The dreaded A-word, Analytics, can be a scary word to many web marketers and business owners alike. Not knowing the best way to read, understand, and apply data can cause you to lose out. If you feel like you fit into this category, don’t run away, listen up!
90% of all data in the world was created in the last two years, and over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created each day. We live in a world full of data, and it is not going away anytime soon. In fact, it is growing at astonishing rates and has already reshaped the way we operate. Try to imagine a day without Yelp reviews, Instagram posts, or Amazon shopping. Data has quickly become embedded into every facet of our daily lives.
Don’t be part of the 63% of businesses that are losing out on all sorts of valuable data. With free tools available at your fingertips like Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools, it is easy to get started.
First, before you can jump right to data analytics, let’s talk about a few of the major reasons businesses are failing at using data analysis and how they can improve.
Problem: Making business decisions without gathering the right facts
In today’s world, it is important more than ever that businesses use data-driven decisions. Imagine making a cake and just throwing randomly throwing in ingredients without measuring them first. Would you expect the cake to turn out right? Probably not, because if you miss key ingredients like baking powder, your cake will be flat and lifeless. The same concept can apply to making business decisions without gathering all the correct data.
Create goals to track and set them up in Google Analytics. It is not only important to track things like page views, checkouts, and entries, but try to think of your website as a funnel instead of a hierarchy of pages. You want to measure the input (traffic), micro conversions (newsletter signups), events (items added in the cart) and output (conversions). If you have an ecommerce store, your goal is to receive visitors and convert them into customers. So imagine pushing your customers from the top end of the funnel (visitor traffic) and out through the bottom (conversion). Being able to think this way will give you a clear picture of the customer journey.
Problem: You don’t start your data analysis with a good question
Analysis tools can provide valuable insights and answers but are meaningless if you don’t know the question. Most people don’t have hours and hours to be able to sift through data without an objective. You not only will be wasting time, but you won’t glean many insights either.
Start with a set of specific answers you want your data to answer. Things like:
- What is the average revenue of repeat customers compared to one-time customers?
- How many people abandoned their cart?
- Is there a marked step in the checkout process where you see people leaving?
- What percentage of people are coming from social media campaigns compared to email marketing?
Notice that all these questions are elements of a funnel: input, events, outputs, and performance rates. If you set up the right questions, it is much easier to focus on specific data sets that will help you answer those questions.
Knowing the right questions to ask and looking at the bigger picture can be extremely helpful when looking at data. Don’t lose out on data. Take advantage of the free data collection tools so you can get actionable insights and valuable information about your customers and business.