The value of
analytics in
the boardroom

Posted in Digital, Reporting on 22 April 2016 By Daniele De Blasio, Digital Client Partner

What do senior management care about? They’re not interested in analytics, it’s insight that makes them sit up and take note. Interpretation of analytics in the context of marketing and communications planning – attributing activities with results – can ensure your marketing and communications spend is effective. 

Big data is a hugely powerful way to harness enormous amounts of information about your audiences and customers, but businesses already have a great source of data which tells them how their online audiences are interacting with them: Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free tool, but free doesn’t necessarily mean valuable. Data always needs interpretation. The speedometer in your car might tell you that you’re travelling at 60 miles an hour, but that doesn’t actually tell you anything unless it’s put into context. 60 mph is fine on a dual carriageway but if you’re on a residential street, it’s not and the likelihood is that you’ll have an accident. 

Just one highlighted salient data point in an entire presentation deck was enough to secure a budget commitment from the board.

Daniele De Blasio
Digital Client Partner

Recently a client’s site was showing traffic spikes throughout a 12 month period that didn’t appear to relate to any of their results days, announcements or email campaigns. So we looked at their acquisition metrics and noticed that the site had large amounts of referral traffic. However, the majority of it was ghost spam, and this traffic reflected the spikes we could see in the overall traffic. When we excluded the referral traffic, the spikes disappeared and we were left with a much more accurate picture of the traffic on the site. 

Analytics provides data; interpreting this and drawing insights is a great way to build a picture of what is happening and can support planning, review and optimisation of future campaigns. Some people call this, ‘small data’. Google Analytics can shed light on how your website is being used and help provide insight going forward to increase traffic, improve engagement, and, in turn, showcase the value of your website to senior management.

The biggest evolution in digital since the invention of the World Wide Web, email and search, is undeniably mobile. The increase in mobile usage has changed the digital landscape forever. With mobile browsing making up around 30% of corporate traffic and 50% of all traffic, figures that are increasing year on year, businesses need to understand how those mobile users are interacting with their site. Every bounce from a mobile device is a possible lost business opportunity.

We were working with a client recently, a shipping and port logistics company, whose website is not yet responsive. Whilst looking at their analytics, we discovered that over 50% of their traffic was on mobile devices and that 78% of traffic was bypassing the homepage and starting their journey on an information page with a live feed of shipping timetables. We could also see that 67% of traffic was only visiting one page. 

With the site not being optimised for mobile, the largest segment of their traffic was not being served content in an accessible format. We carried out a simple test - by tweaking the design and bringing a snippet of the live feed onto the homepage, we increased dwell time because users were spending more time on the homepage and now engaged with more pages on the site.

The revelation that more than half of the site’s traffic was on mobile, on a site that wasn’t optimised accordingly, was what really got the CEO’s attention. By surfacing this data, he understood the value in a responsive website and has allocated the budget to provide this service to his users.

Contextualising analytics data allows you to ‘cut through the noise’ and present robust and relevant findings, that can support or challenge goals identified by senior management.

So interpretation and contextualisation are key to delivering relevant insight. Equally, aligning website goals to business goals will help to gain traction in the boardroom. ‘Small data’ is at the fingertips of any business who chooses to use it. 

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