Why Most Companies Fail to Realise the Benefits of Analytics

There are many reasons that we have seen over the years that we have been operating. Some of the most common are:

Not taking analytics seriously

This is the single biggest risk factor that we see with any company. Most companies fail to look any deeper than the top line numbers such as total visits, campaign visits and sales. Whilst this information is useful it is really less than a tiny fraction of the value.

Analytics can provide competitive insights and advantages if used well. Some of our clients have employed very simple techniques to gather information about which other companies or products their customers are considering by adding some small features to their website. Others are gathering data that can help them to measure price elasticity and to refine how they develop future products. There are many, many opportunities to use analytics to provide far more commercially valuable outcomes than simply identifying which campaigns are converting.

Lack of understanding

Whilst this is a similar problem to the first reason it is actually the cause of many more day to day problems. Getting results from web analytics tools is hard but it is harder when the data is misused or misunderstood. Even simple things such as a common and understood definition of what exactly a visitor is. How many times have you used or heard the phrase, can you tell me how many hits our website has? This is just one small example of the often muddied thinking that surrounds web site performance measurement and analytics in general.

A key part of the solution to this problem is in the implementation of measurement frameworks with clearly documented terminology, performance indicators, processes and designated responsibilities.

Insufficiently Skilled Staff

There is a huge variety in the skills of people working in the area of analytics. What most companies fail to understand that the skillset required for a highly effective web analytics professional covers many areas and that there are very, very few individuals who have all of these skills. Even fewer have significant experience.

Typically a company seeks to fix this issue by sending the relevant team members off on training programs on how to use Google Analytics or similar. The problem is that this is a little like sending a team member off on a course on how to use the accounting software and expecting them to produce the financial reports and analysis for the company. It is clearly an absurd expectation. Yes some basic skills can help people to be more effective however unless they then apply these skills in a structured way the value generated is very small.