How the AARRR Web Analytics Framework Can Grow Your Business

2019/06/03 07:50

aarrr web analytics

By focusing on five key areas of web analytics, you can keep track of your business’s performance and determine how stable its growth will be in the long run. This in-depth guide will outline these areas.


Developing a new mobile application or coming up with an exceptional business idea is just the first step on a long road to success.

Many business owners would like to believe that the development stage is the most challenging but this isn’t always the case. The success of your business is mainly determined by how well your sales and marketing-related challenges are handled.

How clearly you understand the needs of your customers and how well you are able to meet them sits at the heart of every successful business. However, without the right data, you’re simply guessing what your customers need and how they interact with your business.

Data plays a crucial role in the success of any business, regardless of the size or the sector you’re operating in.

The reality is that almost every modern business is operating from a digital base, which means having access to data is a must. With that being said, it’s one thing to have the right data at your disposal and another to use it to benefit your business – this is where web analysis comes in.

The Role of the Web Analyst

“A screen full of analytics data looks like a secret code, and in a way it is. That data has a lot of information in it, and it’s impossible to make sense of it without the key. Put another way, data can give answers, but only if you ask the right questions.” – Marli Mesibov, Content Marketing Institute.

Web analysts play a leading role in the success of businesses. Not only do they capture data that’s essential to the growth of a business but they are able to link that data to company objectives and KPIs and provide strategic guidance.

It might be wonderful to discover that you have over a million followers on Instagram and that you received 1,000 new website visitors this month but if this isn’t translating into conversions or actionable insights, what’s the point?

The web analyst’s job is to transform data into actionable information that can be used to create hypotheses. Data is the backbone of our ideas and hypotheses – one is not much use without the other.

A Closer Look at the AARRR Web Analytics Framework

The AARRR framework first came about in 1992 and has since been adopted by thousands of businesses who rely on the system to track the growth of their brands and the success of their products and services.

As the name suggests, the framework is made up of five key areas: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral and Revenue.

By tracking data that falls into these five areas, businesses are able to make changes that will help them achieve their goals.

The AARRR framework is still considered one of the best business tools available today and businesses such as Piktochart and Autopilot are two of the thousands of businesses that benefit from this framework.

We will now take a close look at these five areas and the data you should be tracking to develop your actionable insights.

Acquisition – How are you acquiring new customers?

There are a number of ways that you can track where your website visitors and customers are coming from but platforms such as Google Analytics and KOBIT make it a lot simpler.

Once you have logged into Google Analytics, select ‘Acquisition’ on the left. From there, click on ‘All Traffic’ and ‘Source/Medium’.

You will now be able to see a list of website traffic sources. By learning more about the channels that are generating high volumes of traffic, where you should be investing more of your time, resources and budget become clearer.

As you start identifying your core channels, it’s important to note that your time will be better spent doubling down on one or two channels instead of trying to boost traffic across all channels – you can’t do everything.

Many business owners are surprised when they realise that it takes more time to get an acquisition channel going than they initially expected – something else to keep in mind if you are just starting out.

Once you’ve identified your core channels, you will need to learn how to master them. What can be done to generate even more traffic from your core channels and how will you measure your success?

Here are the top metrics linked to Acquisition:

  • Impressions: How many times your ad or content was displayed on a website or in a newsfeed
  • Click-through rate: The number of times one of your ads or a piece of content was clicked on
  • Sessions: The number of times users were actively engaging with your website per channel/medium

Activation – How are customers interacting with your website?

Once users have shown an interest in what you have to offer, you need to gain an understanding of how they interact with your brand, and your website is the perfect source for this information.

Knowing how users are interacting with your brand online will provide you with the data you need to succeed during the later stages of the framework. Activation has one of the biggest impacts on your bottom line because this data guides most of your sales and marketing activities.

In order to improve activation, you need to have a clear idea of what your activation events are and how they will be measured and managed. Discovering the point at which a user sees the value in your offering will put you on the right path to growing your business.

Here are the top metrics linked to Activation:

  • Pages/session: The average number of pages a user viewed during one session
  • Avg. session duration: How much time the average user spends on your site
  • Bounce rate: The number of website visitors that land on your site but leave without clicking on additional pages
  • Frequency & recency: How often users return to your website and how long they wait between sessions
  • Landing pages: The pages that users spend the most time on
  • Exit pages: The top pages that people end up leaving your site from

To pull this data, you will need to work in the following menus:

Nurturing Activated Users

Once you understand how users are spending time on your website, the next step is to determine how you can turn the users into customers.

