Importance of internet analytics

Analytics are to the Internet what dashboards are to cars.

If you have ever had the dashboard on your car stop working, it can be pretty unnerving.  You also quickly realize just how much you rely on the information it provides.

We have identified two key challenges business owners face in using analytics to boost the performance of their Internet presence.  Below we will share what those are and some ideas you can use to harness the power of data for your business.

Why do so few business owners use Internet analytics?

Good businesses measure their financials, from sales revenue and profits to expenses.  It not only keeps them out of legal trouble, but helps them drive performance.  Yet in 98% of the businesses I have met with, when asked about the performance of their online presence I’m told, “We have Google Analytics, but I don’t know how to read it” or “We’ve been meaning to set up Google Analytics”.

If this sounds familiar, you have plenty of company.  This also means that with just a little effort you can outperform your competition by understanding how to measure what is important to your business.  Doing this would put you in the top 5% of businesses.

The Two Obstacles:  Time and Fear

Business owners face two key obstacles to using analytics to monitor their web presence:  They lack the time or they fear it will reveal below average performance.   Time is a challenge for any business owner, so there has to be a positive trade off between time and reward.  Sometimes that means delegating internally or externally.  If that’s not an option, check out the solutions listed below.

The business owners most likely to fear seeing the results are those who have tried to manage their online presence personally.  There is great pride in ownership and not knowing if their efforts are working means they can avoid admitting that something may not be working.  It can be far easier to embrace analytics to hold others accountable than yourself.

If you are a business owner / leader  and struggle with time or fear what you might see in analytics, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How do you currently accomplish tasks that require specific skills you don’t have yourself?
  • What data would be most useful to help your business outperform the online competition?  Could you identify three to five key metrics?
  • Think about a tool like Excel, do you need to know everything about it to use it or just the functions that help you get the information you need?
  • Who in your company needs to know how your online presence is performing?
  • How would knowing this information positively impact sales, service or operations?

Possible Solutions

  • Sign up for an introductory workshop on Google Analytics.  You will likely learn enough to either know how to set up some initial measures, or you’ll learn which questions you want answered.
  • There are numerous online resources both free and paid, starting with the Google Analytics Academy.
  • Visit the blog by Avinash Kaushik, the chief evangelist for analytics at Google. He has a wealth of easy to understand information on HOW to implement analytics.
  • Outsource the setup and creation of dashboards, reports and analysis so that you have the information you need to make decisions based on the data. If your current web presence didn’t include analytics, you may want to search for a firm that insists on including analytics as part of the work they do.
  • Hire a coach/trainer.  If you were starting a weight lifting program you might hire a trainer to walk you through the fundamentals and techniques and get you to a point of self sufficiency.  The same can be true with analytics.

If you have no analytics right now, then starting with just two or three measurements will allow you to better understand how the tools work and what can be measured.  Like anything that is new, start with simple goals and improve on those as your skills develop.

About Gunnar Hood -Fluent in translating business to Geek and vice-versa, I’m passionate about helping companies leverage technology to grow their business.  In today’s online world, I often find myself working with companies fine tune their online presence to actually deliver measurable business results.