Utilizing Web Analytics For More Than Just Marketing

Web Analytics, when set up and segmented correctly, can provide critical data across entire organizations.  Are you taking more from your numbers than just marketing results?

I got reading some comments posted on Avinash Kaushik’s blog (5 + 4 Actionable Tips To Kick Web Data Analysis Up A Notch, Or Two

Read more: http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/2010/07/actionable-tips-web-data-metrics-analysis.html#ixzz0vBPW59Xg), and it really got me thinking about how I perceive web analytics as far as scope and need.

I think I’ve been pigeon holing analytics usefulness to determining the value of an AdWords campaign, or that of a Twitter conversation, or our SEO efforts.  At the end of the day, web analytics can be useful to an entire organization.  Let’s have a look:

Using Web Analytics to Gauge Customer Service Load

Every once in a while, your organization might sell a bum product.  It just happens.  We can expect then that we’re going to get bombarded with inquiries as to how to fix the product, install the product, or return the product (GASP!).

Customer Service and Web AnalyticsPerhaps it might be wise to set up a segment of folks that searched for that product on your website, or maybe got into your FAQ section and looked at data regarding the product.  Over time, we’ll be able to see trends, perhaps timelines from point of purchase to failure, or maybe as simple as understanding how many of your customers are struggling with the product in one way or another.

Then, we can pull in external data from Facebook or Twitter, and see if the overall reaction to it is negative.

Do you need to beef up your call center this weekend?  Do you need to send out a letter (remember those?) or email to people who have bought the product recently?

Even if we don’t have a specific product we need to be concerned about, we can still gauge trends in views of our FAQ’s, Return Policy pages, or Contact Us forms.  We can gain insight into what our Call Centers, electronic customer service, or shipping and receiving departments might be experiencing in the coming weeks.

Web Analytics and the IT Department

….or, in many cases, your IT guy.

As businesses grow, websites grow.  Infrastructure grows.  And overhead grows.  Perhaps we can use a combination of our own web analytics and some external sources to help our IT departments prepare for an onslaught of seasonal web traffic.  Or an increased demand for a video or PDF download.

If you’ve been tracking your website for several years, you’ll understand some of the seasonality of your products.  You can share this data with accounting, purchasing, IT and others to help prepare them for increased workload, purchasing requests, or cash flow.  (Yeah… maybe even less cash flow, depending…)

But if you’re website is new, or you just installed web analytics recently, you don’t have access to that.

Enter Google Insights.

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Google Insights for Search
Gadgets powered by Google

Google Insights offers a historical look at searches over time.  Enter your search term (Widgets, in our case.  All imaginary companies sell some kind of widget.), and Google will let you know it’s popularity (scaled against ALL searches) and it’s hot times of year.

Key things to consider:

  1. Is your product set rising or waning in the eyes of searchers?
  2. Do your products have a seasonality that you aren’t taking advantage of?
  3. Add some colors/sizes to your Insight queries.  Are you carrying the right ones?

That will help everyone, from purchasing to IT.  We get to use GOOD data in order to forecast.


I hope we learn to utilize our data to forecast more than just sales.  While sales are the lifeblood of any organization, the backbone (customer service and operations) requires our support as well.

As I mentioned in my comment on Avinash’s blog, marketers effect EVERY aspect of an organization.  By looking deeper into the numbers, we can recognize that impact, and be better internal customers.

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