Join Matt Bailey for an in-depth discussion in this video Why is analytics so difficult?, part of Learning Web Analytics.
So why is analytics so difficult? Why do so many people seem to struggle with understanding even the basics of analytics, or even understanding the potential of what analytics can deliver to your business? I believe it starts in a number of different ways, but really what we have to do is look at analytics with the right understanding of the potential what it can do. Analytics are essential to your Online Marketing campaigns. Anything you do online can be tracked, tested, and optimized. If you're not using Analytics properly, then you don't know what do do to improve your marketing.
If you have a website, and you're using your website for sales, for leads, for development of any type for your business, then analytics are your primary means of measurement. It's the only way to know if you are really making money with your website. Or, as some business owners have asked me, should I even have a website, because I don't know what it does. Analytics is the only way to know what it does. If you are doing any search engine optimization, or pay per click, email campaigns, online display, or any type of conversion testing, that is, making your website better. If you're doing any of those things, the only way you're going to know if they're truly working is analytics.
And analytics will provide a specific return on investment measurement for all of your marketing activities. It's a requirement for anyone who's doing online marketing to know if anything they're doing, works. However, there's a problem. And this is the obstacle that most people face. You see the problem with analytics, is that there is no formal schooling. There's no university or college course which will allow you to major in website analytics.
There's some online courses that are now offered, and some universities that are leaning towards website or online marketing courses. But very few get into the specifics of how analytics work. And what they provide. And really anyone in this industry has less than 20 years of true experience in eCommerce, pay-per-click marketing, search engine optimization. And so we're still a very young, very immature industry. And that has resulted in people having to take their own initiative to learn how to do things better, whether through attending conferences, reading books, or utilizing digital training courses like this.
Another question has been, is this a marketing responsibility or an IT responsibility? Traditionally IT has been responsible for analytics even though marketing needs it to better understand what's happening. And that's created some problems in between those two departments traditionally. The reason why you can't have just one person in the marketing department or one person in the IT department or either of those departments being solely responsible for analytics, is that it involves multiple disciplines of understanding the technical side of analytics as well as the marketing side, the implementation as well as the interpretation.
And so it requires both technical and marketing savvy in order to truly implement and understand analytics. So now, the problem with analytics is that because it's largely been an individual effort, and there's no formal instructions as to how to do it, it's been a battle between marketing or IT as to who is responsible. Or, who has to implement it. You see, the IT department has traditionally been the one in charge of analytics, because it requires a level of skill in the implementation and programming.
However, marketing needs access to analytics. Because it requires a level of, well, understanding what's happening. And interpreting the data from a marketing standpoint. This has resulted in a clash between these two departments. And no one person or one department should be responsible for analytics. You see, analytics involves multiple disciplines. It needs the technical side to know the implementation. It needs the marketing side, to understand the interpretation.
It also needs a mix of sales, business analysis, understanding, really, the most important part, is the business side. How are we making money? How can we monetize better? How can we develop the site into a better marketing vehicle? And so it also involves some level of design work. In changing, programming, testing different calls to action. It requires both technical and marketing savvy in order to take the most advantage of analytics.
The results of analytics is you can have an educated approach. To how you budget your online marketing. You see when you have, results from your search engine optimization an pay per click campaigns, you'll better know where you can spend the money for the most effective return. An then also, you can set specific targets of where you want to be, because now you know where you are. Without analytics, without understanding all of these things, you can't have clear goals, clear budgets, clear expectations for how each of your campaigns are going to run.
And analytics, and what I think is the most exciting thing is, you can have an environment of testing and improvement. You see, whenever anyone says I think or I assume or I suppose this works. That tells me you're not running in an analytics based office environment. An analytics based business focuses on testing in order to try those assumptions, come to a conclusion, and improve the site based on the findings.
- Defining analytics terminology
- The problem of numbers
- Building segments for comparison
- Finding value in your marketing
- Creating valuable reports