This time of year brings a lot of planning, soul-searching and resolutions. Throughout the eCommerce landscape, businesses strive to stay on top of the latest emerging technologies, looking for an angle to make their sites seem more attractive, easier to use and more secure than their competitors – and, of course, make more money.
In this fast-moving digital age, however, companies are spending time and money trying to find the next big thing while ignoring a golden opportunity that requires no new investment. In fact, this opportunity is sitting on your site right now. Conservatively, this can earn you at least an extra $100K per year.
Interested? There are two ways to realize this opportunity:
- Optimize with your existing analytics data to identify opportunities for improvement
- Stop paying for site analytics entirely and use the free version of Google Analytics
Both of these opportunities will net you dollars, either by uncovering ways to guide visitors to conversion or by cutting costs – those paid to analytics vendors. Let’s look at each of these ideas in more detail.
Get Your House in Order – optimize your site with your existing analytics data
Often I am asked to join discussions on the latest new tracking techniques only to discover that the business has no plan for using data they have already. Think of it this way – if you’ve already got a car in the garage that you don’t drive – do you really need another?
There are a number of easy data streams available for business teams if – and it’s a big ‘if’ – they want to take the time to look through the data. More often than not, though, here’s what happens. Sales teams from the next-big-thing tool companies are selling a bad premise – namely, that the insights they are peddling will just fall into your lap.
Here’s what you need to know: You have to work for truly valuable insights, but it’s not as hard as you may think. Yes, I am a data geek – and I love this stuff. But you don’t have to. There are reports you can monitor on a regular basis that will reveal very valuable and easy-to-understand insights.
- Top 250 on site search keywords
- Look at the result set for each keyword. Does the result set on the first page of results make sense? Can you manipulate the results to push higher margin items closer to the top?
- Look for new terms that haven’t been there previously, identify if there are trends in these new terms and feed info to marketing and merchandising team to see if there are opportunities to promote that product type better on the site
- Keywords that return zero results
- Update product keywords and/or search logic to ensure that results do return for these keywords
- Landing page by marketing channel
- When is the last time you understood your true ROI per campaign/keyword/ad group? Locate landing pages that had a lower than desired ROI. Has the message sent to them been optimized, or could the landing page be tweaked to better drive conversion?
- Page load time correlated with site-wide conversion
- There is a direct correlation between how fast your pages load and conversion, and there are so many ways that page loads can be sped up and optimized. Start with your 10 slowest loading pages, work to improve the page load time, and watch your conversion rate go up correspondingly.
What does this cost?
Time. It is true that time does cost money, and to be fair, many of these activities are best performed by a person on your staff whose sole responsibility is analyzing data and providing recommendations. That is where the cost comes in, but the benefits truly do outweigh the cost.
Be Brave – stop paying for data you’re not using
This might be hard to hear, but one of the best ways to make money is to terminate contracts for analytics technology you’re not using. If working through the four activities I just listed above is not something you see the organization doing over the next six months, then what exactly are you paying your analytics tool to do?
Want sales, order and traffic data? You can get that for FREE with Google Analytics. The install of this tool is almost laugh-ably easy.
And this is not to diminish the capabilities of Google Analytics. It is a tool that has many enterprise-level features that make the likes of Coremetrics and Omniture SiteCatalyst shake in their boots, plus a UI that is much better suited for a staff that can only look at site data a minimal amount of time.
It might be controversial for someone in the digital analytics space to recommend taking away features in your data set, but if you’re not using the tool, then there is nothing truly lost.
What does cost?
It will require some IT resources to rip out the code for your paid analytics provider and add in Google Analytics if you don’t already have it. Although, according to the latest estimates I’ve read, there are 17.5 million web sites with Google Analytics installed. So chances are, you already have it on your site.
Prioritize Your Focus Areas
At the start of this post I noted that these opportunities could net you an extra $100,000 per year and admittedly, that is actually a conservative estimate.
Many paid analytics contracts exceed this number, so figuring out how much you could gain by terminating that relationship is easier to quantify. When it comes to how much you can gain by optimizing your site, the sky’s the limit.
I recommend prioritizing your area of focus based on the type of ROI you can expect. If your budget for paid marketing is high, then start there to make sure you’re getting valuable visits. If your page load speed is higher, then focus efforts there to drive up conversion as page load time goes down.
There are opportunities sitting in your report suite right now that can improve your bottom line in 2013. The hardest part is knowing where to look and when it’s time to stop paying for data.