A Look Back At Conversion And Analytics In 2015
Now that we've popped the champagne corks and said goodbye to 2015, columnist Brian Massey takes a look at which Conversion and Analytics columns resonated the most with readers and what we can learn for 2016.
What a year it was for Conversion and Analytics. Just in case you didn’t read (or listen to) every single Marketing Land column I wrote in 2015, I’m going to summarize the year for you here. Not only that, but I’m going to recap the year with the guidance of you, my readers.
Comparing My Choices To Your Choices
Apparently, what I think is awesome to write about differs from what my audience finds awesome to read about. This is the puzzle at the heart of all conversion optimization: What do my visitors expect from my writing, and why do they think in such twisted ways?
Here is a word cloud of the titles of my 13 columns in 2015. The larger the word, the more often it appeared.
Here is a word cloud of the titles with more weight given to those you, my eager readers, visited most.
Taking the largest words from the first cloud, we would determine that I thought you should read about “Conversion Optimization for Websites using Google Analytics.” Based on your visits, you said you wanted, “Ways to do Website Optimization with Google Analytics. Like a boss.”
The Home Page And Mobilegeddon
Home Page, Help Me Choose
The primary job of your home page is to get people on their way into your website. It is not a billboard.
The only service your home page should provide is “help me choose.” Help your visitors choose to stay with clear value propositions. Help them choose the next step in their journey through your site.
Lower Revenue Is Scarier Than Google
If you are blowing up your entire website to support mobile devices, you may be blowing up your conversion rate. Think twice before converting your high-performing desktop website into a responsive site.
Too often, redesigns cause drops in revenue. Consider an adaptive mobile site instead.
Mobile visitors don’t want a desktop experience, especially on small-screen devices. They want a mobile experience.
Ways To Get More From Your Data
You definitely wanted more “ways” to understand the data your analytics are providing. The third most viewed column this year was “3 Refreshing Ways To Look At Marketing Analytics.”
The key takeaway here is that analytics is like a scavenger hunt. It’s a game of deduction and induction. It’s like “Angry Birds,” only productive.
Don’t take your analytics so seriously; expand your definition of what analytics really is, and have fun.
[pullquote]Once you’ve started to explore this new world of “unalytics,” you will get very good at asking, “Where could we get more data about this?”[/pullquote]
You also geeked out on “5 Steps To Finding Hidden Website Optimization Gems.” This little epistle is all about ranking hypotheses. The steps are these:
- Scrape together some evidence and write down your hypotheses.
- Rate the traffic that each hypothesis affects.
- Determine if the hypothesis is hard to test.
- Rate each hypothesis based on what you know about your visitors.
- Put each hypothesis into a category.
I offered a free spreadsheet for you in this column, as well.
Focus On An Important Segment Of Your Visitors
Rounding out the top five for 2015 is “Use Google Analytics To Treat Your Account Holders Like Royalty.” This is a more technical how-to on tracking visitors who have accounts, whether they are logged in or not. I write about how to treat someone who is much more than just a prospect.
[pullquote]Account Holders should be encouraged walk around your site in their socks on the plush red carpet you’ve provided for them.[/pullquote]
Making Better Marketing Decisions
We’ve got it rough as marketers. There are ever-increasing sources of data. There are new ways to bring traffic. There are new ways to deliver content.
We have to make big bets on search, content, analytics, optimization and what to feed our pets every month.
This shows up in the word cloud where “decisions” and “marketing” are prominent.
Don’t Get Bit By Small Sample Sizes
In “Everything’s Bigger In Texas: Sampling & Google Analytics Reports,” I talk about the dangers of small sample sizes. When we make decisions based on poor data, we make poor decisions.
This column walks you through the quick analysis in Excel that will tell you if you’re dealing with enough data to hang your reputation on.
[pullquote]I highly recommend that you start with reality before you believe anything Google Analytics tells you.[/pullquote]
How Many Marketers Have Optimization Tools Installed?
In May, I did an analysis of the higher education marketplace to see how many schools, universities and student-service organizations were optimizing their sites. What I found was, well, scandalous.
While 78 percent of these organizations had web analytics installed, only 3.4 percent had A/B testing tools installed. Less than five percent had any sort of session recording or click-tracking software installed.
These organizations are paying significantly for very desirable traffic. Why so little attention to optimization?
How A/B Testing Tools Are More Than Win-No Win
In “The Multi-Goal Magic Of Split Testing Software” I show you that A/B testing tools are really sophisticated analytics tools. They tell you more than whether a change is better or worse for your site. I walk you through the ways you can measure funnels anytime using these tools.
What Biases Are Coloring Your Decisions?
One of my favorite columns was on the biases that infiltrate your design and marketing decisions. Biases turn well-meaning team members into “bias zombies looking for the next person to misguide.”
I discuss several biases. My favorites are pro-innovation bias, survivorship bias, recency bias and selective perception.
The cure, according to my insightful column, is cultural. You must instigate a culture that relies on data to squeeze out bias.
[pullquote]Use data to help you overcome these withering biases.[/pullquote]
Lessons For 2016
Based on this analysis, I have no idea what to change in 2016. This is an interesting analysis that generates more questions than it answers.
And THAT is exactly what analysis is supposed to do.
The hypotheses that I will test in the next year are these:
- You are concerned about your website.
- Optimization is important to you.
- You are looking for actionable content, “ways” to accomplish your goals.
- I use the word “like” too often in my titles.
I look forward to seeing more of you in 2016.