Last updated on September 18, 2019
Data is the newest rightful obsession. And it is no mystery that decisions based on data can minimize risks (if not eliminate it completely).
For this article, I reached out to 25 experts from various industries and got their go-to strategy when it comes to analysing data.
Continue reading to find out their most favourite metric and most trusted hack while working with data…
CEO, Quick Sprout
It’s easy to drown in data. These days, I get extremely paranoid about a few key metrics and then ignore everything else.
The more time you spend on each metric, the better feel you’ll have and the easier the analysis is.
Teams can also quickly find problems and opportunities with metrics that they work with every week.
Partner, SF Digital Studios
Most advertisers on Google Ads don’t use Google Analytics to get a bird’s eye view of their marketing.
My most favourite metrics are importing micro & macro goals from Analytics into Ads. This gives me an overview of how engaged my audience is and which keywords/ads are driving this traffic to my website. From here I can scale or cut off the keywords/ads to optimize my campaign and increase my ROI.
If Google Ads was our car/vehicle to take us to our destination, Google Analytics is the dashboard of that car. The first thing we look at when we start driving is the dashboard. We continuously look at the dashboard to drive safely and look at metrics like how much fuel we have, what speed we are driving at, are there any red warning lights flashing up, etc It would be pretty dangerous & impossible to drive a car if I were to blank it out!
to give you a complete picture of the user activity on your website or landing page.
VP, Liquid Web
When I’m talking with store owners I often find that they love the idea of segmentation but have no systems in place to segment their customers. As a result, the idea of leveraging segments to create better messages or to drive sales sounds nice but never becomes a reality. What I invite them to do is to pull some basic data to help them.
For example: If they can pull all orders from-
a) People who have made more than one purchase
b) People who have used more than one coupon
They can call that group, “Value Shoppers.” Then, they can create a coupon for them and send it to them to trigger another visit and potential purchase.
Or I might look for the customers who have spent the most money with my store, call them “VIP” and offer them a couple of days to purchase products before they launch to the rest of the world – helping them feel like VIPs and making sure they get the access they deserve.
Instead of getting overwhelmed with data, metrics and reports, if a store owner can focus on like-minded groups of customers and create unique opportunities for each of them, they can see a rapid return on their investment. ~Chris Lema Click To Tweet
Founder, Funnel Gal
In a mountain of metrics, I think organic traffic is one of the most important for every business. Knowing exactly which pages receive organic traffic is a necessity. It will help both the content marketers and owner make better business decisions.
that needs to be tracked. Following the number and percentage of unique visitors (organic traffic) in Google Analytics will guide you into understanding your users better. You’ll find out what the user wants and why type of content is valuable for them.
Founder, Data Driven Design
While we look at metrics and data points from several sources, synthesize them and turn them into action items for our clients, And while it may seem obvious that eCommerce conversions or that we look at, we check our Google Analytics by looking at how many quality web users we’ve created.
Quality web users is a metric that involves setting up engagement related goal completions and marrying them together with engagement statistics like Bounce Rate, Average Session Duration and Pages Per Visit.
For example: If your average session duration is 1:12 and you’re an eCommerce site, and you create an engagement goal of 3:00+ time on site, tracking how many users spend more than three minutes on your site gives you a greater indicator of users likely to buy from you. Since the data shows that customers need 3-6 interactions with your website before purchasing, it’s important to see which traffic sources your quality web users are coming from, so you can put more effort into those actions to ultimately convert more users.
When you truly use data to drive web design & digital marketing, you increase engagement and ultimately that's what increases conversions.~ Paul Hickey Click To Tweet
My go-to strategy for analyzing business data is to not be satisfied with surface-level metrics. Pageviews, sessions, average time on site, bounce rate, and more can be helpful but the answers these metrics provide are, at best, incomplete.
To really understand what is happening, you have to collect custom metrics, apply segments, and filter your data aggressively.
For example: Every C-level executive wants to know: “How much traffic did we get?” A surface-level answer tells you the pageviews and might break out those page views by source. But what we really want to know isn’t how much traffic but how much good traffic there was?
Finding that out means you have to define what “good” means, then track metrics that can differentiate good and bad traffic–such as events or goals in Google Analytics. Once you have those metrics tracked filtering and segmenting that traffic by those events and goals to understand how many people converted or engaged in beneficial ways.
Founder, Analytics Mania
For example: If the question is “should we translate our website to different languages?”, then that could be answered by looking at:
- The number of sessions and users split by countries or browser languages
- The number of times someone translated your website with a browser extension or just regular Google Translate website.
By doing this quick research, risks could be definitely reduced. Instead of blindly following the hunch of “I think we should invest in translations”, a business could validate the idea beforehand and maybe even ditch it without risk of spending money on a useless feature.
Usually, when I start working on a new project, there are no GA customizations at all or they are misconfigured. If that’s the case, the first thing I look at Google Analytics Channel reports (Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels).
