Every day, businesses of all sizes and industries make decisions about customers, products, marketing, learning and development, and sales strategy based on account balances, delivery schedules, profit margins, and analytics.

Decision making has become an art based on incomplete, conflicting information and hunches, which play a big role in determining what to do next.

What if you could inject certainty and predictability into the decision making process? Because at the center of all our decision making are data and analytics.

What is analytics?

Analytics is using tools and techniques to turn data into business insights. Analytics is the discovery, interpretation, and communication of meaningful patterns in data.

Organizations may apply analytics to business data to describe, predict, and improve business performance. Specifically, areas within analytics include:

  1. Descriptive Analytics: A look at past performance to determine what happened and why.
  2. Predictive Analytics: An analysis of likely scenarios of what might happen.
  3. Prescriptive Analytics: An analysis that reveals what actions should be taken.

The key is knowing what to do with all of that information and what it means, because not all data is created equal. There’s good, okay, bad and downright ugly data.

Where does this data come from?

Data is all around. It comes from a huge number of sources, such as:

  • Websites
  • Customer relationship management software (CRM)
  • Marketing automation platforms (HubSpot, Pardot)
  • Project management systems (Mavenlink, Asana, Basecamp)
  • Financial statements
  • Larning management system (LMS)
  • Notebooks
  • People (and pretty much everywhere)

However, making sense of all of this data is impossible as it’s fragmented and spread across all of these mediums.

Gone are the days of putting all your data into a spreadsheet and creating a pivot table or accessing databases using SQL queries to find the data they’re looking for.

Today we have access so many incredible technologies that can help us make sense of it all, to make true data-driven decisions. Rather than making gut-decisions and hoping for the best.

What are analytics tools?

Analytics tools can paint pictures by analyzing and interpreting vast amounts of data, customer demographics, product purchase history, online transactions, and more.

Then, and only then, can the business turn this information into insight by creating fact-based strategies that have a competitive edge.

We can answer questions like:

  1. How many people visit my website?
  2. Where do my visitors live?
  3. Do I need a mobile-friendly website? Today the answer is a resounding “YES” to this question.
  4. What websites send traffic to my website?
  5. What marketing tactics drive the most ROI?
  6. Which pages on my website are the most popular?
  7. How many visitors have I converted into leads or customers?
  8. Where did my converting visitors come from and go on my website?
  9. How can I improve my website’s speed?
  10. What blog content do my visitors like the most?

How to start leveraging analytics to make data-driven decisions

Does analytics drive what you do? To first start using data and analytics to drive decisions, you need to understand your organization’s goals and what you’re trying to achieve with analytics. So, ask yourself, “What am I trying to achieve?”

  • Insight into knowledge retention of new learning material
  • More leads
  • An increased conversion rate on the website
  • Better measurement for the effectiveness of new training content
  • Driving bottom-line revenue?

Take a look at what you’re doing currently and the tools at your disposal.

Google Analytics is being used by 52.9 percent of all websites on the internet, more than 10 times the next most popular analytics option, Yandex Metrics. Chances are you are one of those 52.9% if you’re reading this post, and if you’re not, get Google Analytics set up on your website RIGHT NOW; it’s free and can’t track anything retroactively.

Google analytics

Google Analytics is a free web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. When you know what to look for and how to take full advantage of the tool, you can gain valuable insights about which marketing activities are generating the most ROI and what tactics to employ next.

When we’re looking at Google Analytics, there are five main things we look at to start gaining insight into your business:

  1. UTM Parameters
    • Are you using them?
    • Is it structured?
  2. Acquisition Channels
    • Is your data accurately being mapped to the appropriate channels?
    • Are you using the standard 5? (Organic Search, Email, Social, Direct, Referral)
  3. Linked Systems?
    • Google Webmaster Tools?
    • Demographic Information?
    • Adwords?
    • Retargeting?
  4. Goals
    • Are you using them?
    • What are you using them for?
  5. Traffic Health Metrics
    • What is your bounce rate? (Ideally <70%)
    • What is your Average time on Site? (Ideally >1 ½ Minutes)
    • What is the balance of New vs Returning Traffic?

While data and analytics can paint the picture of what is going on within an organization, you will have the final say in what those analytics mean and how to use them most effectively for your business.

Data will tell you how many people are visiting your website, how many visitors are becoming customers and where those customers are converting, but it’s then up to you to take those insights and build upon the activities and tactics that are working! You will then be making data-driven decisions for your organization.

Not sure where to start with analytics?

We understand. It can be a bit tricky. We'd love to help you!

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