Running Full Speed In The Dark

If your business does anything in the digital space you probably have some sort of system in place to measure that digital activity.

Image representing Google Analytics as depicte...

Image via CrunchBase

Having run an online commerce site I can tell you that those analytics are second only to actual sales figures in importance.  Having run and consulted on sites where content is king (as opposed to commerce!), the data helps you to understand user preferences, content gaps, and how best to engage the reader.

That’s why something I saw the other day was so disturbing to me.  The folks at DBD Media recently conducted research on Google Analytics implementation across 50 e-commerce websites and found that 80% of retailers don’t know how to use Google Analytics:

  • Only 50% of e-commerce businesses track main conversion
  • 73% of businesses are inflating traffic in their analytics reports,through self referral issues.
  • 60% of GA accounts were not correctly synced with Google AdWords, meaning Pay Per Click data is not being passed-on and is hampering accurate ROI measurements for paid search.
  • 67% of websites haven’t integrated social media tracking
  • 30% of websites have incorrect e-commerce tracking implementation.

There are more findings but for a commerce site these are the most critical ones.  I suspect that if we were to survey content sites we’d find similar issues.  Why does this happen?  According to the folks at eConsultancy:

Our recent Online Measurement and Strategy report finds that the most commonly cited barrier for company respondents was a lack of budget and resources, with 50% of respondents listing this as an issue. Following this was a lack of strategy (31%) and siloed organisation / lack of co-ordination (26%).

For supply-side respondents the most commonly cited barrier was a lack of understanding / don’t know what to measure (47% compared to only 24% for company respondents), followed by a lack of budget and resources (42%) and a lack of strategy (37%).

The first item is particularly galling.  I suspect that has to do less with an actual lack of funds that a failure to reallocate the funding from some legacy activity into analytics support.  What could be more important, especially if your entire business is online?

When you’re doing your next budget, think about what activities add revenue and profit   Maybe those need to be your top priorities as you’re allocating funds? “We did it this way last year” isn’t a system – it’s an impediment.  You with me?

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Filed under Consulting, digital media

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