The renowned Youtuber who has 17K+ subscribers
Get the most bang for your time. Never stop testing as you can always improve even if you have a winning idea/creative!
Director of Analytics, Conversion Works
When analysing any business data, I always This is essential to answer specific business questions and build trust in the insights from the data. With the Google Marketing Platform Stack, this is super simple by virtue of the easy integrations for GA, SA360, Google Ads, DV360, Campaign Manager and BigQuery.
It’s easy to start with aggregated data to build a picture using the GA Web UI, however, wrangling BigQuery data to combine with CRM data for deeper insights that have a bottom-line impact is an increasingly common tactic.
A fact of life is that not everyone has the appetite or time to ingest raw BQ data though! This is where DataStudio visualisations deliver to “show the think in the ink”. Simple but effective DataStudio visualisations of complex, high volume data are a “goto” tool to get the right message across to the right people.
In summary, you can see this whole process leverages all the available components of the marketing stack – this applies to Google, Adobe, or whichever stack is in use. The hybrid approach is always second in terms of quality and effectiveness compared to using a fully integrated marketing stack. Be loyal to your stack, and fully leverage all the available components to verify insights and express them as simply as possible. Hide complexity but be prepared to show your working if required.
For me, it starts even before we try to analyze data. The customization of measurement is crucial to get accurate and meaningful data into GA to be worth analyzing. It’s, therefore, Only then you will have data worth putting time and effort into analyzing.
Founder, Optimize Smart
Has over 12 years of experience in Web Analytics and Digital Marketing
I use the These are one of the most useful reports in Google Analytics.
Through the ‘Users Flow’ report you can determine how website visitors are navigating through your website. From which web page they start browsing your website and from where they exit the website.
You do that mapping in Google Analytics through the ‘Goal Flow’ report. I use this report to determine the biggest drop-offs from one step of the funnel to the next. These drop offs, can help in explaining which part of the website/ conversion process needs urgent attention.One of the best ways of converting existing website traffic into sales is by mapping the entire conversion process and then looking for the biggest drop-offs from one step to the next.~ Himanshu Sharma Click To Tweet
Marketing & Operations Consultant & Strategist
The meaningful metric I look at is always progress. Even in eCommerce, where it appears like any business selling something is probably like the others, companies have wildly different key metrics.
Meanwhile, some businesses have high-value items that they sell online, such as an online course of high-performance outdoors equipment. The time to make a $500 purchase, even from a company you trust, can be much longer and require talking to friends or a spouse: something that kills your conversion rate.
You need to identify the metrics that are important to your business and make progress against them
- For the low-price eCommerce company, that’s keeping people on the site by showing them products that they find interesting.
- For companies where purchase decisions may take weeks, it’s about driving repeat visits to key pages.
Co-Founder & Principal at DigiSavvy
I work with a client (jacketsociety.com) which sells women’s clothing. They switched their email marketing to ActiveCampaign so they could more intelligently market to their customers by using clever automation sequences to reach engaged customers who also account for a fair amount of purchases.
As part of our setup, we ensured their They wanted to determine what impact ActiveCampaign and related automation and campaigns had on their sales. It turns out that the data showed the medium generating the greatest traffic was social media and yet it produced the least number of purchases. While their email campaigns were generating the least amount of traffic but the most sales of any other channel (organic, ppc, etc).
The data insights helped them determine not only which traffic sources were most valuable but also which segments were generating most of their sales. They have dialed in their segmentation to target disengaged customers, prune their lists of such contacts, and also creating campaigns to target and reward highly engaged customer segments.
Data is fun!
Founder, Data Driven U
I don’t think that using analytics minimizes risks, actually.
Because when you have data, you can clearly evaluate the potential of the risk you are taking and make an educated guess on what will perform well. But the key term to remember here is that while it’s educated, it’s still a guess. That’s risky when compared to the status quo.
There are hundreds of valuable reports you can use to enhance your decision making.
From your traffic sources to individual campaign retrospectives to tracking outcomes with goals and e-commerce. The #1 most important thing to do in Google Analytics is to set up your goals to reflect the marketing objectives of your website. The next most important thing to do is measure the impact of every report and metric on these outcomes. It’s fine to look at traffic sources, for example, but did those sources convert? Were they effective? Every report is better with conversion data to put things into perspective.
CEO, Quantum Leap Commerce LLC
One of the most important metrics to see is which pages/products visitors view the most, and how much time they actually spend viewing the content. Using this information allows me to create similar content to provide the more value, which keeps them coming back.
I use Google Analytics to monitor many aspects of my business.
Using Google Analytics to monitor acquisition is also highly valuable. I have content on multiple websites & social media platforms, and monitoring where the majority of traffic is generated allows me to see where I should focus most of my efforts.
The behaviour of my audience also dictates how I setup my site and content. For instance, if I notice a certain page has a high drop off rate, this indicates I need to change or update this page/ content to better suit my audience needs.
Also, having the ability to monitor the location and behaviour of my visitors allows me to create highly targeted ad campaigns to attract more customers of the same type.
