We’re coming to the end of our Re:Adventure series, which means that it’s time to reflect on your journey so far. What is the best way to reflect on the past and assess what you’ve accomplished? Diving into your analytics! I know we’ve preached about the importance of a developed and comprehensive analytics solution before, but that’s because there’s not a better way to understand where you’ve been and where you’re going. If you have been proactively using your analytics throughout your journey, there are things you already know about your business. However, going worth of data can help you understand the full extent of the trends and help you develop insights at the end of your campaign. Therefore, we’re going to explore the ways in which analytics can help you make sense of your past and present in order to plan ahead for the future. You’re never truly at your destination, but analytics can help you optimize your road forward.

First, let’s consider what kinds of things your analytics solution can tell you about your business:

1. Where your visitors are finding your content. Exploring the most common paths that lead people to your site shows you not only what content is most popular, but what sites your audience visit most. Therein lies the opportunity to get your content on similar sites, whether it be through a link, guest blog, press release, etc.

2. What actions your visitors are completing on-site. Are they coming to your site purely for informational or educational purposes? Are they watching videos and reading reviews? Are they completing lead forms or subscribing to your email newsletter? All of these are actions that you can optimize toward, depending on your business goals.

3. Where customers are getting hung up. Pathing reports within your analytics solution is a great way to find out where customers might be getting hung up in the conversion funnel. Perhaps there are too many steps to complete. Perhaps the forms are not linked to enough throughout the site’s pages. Perhaps the navigation isn’t intuitive. There are a number of reasons why your visitors may not be completing actions on-site and your analytics solution can give you opportunities to test new site structure.

This, of course, is not an exhaustive list. Based on the analytics solution you have, there are many other insights you can glean from your site-side data.

Secondly, let’s consider what kinds of things your analytics can help you plan for your future journeys.

1. By looking at historical data, it is possible to pull out trends and predict what will happen in the future. For instance, if you sell running shoes, your sales probably go up at the beginning of the year when people are trying to keep New Years Resolutions about getting in shape or in the beginning of spring when people know that bathing suit season is just around the corner. By looking at the data and seeing the rate at which sales increased, it’s possible to predict about how many running shoes you will sell during these times in the coming year. If you drill down even more, it’s possible to see what brands sell best at what times and keep more of these in stock. This can improve your inventory, pricing and business model as a whole.

2. Similarly, when looking at historical data, it’s possible to assess the slowest times of your business. If you find that there are a few months with little to no sales or less traffic to the website, it may be feasible to optimize your staff. Assessing with data empowers you to find the efficiencies within your operation.

3. Your analytics can also help you plan the future of your marketing. What channels are most cost efficient for you? What are the areas that need more budget? Analytics can help show you how valuable a customer is who finds your site via Google search versus Facebook. If you leverage the data by asking smarter questions of it, it can reveal a lot about your site visitors and how they got there. In the future, you can invest more heavily in the channels that work best and remove budget from those who do not perform well. And since we know that sightseeing is important, you can also assign budget to those new platforms or tools you wish to test.

There’s no limit to how one might use analytics to better his business. And when you’re reflecting on your journey, it’s the best place to start. Set benchmarks from your last journey and new goals for the next one according to your findings and business goals. Analytics can help you do it all until you’re ready for your next trip.