“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results“
– Winston Churchill
Web analytics for people, like me, are addictive. I’ll watch stats pileup in real-time, and get a tiny adrenaline rush everytime there’s an uptick. Judging by the puzzled looks , not everyone shares my enthusiasm. They should. Numbers of Twitter and Pinterest followers, bounce rates on web pages, and click-thrus on emails show real-world progress, or lack of it. And, with a little imagination, they can be turned into meaningful action. Marketing directors, planners and creatives who aren’t tapping into analytics are selling themselves and their brands short. This is why I’m high on analytics:
1. Hedonism. There are few things more pleasurable than seeing evidence that people are interacting with, and appreciating your work. If that doesn’t jazz you, check for a pulse, and dial up Monster.com
A more active blogging schedule increased web traffic 60%. I say we keep funding that!
2. Politics. How do you justify your budget? On what basis do you ask for a contract renewal? What’s working that justifies a larger investment? Smartly presented analytics can tell the story, and give you the ammo to kill floundering programs.
3. Incremental improvement. A split test on email can tell you which content, design or subject line will drive the most click-thrus. Add that information to the next piece of creative you produce, and the results will continue.
For example, by switching from a text link to a green button, the click-thru rate on this email campaign jumped 117%.
4. Spot trends and opportunities. Amalgamate data from multiple sources, e.g. social media, web analytics, and email, to spot larger trends. When and where is your target audience most engaged? When and what do they want to buy? And what referral sources, like social media, web banners or search ads are most cost-efficient?
5. Fresh ideas. Unless you’re a quant, you probably think numbers are nerdy. But, by understanding the problems and opportunities that analytics reveal, you’ll develop insights that lead to innovation and lasting change.
6. Bragging. My favorite part when things go well. The website below grew from 1,200 monthly visits to over 6,000 (blue line) post redesign. Web analytics enabled us to match the site’s potential to the needs of our client’s customers. Yep, there was a lot of fist pumping and beer after that one.
You don’t need a degree in statistics to understand the most important web metrics used to evaluate websites. You just need to identify the handful that matter the most for your business. Start with the metrics that measure your key marketing objectives. Go from there, and soon I’ll see you at the Tuesday night meeting.