If you have started a business in last couple of years, there is a very high chance that you have an online presence, you are reaching out to your customers via social media or email and the users of your service is using it through a web or mobile app. The advancement of technology hasn’t only increased your potential to reach a huge number of people without going anywhere, it has also added a lot of complexity to it. Fortunately, if you are smart, you can manage these ever piling complexities just from your browser.
In this write-up, we will cover four crucial aspect of your business that must be tracked all the time to live up to the competition. We will also suggest some services that enables you to do so.
Why tracking business metrics are important
Before going into details, let’s take a quick look around why tracking your business is so important. In general people may think, if they are getting customers and generating revenue, everything is fine. However, that might be fine in that moment, but when things go haywire, it is difficult to fix your wrongdoings without major damage. Understanding and tracking your business metrics gives you an idea about:
- How strong is your presence and whether people can find you easily
- How successful you are in capturing people’s attention
- How easy it is for your users to use your service
- What can cause you to lose your customers
- What is your growth in terms of interest, customer / user adoption and revenue
- Who are your loyal users or who is giving you most revenue
- Whether your marketing strategy is paying off
- What is your impression towards your customers
We have identified that you can get answers to the above questions by monitoring four different aspects of your business. They are:
- Web traffic and online presence
- How users interact in your web or mobile app
- Your business operation
- Marketing activities
Let’s dig deep and find out how we can track them and why tracking them would make the business more sustainable.
Web Traffic and Online Presence
Your website and the social pages are are the face of your business. People learns about your services or products there. Naturally, the traffic in your website or page is directly proportional to the interest your business is generating. It is equivalent to greater number of footfall in a physical shop. And if the visitors find your service useful or relevant, they will feel tempted to spend more time in your website. Furthermore, you should know which time of the day your website traffic is at the peak because that is the time when you promote marketing campaigns (i.e- special offer, discount). For Ecommerce business, it is vital to know which are the top viewed product and categories by the visitors. It will provide the owner an understanding about customer preference and effectiveness of product positioning.
The de facto standard for watching your web traffic is Google Analytics. The reason is easily understandable, the free version of Google Analytics supports a wide array of useful features that can be used very easily. On developers side, it is very easy to integrate: just need to include a tracking number in the website. In general, Google Analytics can answer the following questions:
- How many people visit my website?
- Where do my visitors live?
- Do I need a mobile-friendly website?
- What websites send traffic to my website?
- What marketing tactics drive the most traffic to my website?
- Which pages on my website are the most popular?
- How many visitors have I converted into leads or customers?
- Where did my converting visitors come from and go on my website?
- How can I improve my website's speed?
- What blog content do my visitors like the most?
If you want to know more about Google Analytics there are plenty of tutorials available on the web. You can also check out this handy flowchart.
Another must have tool that can tell you about your online presence is Google Search Console. It tells you how people can find you using Google Search and how do you rank among your competitors for relevant keywords. It is a must have tool for SEO. Check out this article to know the basics of Google Search Console.
Though 50% of the top 1000 websites in the world are using Google Analytics to view website performance stats there are some alternates as well. Open Web Analytics and Piwik are two of them. They are specially useful if you want to maintain the analytics service on your own.
User interaction refers to the various functionalities that a user can perform in your website or app. It is also known as behavioral analytics. Opening an account, searching and ordering products and services, posting a query, confirming a payment - all of these falls under user interaction category. Tracking user interactions are tricky as they differs from site to site and app to app. At the same time, it is very important because it tells you how users are using your service, what difficulties they are facing and where are they dropping off.
Two important aspects of behavioral analytics are identifying the cohorts and funnel user activities. Cohorts are user groups that shows similar characteristics or properties. For example female shoppers may show similar way of browsing an e-commerce app or teenage gamers may become addicted to a certain type of game. Identifying the cohorts can provide a great idea about how people are using your service.
Another type of behavioral analysis is funnel analysis. The idea is to check how users perform a number of activities in your site and where do they fall off. For example, in an ecommerce site a user needs to perform the following activities to purchase a product.
- Sign up
- Select category
- Search product
- Select variations (i.e. color and size)
- Add to cart
- Go to cart page
- Provide delivery address and payment information
Now it is possible that your target customer group is search for a particular product which you don’t have in your catalogue. As a result you are losing customers. How to identify that before you could catch the trend? Set up a funnel for your checkout flow and check where users are dropping off. Once you find that it is after the search product step, then you can check what search these people are performing and take steps accordingly.
