What is the single biggest mistake businesses make in analytics?

Answer: Losing sight of the single biggest issue on their way to growth.

Here’s what my years of experience in consulting and auditing web business comes down to- challenging the biggest mistake many businesses make while analysing data. My point in writing this piece is also  the same and I believe resolving this  one can resolve many others you face daily trying to get the ‘whole data thing’.

I categorize  it as  the directional issue – wrong direction or lack of it. Better explained as the  inability to understand:

  • Data to track / collect
  • Insights to look for
  • Location of right data
Data , Data Everywhere Not a drop of Insight

A business focus is the foremost requirement in any data analytic exercise.

Let’s understand what I mean with an example.

Q: What do you do when you see spiraling marketing / advertising cost? Do you cut down activities that’s costing you the most?

If you said yes then  welcome to the big club.  You should realize cost is not more  important for business than profit. Cost does not matter much if profit is many times over. Increasing profit is a forward looking attitude , while cutting cost is often looking backwards. If you still believe cost then you should find another job. Otherwise – know that thoughtless cost cutting could be dangerous. It could be that the costliest activity is also getting  highest traffic to your website or your store.  Let us look into web analytics and our marketing activities online.

A  study of Acquisition reports within Google Analytics (with all business goals properly set up) could clearly show  all sources of traffic (Direct, Social, Referral,  Ad or Organic) and corresponding rate of goal conversion.  Also don’t miss relating total goal volume achieved as that will give a  better performance assessment . Add to this an analysis of different campaigns you are running- emails, AdWords, Facebook ads with properly set up campaign tagging. Together these will uncover all those activities that has least return, least conversions or even user session on your website . All of these contribute  to acquisition cost but has least impact of overall sales. These should be your target. These are potential areas to cut cost on. So take a deeper dive- verify your finding and take an action.

Getting back to where we started – the central idea of this analysis is to reduce cost but without impacting business growth. Similarly for every analytics question , I feel its is worthwhile understanding the biggest issues that’s stopping growth.

Author: Hedgehog Insights  visit http://www.hedgehoginsights.com contact: info@hedgehoginsights.com

Advertisements

Can Google Analytics Help – improve traffic to the most important page on your website?

Can Google Analytics Help –  improve traffic to the most important page on your website?

Learn more on WebTraffic

Traffic to the most important pages on your website using Google Analytics

The Answer is yes, Google analytics can help you with all information you need to improve traffic. And not just that. It can also help you see how improvements to that page has performed. Or whether traffic actually increased.

The first and  the most important  thing you need to do –  is tell Google Analytics which one of the many pages on your website is most important to you (after of course setting up Google Analytics). This really goes through a little additional setup called Goal Setting .

While Google Analytics has several types of goal that you can track , the one that will help study traffic our important page  is Destinations Goals. Destination goals tells GA that if there is a  visitor to this page from no matter where- please consider that as a conversion.

Now apparently this may not seem that informative. But if I tell you with this you can also know the number of visits that came in from a specific location like Middletown, CT or the most popular devices visitors used – mobile/ tablet or the channel they took- social media, Google Ads or simple search will that be informative?  Will you know exactly which channel or geographic location to focus on ? Will you try to boost some traffic from these sources or locations.  Will you try to find if your website is optimized for mobile phones  etc. And while doing all this are you increasing your chances of highest traffic to that page? Answer is Yes!

If this looks interesting and you would  like to know more please contact us!. Or visit us at Hedgehog Insights.

The new role of Data Analytics in Consultancy

What was there?

Consultancy and business data analysis have always been a closely knit. Whether it  was building a  Marketing strategy, supply chain and operations  , Financial analysis , price optimization, it goes without saying 10-80% of the projects had  to crunch numbers.

What is new?

SMALL IMAGE (PNG)Public Domain

Innovations in technology and cheaper editions of data storage, enabled such ease in availability and heights of data quality and security that, data analytics grew to be an indispensable part of consultancy. Yes – we are talking about the two critical C in technology today- Clouds and Censors.

Clouds & Censors

 Today a TV talks to a phone, a phone talks to car dash, A tablet  talks to that home theater there and the music system  talks to the TV – these little loops of connectivity established  between systems on wireless network  has put  our lives  right in the center of internet of things .

SMALL IMAGE (PNG)Public DomainAnd every such interaction anywhere within the internet of things generates a ‘bitly’ data that has a new home – called the cloud. The sheer size of the capacity and increasingly drop in infrastructure cost has made a data rich information and potential in driving actions and decisions making just click away.

What is the impact?

