‘Big data’ is all the craze at the moment where multinational corporations are cleverly making use of the data they have collected about consumers to pull actionable insights.
On the other hand, it’s amazing to see so many local Hong Kong businesses who may have an online website presence, but do not use any analytics tools to gather valuable insights about their customers behaviour online.
For those who do, many have trouble drawing conclusions from the data and subsequently ‘copy’ from what their competitors are doing, even if the competitor is also confused about understanding their customers online.
In my daily role as an online marketing consultant, I meet many Hong Kong businesses who struggle to understand how and where to spend their online marketing budgets. The fear they have is that they don’t know whether it’ll bring about a positive outcome for the money they spend online.
Rather, they prefer to invest the same amount in traditional marketing channels – like a billboard or magazine advertisement, even though the same investment dedicated online may yield a higher return on investment.
Free analytics tools such as Google Analytics exist and allow businesses to understand various elements such as:
Here are two examples as to why analysing data is crucial to an offline and online business:
Look out for clues in your data as to the location they’re entering from and what language your visitors speak. This can tell you whether you’re doing enough to target English speaking customers or it’s more worthwhile to also explore the Chinese speaking market.
In addition, if you start seeing traffic from another country interested in your services, perhaps there is potential to open up a branch there.
In monitoring your offline marketing performance, understanding your data is potentially useful in determining if the latest magazine ad you ran actually caused any increase in your traffic numbers by comparing your website traffic before and after the launch of the ad.
If it was an effective campaign, you should see a jump in traffic from potential clients looking for more info on your website. If you did see a traffic jump, but didn’t get any increase in enquiries or phone calls, it may be that your website did a poor job at converting these visitors into customers or your magazine ad simply targeted the wrong target market.
Getting it right takes a lot of testing, but understanding your data and being able to draw insightful conclusions can help save you a lot more time and money.
One of the first things I would do is look at your conversion rates from your traffic sources. If you’ve paid for display banners and you’re not seeing many purchases from this traffic source, then it may be a matter of redesigning the banners or reallocating money elsewhere.
Comparing your conversion rates with other stores in the same industry can give you clues as to whether or not you need to improve the quality of your website or launch a promotion to push your potential customers over the line.
Growing your business gets harder and harder each day as competitors and the operating environment gets tougher. Equipping yourself with better data will improve the chances of making better business decisions. If you haven’t already, get Google Analytics onto your website and get cracking.
If you don’t have resources who have data analysis skills, then look to a certified marketing / analytics agency to help you.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Hongkong Business. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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Cisco Chung is the Consulting Director of VC2+, a digital agency based in Hong Kong. His focus is on providing businesses with data driven marketing consulting and services. Cisco's experience in internet marketing has spanned close to a decade and has looked after various businesses from multinationals to single employee startups in both Australia and Hong Kong.