Data and Measurement Resolutions for 2014

  |  December 12, 2013   |  Comments   |  

Start 2014 with a clear conversion optimization strategy in mind. Consider these 3 data-driven goals.

How fast a year goes! Bounce rates fall, conversion rates rise, yet it’s all not enough. There’s plenty left to do in 2014. At the beginning of this year, I shared 3 measurement resolutions for 2013. With 2014 around the corner, I want to share my 3 resolutions for 2014. I hope you’ll take these away on your holidays, reflect upon them and start 2014 with a clear conversion optimization strategy in mind. Trust me, these resolutions are easier to keep than trying to lose weight!

1. Measure the user, not the browser

This was one of my resolutions for 2013, and it’s worth keeping on the list for 2014.

It’s no secret that the proliferation of mobile devices and tablets is changing the surfing habits of consumers. Traditional analytics assumes that your consumer uses only one browser and dismisses the fact that most consumers today visit your site using multiple devices before converting.

Thus it becomes important to shift away from measuring the browser and move towards measuring the user. This can be achieved by passing anonymous user IDs to your analytics platforms as the user interacts with your sites. The data then gives you a more realistic view of how your customers interact with your websites across multiple devices.

If you use Adobe Analytics, you can implement this straightaway using cross-device visitor identification. If you’re a Google Analytics user, start planning to migrate to Universal Analytics in readiness for when visitor ID tracking comes out of beta.

And of course, start planning on how you would use this information. Information holds no value if no action is taken upon it. Some things to think about:

● At what times are your users interacting with your mobile website/app, and at what times are they interacting with your desktop versions? What can you do to customize the experience according to time of day?

● Did an existing customer of your desktop website just download your mobile app? Are they engaging with the new app? If not, educate them on how to use the app on their next visit to your desktop website.

● Can research behavior on mobile be a predictor of sales on desktop at a later time in the day? Ensure you have the right desktop marketing presence in play and that you’re able to meet customer demand.

2. Engender a culture of testing within your organization

Data leads to insights. Insights lead to possible actions. Possible actions lead to arguments.

Insights can lead to a myriad of possible next steps. More often than not, each stakeholder will have varying opinions of what should be done. Arguments can become heated if budgets and reputations are at stake.

The easiest way to settle these arguments is to put everyone’s ideas to the test and rely on quantifiable objective data. Nobody can argue with hard facts.

Testing can take many forms. There’s A/B and multivariate testing of your websites and applications. Tools at your disposal include Optimizely, Adobe Target, and Google Content Experiments. They’re fairly easy to set up and you start to see results in real-time.

You should also be testing your marketing. For example, use AdWords Campaign Experiments to test which campaign strategies are more successful. Test your creatives by rotating them and observing uplifts in click-through and conversion rates.

When testing, it’s important to first establish benchmarks. Benchmarks ground us with how we’re performing today. Then test your changes and see how far you can deviate away from the benchmarks. Of course, make sure you’re deviating in the right direction.

3. Adopt a data management platform … and use it!

One of our biggest challenges in this industry is that data is siloed. Web analytics, mobile apps analytics, social media, offline sales data, call center data, usually sit on separate platforms. Siloed data makes it difficult to view your data holistically and make holistic business decisions.

Break down the silos by adopting a data management platform and bring your data into one place. It then allows you to look at your performance holistically and make decisions that impact your entire business rather than just your marketing or product development.

Adopting a data management platform is scary to most people, as it’s perceived as something that’s expensive in terms of time and costs. However, there are cost effective options. For example, you could employ dimension widening in Universal Analytics, classifications in Adobe Analytics or adopt a cloud-based database like Google BigQuery.

Don’t be scared to get started on integrating data between your silos. You don’t have to bring all your data together in one go. Start simple and work your way from there.

2014 is around the corner. As you’re reflecting on the year gone by on New Year’s Eve, make 3 data-driven promises to yourself:

1. Measure the user, not the browser.

2. Test everything. Data beats opinion.

3. Break down the data silos within your organization.

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Vinoaj Vijeyakumaar

Vinny is managing partner and co-founder of Sparkline, a consultancy focused on optimizing conversion rates. Sparkline is a Google Analytics Certified Partner, Google Analytics Premium Authorized Reseller, Google Tag Manager Specialist, Adobe Marketing Cloud Solution Partner, and Optimizely Certified Partner. Vinny specializes in maximizing revenues for businesses by optimizing their digital presence across desktop and mobile websites, paid advertising, social media, and search engines. His core expertise lies in measurement, data analysis, testing, and insights that deliver results. Prior to founding Sparkline, Vinny was a senior conversion specialist at Google Southeast Asia for 5 years. You can get in touch with Vinny on Twitter @vinoaj, LinkedIn, Google+ or his company's website.

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