Analytics is increasingly important for more organizations as a key component of making decisions. Along with this popularity in analytics, the amount of data and information is continuing to grow, with IDC projecting we’ll have over 44 zettabytes of information available by 2020. All of this data can be put to work to learn the best ways to manage your website, develop your products, connect with your customers, and grow your business.
The most exciting trend is that more companies are able to access good, reliable analytics data than ever before, with more small businesses recognizing the power of data and analytics to help them attract new customers. It used to be that analytics was something for “big” organizations and required extensive resources (including technical and human resources to process the data). As Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft predicted “everything is going to be connected to cloud and data.” This will make the process of utilizing analytics even easier and more widespread, which means even small organizations with limited resources, can start to use analytics tools to process data and information to find new opportunities. Along with everything being better connected to data, this trend is also thanks to the sophistication of analytics software and to more sophisticated algorithms that can surface relevant data more quickly. All of this reduces the amount of labor and technical skill required to use analytics tools to process all of this data.
The great thing about this, and the other trend that is occurring, is that people can see what is working specifically for their organization. Without reliable data telling you what it is working or with an inability to utilize data due to clunky interfaces in analytics, it is easy to fall back on “best practices” or copying what another organization did. But copying others or relying on some notion of “best practices” doesn’t lead to growth or success. That’s because every website, every product, and every organization has to be unique in order to stand out in the market and attract customers. Because organizations need to be unique, they need to find their unique strategy toward success. By utilizing analytics tools, organizations can measure what works for them and what doesn’t. This provides a much better alternative to relying on “best practices” or copying competitors. Instead, with analytics and data you can continually refine your website, marketing, sales, product, or services to build on what the data demonstrates works.
Finally, because of how pervasive analytics and data are becoming, organizations will be able to make better decisions about how to invest in their organization's growth. The reason so many small companies stay small, unable to grow as big as they’d hope, is because they aren’t sure how. By carefully measuring everything the organization does, relying on analytics tools and data, organizations will be able to more easily learn what generates the best return. This will allow all organizations, including smaller organizations, to quickly identify and make decisions about what tactics have the best chance of helping their organization succeed.
Matthew Edgar is a web consultant at Elementive. Since 2001, Matthew has helped hundreds of businesses and nonprofits grow through a process of analyzing and improving their website and online presence. He is the author of Elements of a Successful Website published in 2017. Matthew regularly speaks at conferences and teaches workshops about analytics and technical marketing subjects. You can connect on Twitter @MatthewEdgarCO or on his blog at MatthewEdgar.net.