  1. Use Call to Action Buttons Strategically. To use Call To Action buttons strategically means to consider where the customer is in the buyer’s journey and what step they would need to take next to get closer to conversion. Even better is if you can use a marketing automation platform to create Smart CTA buttons that dynamically change based on the next step a user needs to take.
  2. Discover the Power of Smart Content. Instead of serving users just any content, serve them content that’s most relevant to them. Smart content is linked to smart CTAs and will serve a user content based on the action they just took.
  3. Create Email Workflows. If you’re encouraging visitors to provide you with their email addresses, email workflows are a must for nurturing potential customers. Workflows can be set up based on a number of entry criteria. Once the workflows are set up, you can alter campaigns to engage your subscribers at different stages of the buyer’s journey.

Retention – Why do customers keep coming back?

According to a report by invesp, it can cost a business up to five times as much money to attract a new customer, than to keep an existing one. The probability of selling to an existing customer is around 60% – 70%, while the likelihood of selling to a new customer is 20% or less.

The Cohort Analysis report in Google Analytics can provide you with some useful Retention-related data. You will find the report here:

The report shows the average user retention for a specific date range. By paying attention to the days with lower retention rates, you can start looking into reasons why a lower percentage of users returned to your site on those days. Perhaps there was a technical issue on the website or that was one of the days when you didn’t post a new blog post.  

The Behavior Flow report in Google Analytics is also helpful for determining where customers might be running into difficulties on your site that prevents them from returning. The Behavior Flow report will show you the pages where users are dropping off the most. You can even go as far as adding your own segments to really get into the details of how certain customers interact with your website.

Increasing Retention Rates

To increase your retention rates, you need to decide what your customers value most and how you can use that to keep bringing them back to your website. This could be anything from providing them with exceptional customer service to sending them weekly coupons that they can use when shopping on your online store. Running retargeting campaigns has become a very popular way to retain customers.

Referral – Is your website being recommended to others?

A clear sign that you’re doing something right is if you’re receiving high volumes of traffic from other authoritative sites.  To see how much referral traffic you are currently receiving, return to the Acquisition menu and click on All Traffic > Referrals.

The more referral traffic you can generate, the more leads will be sent to your website. Increasing your referral traffic does take time but the rewards are worth it.

Boosting Referral Traffic

Here are a few of the ways that you can boost referral traffic:

  • Find Guest Blogging Opportunities. To increase quality referral traffic to your site, identify several websites you can partner with as a guest blogger. Naturally, the sites’ target audience needs to match your own and your content needs to be engaging, informative and entertaining for it to have the right effect.
  • Comment on Blogs. Another great way to send more referral traffic to your site and establish your brand as an authority on a particular topic is to strategically comment on blogs that you know your target audience reads. Just be sure to comment early on so that your contribution doesn’t get lost.
  • Explore Video Content. If your business doesn’t already have a YouTube channel, now is a great time to consider creating one. Over 1 billion hours of video are watched on YouTube every day, so if you have the ability to create good video content, this is an excellent way to drive more referral traffic to your site.
  • Get Serious about Social. Social media is still one of the best ways to drive more referral traffic to your website. If you don’t already have one, draw up a new social media strategy and calendar that will ensure you are continuously posting on a daily basis.

Revenue – Are visitors turning into paid customers?

This part of the framework is all about ensuring that what you’re doing online is actually translating into revenue. One mistake that many business owners tend to make is thinking that they can generate all their revenue by acquiring new customers but there is just as much, if not more, opportunity to grow your bottom line via existing customers.

Setting up Goals in Google Analytics is one way to keep track of how much of your traffic is resulting in revenue. To create new Goals, you will need to use the Admin menu, which is where you will find the Goals menu item.

Once you click on +New Goal, you will be presented with a number of configuration options that will allow you to track the activities that lead to a conversion or purchase.

Generating More Revenue

Driving more traffic to your website will automatically give you more chances to boost your bottom line but how do you ultimately encourage users to convert? Here are some tactics you can try:

  • Offer a free trial. People are far more willing to convert once they’ve seen what a product or service can do. Consider offering a free trial or freemium plan to get customers to interact with your product and convert.
  • Reward your loyal customers. Make your loyal customers feel special by letting them know early on about upcoming sales or by offering them an attractive discount that they can use for their next purchase.
  • Cross and upsell. When customers feel that you understand their needs and can offer them products and services that will meet those needs, it becomes easier to encourage them to convert. Cross and upselling are highly-effective tactics if you’re running an online store.
  • Create a PPC advertising campaign. If you have the budget, consider creating and running PPC campaigns that will drive potential customers to a landing page that will further convince them to convert.
  • Ask for referrals. Customers are always willing to take additional steps to get a discount, so why not start a referral program that will help boost your bottom line without having to do all the work yourself.

Over and above getting new and existing customers to convert, you may also want to consider other streams of revenue such as paid advertising. If your website receives decent volumes of traffic, you could offer advertising opportunities to other brands.

Affiliate marketing can also be another option for increasing your revenue if you are willing to pay affiliates a portion of the income for every conversion they contribute.

Closing Remarks

Implementing the AARRR framework may take some time but once you know exactly which metrics you should be focusing on and how they relate to your business objectives, you’re well on your way to experiencing more growth and greater success.