When we see the word “analytics,” this is the image that pops into our heads:
Good ol’ Google Analytics. Data like this measures every detail of our website. It’s not just “analytics,” it’s “web analytics.”
Web analytics does a fantastic job at measuring your website. Pageviews, bounce rates, time on site, it’s all there.
But how much of this is actually useful? If you’re a major internet marketing geek like myself, you will find data that will help you grow your business. The thing is, it’s not easy to find the data that matters. When we focus on our web site, we have to piece together all sorts of random information in an attempt to figure out what our customers are doing. This is doable if you:
- Spend way too much time on the internet
- Have experience with behavioral psychology, web design, and marketing
- Don’t scream in terror at the sight of endless rows of data
- Can manhandle your analytics to give you the data you need
- Have the time to wade through everything until you find a piece of data worth acting on
For most people, several of these criteria are deal-breakers. So what are our options? Should we just ignore web analytics?
There’s a better way to do all this.
Using Customer Analytics
With web analytics, all our data is organized around our website. We have lists of pageviews, landing pages, and traffic sources. But there’s no way to organize the data around our customers.
The most critical piece of all this data (our customers) is completely missing. Well, that’s no good. I don’t know about you but I’d much rather spend time analyzing data on actual people instead of my website. I’d be able to stop spending so much time on data sources of low value like pageviews and get much better insights by looking at what real people are doing.
By dropping the data on our web site and focusing on our customers exclusively, the data becomes much easier to manage. We’re not dealing with abstract data on a landing page, we have data on actual people. We know where each person came from, what they did on our site, how they became a customer, what they did as a customer, all of it.
Data on real people is easier to understand and use.
This is called customer analytics. Instead of focusing on your site, it collects data on your customers. In fact, every bit of data is tied to a real person.
What Customer Analytics Looks Like
This all sounds great in theory, but what does this sort of thing look like?
Check out this report:
This is data on an individual customer. Now, I’ve blurred out a line at the top which is where the email address is displayed. We know how much they’ve spent with us (in total), where they came from, and how frequently they visit our site.
There’s also data like this:
This timeline shows EVERY action a single person has had with our business. We know what feature’s they’ve used, what actions they’ve taken, and we know how many times they did each action on each day. And those fancy lines connect the steps of funnels that we’re tracking. We have a complete picture for how a customer behaves.
Data from reports like these tells the story of our customers. We know what matters most to them so we can work to build a business they love. And if we run into data we can’t make sense of, we have their email address. Within a few minutes, we can reach out them directly and get feedback on how we’re doing.
The only product I know that provides data like this is KISSmetrics.
Full Disclosure Time: I’m the Marketing Analyst at KISSmetrics which provides businesses like yours with customer analytics. This is where I’ve pulled these reports from. If you’re interested in learning more about customer analytics, reach out to me and I’ll help however I can.
Other Customer Analytics Options?
Ever other instance of customer analytics that I’ve seen was built in-house. In other words, the company paid an engineer (or an entire team) full-time to collect data from multiple sources and organize it around their customers. Considering you’ll pay at least $100,000 in salary to a single engineer, you’ll easily spend hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of several years to get a system like this fully functioning.
If you’re looking for a plug-and-play solution, I don’t know of any other options besides KISSmetrics. Definitely let me know if you’ve seen another example of customer analytics, I’d love to check it out.