In digital analytics, it’s all about asking the right questions.
Sure, in the right context, you can probably get by doing what Avinash Kaushik refers to as “data puking,” but you won’t excel as an analyst or marketer.
In addition, you’ll consistently come up short on bringing true business value to your company.
For a long time, I considered standard Google Analytics reports to be the best way to get useful insights. From time to time, I struggled with sampling, limitations, and weird results, but I didn’t see a way around it—until I discovered Google Analytics 360 and raw data exports into Google BigQuery.
After a few hours playing around with SQL, I was already able to deliver insights I never could have with aggregated Google Analytics reports. Since that day, I’ve been exploring how raw data can be a web analyst’s best friend.
For a web analytics analyst or a data-driven marketer, these are words to live by: “Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.”
Optimization isn’t about educated guesses and hunches, no matter how many years you’ve been in the industry. It’s about doing the research, asking the right questions, digging for clues in problem areas, paying attention to the signs when they appear, and running smart A/B tests.
Web analytics analysis is a big part of that. It helps separate the optimizers from just another person with an opinion.
Subscriptions are an increasingly common way to buy products online, whether consumables like coffee and energy supplements, or personalized lifestyle boxes and fashion.
Google Analytics shows 104 conversions. Your CRM shows 123 new leads. Heap reports 97. And so on.
It’s easy to get frustrated by data discrepancies. Which source do you trust? How much variance is okay? (Dan McGaw suggests 5%.)
For most companies, Google Analytics is a—often the—primary source of analytics data. Getting its numbers aligned with other tools in your martech stack keeps results credible and blood pressure manageable.
Traffic attribution identifies which sources drive visitors to a web property. And it’s impossible to credit a conversion to the correct source without first knowing how a visitor got to a website.
In other words, the foundation of conversion attribution is traffic attribution. Simple as it may sound, attributing a session to its traffic source can be tricky, even impossible.
For companies that build their analytics on Google products, purchasing Google Analytics 360 is a symbol of maturity.
As a business grows, it inevitably runs up against limitations of analytics tools. For example, while the data aggregation process in Google Analytics seems like a “normal” feature, it might be a hurdle if your business needs to process data at the hit level instead of by sessions or campaigns.
It’s one of many potential business needs that could affect your decision to upgrade to a Google Analytics 360 license. But is it worth the serious investment?
Set up the measurement tool. Clean and process the data. Turn it into information. Analyze it. Extract insights.
That’s hard work. But to have value, there’s still another step—the work must also be well communicated. You want data to form a straight line from KPIs to influencing business decisions.
There are hundreds of services for site tracking, advertising, customization, and, in general, souping up your ability to measure, reach, and convert your visitors.