When you log in to any analytics tool, for instance HitSniffer or Google Analytics (or both if you're a super geek like me) you're greeted with an overwhelming amount of data. Having this wealth of information at your fingertips is awesome, but it can also hinder you.
When it comes to analytics – less is more. And by less I'm talking about segmenting your visitors like there's no tomorrow.
I've written before about how to create custom segments in Google Analytics so I won't repeat that (only link to it) however in this post I want to show you how to not be mislead when it comes to seeing where your email subscribers really come from.
Visits Isn't Always The Best Metric
To be sure you want to measure visits over time. The general trajectory of the graph we like to see if up and to the right. However visits alone doesn't tell the story of where the highest converting traffic is. Here's what I mean.
This is a screenshot I took this morning of my Google Analytics visitor stats between April 1, 2012 and April 26, 2012:
Looking at this the United States looks pretty awesome with 44.34% of all visitors, with the UK trailing quite behind with a modest 9.23%. But guess what? For April, when it comes to email subscribers, these two countries are two of my lowest converters! (Sorry everyone)
Now there could be many reasons for that, some of which might be uncovered by further analysis. Let's table that for now and focus on where my email subscribers came from this month.
To find that out, assuming you have set up goals (which I hope you have!), you want to:
- Expand the Demographics menu on the left
- Select Location
- On the map overlay click the Goal Set 1 tab (or whichever set you use to track email conversions)
- Sort the data by your email subscription goal
In graphic that looks like this:
Once you have the data sorted you will see exactly where your email subscribers are coming from. For me it's:
Hold on a second – what is this?! Even though a mighty 44.34%of my visitors came from the US it only accounts for 0.23% of my email subscribers. The top countries? Unexpectedly Israel, Indonesia, Spain and Thailand.
Very interesting stuff.
Focus On What Really Matters
The lesson here is to not be bowled over by certain large numbers when focusing on what really matters to your business. One of the KPIs (key performance indicators) I use is email subscribers.
If I was looking purely at visitor numbers I might think that the US is great. In this case I found out, at least for this month, it wasn't compared to a few other countries.
From here I could look at a few months of historical data and look for trends to see if I can take advantage of this. If subscribers from Israel are steadily going up I'd try to find out why and how I can get more.
The bottom line though is to look past the big numbers and focus on the outcomes that really matter for your business. After all, that's what metrics are all about – actionable insight.