Quiet a heaven for data analysts this new era has brought in the never before scope to make the  most of information. More in business consultancy than in any other field, can data be used to bring out interesting insights, nobody had ever thought of before.Did you know Wes has published

 Google-AnalyticsUsing social media analytics one  could guess the sentiment  generated in audience by  branding efforts, eCommerce product page performance  reports spell out what’s hot in the market and what’s  not, customer segment bring out the differentiated value propositions, while predictive modeling make hidden opportunities seem obvious.

The Take Away…

Thus data analytics of online /offline business has a heavyweight contribution in consultancy and it is difficult to overlook. While every form of management consultant is gradually incorporating and increasing the use of fact based insights, it is about time, consultant, strengthen their in-house analytics strength or collaborate with professional analytics firms.

Web Design is not a conjecture. It is Science.

Web Design is not a conjecture. It is Science.

SMALL IMAGE (PNG)Public DomainWebsite designs is a commoditized service today. Layouts, frameworks, designs, samples, and even color combinations, has been stereotyped. Almost typcasted are each design specifics for each business types: Ecommerce, Lead generating, Content and Blog site, Photographic sites, Hobby and personal site

Does anybody ever spare a thought on the voice of customers?

Aesthetics aside, everything from layout to font choice should be guided by user testing to ensure that the website is not only pretty but also functioning at its best

It is the result of extensive online tests that we today know:

1.    Serial Position Effect- put the important stuff at the beginning and end – mid page has least eyeball.

2.    Loss Aversion- to significantly impact your conversions focus on highlighting losses than on benefits- losses are more painful than gains are pleasurable

3.       Herd Behavior- People tend to do what other people are doing- Testimonials Rock!

4.       Language processing tests of brain- navigation labels and copy in pages must be easy for visitors to understand. Use common words local lingual. Your business is not what you think your business is but what your visitor – a great step towards right keywording.

5.       Von Restorff Effect- In the 1930’s, German scientist Hedwig von Restorff discovered that when given a list of ten items, people remember items if they are a color different from the others – visual differences, or “pattern interrupters.” can create repeat visitors

6.    Headlines aren’t just the first thing seen on a page, they’re looked at more than anything else. Be careful about headlines – words fonts , color and backgroundSMALL IMAGE (PNG)Public Domain

 

SMALL IMAGE (PNG)Public DomainAlthough small each of these aspects are immensely insightful to help create a great online shopfront – one that converts.

Not published widely , but smart and forward looking business, does tons of these experiments every day, to know their customers , understand what they prefer and when and  why. 

And there are great tools. Irrespective of business size and conversion rate, every business that has an online presence should considering trying experiments like A/B tests, and Multi-variant testing or MVT.

And these series of experiments and insights form what is called the science behind a great website – very specifically yours, for your business and tuned into attract your target group.

We have our experts available to help you . Contact Us.

Why did you bother to have a website?

Why did you bother to have a website?

  

In an ultimate chase to bring about all that should make your business work, you went online. That’s laudable. But know, odd are, it will do more harm than good, if you just have your presence. A website is not just an html page on the World Wide Web, but a well-crafted, representation of your brand- essentially storefront of your business, online.

That is to say, if you put up a rough, unpolished, image of you, people should have no reason to disbelief – it you. But again, that’s not what you want. After those year of building a business brick by brick, pumping in life and blood, through sweat and pain, that’s the last thing you could hope for – a wrong perception.

 

File:This Month In Education Newsletter Pageviews Report Chart 1.png

But as much as I believe, businesses have a role to play to taint their own image, the hands giving shape to their wishes are equally responsible. Why? Because they are supposed to know better what works and what does not. It’s not just a blindfolded execution of “client requirement” but suggestion advices, analytics and key insights. That’s what makes or breaks a deal.

“Know the laws of the land to the survive; know the rules of online territory or perish”

And these rules just do not come by, they needs to be researched – from literature, data analytics, new innovations, theories. There is a reward to stay up to date and if  you think you or you’re your business has  no time for  it, better entrust this responsibility to someone who does – a  good deal of it. Choose your website vendors, cautiously . They could be as  misleading and high priced as a novice.

Twitter Ads and Twitter Analytics- Two big Birds to ride on this Year

Twitter Ads and Twitter Analytics- Two big Birds to ride on this Year

Make the best of Twitter Ads from an in depth understanding of impressions and engagement of your posts. Use the analytics to leverage on ads!

What’s so Actionable about Actionable metrics?

One of the favorite buzzwords for analysts and data scientist today is ‘actionable metric’. Recently barged into the business lexicon and promising enough to find a long standing position this word hardly ever misses any sales pitch by any person in the business of analytics and data research.  Don’t try to connect to the meaning popular a decade back- here it’s nothing to do with law or criminal offense.

