Understanding where your website visitors and sales come from is hugely powerful.
Sudden rush of orders? Sales dropping? Analytics can show you which types of traffic (search, social media etc) are changing and give you lots of clues to identifying the issue.
When I first started my ecommerce business it took 3 months to get Google Analytics up and running. I got a shock when I finally did start monitoring them. I’d assumed most of the business was coming from the magazine adverts I’d placed. Wrong – almost everything was coming directly from Google search. Time to cancel the adverts and learn about search optimisation! From then on, checking analytics became a daily event.
Last month both Twitter and Facebook announced improvements to their analytics. Twitter by making them available to all users instead of just advertisers (not everyone can access this yet but it should be rolled out soon) and Facebook by redesigning their Page Insights to make them easier to read and understand.
But with all these facts and figures available, it’s tempting to spend too much time poring over those statistics and not enough time taking the actions which will improve them. So here’s my
6 Step Plan for Analytics Mastery
Step 1: decide which are your really important measurements. Put these into a spreadsheet for easy recording.
Step 2: determine how often you really need to monitor them. Schedule the time to check them and update your spreadsheet (daily, weekly, monthly or whatever – they may not all be the same).
Step 3: record your data. When the reminder pops up in your to-do list (and only then), pull the key measurements from your analytics and update your spreadsheet.
Step 4: identify areas for action. Once you’ve updated your figures, take a look at the trends and decide which areas need attention.
Step 5: take action. This is the important one, folks!
Step 6: measure the results. Repeat steps 3-6 for continuous improvement.
Of course, if something out of the ordinary happens you’ll want to investigate, and checking your analytics is a good place to start.
But remember that analysing your data isn’t going to magically bring more website visitors. You need to draw conclusions and make the necessary changes to your marketing activity.