Much like the basic principles of modern medicine, a key part of digital marketing is having the skills and tools to accurately diagnose and treat an ailment, based on an informed analysis of the symptoms.

In today’s digital age of burgeoning automation, connectivity, and unparalleled access to data, decision makers are increasingly recognising the value of harnessing information already within their business, looking to their digital strategy to identify and cure all manner of business conditions as a result.

But, how many businesses are truly utilising the myriad of data segments available to them, and how many are still reliant upon the practice of bloodletting?

Common practice

Considered one of medicine’s oldest and most enduring practices, bloodletting was for hundreds of years offered as the first line of treatment for curing everything from epilepsy to gout. It wasn’t until the 1800s that science-based treatments and technologies began to discredit the practice, and with hindsight we now know that not only was the treatment ineffective for the vast majority of cases, it often made them worse, sometimes even killing the patient.

At the time however, confronted with a dead client, doctors naturally assumed the patient was doomed anyway, so it’s important that we ensure our digital strategies aren’t working in the same way. In the search for intuitive, intelligent solutions to the challenges of online business, it makes sense that we should turn to ‘proven’ tactics that promise to simplify the problem and ensure a comprehensive answer.

In the process however, what we don’t expect is to run the risk of a digital strategy that at best could have no impact, and at worst result in a burn rate that skyrockets. And yet, we do.

Why? Because much like bloodletting, there is no single action or insight that can be relied upon to improve a business’s overall online performance; but rather a plethora of smaller actions and insights that must be sought in order to address each individual challenge, one symptom at a time.

Data breakthrough

If looking at the conversion rate of a business as an aggregated number, it will move slowly, almost independently of whatever you try to do about it. But if a conversion rate is traced back to what is attributing to it, for better or worse, streams of traffic and users can be isolated and treated independently, as a unique patient. Only then can you confidently go back to your overall progress to see how far you have moved the needle.

To do this, you must segment your data and look for things that stand out. The top-level reports in Google Analytics for example, aren’t enough; the best insight is hidden much deeper.

The problem traditionally with digging further into the data is that it’s complicated, time consuming, and therefore costly. A dedicated web analyst can expect to spend hours – even days – looking for something insightful, and as a consequence the resulting projects are often even bigger, making it almost impossible to identify or take action on the things that actually matter.

An even more costly business intelligence solution or platform however, isn’t the only alternative to achieving useful insight from data segments fast. Google Analytics is free, it’s intuitive, and for many within its user base of approximately 30 million people, its potential remains largely untapped.

Rather than bloodletting the online business however, drawing the data to the surface, automated solutions are an endoscopy into its web analytics, providing a detailed segment analysis and highlighting key areas of concern, freeing up resource to spend more time implementing the cure.

Conclusion

There is no magic bullet to remedy an online business all at once, but there are technologies that can enable quick and simple diagnosis and treatment of each area that isn’t performing at its optimum.

Automated solutions have been pegged as the future of industry, manufacturing, even medicine, and digital strategists also stand to benefit from complementary automated tools that can unlock business insight – providing SMES with added flexibility and access to valuable data, and web analysts the freedom to reallocate their time from finding the data to finding the solution.

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About The Author

Rickard Almér is Co-Founder and Director of Analytics, Research and Development at Needl Analytics, a specialist in automated web analytics solutions. An experienced data analyst himself, Rickard has worked for some of the largest companies in Sweden, and he is regarded as one of the leading digital strategists in Sweden today.