If Website Analytics Is King, Your Small Business Knowledge Is Parliament

If Website Analytics Is King, Your Small Business Knowledge Is Parliament. Photo by Paweł Furman on Unsplash

This is a short reflection to add some nuance to claims people make that website analytics is king. Frankly, it isn't.

Your Google Analytics or web analytics data is very useful and worthy of the pomp and ceremony one usually reserves for royalty, but remember that all monarchs are only safe while they have the people on their side.

In this case, I'm referencing the value of your own understanding of your business and its strategies.

It's only by viewing your web analytics through the lens of your business operations, needs, and customers, that the data can regale you with glory.

The MBA Professor and analytics data

Outside of work, I often tread the stage doing comedy in the guise of Professor Sebastian Longsword, the rather eccentric leader of a quirky university, The MBA School Of MBA Credentials.

During preparations for his upcoming Adelaide Fringe show - 100% MBA Success: Whisky And Trivia With Professor Longsword - I noticed something unexpected in Google Analytics.

My intuition was that the Sebastian Longsword LinkedIn profile, which is very active, would generate the most engaged audience members most likely to buy tickets to a comedy show based on business humour.

I was wrong.

As it happens, Facebook traffic and organic search traffic outperforms LinkedIn by an order of magnitude.

Conventional business wisdom says, "stop using LinkedIn and switch to Facebook".

However, further thought reveals that both have an important role.

LinkedIn stimulates the professor. The content he sees there prompts him to respond to quite silly and stuffy business posts, and his popular retorts become content for his comedy.

On the other hand, Facebook is where much of this content is shared (especially after it has been blogged about), leading to good conversions.

So, in this case, we override the kneejerk reaction to can LinkedIn, instead deciding to honour it for its use as a content creation channel.

With that understanding in place, sharper expectations can be set around activity in all online channels.

But isn't Facebook dead? Not so fast.

There is a strong narrative around Facebook that it is old and spent and not worth engaging with anymore.

Even though it's also long in the tooth, Instagram is still held up as a young, vibrant place for the "cool set", along with TikTok and WhatsApp.

But two artists promoting Adelaide Fringe shows skewed to the younger female audience Instagram is known for, have found conversions are negligible there.

This could be due to their content or the viewing habits of Insta users who tend to graze on the froth and bubble of "glam" pics, zipping from one pretty scene to another in their unending question for aesthetic satiation.

Surprisingly, they have found Facebook is performing as the work horse, bringing people into their worlds who are ready to buy tickets.

Once again, my favourite saying echoes in my mind, there is no genius other than the market itself.

Some sales are worth sleeping on - the Valentine's Day principle

I am writing this on the eve of Valentine's Day and I know that tomorrow there will be many new couples going out for that all important first date.

While some will be okay with a hyper speed transition from conversation to consummation, most will take the time to observe and reflect.

It's similar with sales, in a way that is not always easy to capture with website analytics.

I was mentoring a young winemaker today who told me about her experience at Cellardoor Fest.

She said apart from numbers being down on previous events, and a number of patrons being wheeled out in wheelchairs while vomiting their copious samples of glorious South Australian wine, her colleagues bemoaned the lower than expected level of sales.

But she was quick to point out that instant sales at festivals is not always an accurate marker of success.

Since that event, she's noticed customers booking events and trying wine, citing their exposure to the brand during the festival.

What do we make of all this?

We remember that while it's fine to worship the crowning glory that website analytics has achieved among many business people, we are the ones who grant it its power. If our website analytics data is not showing what we expect, we need to take stock of what we are doing and how we are measuring it before we take action and declare "off with his header code".

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