Q: What business decisions should I make using my Web Analytics data?
A: For a lot of business people, website owners, and marketing managers, this question is never asked. For others who use Web Analytics regularly, the question and subsequent line of thinking only happens once in a blue moon. Rarely do we speak to someone who routinely makes business, website, or marketing decisions using the data that they have collected with their Web Analytics tool.
The great trend that we've been observing over the last few years is that more and more professionals know about Web Analytics programs like Google Analytics, and are installing them on their websites. The trend that we've like to see develop in the next few years is a rise in data-driven decisions.
You see, success online doesn't just derive from knowing how many visits your homepage gets, seeing how much time is spent on your website's most popular pages, reading up on what your exit percentages are, or calculating the conversion rate of your desired outcomes. It comes from taking that information and turning into a decision that you make on your website or your marketing efforts to improve your users' experience with your website and their experience with your company.
Example: Let's say you're looking at your keywords report, and that you're evaluating what keywords people are searching for to find your website's homepage. You're looking through the list and you discover that the third most popular keyword is a type of product that is available off of the homepage, but not very prominently. People who search for this keyword are spending lots of time on your site, are hardly ever bouncing off of the site, and are purchasing products at a nice rate with an above-the-mean average order value.
Most people will do nothing.
Some people will say "Oh, that's neat.", and forget about it within five minutes.
Others will challenge you that your data isn't 100% accurate, and that you need to fix your broken Web Analytics tool.
You should say "We should move the link to product XYZ higher up on the homepage to increase the chances that someone looking for product XYZ will find it and buy it through our store. We should also consider creating a feature graphic for product XYZ or increasing the font size of the text link to draw more attention to it, as it's a great performer for us".
If you're allowed to implement what you should say, then you would have made a data-driven decision that should increase customer satisfaction on your website and your company's bottom-line. And, that's just the simplest of examples! There are many more ways that you can use your web analytics data to drive what you do on your website (or, your marketing efforts). Unfortunately, not everyone is quite on board with this concept yet – a trend we're hoping to see increase over the next few years, which will result in a better, faster, more relevant web for everyone.