstrate where and how traffic referrals from search engines which can be used to improve SEO. These profiles are an efficient way to understand a great deal of complex characteristics about people and provide some means to understand the different ways in which they approach an arts and cultural offer. However, in order to get a complete picture of the behaviour and profile of your cultural organisation’s web visitors, we also recommend that you also use this information in conjunction with insights from your Google Analytics account which tracks behaviour within your site.
Further analytics and advice
Standard Hitwise reports are now available for free to organisations contributing data to Audience Finder along with other resources to help you understand and measure your online presence. Further analytics and surgery sessions with our dedicated digital experts are also available through The Audience Agency’s bespoke services. Sign up to our digital snapshot newsletter to keep ahead of the curve, or contact our digital team.