Stop seeing analytics like medical lab reports

Stop seeing analytics like medical lab reports

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The MailChimp story began with a deeper dive into analytics. The founders ran a web development company and felt that the business was not growing fast enough. Each new client sign-up took a tremendous amount of effort with additional resources required for new project pitches. In a flash of inspiration, they went back to list the most requested additional features from previous website projects.

One stood out the most because it didn’t exist at the time – a mailing list. This was back in the early 2000s, when managing email lists was not an established business model. They charged $50 dollars to build the feature, which was basically replicating the same module for each client. On the back of this, they built an automated invoicing system because generating $50 dollar invoices for different clients was a lot of work without commensurate returns.

From these beginnings, SAAS and email management emerged as business models. And it originated from looking at the less obvious analytics.

HubSpot analytics helps find hidden nuggets

The metrics like traffic and the device specific drill-downs present one aspect of the picture. Looking through individual interactions and finding patterns throws up additional insights. Seeing how customers use your product and how satisfied they are helps construct marketing strategies. 

Here’s another instance of a company finding the conversion point through analytics. Slack, the enterprise messaging company found that less than 10% of the visitors to the site signed up as users. Then, less than 10% of those users formed groups. And of those that formed groups, less than 10% sent 2000 messages a month within the group.

"Take time to understand the analytics important to your business. Then find ways to measure them"

That was the conversion point – Slack found that these customers had a 95% probability of becoming paying customers. It might seem to be a tremendously small base from the first set of visitors. But that was enough to propel Slack into the billion-dollar value league.

Finding these committed users, why they converted and what could lead to more sales in future – that’s where HubSpot analytics can provide the base. But it needs to be teased out from the traffic patterns, the content consumption and the way visitors navigate the site.

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Habits can become obstacles to innovation

The way companies do things get set in stone around processes. There’s a way sales, marketing and services are managed. When they work as a relay and one supports the other, the results are there to be seen. It also follows that companies then fall into habits that can’t easily be changed. But markets are dynamic. They don’t stay still. With e-commerce, it wasn’t online shopping alone that changed. Retail chains had to reinvent processes in order to meet the challenge.

That involves on-ground changes as well as training people within the company to create and manage online businesses. New processes have to be created for the company to make a smooth transition.

A decade ago, websites were more like the company brochure, except that it could be accessed online. That has changed. Now, customers research product features on multiple sites before they make up their minds. The more information companies provide to help customers, the higher the possibility of a sale.

"It is important to change when markets change. When customers change. Analytics gives you hints but you have to keep watching"

Analytics can pinpoint behavioral changes online. By studying individual behavior, HubSpot helps document the stages of a customer journey. Retracing the steps by customers who have converted makes it possible to uncover patterns in reverse. It’s a deep study and requires going through multiple instances to find connections. 

HubSpot can highlight all the important points of the journey, starting from referrals to the information and content they went through. Analytics should not be treated like medical lab reports where the health of a company is set within a certain range and fluctuations within that are seen as acceptable. Underlying shifts need to be determined

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Breakthroughs need fresh thinking

We’re still at an early stage in managing and understanding data well. Most of what is measured may not be crucial to persuasion and choice. But getting data around those metrics is an evolving field. 

Even in web analytics, traffic increases are seen as the yardstick for a website growing popular. But that may not be the most accurate conclusion. Time spent on the site is a useful starting point. People spend time on a site only when they are interested in what the website has to offer.

For an ecommerce site, attracting paying customers is the most important objective. However, customers have a wide set of choices today. So, ecommerce websites have to find deeper ways to determine what will work. Page loading time was seen as an important metric. Now, that all the top sites know about it and have ensured fast loading times, it is no longer a differentiator.

It could be that voice search will soon grow to be an important aspect of ecommerce. And sites which transcribe voice searches well to present the right set of options will find their sales surging. But the technology around voice search and understanding how to use it with all regional accents around the world is a tough technical problem to solve.

In future, voice search will be another important layer, just like normal search has been since the early days of the internet. Peeling back the layers, adding new functionality and determining what customers want is an ongoing process because each of us develops our own preferences.

Even with the existing metrics, HubSpot helps you see more than what’s available on the surface. For that, you will have to dig deeper and build the non-obvious connections. And there are several resources to refer

Talk to us on how analytics can deepen your customer connect and build many more in future

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About The Author

Venu Gopal Nair
Venu Gopal Nair

Advertising and Branding Specialist, CEO - Ideascape Communications, A professional journey through the tumultuous years of advertising and communication, starting in 1984. Started out in the age of print, saw the changes with the entry of satellite TV and the momentous transition to digital. Advertising and branding today is vastly different from its practices in the 20th century and the last two decades have seen dramatic changes with smartphone domination. As a Creative Director turned CEO, making the transition personally and professionally has been a tremendous experience.

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