...you need to drastically rethink what it means to use data on the web...there is a lot of data, but there are fundamental barriers to making intelligent decisions...because clickstream data is great at the what, but not at the why...it's important to know what happened, but it is even more critical to know why people do the things they do on your site...and the what else, which is perhaps the most underappreciated data on the web...your web analytics tool can report only what it can record...if you marry the what with the why and the what else, you'll have a lifetime of happiness...

-Avinash Kaushik (@avinash), Web Analytics 2.0


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You've got enough work to do, right?  All you want is a report.  You just want to see that all of that hard work you are doing for your website is paying off.  You want to see that blue line go up and to the right.  It makes you feel good.  Hey, I know the feeling.  The problem is that if you stop there, you will fall behind.  Likely way behind.  The web 2.0 world that we live in requires more than getting more visitors to your site.

Although those reports make you feel good, they don't tell you what to do next.  They don't tell you what your competitors are doing and how you can and should react.  Yes, there is value in feeling good.  But feeling good doesn't grow your business.  It doesn't give you insights that will push you ahead into the future.  In fact, looking at a visitor line in your web analytics that goes up and to the right doesn't do much of anything at all.  It just means more people found your site.  Unless they're buying, more visitors mean nothing.

What will push you ahead, on the other hand, is information about your customers that your competitors don't know, information about your competitors that they don't know about you, and the ability to turn that information into experiments and apply what you learn.

December 2, 2011

Mike Fleming specializes in Analytics and Paid Search for Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @SEMFlem. Mike enjoys playing, writing and recording music along with playing basketball to get his workout in. He resides in Canton, Ohio with a girl who threw a snowball at him one day…then married him.

Mike and the team at Pole Position are available to help clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Contact them via their site or by phone at 866-685-3374.


Many marketers get so caught up in the data and spend so much time analyzing it that they aren't spending necessary time to actually market themselves properly. Important tactics like content marketing get pushed to the side because so much time is spent on crunching numbers. Data analysis should never replace the functions that will actually result in new business.

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Search Engine Guide > Mike Fleming > How to Have a Lifetime of Happiness on Your Website