Search Marketing Manager, TimePayment Corp.
My go-to strategy to analyze my business data is to and then focus efforts on the areas where revenue and traffic are high while decreasing efforts on other areas. Looking at the source of the business’ success is often the key to increasing that success.
Three-time Startup Founder (Highlights, Flagback and HireVoice)
It’s great to have a lot of people visiting your website, but it’s even better when they convert. Firstly you will need to draw out your website’s conversion funnel and then focus your marketing efforts to improve the performance of your conversion funnel depending on your business goal.
Whether it’s sales, signups or leads, you can
Client Services Director, PPC Geeks
In order to take the right data-backed decisions for your company you need to know what you are looking for first, and this all comes back to your overall objectives. For both our clients and our own company we set quarterly Objectives (what we want to achieve) and Key Results (quantifiable measures of the things that need to happen to achieve these objectives), known as OKRs.
Without these KPIs defined, we have seen time and time again clients making adjustments to their Google Ads accounts based on arbitrary measures and vanity metrics rather than looking at the strategy in the context of defined and agreed OKRs.
So our We also help define OKRs for our potential clients too as part of our Free Google Ads Audit service.
- Step 1: Get to know your tools – to analyze data, you have to gather it first and for that you need tools. Whether it’s Google analytics, Google search console or other tools, learn how to use them and make sure that they gather data correctly.
- Step 2: Choose your KPIs – there are many things to measure, choose which metrics matter for your business and monitor their performance.
- Step 3: Analyze the data – Convert numbers into business terms. Setting questions at this stage really helps.
- Step 4: Set Goals – Now that you have a better idea of your current status, set business goals for each area you need to improve and map that with a KPI value.
Founder, Surfside PPC
My go-to strategy is to take advantage of (Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) into Google Analytics.
When running PPC Advertising campaigns across several channels, I like to use the ‘Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns’ report to measure how campaigns are performing on a weekly and monthly basis. It can help guide budgeting decisions for each month, and it can help when creating a Paid Advertising plan for the year.
It’s a useful report to measure your conversion rate and cost per conversion from each channel. In addition, it can be helpful when optimizing for multiple conversions and understanding engagement metrics as well.
Founder, Evan Carmichael Communications Group
For example: On YouTube, the 3 most important metrics I care about are subscriber growth per series, audience retention at 1 minute, and video click through rates.
Everything we do is based around improving our videos to hit those 3 metrics.
Digital Marketer, CognitiveSEO
The first step in choosing the right data analysis technique is understanding what type of data we’re dealing with – quantitative or qualitative.
A crucial part of data analyzing are the first steps: choosing a good tool. That’s because there is a lot of spam, and you want clean and accurate information.
Based on the data we collect, we extract percentages to see the evolution from the previous trimester and the year before.
We compare the results, look for the best content and extract the conclusion. We can find out what worked best, what were the issues and get some theories before setting up goals for the next trimester.
Founder, Chris Berkley Digital Marketing
When looking at analytics, it’s important to
- Analysis at the micro level might reveal that organic traffic drives traffic and conversions to 5 key web pages.
- Simultaneously, analysis at the macro level might reveal that many other pages and marketing channels led to those conversions.
Frequently, we find that decisions are made based on micro-level analysis when those decisions should be made based on a holistic analysis of all available data at the macro level.
We’ve always felt that it’s important to ask ourselves what the objective or goal is, and then work backwards from there. Our goal is always to collect and analyze data in the most efficient way possible, and different jobs will need to be handled through different methods.
Between my brands, we’re managing the sales of tens of thousands of different products, which can make all of the data organizing and analysis quite complex.
We haven’t found a single tool that handles everything we need quite yet, and have several working together to help give us all of the information we need to make smart decisions.
However, most of what we need can be shown to us through some fairly complex Excel spreadsheets, along with custom software we’ve built ourselves. This is not something I’d recommend to most small businesses, however – if there are tools available that can showcase the data for you more quickly, the time you’ll save is usually well worth the cost.
An From our experience of many years in business, we have learned that we have to keep our products up-to-date and continuously improve them.
Only in this way people will keep their licenses active and renew them every year. Otherwise, if a WordPress theme or plugin doesn’t see any big updates for months, the chances that the customers will start looking for other products are very high.
Things we have tried in the last few years:
- We’ve been actively working on increasing our renewal rate for theme licenses, as our pricing model is based on annual renewals, so for us, it’s important to not lose the customer after the first year.
- We’ve also switched to automatic license renewals last year, so this helped us a lot to increase the renewal rate from 25% to about 75%, which is a very big improvement for us and will allow our company to grow much faster in the following years.
Over To You
You’ve just read 25 brilliant strategies and hacks used by experts to analyze their data. Now it’s your turn. Pick your favourite strategy and use it to analyse your live data.
BTW if you are overwhelmed and have no go-to analytics tool that provides you with a holistic picture of your business, take a free trial of Putler. I bet you will find it useful 🙂