Data Driven Decisions.

Ben Hitchens, Global Personals’ Marketing Site Manager, takes over the blog with some words of wisdom…


Making a decision to change elements of your website or advertising channels should be simple these days, so with all the data that’s provided to us through various analytic packages how can wrong decisions still be made?

If you’ve set up your Web Analytics package correctly you should be benefiting from:

– Traffic Source Knowledge

– Visitor Knowledge

– In-Page Events

– Goal Tracking

– Ecommerce Tracking

With this information you will be able to make informed decisions when trying to improve your website. You will be able to see which traffic source converts the highest, which page creates the most conversions, which event occurs more often and much more. If you don’t already know your highest converting traffic source (down to medium, campaign and term level), and the main reason that causes people to convert, you’re currently making decisions blind.

When people make decisions blind they often justify it with “it just feels right” or “it makes sense to me”. This is just the start. If decisions that “just feel right” are implemented without the data to back them up, how is the impact measured? Can the change ever be accurately reported or will the results be summed up with “I think it worked but I’m not sure really”?

Making Data Driven Decisions will minimize the risk and add creditability to the change because there is real data / fact to measure the decision against. These could be simple decisions such as what you should put on your home page to much larger decisions like adding new steps to the purchasing process. Having the data to back up these decisions is important, but also having the data to know when to reverse the decision is probably more important!
However, there’s always the thought that all the Web Analytics in the world won’t tell you what the customer wants… this is because analytics will only ever tell you what your customer is doing. If you want to know what your customer wants you have two options:

1) Ask them though surveys or directly talking with them

2) Become a customer and use the service you provide and see if you like it!

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