Actionable metrics are those that can be acted upon or used in business immediately, without making too many assumptions or help of a list of others – briefly, insightful information. The opposite of which is vanity metrics. Metrics that are remotely connected to use. Metrics, whose implications are subjected to the interpreter- meanings that differ from man to man.

Often we find web analytics that come with tons of metrics (and more being added even as speak), facing the fury of businesses- “too many dollar spent”, they call out  “and too little an information to use”. Agreed. Figures like number of clicks, number of visits, no. of exits or no of views are big pieces of junk. But so is sales if you did not know cost and cost if you had so information about revenue.

But if we measured count of clicks, over months, weeks, time of a day for posts to that blog you maintain, that could give great information. It could tell a reader’s preferences at various times of the year, hours when your audience are ready to read and time when you run the highest chance of  being in the limelight.

Thus it all comes down to the basis of analytics – contexts and comparisons. With right contexts in the backdrop and relevant comparison across every metric can be actionable or I’d prefer “intuitively informative”!

Since it is most popular among web analysts and Google Analytics as  the uncrowned king- lets just analyze how much action driven information this tool has  to offer.

Among the many types of analysis – dimension/metric combinations in  Google Analytics – We could count on just 5 as downright intuitively informative. They are unambiguous in their implication and pretty readily actionable (if that’s what we best understand)

Benchmarking- in Google Analytics

Bench-marking- in Google Analytics

Bench-marking Channels performance for Acquisition and Behavior- A new feature at Google Analytics and offers a comparative analysis of immediate industry in terms of channels used to acquire users and how they behave in each case.

Similar info is also available across geographic location. Important to note here is that, one gets to understand just which locations does that industry thrive in and sales or promotional channels most effective.

Cost Data- in Google Analytics

Cost Data- in Google Analytics

Cost to achieve goals- This involves uploading Cost data. Goals  achieved  is just as  good as the cost incurred –  be it micro or  macro . So all those signups, downloads, video watching or  purchase, how much did  it cost  advertising online or other , renovating the website  or to stock up that inventory etc.

Content Drilldown- in Google Analytics

Content Drilldown- in Google Analytics

Content drilldown and behavior metrics- Average  time spent on website gives a diluted idea of  engagement , but if you break it  down to each page  and  content level- that’s a solid  piece of  information giving exactly where  visitors  are engaged , if  at all.

It talks about just how good or relevant or engaging  is the content you have put out there.

Behavior- in Google Analytics

Behavior- in Google Analytics

Behaviors and rate of goal conversion across channels- Your bounce rates, page depth, and pages visited can be broken down to channels and within channels, different social platforms, referring websites or keywords that direct organic search traffic.  Is there a correlative movement between the behavior metrics and channels or sources that send. Is there any tips about where they found your link and how far is it  relevant  to that context?

Drill  it down and you’ll see somewhere it relates  to channel performance and effectiveness of all your resource , time  money and energy spent in there.

SEO Queries- in Google Analytics

SEO Queries- in Google Analytics

Queries in Search Engine Optimizations and Resultant movement over period- One of the  best form of  information available on the tool is what queries in  search gives what result- is  your website search engine optimized, where  does  your page rank for  searches  you love and

Conclusion- Metrics vary in the depth of  intuitive and  actionable  quality , but a lot of  it  depends  on the analysis it  self and of course skills of a seasoned  analyst.  If  you do not  have an analyst  or  new  to this as a business  owner, remember  it is important , the way  data is viewed and the context it is put up against. Instead  of viewing data singularly  or as a mass of aggregates, slice it  down and  try al types of  comparisons. Some will turn out meaningless but many will become insightful. Believe it  or that’s  how all analysts start! Good Luck.

About Hedgehog Insights– We are data analytics service provider . We offer analysis of business data. Be it daily operations, cash flows, website data or ones from social media, we analyze all of them together, on one platform, draw, connections, correlations, causes and offer our clients set of easily actionable insights. Tools are really in abundance and we are not selling another expensive one, all that we are sellingis a promise that our analysts will offermodern and conventional analytics , work with you and help you see hidden opportunities from your business data.Schedule a free consultation

Can data analysis help get your Business Off the Ground?

Standing at crossroads of  decisions and  determined  to make  no  mistake  an entrepreneur will always look into some business insights, tips, research online and consult experts before the  next  step- That’s precisely what is data analysis.

Analytics and business research is a part and parcel of every business. Many believe these are only for large businesses to benefit from. Truth is, large businesses would have never got any far had they not started analytics as small businesses.

