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What Google Analytics won’t tell you

One of my favourite expressions is this:
“Successful Marketing is the Consistent Application of Common Sense”.

With all the marketing tools at our disposal, it is all too easy to overlook the obvious answers that often lie right before our eyes. A case in point: An organization selling consumable products recently asked me whether there was a way in Google Analytics to determine why customers did not come back to reorder in greater numbers. They had found that many of their purchasers were net new contacts, rather than existing customers reordering.

While Google Analytics is good at many things, it cannot generally answer a ‘Why’ question. It is much better at answering the ‘What’ question. I.e. what happened to my conversion rate last month? How many new visitors did the site attract and where did they come from etc. To find answers to the ‘Why’ question, you have to look elsewhere. And while On-site surveys are often a good way to answer the ‘why’ questions, this situation did not require any tools.

It just required some common sense. After chatting with the client for a bit, it turned out that they usually sent their brand name products (3rd party brands) in non-descript brown shipping boxes. Once the product (e.g. cleaning detergent) arrived at the client site and was stacked on a shelf, there was NO way to identify where the order had come from. As a result, once it came time to reorder, the purchasers would look at the bottle and – more often than not – type the product name into Google. Presto: an easy opportunity for reordering was wasted.

Bart Simpson - A champion of common sense

The simple solution: the client is now adding a small sticker to their products – a purchaser now can either visit the website or call to reorder… Result: reorder rates are up significantly, and the average cost of sale has decreased.

Google Analytics wouldn’t have come up with that in a million years.

The morale of the story: don’t forget to look beyond the tools, and the reams of useful data they produce. Look around you – the answer may very well be staring you in the face.

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