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Do You Rely On Analytics And Data For Your Online Business Decisions?


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#1 cre8pc

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 10:04 AM

In Bill and Ammon's Bogus hang out yesterday, I caught the very end of a conversation that had something to do with whether or not marketers rely on analytics for business related decisions. There may have more to the discussion. Sorry I missed it.

 

And then I saw this today from Google and wondered if Google pushes data measurement because they provide the tools to do so?

 

I use data more and more it seems. For years, in the work I did with UX, the less I knew before I performed a site audit, the more objective I was.   Today, I depend on the data I get from various sources if its available because it provides deeper inside into performance issues, and I'm learning how to see a story if I get enough info. That additional info comes from a Requirements document my clients fill out, that my test plans are created from (I never use cookie cutter testing.)  

 

One of the push backs that always comes up from site and application dev stakeholders is that they don't believe they have mobile users. The data says they do and competitive analysis provides additional support when they are fighting for every sale.  The other push back is accessibility, but that is also changing since there are more lawsuits against sites that make it difficult for special needs users to use them. (This is something I have an article in draft form on.)

 

Clearly there is debate on using data for decision making.  Your thoughts?

 

A Mobile-First Mindset Is Essential in Marketing Analytics

#2 EGOL

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 10:40 AM

I think that Bill and Ammon and certainly a lot of people who visit cre8asite have the ability to use data to answer business questions and solve business problems.   We are people who have been making a living from the web for a long time and have developed some knowledge about the data and the tools.

 

However, if you visit high traffic forums where lots of people of all skill levels are posting, you will quickly see that many of the questions are like these.....

 

Help!  Our sales have ground to a halt!

 

What happened to our traffic?

 

Wah!  Google penalized our website!

 

The person posting the question has a problem but has done zero work to figure it out.

 

Sometimes these people don't know how to use the data and tools that are available.  Sometimes they are lazy.  Sometimes they have never been shown how to do problem-solving.

 

Much of the time they want to blame Google for everything.  Their product could have been made suddenly less desirable by competitor's product.  Another company might be grabbing most sales through a kickass price in their title tag.  Their shopping cart might not be working properly.  It might even be a holiday when people are not shopping or a change of the season when demand is down.  Some people just don't have the training, tools, experience, initiative, or basic smarts to get to the bottom of a problem.

 

Generally, most people have access to the same tools and data.  They simply are in different stations in their ability to apply those assets.

 

This means to me, that there is a big training opportunity or a big consulting opportunity, but a lot of the people who need these types of assistance don't have the willingness to spend $100 in exchange for $10,000 worth of knowledge.


Edited by EGOL, 22 February 2017 - 10:41 AM.


#3 bobbb

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 12:55 PM

Help!  Our sales have ground to a halt!

What happened to our traffic?

Wah!  Google penalized our website!

You know it is the same IMO in all types of help forums. People ask questions and expect a one liner response or an immediate reply within the minutes which follow. And they blast the same question in other forums of the same type. Agreed they do not research but that's OK. It's a panic attack.

 

I was an admin in a the English networking/router type forum and I kept seeing this. Expecting one liners or a quick fix and/or they never return to see if there is a reply. You can tell because you leave a reply or ask questions and nada, silence.

 

Early this month I happened on an html forum and read some of the questions. Two were about bulk modification of static pages. Wow I said. I can do this in my sleep or on just waking. (and I was bored) So I decided to register and reply. One I just left a reply: "Are you there? I have a solution for you". NADA. The other I actually wrote up instructions, tested it, then posted. NADA. It was a real business so I found an e-mail and sent  a memo to look at the forum response plus a PM in the forum. A very simple conversion of frames to non frame site. It is still framed. DUH. Just checked.

 

No more! Finito! Or really engage first.

 

And what he does not know is I would have helped him or even done it for him for free. Yeah free. Dumb yes but I was bored


Edited by bobbb, 22 February 2017 - 01:01 PM.


#4 earlpearl

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 02:52 PM

 

 

And what he does not know is I would have helped him or even done it for him for free. Yeah free. Dumb yes but I was bored

 

.....so I got this question......



#5 bobbb

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 04:05 PM

quoi?



#6 jonbey

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 05:52 PM

If people are not using data, what are they using?  :stars-head:



#7 EGOL

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 06:25 PM

If people are not using data, what are they using?  :stars-head:

 

They go and post questions in forums and allow other people to kibitz about their site with no data.  Then they take action. 



#8 iamlost

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 08:33 PM

From what I've seen and read I rate webdevs like this:
* 90% (9 in 10) can manage: WordPress + theme + plugins + AdSense.
At worst: what's data? At best: who needs data? Or should that be vice versa?

* 10% (1 in 10) can manage: customising the above + Google Analytics.
This group has a vague grasp that data is useful, and if led by the hand can actually use it, a little.

* 1% (1 in 100) can manage: customising GoAn and using 'SEO' tools (think wider Moz community).
This group understands data is important but not really which data in their specific instance nor how to fully leverage it as signal is often lost in noise. Data acquired is more often than not quite general, helpful but severely limited. Their tools run them.

