As of October 2020, there are 4.66 billion active Internet users globally. Those people use websites, social media platforms, mobile apps and other Internet-connected devices on a regular basis, and as they move around, they’re tracked by numerous analytics reporting tools that collect huge amounts of data. This data includes information such as how many visitors you had, where they went, what they clicked on, downloaded, watched, shared or commented on, how long they stayed, which products they looked at, and which ones they purchased.
That’s a lot of knowledge to process and make use of. Luckily, tools such as Google Analytics are getting much better at also offering insights and alerts about changes in visitor patterns and behaviours that might be significant.
However, what’s really meaningful and important to know will vary considerably for each business, depending on its specific goals and current issues. Although most companies now review their analytics reports, many still say that the amount of data can be overwhelming, and that it’s difficult for them to derive actionable suggestions that will make a difference to business outcomes.
Sometimes this can be due to a lack of focus on priorities. For example, many people are very anxious about their bounce rates – that is, the number of visitors who leave a website without doing anything. But unless your bounce rate is disastrous (perhaps 85% or more), doesn’t it make more sense to work on improving the experience and outcomes of the visitors who stay on your site and interact? If a lot of visitors are abandoning their shopping carts somewhere after starting the checkout process, wouldn’t you want to find out what’s going wrong for them and improving the purchase completion rate before worrying about why visitors aren’t putting more products in their cart in the first place?
Analytics can provide a lot of information about things that might otherwise be unknown. In taking a close look at where visitors come from, you might discover that a prominent external site is linking to one of your pages and generating a lot of traffic. Once you know this, you might decide that it’s worth creating a special promotion for those visitors since they’re likely to have a high conversion rate due to the endorsement of the link from a site that they trust. Without the analytics data, you would have been unaware of this opportunity.
And of course, analytics from advertising campaigns are vital in telling you whether your ads are correctly targeted, which ads are drawing the most valuable visitors, and where you might be wasting your money, or spending more than makes sense in terms of the outcomes that you achieve. Again, this in-depth data allows you to allocate your resources much more effectively.
You can also derive more sophisticated insights, depending on the reporting capabilities of your tool. For example, you may have a piece of video content that you don’t think is effective because very few visitors convert immediately after viewing it. However, if your tool can show you all of the actions that a visitor took before making a purchase (even across several different visits), you may find that this video is very influential as the visitor goes through their research process – it’s just not usually the last thing that they see before they buy.
Digital analytics can be a goldmine of information. But you need to know how to approach the data what to look for, and how to set priorities so that you can avoid overwhelm and find those really useful insights and ideas. Our new lessons will help you to sort through all the noise and find the gold nuggets. Good luck!