Digital Analytics Intro

NOTE:  I use the word “customers” as a generic term, if you are a non-profit your “customers” are your members, supporters, and patrons.  

I want you to think about the following statement for a second or two and really let it sink in:

“Mobile devices give people instant access to information.” 

Now I wouldn’t blame you if you’re thinking to yourself, “That’s obvious, what am I doing wasting my time here?”  

Yet this has only been “obvious” within the last several years.  It was only in the last couple of years that mobile devices became more popular than computers for online search.

Let me ask you a couple of questions:  

  1. Have you changed how you market or engage with your customers to adapt to this?
  2. Have you thought about how this affects your customer’s expectations and perceptions of you?

At the touch of a button your customer can get information about your competition and where to find them.  They can get real-time pricing comparisons for products and services.  Seemingly objective customer feedback and experiences are available almost instantaneously.  

This means that your customers can develop a perception of your organization without ever stepping foot inside your building, without ever meeting with you in person or even speaking with you on the phone. 


Because mobile devices have given people instant access to information, your customers are the ones that are firmly in the driver’s seat.  

To get and keep their business you must adapt.  You need to lead them to your online presence and then engage with them in positive and memorable ways.  


What are digital analytics, how do they relate to your customer’s experience with you online, and why should you care?

Digital analytics are the use of tools and processes that measure customer interactions with your organization online.  With this information you then make strategic changes to improve your organization’s bottom line.  

Unfortunately, raw numbers alone can leave you wondering why a customer decided to engage with you or instead to choose your competitor.  

That’s where qualitative tools like online surveys, customer service interactions, forums, and even email can be used.  These tools help you answer the really big questions like: “Why?  Why did they stop the checkout process before purchasing?  Why did they choose to work with my competitor instead of me?”

No matter the type of organization, you can become more successful by improving the quality of your existing customer relationships and by reaching new customers in helpful and engaging ways.  A well developed online presence and strategy will help you to do this.

With the proper use of digital analytics and qualitative data gathering you can learn how to best apply your limited resources of time, money, and talent to make strategic improvements that will stimulate growth and improve your customer’s perception of you online.


Set Your Goals


You’ve got to have measurable goals.  However, your goals may not be as simple as “Sell more widgets.”  You may also want to track other valuable customer online actions such as:

  1. Gaining contact information for potential sales leads.
  2. Encouraging engagement and discussion about your brand or mission.
  3. Helping customers to find information, so they will view you as a trusted expert or resource.

Definition(s): The term “conversion” is used a lot in marketing.   A conversion is an action being taken towards a particular goal.

A completion of a major goal  is often called a “macro conversion”.  An example of macro conversions is a checkout process being completed online.

A “micro conversion” is a discrete step taken that leads to an eventual macro conversion.  An example of a micro conversion being completed is having a customer sign up for an email which will notify them when an item goes on sale.


Make Things Better For You and Your Customers

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Collecting data about your customers helps you find trends in their micro and macro conversion stages.  Digital analytics gets you numerical data relevant to this process and helps you to identify problem areas and also those that are working well for you.  Often you learn why customers are hesitating, or why they are moving forward, by asking them questions.  

Update your strategy and make changes based upon the insights learned from your analysis.  Then check to see if those changes have made measurable improvements.  Testing your hypothesis is crucial to determine whether you are interpreting the information correctly.  It is common to be unconsciously biased or emotionally attached to a particular point of view.  Test your theories, then measure the results to show what really works or doesn’t.

Your real goal is to make improvements in your relationship with your existing customers and to help you gain new ones.  With digital analytics you measure these improvements via their micro and macro conversions.  Using qualitative tools you find out about their interaction experiences and satisfaction levels.  

Using these tools together properly will help you develop happier customers and to find more of them.