Take the world by a spin- have your business rule!

Take the world by a spin- have your business rule!

Actionable  insights  from time to time  can help you decide what content to put up on your website, what resources to hire, which customer  to value and reward more than others and what products lying at the back of your store is actually high in demand.

But question is how do you get started especially as startups when most of your focus is to set up your business or get it off the ground? How do you know what data to analysis, and how it will help? Here’s a question:

  • What is the one (or two) biggest constraint to your growth? Put on your analyst’s cap and brainstorm on that thing which if resolved can help your business grow faster and easier. It can be your website, social media strategy, location of your retail, financial assistance or customer preference for your product(s)
  • After you have identified the constraints , analyze how you can resolve it. Determine one metric that  you could track and see how far is your constraint resolved. This metrics defines your constraint in the sense that, its increase or decrease should show if your issues are getting fixed or not. This could be sales, cost incurred per customer, No.of customer per lead generated or event as simple as profit%.

For eg. if your constraint is  website and its performance – have a goal set . Measure number of customers per visitor or per session of time spent or bounce rates. These are just examples . Link it up with an analytic tool like – Google Analytics and give it a few weeks to gather some data. Then try to read the basic reports. Understand user behavior, in-page analytics, and conversion rates. Check the user navigation pattern and try to find where most of the traffic drops off or which pages have highest time spent. Your metrics for web performance , will be very easy to track using this tool.

If customer satisfaction poses to be the biggest constraint to your sales and return sales, try to understand the why behind customer behavior. Check out metrics like , retention rate, or no of return per sale, frequency or recency of visits for every visitor that steps into your store or your ecommerce.  A Market research describing the level of acceptability of your products or services  could be a handy document to refer. These could tell why your target group behave the way they do and clues to what you need to do about it.

Inventory management could be a constraint too. That’s when you often end up delaying a delivery or run out of stock  or end up spending most of  your budget on piles .It’s time to analyse it. Understand the seasonality of products , whats in demand, when and how much to stock. Derive trends and patterns. If  not data from your business, then look into others, A number of services, provide reports and syndicated analysis. Reach out to a  low cost report . You could also reach us for one such study.

If a store a perfect location , is  the biggest roadblock to a large number of footprints in your store, then too data will help you resolve. Look into demographics , compare it with your target group and check which location in your locality, will be the best fit. Analyse population and commercial renting rate.Draw a draft picture for your self  on possible areas and know how  to narrow down to one or two that works best.

Analysis of data can really be as varied as the number of constraints and problem you face in business.To say data guarantees success would be overrating, but sure it can increase the chance that you will win the game.. It can be a great support system to your daily decision making and put your business on the path on growth.

About Hedgehog Insights– We are data analytics service provider . We offer analysis of business dat

a. Be it daily operations, cash flows, website data or ones from social media, we analyze all of them together, on one platform, draw, connections, correlations, causes and offer our clients set of easily actionable insights. Tools are really in abundance and we are not selling another expensive one, all that we are sellingis a promise that our analysts will offer modern and conventional analytics , work with you and help you see hidden opportunities from your business data.Schedule a free consultation

DIY-Social Media Assessment for Your Businesss

Social Media Assessment for your business this Black Friday

Social Media Assessment-Do it Yourself-It is Costless and simple-Hedgehog Insights

Enough said and done to boost your business on social media. Enough materials you have read and enough hours did you put in. Take a moment out and try to assess how all been going- right, somewhat right, all the same or is it a major blunder.

With the holiday season, peeping from the corner, you can hardly afford to start anything all over again so it’s good to check for quick fixes if at all you need one.

How about you just filled in table and knew the performance. Not 100% error proof but to a great extent you get the real picture of your business on social media. SO be it!

Social Network Platform

# of Followers

# of followers for competitors

Sentiment of Post Positive/Neutral/Negative

# of  Mentions

# of  Competitor’s Mentions

Leads Generated / Purchase

Facebook

Twitter

Google +

Pinterest

After you have the numbers, for each of these blocks do just three things: Compare Compare and Compare. Yes, that really is the basis of all data analysis. Compare your customers, partners and brand image against those of your competitors. Compare their responses, their engagement and involvement with your business vs others. That really is the key in one statement.

And just while you do that, don’t forget to avoid the classic mistakes of assessment, any assessment

1.    Never lose sight of the overall goals of your assessment- why are you doing it? What do you look to achieve and how does it compare with your previous assessment (if)?

2.    Tying each your assessment to business goals. Know what are the final outcomes, how does it help your business grow and increases chances of profitability.

