Everyone has heard of analytics, and many - including Google Analytics, YouTube Analytics and Facebook Insights - are free to use. However, not all businesses are fully aware of just how useful they can be. Think of them as your very own "crystal ball"; a way of gaining insider knowledge about your audience and your brand's marketing campaigns. Data coming from analytics is a legitimate way of tapping into the minds of your consumers, and is therefore something no company can afford to ignore. Many say that checking their analytics throughout the day could be the most important 15 minutes they spend.
The range of analytical data available to businesses can be overwhelming, and many become frustrated or confused about what it all means. It is therefore important to have clear objectives on what you want to find out about your audience. Analytics can be broadly split into two groups: Web Analytics and Marketing Analytics.
Web Analytics allow you to find out exactly how your site is performing. The most commonly used tool for this job is Google Analytics, but there are other tools available that expand on the data provided, giving you access to more in-depth options such as Heat Maps and Eye Tracking.
Web Analytics enable you to discover how people have initially located your site, how they behave once they are on your site and why they leave. All of these factors are integral to having a successful online presence. Once you know how they found you, you'll be able to pinpoint what is working well and what isn't.
Even the basics, such as traffic and bounce rate, are critical. Just because you have built a website, it doesn't mean traffic is going to automatically come to it. Web Analytics let you see how many site visits you have received, how many were unique visitors, and whether you are capturing new audiences. The bounce rate tells you how many people visit your site and then quickly leave, helping you to identify problem areas such as navigation or lack of content.
What is the best time of day to interact with your audience? Web Analytics can tell you that too, including the time of day and day of the week most people visit your site. It is also able to inform you about how they accessed your site - for example, via their mobile device or desktop - as well as their location.
Web Analytics allow you to tweak and improve the quality of content on your site so that you can give visitors exactly what they are looking for; this, in turn, will help improve conversion rates.
Marketing Analytics are the measurement and optimisation of your marketing activities. Understanding marketing analytics allows your business to be more efficient and streamlined as well as minimising wasted marketing costs.
Marketing Analytics enable you to delve deep into how your marketing activities are performing. You can find out the ROI of every specific marketing channel you use, gauge how many shares, likes and views your Facebook posts are receiving by content type, measure how many signups and conversions an email receives and much more.
Unlike Web Analytics, Marketing Analytics enable you to find out how your audience made the decision to actually visit your site. Marketing Analytics go beyond on-site indicators and lean on other tools, offsite metrics, and even offline efforts. They take a "whole-picture" approach to the measurement of your marketing, even allowing you to use the information gained from them to drive more targeted traffic and increase revenue.
Web and Marketing Analytics are equally important. Finding where they meet allows you to create marketing "sweet spots" that will allow you to stay ahead of your competitors by tracking every aspect of your business.
The travel sector is a notoriously fast-paced and competitive industry, so using analytics like these is more relevant than ever in order to stay ahead of your game.