Data: Stopping You Resting On Your Laurels

I’ve harped on about my reliance on data, rather than gut feeling, for a long time both here and everywhere else. I’m a firm believer that decisions should be based on fact, rather than anything else. This short article will explain an example of that which has been a part of this week with a very successful client of fifty6.

The Backstory

Our client, who unfortunately I won’t name here, is a successful retailer in their niche. In fact, they originally got in touch because they just needed the final push to become #1 in the market. That’s always a nice position to be in as an agency, because there are undoubtably strong foundations to build on.

A lot of work has gone in on both sides since the beginning of our relationship, which started this year. Plenty of tidying up, addressing the messiness associated with rapid business growth. Plenty of making sure that mentions off-site were passing link equity, that sort of thing. Everything has been going well, to be completely honest.

The Weakness

Over time, the focus becomes less about the obvious, and more about looking deeper into long term data to see where the trends are. That helps make informed decisions about what else needs doing for big wins.

This particular client has enjoyed a 31% increase in revenue year on year, and they are rightly pleased with that. It would be easy to see that figure and continue doing what’s working, but that would be dangerous. For that reason, we look for more.

Every month, a report is generated for clients which has a myriad of stats and facts and figures. On their own, they can be useful. Combine and analyse them together, and you can find some startling realisations.

The Report Data

This particular realisation comes from two sets of graphs. The first concentrates on splitting traffic by device used:

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 15.42.23

As you can see, mobile and tablet data has increased massively year on year – from 33% to 43%. This means that the split between desktop and non-desktop traffic to the site is near on 50:50.

Further down the report, we do the same for revenue:

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 15.42.36

The results here show that non-desktop revenue share has also increased, but only from 23% to 30%. Ideally, if the clients site was performing at its best, we’d be seeing similar numbers across the board. This is a retail site, so traffic to this site has buying intent – there was obviously something wrong.

The (somewhat) Simple Solution

Luckily for everyone involved, there is a very simple reason for this data – they had no mobile optimised site. The site is pretty difficult to use on anything smaller than a desktop screen. That fact will be causing a lot of the disparity between traffic and conversions. So the first step for this client is to address that, and I’m pleased to say we’re not far off. I’m looking forward to seeing the results.

But what if your site is already mobile friendly and you’re seeing similar results? Then you need to dig further into the data – find the bottleneck, experiment with solutions, and improve based on the figures. It’s the only way. If you concentrate on the data, you won’t have any laurels to rest on.

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