Growth Hacking, Retention, Acquisition, Conversion: Growthmint

Day 5: Analytics

Analytics is the discovery and communication of meaningful patterns in data. Analytics software allows you to more easily discover these patterns by tracking your metrics.

Analytics make monitoring the key areas of your application and determining the weak points and providing feedback as you test out new improvements.

To start, you need general analytics software that covers as many of your metrics as possible. This will give you an overall picture of how your marketing and product are performing.

Example

  • Google Analytics - Free and strongest when tracking metrics around acquiring new customers and analyzing that data.
  • Mixpanel - Mixpanel offers a free plan, but it’s only meant as a taste of their product and is limited with the amount of data that can be measure. One of the strongest parts of Mixpanel is their cohort analysis ability.
  • Kissmetrics - Kissmetrics offers a free trial so you can at least test it out before you commit, though its 14 day length is on the short side. Like Mixpanel, Kissmetrics is great for measuring product metrics and doing cohort analysis.

Pro Tip

There are many tools available, but I recommend you start with Google Analytics. There are a huge amount of resources available on setting it up, managing it and getting the most out of it. They will be very helpful in preventing a lot of the frustration that can result from setting up analytics poorly.

If you already have Google Analytics, look into either using Mixpanel or Kissmetrics. Google analytics offers a lot, but falls short when tracking product metrics and you can use Mixpanel or Kissmetrics to fill in the holes.

Action

Set up google analytics if you don’t already have it set up. You can find instructions here.

Specialized Analytics software

Specialized analytics software is software developed for a niche purpose such as landing page analytics software like Unbounce or analytics developed specifically for web publishers like Chartbeat.

Depending on your business, you may be better served by adding a more specialized analytics product to what you currently use. For example, when conducting a paid advertising campaign, you may want better data than Google analytics has on how people are interacting with your landing pages.

Crazyegg provides heat maps and other tools that you to see how your potential customers navigated a landing page to better optimize it.

Powerful, but not perfect

No analytics software is perfect. Each Analytics vendor has their own beliefs about the way things should be measured, which can lead to metrics with identical names between software vendors actually measuring different things.

The key is to know these shortfalls as you examine your data to make sure you aren’t driven down a false path or draw conclusions your data can’t support.

Analytics audits are highly recommended to make sure you avoid these issues and other issues associated with poor data.

Example

A great example of what can happen with no data audits is Facebook’s data collection bug for their Page Insights analytics tool. Facebook made moves in 2012 that really started to reduce page reach while pushing their advertising product. Many businesses operating Facebook pages complained of drops in reach. This was a really big issue for Facebook at the time and caused a lot of bad press. Facebook finally did an audit of the tool and found that they had been under reporting reach for a while.

Pro Tip

Conduct quality assurance audits on your Analytics - Analytics audits are a necessity.

Action

Use this tool to make sure Google Analytics is installed on every page of your site.

Dashboards and Charts

Analytics dashboards are very useful – they allow you to have all your important charts in one place and reduce the amount of time it takes you to determine the health of your business.

Good analytics software will provide dashboards for you and allow you to customize yours to your product’s specific needs. Good analytics software can also be customized for other employees and functions.

Pro Tip

Some startups build a company wide dashboard and display it on a flat screen TV in their office. This helps focus on the company on the metrics that really matter and makes referencing those metrics easier.

Action

Set up a simple dashboard in Google Analytics.

When to look at analytics

Just as there’s a need for focus with metrics, you need to be careful how many analytics reports you take on and how often you look at them. This is especially a problem with Google Analytics since it offers so many reports and features.

Some of your reports will be make sense to be run daily, others weekly and others only after a marketing campaign has been run.

For example, if you have enough traffic, your referral sources can be helpful to look at multiple times a week (if not daily) for anything you should react to quickly.

Pro Tip

To save time, you’ll want to see what automated reports are available through the analytics you’re using. For example, with Google Analytics, you can send email reports to yourself and coworkers to save you the time of logging into Google Analytics and sifting through the data each time.

Action

Look at the reports and metrics you plan to track. Determine how often and when you should look at each metric and report.