Hand holding modern tablet or mobile device with analytics dashboard for sales, marketing, accounting, controlling department to check revenue, sales and business KPIsOne of the biggest assets you have in your business is data. I mean, we hear this talk about big data and all kinds of data. From a small business standpoint, there are some basic things you can look at that are really going to help you get your arms around what’s happening. The first thing you need to look at is your Quickbooks. Look at what people are purchasing. Who has purchased what? Who has purchased multiple things? If you have a recent version of Quickbooks and you just dig into the data, it tells you who has spent the most money with you. Who are your best repeat customers? Are you treating them differently than the people who only buy one time and that one time is maybe a $47 or a $97 product? The ones who are actually engaging with you on a higher level are the ones you have to think about.

I also like to look at the data inside of analytics. I like Google Analytics. Google is by far the de facto standard. It is free and it also gives you the best amount of data that you could possibly get. What I want to talk about are 3 mistakes that I see people making with Google Analytics all the time.

Mistake #1

buddha-1128427_1920Number 1, the first mistake is they don’t check it. You set it up, and you maybe check it once a month, or once a quarter or something like that. Or, you’re just not looking at the details inside of it. I’ve done informal polls with people and I’ve said, “Okay, who checks their Google Analytics everyday?” Very few people check it everyday. How many people check them once a week? Maybe 10% of the crowd checks once per week. Who checks it once a month? Well, over half check once per month. Then, who checks it almost never. A good chunk of people never check it.

The key is you have to be able to look at your Google Analytics on a regular basis and see what’s happening month-to-month, day to day, week to week. It all depends on what activities you’re doing. If you’re doing something special are you getting more activity to your website? Are you seeing an influx of people? Then the question becomes why. Why are you seeing an influx or not seeing an influx? What you have to do is use comparative data. You need to say, okay, over this month I’ve gotten this much, what happened last month? What happened last year? You need to be able to compare what’s happening and to see trends. If you’re just looking at what’s happening this month, then you may not understand it fully.

Mistake #2

hex-675576_1280Which brings me to point Number 2. That is people that just go in and look at the basic statistics. They look at the audience overview, and they say, “Oh! I’ve had more sessions this month than last month.” Okay, well what’s a session? A session is the number of people who have come to your website. But users are more important. How many unique users have gotten to your website? The other thing you have to look at is new sessions. How many new sessions are you getting versus people who have come back numerous times? You could have 350 users, but you have 420 sessions. That means that 70 people have gone back to your website twice. You need to understand why did they go there twice.

What you’re really looking at is the core data inside of your analytics. What people tend say is, “Oh! I had more users. I had more sessions. Oh! I had less users, and less sessions.” What are people doing on your website? How much time are they spending? Let me give you some of the basics. I can tell you this; I manage over 100 Google Analytics accounts. The average business will get 300 users per month. That is 10 users per day. The average number of pages that they’ll go to is between 2 and 3 pages. The other thing is they’ll spend an average of 2 to 3 minutes on your website. Then there’s something called the bounce rate. The bounce rate is how many people get to your website and leave.

labyrinth-1013625_1920The average for that is about 33%, but, if you have something like a podcast or a blog, people will go and read the blog and leave. This increases the bounce rate, which is okay. What’s most important is understanding the why behind the number. You want to measure the activities you’re using to drive people to your website and also measure what happens when they get there. What are they doing while they are there and why are they leaving?

The next thing you have to look at is, how much time are they spending on the page? Are they spending a minute or 5 or 10 minutes? It really depends on how people are consuming your media. You’ve got to look at the big picture and say okay, what are some of the details that I need to dig into? Where am I getting referrals from? Am I getting them through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, email or somewhere else? Which pages are they getting to? What content are they landing on the most? Where are they exiting? Are they exiting on pages that are my core pages, where I really want people to spend more time inside of the website? Or are they just going to blog posts, or podcasts, and leaving at that time. Point number 2 is people just underestimate digging into the details.

Mistake #3

doors-1613314_1920That brings me to point Number 3. There are people that over-analyze everything. You can get inside of Analytics and look at things like demographics, interest, geography, behavior, technology and so many other things. But the key question is, does it makes sense for your business and is it really great data? I could tell you that inside of Facebook, they actually know a lot more about the end users. Because they know their interests, their likes, their activities, the things they comment on, and so much more.

Inside of Google Analytics they can only guesstimate, because Google Analytics is based on IP addresses. Which means it’s a static IP in a house. Google may or may not know whether it’s me or my wife looking at something, so it really may not be accurate. They’re making assumptions based on the kind of content. Maybe gathering some meta-data from Facebook or something else, and trying to say, okay I’m going to extrapolate and assume that this is Brian and not Kim. They don’t know for sure. There’s no way for them to tell that. When you see all these detailed things, like demographics, interests, geography, things of that nature that may just be completely off the charts, and may not make any sense for you and your business.

Final Thoughts

Group of Business People with Presentation Concept

What it boils down to is you need to figure out what you need to measure, and then act on whatever data you’re seeing. An example of this is, where am I getting my traffic from? Is it Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, email, or is it direct through a search? You want to look at where people are finding your content.

The second thing that you want to look at is how are they interacting with it. Are they actually spending time and consuming it? There is something called referral spam, or what I call Google spam, which is third party websites that are trying to use your website to drive more traffic to their’s. You’ll notice that if you go look at referral sources, you’ll see zero seconds. That means that it’s a bunch of junk and has absolutely nothing to do with you and your content. The bottom line is, it affects the way your data shows up. You want to be able to remove that, get rid of it, and look at the real core data of who’s showing up on your website and what are they doing.

You also want to look at what pages they are showing up on. Where are they getting to and how are they consuming that data? How much time are they spending on your podcasts and on your website? Keep in mind that people may find you from various different places, but they key thing is, are they interacting, are they buying, and are they truly going to be your customer?

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments and maybe some other limiting beliefs you have overcome!