Despite the massive amounts of data a company can collect, a lot of it is useless without context, or simply ignored in a “forest for the trees” kind of way.
FutureWeb had a panel discussion on this issue, and some interesting points were made. Some of these include:
Bob Page, VP, analytics platform at eBay: “Most people think data itself is a byproduct of what we do,” he said… “There’s a disconnect between the data and the business value of the data.”
Very true. Scouring through the data collected in Google Analytics, Omniture, or whatever analytics data aggregator you use is pointless if you don’t know how to connect the numbers to the meaning.
So your bounce rate is 47% on one of your key landing pages… That might be good or bad. Is there an 800 number prominently displayed on that page? If so, maybe over half of those bounces called you. Then your EFFECTIVE BOUNCE RATE is really more like 23%, which is more manageable. (You can read more about measuring phone leads with web analytics here…)
“I think that web analytics, to a certain extent, needs to get easier for the masses,” John Lovett, senior partner at strategy firm Web Analytics Demystified said.
Also very true. I often ask people who is reading the analytics data in their organizations. And I try to explain to sales people why that data is important to them as well. Not just IT, and not just marketing. There’s happiness in web analytics for everyone.
No one person can ask all the right questions about the goal and purpose of a website. Therefore, no one person can be in charge of the Google Analytics data either. It has to be shared organizationally, and therefore, it has to be easy for ANYONE to understand. Avanish Kaushik is a big proponent of this philosophy in his books, and he’s absolutely right.
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Web Analytics Failures for Small Business
For the purposes of my blog, which focuses on small business web analytics, I think it’s safe to say that the two points I highlighted above are deal breakers.
If an “organization’ consists of 1 to 3 people, then the data ABSOLUTELY must be easy for everyone to understand, because they are all going to have to touch it in one way or another.
And secondly, they must all know how to draw conclusions from the data, since each will have their own area of expertise, and therefor their own level of insight to extend to the discussion.
And as easy as Google Analytics is for some people to understand, it needs to get even easier to deal with before the whole small business community is served properly.
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