Applied Analytics: Questions, Answers, and Actions from 13 Reports

Andy Crestodina Presentation Notes

Less than 30% of small businesses are using analytics.

1 in 3 marketers don’t know which tactic has the biggest impact on revenue.

Most people are using analytics wrong, not getting value because they’re just doing reporting. Pretty charts don’t do anything for you unless you take action.

  • Traffic x Conversion Rate = $
  • Everything that we need to do as marketers needs to be designed to affect one of those two numbers.
  • When you look at your Analytics dashboard in the morning, the line goes up and you smile. Or the line goes down and you frown. And then you go back to checking your email. But you need to take action.

Idea > Question > Answer > Action > Test (or Reject the Idea)

“If you see a data puke, then you know you’re looking at web reporting. If you see words in English outlining actions, you’re looking at web data analysis.” – Avinash Kaushik


Whose job is this analytics stuff?

Analytics isn’t something that’s just one specialist’s responsibility; it’s for the person that’s doing the marketing. Everyone is responsible.



  1. Are our visitors using mobile devices?
  • Audience > Mobile > Overview
  • Click the “percentage” view to see a pie chart of the data.


  1. Are mobile visitors less engaged?
  • In this case, mobile visitors are bouncing at a higher rate.
  • Tablet users are converting at a higher rate.
  • Actions:
  • Check the design of landing pages for mobile visitors
  • Create schedule for mobile testing


  1. Is the site working well in every browser?
  • If you wonder if your site is having problems, here’s where to look.
    • Audience > Technology > Browser and OS
  • Bounce rate for every browser: are higher-bounce rate browser users having a tough time accessing the site?
  • Test the site on the browsers with the higher bounce rates.
  • More questions to ask your audience reports
  • Are millennials visiting our website?
  • What are they doing?
  • How many of our visitors are local? National? International?
  • What times of day are people reading our blog?


  1. Which social network is driving the most traffic?
  • Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels > Social
  1. Which social network is driving the best traffic?
  • Select the goal — in this case, newsletter subscribers — and see which networks are most likely to send traffic that might convert.
  • What about lead gen conversions from social? Social media users almost never take action – they don’t have the intent to buy.
  • Search traffic is more likely to convert, which makes sense. They’re looking for something; they have their fingers on the keyboard and are ready to take action.
  • Focus on networking benefits of social media, not traffic benefits. Allocate your resources accordingly.
  1. What phrases are we ranking for?
  • Acquisition > Search Console > Queries

You can use a filter to display which phrases you rank for on page 2. Get a list of phrases for which you almost rank high. Find the pages and confirm the rankings, and then improve those pages. Add detail, keywords, videos, images, internal links, etc.


  • Find the pages. Confirm the rankings
  • Improve the page! Add detail, keywords, videos, images, internal links, etc. More questions to ask your acquisition reports
  • Which email campaigns pull in the most visits?
  • Which pull in visitors who dig deeper?
  • Which sites have linked to us? Who is sending us visitors?



  1. What are people looking for on our site?

Behavior > Site Search > Search Terms

  • You can see what people are searching for on your site.
  • Add the exit page as a dimension.

That way, you can see which audience isn’t finding what they’re looking for based on if they exit on the search results page.


  • Make new pages for phrases that people are looking for and not finding results
  • Optimize your own pages for your own search tool
  1. Are they reading what we’re writing?

Percent Content Consumption Vs. Percent Published

  • Look at the gap between content published versus % of unique page views.


  • Publish more content on those popular topics.
  • Promote the high value content already created.
  • Reconsider your content strategy!


  1. Which posts are the most engaging?

Behavior > Site Content > All Pages


  • Publish more content on the popular topics
  • Do more to promote the low-traffic, high value posts.
  1. What is the top path through our website?
  • If your website was a city, there’d be a highway and you’d know where it was. In

Google Analytics, that’s the behavior flow.

  • Explore traffic through / (your site’s main directory)


  • Put billboards (videos, testimonials, etc.) on highways (your highest traffic flow)
  • Rebalance your navigation
  • Polish up the pages in that top path
  • Get rid of your testimonials page. Nobody’s going there! Social proof is powerful, but put them Every page should be a testimonials page.



  1. Which posts inspire action?
  • Reverse goal path shows you what people were doing before they took an action.
  • See what blog posts people were reading just before they converted into a newsletter subscriber.


  • Drive traffic to high converting posts through social, email, internal links, ads, etc.

Don’t hide your best stuff.

  • Publish more content on these topics.


Connect your traffic champions to your conversion champions.

  1. Which pages support the lead gen funnel?

There are two types of visitors:

  • transactional visitors (wants a product/service) who search for target phrases


  • informational (wants answers) who search for tangent phrases (research-related)

And two types of conversions for each.

  1. Where are we losing people during checkout?


  • Reduce number of steps.
  • Remove distractions.
  • Answer all top questions earlier.

More questions to ask your conversion reports

  • What hour of day, day of week, or month of year are people most likely to act?
  • Are people buying right away?


Data-driven empathy

  • The sweet spot between analytical and creative processes.
  • The sweeter spot: a very analytical process combined with a smaller creative process. The not-so-sweet spot: a huge creative process with a small amount of analysis.

Misc. tricks

  • Import from Gallery: thousands of pre-made, community-created dashboards. (Wow, these are awesome.) Add them in one click to your own Analytics.
  • Create annotations for data events (like spikes or drop-offs). Reasons to add an annotation:
    • Email campaign
    • Change PPC
    • PR hit
    • Website Change
    • Analytics Setup change
  • Use Jing to capture, annotate, and share screenshots.
  • Instill a culture of analysis through a simple meeting agenda:


Brief updates from teams

■ Reports from people, departments and vendors.

■ Any major issues? Any victories?

■ Review dashboards


Review current activities

■ What are the outcomes of the actions we’re taking? Are they worth the time/cost?

■ Reports and analysis: should be adjust our approach? Continue or discontinue the activity?

■ Can anyone support anyone else’s efforts?


Consider new Initiatives

■ Any new ideas? Evidence that this effort will be worth more time/cost?

■ Knowing there’s a time and place to bring up new ideas keeps people from distracting each other all the time.


Action items

■ Expectations should be crystal clear when we walk out of this room.

■ Who’s doing what before the next meeting?


One final tip — how to win every marketing argument for the rest of your career:

Never bring an opinion to a data fight. Because the highest-paid opinion (HiPPO) always wins… unless you have data.


I am a technologist with a strong background in software engineering. I have many interests. My current distractions are 70s-80s-90s music [it's a very eclectic collection], ontology, information architecture, mobile device technology, medical bioinformatics, artificial intelligence, and nanorobotics.

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