Analytics: A Love Story

Dating these days doesn’t need to rely on fix-ups from friends, or chance encounters. People looking for a significant other can go right to an app on their phone to see dozens of nearby people who they might click with,  Some rely on a gut feeling, while others have a set of rules in place to make their decision.

Businesses have a similar situation in working with analytics.

Just like the novice dater faced with a wealth of possible matches, when  you first dig into analytics for your business you’re probably going to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of what you see. Some of it won’t even be relevant for you.

Finding which analytics will show you results is like using Tinder to find a significant other. 

That’s a bold statement, but I promise it’s pretty accurate. To avoid distractions, here are three simple steps to find the right analytics to show progress on your goal.

Step 1: Evaluation and Setup

As a business you might have multiple “goals” but do you know the difference between your goals, strategies, objectives and tactics? Different analytics will be needed for different parts of your overall goal; that’s why you need to be sure what you’re looking for.

Here’s a simple example:

  • Goal: Gain more revenue
  • Strategy: Increase online awareness to potential customers
  • Objective: Get more people to the website
  • Tactics:
    • Create a blog with engaging content about our work
    • Use AdWords to drive traffic
    • Increase social posting to do the same

Solid plan. Now you need to make sure you have the right ways available to measure your tactics’ and objective’s success. Do you have Google Analytics implemented, do you have administrator access to your social accounts, etc.?

Step 2: Sorting out the weirdos

Back to Tinder. The app allows you to swipe right if someone looks attractive, left if they’re not your type. Essentially you’re doing the same thing with analytics reviews.

We’ll categorize our findings into the different people you’ll meet on Tinder.

  • The absolutely- nots: Obnoxious, not useful, potentially terrifying and overwhelming
  • The ones that look normal until you talk to them: Looked like something that would help, but in the end more confusing than you originally thought and they don’t accomplish your end goal
  • The ones that were cool, just not for you: Interesting, but don’t directly solve your objective
  • The ones that could be great friends: Might help with a different tactic down the line
  • The ones you’d like a second date with: Use every time

In our example Objective we’re looking to get people to the website. Here are some Google Analytics to help.

Here are Social Analytics

The thinking behind these sort

Swipe Left: Those that fell in the immediate swipe left category are there because it is immediately obvious that they’re not going to provide the answers we need (mostly because they’re not providing any information). These are the ones that have a blurry photo on their profile and no description (or something super vague).

Pretty Weird: These are the ones you thought were relatively attractive, they had a photo or two with sunglasses on and all in the same pose, but the first thing they told you about was how attractive their last date was compared to you.

  • Bounce Rate: Google Analytics defines this as “if people looked at your page, but did not interact with anything.” This is an average percentage and takes those that are just sitting on your page into account. This is not the exit percentage. It’s a little confusing.
  • Interests do not generally give you high percentages to look at. That’s because a lot of the people tracked as coming to your site won’t be tracked properly, so your numbers will look odd.
  • Mobile Browser Data: This is used if you want to target a specific type of browser, and generally targeting advertising content to specific browsers is only used if you have a certain type of product. For example, if you were an Android repair shop, you would want to know how many Android users came to your site to try and then target them, but other than that most people won’t be as concerned with browser types. A better metric would be to look at Mobile Overview to see how many people were coming from mobile devices or desktop devices.
  • Lifetime Negative Feedback: This is usually pretty insignificant, but only becomes a concern if it’s a large number. Then maybe you need to adjust what you’re posting or who you’re targeting.
  • Frequency Distribution on Social Posts: This essentially tells you if people are seeing more than one post on any given day. Which is great to know, but it’s not very specific.

The ones that are pretty cool, but you wouldn’t need them all the time: They took you for tacos, provided good conversation at first … and then came the awkward pauses. These are the metrics that are good to look at on a six-month basis, because they would mostly help determine who your audience is by platform.

  • Demographic and Technology Used: These numbers generally won’t see huge changes month over month. Evaluating these once every few months lets you see a shift in audience, which may change your messaging.
  • Page Views, Pages per Session, Session Duration, Post Engagements, Pathing and Page Data: These are nice to keep trend lines of and helps you determine what kinds of posts and topics are getting people to your website and making them stay. Depending on how much content you’re writing, Page Content data comes in handy. These particular topics are important to be wary of and build trend lines of to see if your overall goal is being accomplished.
  • If you’re noticing downward trends in Page Views and Session Duration consistently, site crawls and site speed tests might be good to look at to make sure that your website isn’t what is making your users leave.

Go on a second date: And I don’t mean a pity date, I mean the “they took you to dinner, the date continued to another drink and you left with butterflies in your stomach” kind of date. Even on Tinder, these people are findable!

  • Unique Users, New vs. Returning and Referral Data: These are new people coming to your site outside of the cookie window (or from another device). They tell you where to put your money. If most of your people are coming from social, put some money there! Draw more people! You can compare your trend line of Unique Users to New vs. Returning Users to see if people are coming back!
  • Impressions/Reach on Social and Link Clicks: On social media, these are single-handedly the most important things you can view. Link clicks are your conversions on your social media. The reach shows you how many people had your post show up on their social feed. Posts that are engaging can help with your reach, but only the link click will show you people who were ACTUALLY INTERESTED in your business.

Step 3: Compiling your findings 

Based on these lists you could be using 14 + topics to answer your objective. That’s overwhelming. Just like that person you went on a second date with, the most interesting stuff is what you want to further explore. The most interesting parts solve your tactics and move you to the overall goal.

  • Content: What content is giving you the most engagement? You could use time spent, page views, unique visitors, link clicks, or post engagements to answer this question. Are they staying on the website to go somewhere else? Perhaps your contact page? These are questions that your analytics should be able to answer for you.
  • Use AdWords and Social Campaigns to drive people to your website: Look at your referral data. Are your heightened efforts in these areas panning out? If not, why? Do you need to change your messaging in your content? Are you not spending enough money?

Overall, the biggest reason your analytics is like using Tinder is that it forces you to ask questions about yourself. What am I doing that is working? What am I looking for to help me grow? And then it helps you figure out how to develop further. Just like a blind date, sometimes your strategy isn’t your type. Other times, you meet somebody nice and need to figure out appropriate next steps.