Why is Analytics Important?


By Jay Adamsson

Businesses.  Charities.  Non-Profits.  NGOs.  Corporations.  Associations.

No matter how you describe your organization, you have goals.  Whether those goals are to make money, to raise awareness, or to change the world, your organization exists for that purpose.  And in today’s world, the internet is front and centre in communicating with the world around you, and in particular your target audience.

But how much time, effort, and resources do you currently put towards your on-line presence?  Do you have a website?  Actively engage on social media?  Use  AdWords or other on-line advertising?  Invest in search engine optimization?

Nothing comes for free, so any organization has to invest resources towards their goals.  Whether these resources are financial, human, or otherwise, a choice has been made to apply that resource in one manner rather than another.

But how do you determine if you are getting a good return on your investment?

Do you make your decisions on how and where to spend your resources based on experience,  gut feel, educated guesses or on the activities or your competitors?

Smart business or organizational decisions are supported by sound evidence.  But, for decades, one of the largest challenges in the marketing world (particularly among small businesses or organizations without a large budget) was determining the effect of any particular action.  An ad would run on the radio, and another on television, then a flyer would be distributed, and hopefully over the long run, sales would increase.  But it was very difficult to make a smart decision about reducing the television budget and increasing radio play.  You could tell how much you spend, and you could see your final sales, but you didn’t have much information about everything in between.

Website analytics changes all this.  In the on-line world, we are fortunate that our digital marketing and communications efforts can be measured in ways traditional efforts cannot. Now we can track and evaluate all the steps from investment through sales.  We can find out how many visitors are using our website, where they come from, and what they do once they get there.  We know how many times people are taking action from an advertisement.  We know where they are from, and whether they are engaged with the website or not. We can know if our Facebook visitors are more likely to support us than our Twitter followers. We can then compare this information to our expectations, and make smart decisions based on the evidence.

And, more importantly, we can try changing our tactics and see the impact immediately.  No more guessing.  We have concrete information about banner ads vs. AdWords vs. additional content vs. social media. We can make better decisions about when to develop a new website or change the existing website. This makes any organization more effective, able to make smart, informed decisions instead of relying on guesswork.