Improving web analytics to improve your business (Small Business E-commerce Link Digest – July 9, 2010)
Measuring the success of your metrics sounds like something from a Möbius strip, doesn’t it? But investing lots of money in reporting tools and testing and analytics and all the rest just doesn’t make any sense if it doesn’t produce business results. Fortunately, some of the biggest of Big Thinkers have been thinking about this for some time – and are sharing those thoughts with all of us. Here are the best ideas I’ve seen lately on developing a complete framework for web analytics to drive your business forward:
- Leading off is Thomas McMahon at TopRank who offers up 10 reasons analytics are failing as well as suggesting tools that can help. While Thomas could use some more context on why his suggested tools help, his last three points in particular hit the problem squarely on the head. Fortunately, others have picked up the thread, such as…
- Kevin Hillstrom. Kevin is one of my many man-crushes. The guy just gets how to apply data to a problem the right way. While his recent posts on 16 multi-channel marketing myths and 16 reasons to be optimistic about multi-channel marketing aren’t explicitly about analytics, they represent exactly the type of thinking that will lift your analytics from “just reports” to “business-producing actions.”
- One great example of how companies tie business results and web analytics together comes from this 3-part series from a few years ago [part 1, part 2, part 3] exploring how a catalog merchandiser can integrate web analytics and a catalog matchback analysis. Very cool.
- Of course, if you’re new to analytics, all of this might be confusing. Fortunately, UXBooth has its Complete Beginner’s Guide to Web Analytics. I also highly recommend both of Avinash Kaushik’s books, “Web Analytics: An Hour a Day”
and his more recent (i.e., New! And Improved!) “Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability and Science of Customer Centricity”. Excellent references, all.
- Speaking of Avinash Kaushik – and fitting analytics into an overall framework – look at his recent post about establishing a “web metrics line of sight.” Aligning web analytics with overall business metrics is where it’s at. Otherwise, you’re just making pretty graphs.
- Zach Olsen followed up Avinash’s post with an e-commerce example putting the idea into practice. Zach’s piece makes an excellent case study to model your own efforts against.
- If you’re a Google Analytics fan, Brian Clifton shows how to use GA to move from having so many reports and so few insights. While I don’t always agree with Brian (for instance on the value of unique visitors), he’s a leading light and true Big Thinker you ought to know about. His book on getting more out of Google Analytics is pretty awesome, too.
- Finally, there’s more to measuring your online marketing than just your web analytics. That’s why Social Media Examiner’s look at how to measure the impact of social media on your brand is so worth your time.
And, just to wrap things up, this TED talk from Rory Sutherland looks at how details make all the difference. Which is the real goal of analysis in the first place: finding the details that make a meaningful difference.
Have a great weekend, folks. Catch you right back here next week.
Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.
And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.