Mixpanel and Kissmetric are two leading analytics service that lets you track user behavior in your app or site. You can read a comparison between them here: http://effinamazing.com/blog/clash-funnel-analytics-titans-kissmetrics-vs-mixpanel/.
Operations is the part where you do your magic. If you are an ecommerce company your operation is sourcing, selling and delivery, if you are a taxi service then it is finding the the nearby ride for your customer. Users are just ordering a product or calling a taxi, but your business needs to perform hundreds of tasks to meet the demand of the user in earliest possible time. So it’s needless to say that you need to track your operations all the time to check whether everything is going smoothly.
Tracking business operation is even trickier than tracking user behaviors. In most cases, people track some basic aspect of the operation. i.e. What is the volume of total sales this week or how many orders you have received today. But when you want to know something beyond that, you will have to ask your tech guy to run a custom query to find out the answer or you’ll have to export a chunk of data from your database and find the answers by yourself.
Apart from building a reporting dashboard on your own there are couple other solutions that you can use. If your data resides on a database or in a spreadsheet you can use Qlik or Power BI to model those data and create visualizations over them. If you want to build a live dashboard from predefined data sources like Hubspot, Facebook, Google Analytics and many others then there are services like Domo or Klipfolio that lets you do that.
But what if you want to integrate live data from your operations and visualize them in a real time dashboard? Meghdut lets you do just that. Using Meghdut’s API you can send all of your operational data to Meghdut without any human intervention. Once the integration is done you can get live update on your most important metrics, search inside the data and segment it to create customized reports directly from the interface. The dashboard is designed to be used without any technical knowledge.
Let’s take a look on some of the operational metrics categorized by business types.
|Type of Business||Metrics|
|E-commerce||Sales by Category, Returning Shoppers, Average Cart Size, Average Delivery Time, Trending Products.|
|Taxi Service||Top Pickup Points, Average waiting time / fare / distance per ride, Top Pickup Hours.|
|Consumer Goods Selling||Moving Annual Trend, Top Selling Outlets, Product Coverage, SKU wise Sale, Shelf Life.|
|Medical Marketing||Number of Daily Calls, Doctor Coverage, Calls by Speciality, Prescription count by Generics and Brands.|
Marketing is letting people know about your products and services in an appealing way. Traditionally most marketing activities were outbound and the typical channels were Newspapers and Magazines, Billboards, Radio and Television. But now-a-days the booming marketing channels are Social Media, Online ads and Email.
These new marketing channels have several advantage over the traditionals ones. Such as:
- A broader number of people can be reached with minimal effort.
- It is possible to select your audience based on demographic and interest.
- Its cheaper.
- You can track the reach, effectiveness and ROI of your campaign.
Let’s talk about how you can track your online marketing activities. If we categorize popular platforms for digital marketing we will get a list like this:
|Social Media||Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram|
|Mailchimp, Campaigner, GetResponse, Aweber, Constant Contact etc.|
|Advertisement||Google Adsense, Amazon Associates, G&R etc.|
Whatever your preferred channel is the goal remains the same, putting your content towards your audience. The metric that you must track for this are mostly identical.
- Reach or Impression
- Demographic Breakdown
Reach is the number of people who have seen your content. Engagement is the number of audience who has interacted with it, i.e. clicked on it, liked or commented or shared. It is also important to view these number based on audience demographics such as age, gender or interest. That will give you a solid idea who are getting most attracted by your campaign content.
Fortunately all of the above mentioned platforms provide these basic metrics. But people usually run campaigns on different platforms. So it might become difficult to track all of them by going to specific dashboards or compare their effectiveness to each other. To solve this problem there are couple of aggregator services that can be used. SocialBakers and Netvibes are two such services.
Data is one of the most undervalued asset in most companies. In this age all organizations, specially the ones who are leveraging internet are generating tons of data. But without a proper system, utilizing them is difficult. We have identified that an organization should at least track four aspects of their business: web traffic and online presence, how people are using their service, their operations and marketing activities. We have also reviewed what type of metrics are relevant and what services lets you do that without building a custom solution on your own. We hope it will help you become more data driven in running your business.