3.    Understanding how you maintain your data- If you use a tool like access or spreadsheets, then you should be knowing the features and technicalities of it. This will help you know how to look into data, import or export them and integrate data for analysis.

4.    Having enough knowledge about customer buying process that is set up for your business. What are the customer touch point and what does customer feel about it all.

Yes, we are there by your side in all these services. Our experience and knowledge will have you look into a reliable and actionable assessment.

About Hedgehog Insights–  We are data analytics service provider . We offer analysis of business data. Be it daily operations,  cash flows, website data or ones from  social media, we put them all together, draw connections and correlations, derive trends and patterns understand causes and offer our clients a set of easily actionable insights. Tools are in abundance and we are not selling another expensive one.All that we are selling is a promise that our analysts will offer modern and  conventional analytics, work with you and help you see hidden opportunities from your business data. Schedule a free consultation .

Prep up your website for Holiday Sales

Website prep-up tips for Nov sales 2014

With the growing necessity of a formidable web presence for every business these days, little do we doubt that those websites are an important sales channel .Don’t we?  The pages of content are not just beautiful information for mankind but a way to generate leads, attract conversion and grow business.

And why not? If you notice, this season, will need it more than ever. So says the forecasts.

total holiday sales to climb to between $981 and $986 billion, representing a 4 to 4.5 percent increase in November through January holiday sales (excluding motor vehicles and gasoline) over last season…. digital interactions will influence 50 percent, or $345 billion, of retail stores sales this holiday season. This figure reflects the extent to which consumers’ use of desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones influence brick-and-mortar store sales. Deloitte

Website prep-up tips for Nov sales 2014

Useful Tips to prep up for November Sales

With numerous offer shout outs from every channel and every media, customers will want to dig out the best deal with least struggle and therefore will take to online platforms more wholeheartedly, than ever before. By the way- most of those searches actually convert to sales in physical stores (pickup) or online. Hence it is just too practical to step to it and get your websites all set for the holiday sales.

Get On-Site Optimizations ready- Analytics and research show all online searches during this season are combination of few keywords (plus your product specifications) used specially during this season. Keywords like deals, offers, discounts, best discount are just some of the handful few. You can easily get an exhaustive list and include them in your content, URLs, Meta descriptions and titles.  Use images that are SEO friendly. Pick buzz words related to your current offer description and use them selectively in   ALT text, image file names and title tags.

Build Link- inbound and outbound- If you want to avoid changing the   content completely there is a, actually two way out. Include a small patch/ widget within your product pages with offers and calls to action. 2 – Use blogs. That’s your territory– make use of it. Wright about products or your service offering, profusely hyperlink words and litter keywords wisely.

Make Sure Site Architecture Holds Up. The holidays often result in new products, categories, and gift shops. Are these added to your sitemap ? Do they create duplicate content? How are they linked throughout navigation? This may sound trivial, but it greatly affects rankings and correct page indexing.

Prevent outages – Consult with an IT consultant, if time permits. Based on the traffic you can or want to support check if there are cloud based services to hire. Google has started cost effective cloud based data handling to avoid site crashes. Gear up site security if it involves transactions. If you are into a network Freeze, do try requesting for an emergency change window to avoid downtime.

Test and Review- It goes without saying that if you are doing it do it right or don’t. Having promo codes that do not work, page full of images that do not load, or websites that crash with heavy traffic, will put off even the possibility of sales you had before all this gearing up.  Link it up with web analytics tool. One great is Google Analytics. It will help you track your traffic, test versions of your pages, review changes, analyze the keywords report and know how traffic flows within your website. Get some quick insights using CrazyEgg, Google PageSpeed or Compete. Just punch in your website URL and get quick tips on site speed, online competition, site heat maps etc. Of course we are always there to help you with this. But, whether you hire an analysts or not, do have your website tracked. It’s important you know you are doing it right.

Wrapping your head around these great ideas and then putting up some great, hard work to have a dazzling online business you may be  sure  to attract the most cynical of November-sale-onlookers , but actually you are not  yet done. All this goes down the drain , if you  don’t have  the  right  buzz. Make a noise, shout out. More on this from our Social Media Tips specially tuned to maximize November sales.

About Hedgehog Insights–  We are data analytics service provider . We offer analysis of business data. Be it daily operations,  cash flows, website data or ones from  social media, we put them all together, draw connections and correlations, derive trends and patterns understand causes and offer our clients a set of easily actionable insights. Tools are in abundance and we are not selling another expensive one.All that we are selling is a promise that our analysts will offer modern and  conventional analytics, work with you and help you see hidden opportunities from your business data. Schedule a free consultation .