Leveraging Analytics: Putting big data to good use
If you aren’t leveraging your analytics, you’re missing out.
No, really. It’s safe to say that many online businesses track customer data. According to BuiltWith, a website that tracks what software is used by websites, over 29 million live sites are using Google Analytics.
But how well are businesses making use of their analytics or more commonly known, big data?
According to GE Global Innovation Barometer 2016, 73% of senior innovation experts that participated in the survey have increased their ability to analyze big data. This is up from 43% reported in 2014. This is a dramatic and noteworthy increase.
Why should you care?
If senior innovation experts can see the value in analyzing big data, then perhaps you should too. According to BusinessDictionary.com, the purpose of analytics is to improve your business by gaining knowledge to improve or make changes.
What kind of knowledge can you gain? If you are a business that provides self-help content (for example, how-to articles, troubleshooting tips, or installation guides), you can gain knowledge about:
- The most popular search terms and phrases
- The most popular pages or articles
- How customers get to your site
- How long customers are staying on the site or a particular page
- How many unique visitors you get
This is just a tiny sample of the knowledge you can gain. It would take far more than this blog to cover it all.
What you can you do with all of that data*?
(*Besides make pretty graphs and pie charts.)
Popular search terms
If customers are consistently searching on the same terms and phrases, you should find out why.
- Is it difficult to find the content? Is the content organized in a way that makes sense to your users? Can your customers browse to the content without having to conduct a search?
- Does the content even exist? If your customers are repeatedly searching for help to a problem, you need to help them solve the problem by making sure a solution is available.
- Are the search terms an indication that there is a problem with the product? If your customers are repeatedly searching on how to use a product it could be that your product is too complicated to use.
Most popular pages
Just because a page is hugely popular doesn’t necessarily mean all is well. It’s always wise to review your most popular pages to check for possible improvements.
- Does it read well? Is it written in clear, plain language? Does it get to the point early or is the point buried? If it’s instructional content, are the steps clearly called out?
- Is the layout pleasing to the eye? Is there enough white space? What is the font? Reserve comic sans for personal email or better yet, don’t use it ever.
- How customers get to your site can tell you if your site:
- is easy to find
- is being bookmarked
- is being linked to
- How long customers stay on a particular page can tell you if they are actually reading the content. If customers are consistently leaving a page before reading it, you probably need to check it out.
- How many unique visitors you receive to a page can tell you if you if you the page is still providing value. Do you need to review the page? Is the content on that page still meeting the objectives you initially set out?
How often should you analyze your data?
… any kind of data analysis is a constant work in progress and should be tailored to your specific business needs …
How often you should you review your data will depend on your business needs. Customer feedback should be addressed as it comes in. Other items, like most common search terms/phrases could be reviewed on a weekly basis.
Who should analyze your data?
If you don’t have the skills to analyze your data, your data is worthless. I’ve identified some relatively basic actions you can take with a tiny sample of the data you can potentially collect. To truly take advantage of your data, you need a data scientist or data sciences team. According to kdnuggets.com, Businesses Will Need One Million Data Scientists by 2018. Depending on the size of your business, you may get by with a single data scientist. However, chances are, you would benefit from a data sciences team. How you do that is entirely up to you and the needs of your business. Some businesses choose to grow their data sciences team in house while others hire consultants.
Analytics are a powerful tool that should be an integral part of your day-to-day business activities. Taking advantage of analytics can help you to reach your business goals and succeed in today’s increasingly competitive market.