Confirm your intuition
with Google Analytics visitor data.
Websites can offer insights about your visitors with very little effort. We’re not talking NSA level spy-craft, just the ability to know where they are coming from, who they are, what they are doing on your site, and why they are doing it.
Trust your gut
As an artist I understand the need to trust your intuition when no precedent exists or your product is anticipating a nascent customer need.
Verify With Data
As a pragmatist I like to reduce my risk with information about the market context, and feedback from prototypes, tests, and user data. In 15 years in the visual effects and film work, reviews from multiple layers of decision makers were a constant reminder that I was working on a commercial product that needs to connect with the public.
My interest in data lead me to Market Motive Practitioner Certificates in Web Analytics & SEO, and Google Analytics Individual Qualification. I believe in using data to get a broad spectrum of information about your context, your customers and upcoming trends.
External Data- Working from the outside in, competitor analysis, and keyword context research can give you a picture of what’s already in play online and add some another dimension to your market research. Everyone from your ISP to Google is collecting data from customer sites, global search patterns, online publications, browser toolbars, and customer surveys. At early stage, accessing this data can be a useful benchmark for your own efforts and offer insights about your market size and potential opportunities.
Site Data- Complement face to face feedback and sales data with info about your visitors’ online behavior. Page view related data gives you an overview about their traffic patterns, and click data fills in details about activity within individual pages. Qualitative surveys can round out the numbers with “the crucial why” in the customer’s own voice.
Collect- I setup all my website clients with a free Google Analytics Account and link it to their Squarespace site. Page level data lets us see the ebbs and flow of site traffic. It helps me see of how visitors are responding to the design in very broad terms and offers a foundation for improvements. For many clients that’s all that's needed.
Prioritize for action- The second step is building a game plan. We establish measurable goals or Key Performance Indicators for your website that make sense within your business context. A key part of this step is deciding what’s actionable within your timeframe and budget? Feedback that you can’t act on is a waste of time.
Filter out the Noise- The third step is implementation. For clients who are serious about using analytics, I setup their account using Google Tag Manager. This allows us to easily track click events as well as page level behavior. I setup triggers to signal events we want to measure and filters to reduce the distraction of incorrect, misleading, or duplicate data.
Reporting- The fourth step is creating a reporting process that makes sense for you. Google Analytics can provide near real time data but who has the time to watch charts all day while running a business. Your decision making turnaround time and preferred way to view data will influence whether a custom dashboard in Google Analytics, a spreadsheet or a third party tool like DOMO or Tableau is the right fit.