Got Google Analytics… Now What?

July 31st, 2007 by Tom Elrod

So you use Google Analytics. It’s free and it’s pretty cool (when it works). You can find out how many people have visited your site, where they are coming from, etc. So my question is… now what? How does that really help your business?

I know a ton of people that use Google Analytics and the like for their business web site. Don’t get me wrong, some of the information is useful at a high level, but it doesn’t give nearly the insight needed to make any real business decisions. For example, I can’t even tell if a web site visitor is coming from a particular company (or if they are surfing from home). Being able to tell that 10 people from Novell have visited my site in the last 3 months and spent a total of 70 hours browsing the site would be a huge trigger for a business decision (i.e. find the nearest sales person to call Novell immediately).

Another important component missing is that when a sales guy goes to make his first call on someone that has registered on the web site, they are flying blind. They are left with very little information on what that person is really interested in. If the sales person is lucky, the person who registered entered in enough information that they can figure out generally what the person is interested in talking about (so better than blind, but let’s call it one eye open). What the sales person really needs is insight into what that person is really after and how informed are they already (i.e. reading between the lines before making first contact). What pages have they viewed on the web site, did they download the whitepaper on how product compares to competition, how long have they been coming to the web site and how frequently, etc. There is no way to get this information from Google Analytics.

Seems to me that what normally happens when management gets a hold of the login for Google Analytics is that marketing gets yelled at for “not driving more traffic” to the web site and the web designers get yelled at for the “web site not being sticky enough” which has no business impact other than lowering moral.

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