* 0.1% (1 in 1,000) can manage: selecting tools on the basis of tactical requirements within site/business specific strategic goals; this group is leveraging data to the best possible common tool outcomes.

* 0.01% (1 in 10,000) can manage: customising tools to meet needs of tactical requirements within site/business specific strategic goals; this group is leveraging data beyond the ability of common (aka general) tools.

Yes, all my numbers above are unsubstantiated beyond intuition. Tough.
The progression is real and can easily be identified by reading pretty much any webdev forum.
* the vast majority can barely get a site up and functioning, data is a bridge way way too far.
* the next group has a clue but are lazy or frazzled.
* finally we get to functionally literate webdev community members who grasp the principles but don't/can't get past, general one size fits all, data. They can do well but frequently/continually complain about outcomes not meeting expectations; often lacking in marketing/business knowledge/skills.
* highly competent members who understand their niche(s), their place in it, and are continually using highly specific data to get ahead; they also understand marketing/business.
* a very quiet if not completely silent minority dominating their niches.

Remember that, given the total number of webdevs, even the relatively tiny 1% is substantially large in absolute numbers.

There has been an ongoing (years) series of conversations at WebmasterWorld about what has been termed 'zombie' traffic. What is fascinating is that none of the complainers, spinners of theories, even when asked shares actually data. I've come to believe that many/most of them don't actually know how to acquire data nor how to analyse it. The wilful ignorance/incompetence, as in the inability, refusal to go beyond opinion or to accept a contrary one, is striking.
 

Do You Rely On Analytics And Data For Your Online Business Decisions?

Yes.



#9 earlpearl

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 02:20 PM

Lost: I was a financial and data analyst early in my work career. In fact I uncovered some ways to earn more and save more and rewarded for those finds.

Making sense of data isn't always simple easy or obvious, especially when outcomes are really the result of multiple decisions or acts.

Wouldn't be so tough on all those that have hard time with it.

#10 cre8pc

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 02:28 PM

Data is everywhere too. I'm having a blast researching and reading case studies because all that research feeds into the overall "story" analytics is struggling to tell. It takes a lot of skill to understand analytics. It's not my thing and I've had some good teachers. But I know enough to see when a site is in trouble and usually where that trouble is, which is great for audits.

 

The other addition is Requirements Gathering, a practice I was taught years ago in software dev and rely on 100% still. In nearly every case, my clients have never done any examination of their own goals, target market, or even thought about what conversions they want. 



#11 glyn

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Posted 24 February 2017 - 08:30 AM

I like data and use it to make decisions about the businesses I help. Sometimes it's common sense, and sometimes it's informed by research. I guess I'm lucky.



#12 iamlost

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 03:12 PM

Making sense of data isn't always simple easy or obvious, especially when outcomes are really the result of multiple decisions or acts.

Wouldn't be so tough on all those that have hard time with it.

Not being tough, simply illustrating a fact of business/web life. The low bar to entry (online vs B&M) means that even more of the clueless are gold rush bound.

As with many things in life and in business, 'data' appears deceptively easy and simple (a view promulgated by sundry data tool providers), but is, in reality, complex and often difficult to get correct. And that is simply acquisition. Then comes analysis.

It's definitely something that can be learned - I'm proof of that - but it takes time and a certain mindset. As with SEO, content creation, and every other 'requirement'. And far too many of those having a tough time expect everything handed to them gratis or provided with step by step instructions; that one might actually have to put in effort is a barrier too high for too many.

The folks who are willing to learn, who don't expect to be spoon fed, who don't automatically blame everyone but themselves (special shout out to the conspiracy theorists), are but a few rough nuggets in the immensity of the web overburden. I'm more than willing to help these few, paying forward as so many did for me. Strangely, most need/want very little assistance beyond a critique or pointer.

Unfortunately, webdevs' data focus is as Google constrained as is their traffic. Even doing everything 'right' is doing so within a subset's boundaries. Reminds me of the old joke: person dies and gets to heaven after which St. Peter gives a guided tour; the person notices a high wall enclosing a section and asks St. Peter what is inside; St.Peter says that's for the Jehovah Witnesses' [replace as appropriate] peace of mind as they believe they are Heaven's only inhabitants. Restricting data/information may offer comfort but over time will probably hide and enhance problems. And miss opportunities.
 

I like data and use it to make decisions about the businesses I help. Sometimes it's common sense, and sometimes it's informed by research. I guess I'm lucky.

As we all know, common sense isn't all that common as it benefits greatly from a person's knowledge and experience in a given area. Further, to learn how to learn, how to research well, is skill to be honed over time. As another old saying has it: you (mostly) make your own luck.

 

In nearly every case, my clients have never done any examination of their own goals, target market, or even thought about what conversions they want. 

Yup. Gold rush mentality.
Gold
Gold
Gold
Gold
Gold
Gold!
Gold!!
Gotta dream boy
Gotta song
Paint your wagon
And come along
Where am I goin'?
I don't know
Where am I headin'?
I ain't certain
All I know
Is I am on my way
When will I be there?
I don't know
When will I get there?
I ain't certain
All that I know
Is I am on my way
---by Alan J. Lerner: I'm On My Way, Paint Your Wagon

 

 





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