We love analytics. Of course as soon as I started blogging we installed Google Analytics. We love watching the numbers go up and down and seeing what topics are most interesting to our audience (Our #1 post on this blog is Focus Groups vs. In-depth Interviews, by the way), whether external events, such as being named a Top 10 Research Blog by Quark Magazine, drive traffic more than specific content, and so on.
But analytics – especially web analytics – can be very misleading, because it typically misses the demographics. WHO is doing that behavior and HOW are specific parts of your market behaving differently.
We recently blogged about a client who thought that videos were their most compelling web content because the web analytics showed a lot of video activity. But it turned out that the technical buyers – arguably the most important audience, but a small portion of web site visitors – didn’t use videos, a detail that was completely lost in the overall analytics data.
So here are two very simple tips for using Web analytics for good:
- Assume analytics don’t tell the whole story – There is a lot of useful information in the analytics, and it should absolutely be used. The danger occurs when analytics become undiscussable facts. Start with the assumption that even with the data you don’t know everything, and you’ll be able to ask the right questions to use the best analytics and look for more information when needed.
- Don’t stop talking to customers because you have data – The video example mentioned above popped up after talking to just a handful of people. It doesn’t take many live conversations to figure out what is actually happening with the people who are spending money on your products. Talk to some of them!