A couple weeks ago at Local University Austin, I posed the following questions during my presentation:
1) How many of you have analytics installed on your website? (Answer: About 25%)
2) How many use analytics to make marketing decisions? (Answer: About 5%. "Ouch!")
3) How many want to take advantage of analytics awesomeness to help grow your business? (Answer: Pretty much everybody)
What's the challenge of learning analytics, anyway?
In my mind it's a perception issue. The low percentage of business owners using analytics in Austin is normal based on my presentations with LocalU over the past three years. Why? Because analytics seems hard. Really hard. You know,... calculus and statistics kind of hard. And that's just not the case. In fact, Google Analytics makes it very easy for business owners to become full-fledged ninja masters if they just take a little time to understand how analytics can help provide valuable insight for their business.
But I'm running a business. I don't have time to learn analytics.
Do you have 15 minutes a day? Yeah, that's right. I said 15 minutes a day. That's all I'm asking for in order for you to take advantage of all of this awesome data at your fingertips. But what can you possibly do to advance your knowledge and expertise of analytics in 15 minutes a day? Well, you could:
- Read an analytics focused blog post
- Watch a Google Analytics training video
- Analyse a new referral source to see how valuable it is to your business
- Create an advanced segment to examine a new segment of your audience
- Re-examine your goals and KPI's (key performance indicators)
- Many more...
Isn't analytics for IT, or accounting, or someone else?
It comes down to this... If you want to understand what's really driving your business you need to understand analytics. You can have successful online campaigns, be killing it in SEO, publish a ton of awesome content, etc., but as a business owner (or marketing professional) if you don't know what's working in regards to driving your business then you're just guessing. It's time to truly understand what's moving the needle.
So what do I do now?
READ. There are some amazing blogs and books that will help point you in the right direction. Avinash Kaushik is my all-time favorite author but there are others as well. I recommend reading Avinash's Web Analytics 2.0 as well as his blog. I also love his presentation "Making Data Work" from the Strata Conference, 2012. I'm also a big fan of the Crazy Egg blog and reading whatever will help you become an analytics expert.
WATCH. Google's analytics videos do an amazing job of explaining how to use Google Analytics. Watch them and learn how to do some awesome stuff. And for those that want to watch the nitty, gritty details, definitely watch Web Analytics TV. It's really great stuff.
DO. Nothing compares to getting your hands dirty with the data! Get in there and poke around. Understand your analytics! What will you find? I'll tell you. Over time you'll be able to find insights that will help your business. You'll be able to make decisions based on the data and not opinion. "Ahhhh!"
That's what it really comes down to for me. I want business owners to get their hands dirty. A lot of them aren't taking advantage of all the great information at their fingertips that can really help their business. It's important stuff, people. And it's not calculus. It's valuable insight right in front of you. Become an analytics ninja today!