You Don’t Need More Analytics, You Need Smarter Insights

With a plethora of analytics tools, both free and paid, you can measure almost anything. But analytics tools are rarely used (at least much more rarely than they should be) and are, interestingly enough, the most difficult to sell to clients.

This strikes us as odd, seeing as the insights you can gain from analytics can systematically improve your sales process and grow your business. Without analytics, it’s simply guesswork.

Why, then, are analytics often not used?

People take analytics for granted because it is just so easy to get data. The problem is that people don’t think about what to do with that data and how to transform it into actionable insights.

The question you should be asking is how do we turn this data into money? (And just to be clear, we don’t mean by selling you customers emails or personal details…).

Your customers are literally telling you how to change your site in order to make more money through their behavior on your site…don’t you want to track that? And more than track it, use it to improve?

Analytics Isn’t One Size Fits All

A basic install of analytics isn’t enough.

Tracking analytics isn’t one size fits all. Your business strategy isn’t the same as every other business to there, and your analytics install shouldn’t be either.

First you need to figure out what the specific goals of your site are by thinking through the purpose of the site and how it fits into your overall strategy. For ecommerce stores, this might seem relatively obvious (to get visitors to purchase), but there is more to it than that. What are the secondary goals? What are the steps along the sales funnel that visitors need to take in order to move towards a purchase?

Once you know these things, you can decide which events and metrics to track in order to gain insights on how effective your site is in converting your visitors and in the end, how to improve and make more money.

Vanity Metrics

Just stop.

Don’t look at them.

Vanity metrics are the metrics that everyone talks about (daily traffic, bounce rate, etc), but that mean nothing in terms the success of your business without context. You must go deeper than this in your analytics. Your daily traffic being significantly higher than your competitors does’t mean anything if your conversion rate is horrible. And anyone can inflate their unique visitor numbers with enough money.

A New Way to Think About Analytics

Try this exercise.

Instead of looking at all of the data you’ve collected and trying to figure out what to do with it, reverse the process.

Forget the data. Seriously.

Think about what questions you want to answer that will help improve your business performance.

Here are some examples:

Question: How many visits does it take for a new visitor to convert?
Do visitors to your ecommerce store generally purchase on the first visit or does it take them several visits?

Insights to Be Gained: Marketing Focus and Content Changes
Knowing this information would lead to several insights that could have a huge impact on your business.

For example, if it takes customers several visits to your site before they purchase, you will want to focus more heavily on retargeting than you would if customers typically purchase the first visit.

It also might let you know that customers aren’t getting all the information that they need to purchase on their first visit. Maybe you need to revisit your product pages and your conversion funnel to add some urgency to the purchase and investigate what additional information they need in order to make the purchase on their first trip to your site.

Question: How can I increase my site’s conversion rate?
For this, there are some additional questions that arise. What are the main steps in my conversion funnel? Where is the most significant drop out point?

Insights to Be Gained: Friction Points
By tracking each step along the conversion funnel, you can see where visitors are dropping out and identify why. Once you know this, test different variations on that page to improve performance.

While relatively simple examples, you see where we’re going with this. If you start with your goals and the questions that you need to answer in order to attain them, not only do you know what to track, but how to analyze the data once you have it in order to gain meaningful insights.

This is how you should approach analytics.

Turning Metrics Into Money

So if you hadn’t considered it before, consider investing in your analytics strategy now. There is money in your data waiting to be mined. You just need to know how to find it.

If you’re not an analytics expert yourself, consider hiring an expert. It very well may pay for itself 100s of times over (depending on your traffic and revenue of course).

Not sure if it’s worth it for you? Do the math.

How much would your conversion have to increase in order to hire an analytics expert to inform your site changes?

With any mid to large sized ecommerce site, just a slight increase in conversion rate would more than fund your analytics agency’s fee or a full time analysts salary.

If this is the case for you, it’s a no brainer. Invest in your analytics and boost your ecommerce sales.

Looking for someone to help turn your metrics into money?

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