October 11, 2011
Like millions of other website owners, I use Google Analytics to analyze my website stats. And while I actually like GA a lot, it isn’t perfect. My biggest pet-peeve with the software is the fact it doesn’t provide real-time results. It has a lag time of at least an hour or two before you can view most of your data, and a full 24-hour lag time on full data reporting. With all the brilliant engineers Google employs, that particular flaw has never made any logical sense to me.
That negative aspect of GA has been bugging the heck out of me for years. Well, finally, that’s all about to change and fast.
How fast? By the time you read this article or shortly thereafter, GA will be providing real-time analytics. All I have to say is, it’s about time!
Google Analytics Announces Real-Time Reporting
On September 29th, John Jersin of the Google Analytics team announced:
“Today we’re very excited to bring real time data to Google Analytics with the launch of Google Analytics Real-Time: a set of new reports that show what’s happening on your site as it happens.
You’ll find the Real-Time reports only in the new version of Google Analytics. If you’re not already using the new version, you can start by clicking the “New Version” link in the top right of Google Analytics. Real-Time reports are in the Dashboards tab (though they will move to the Home tab in the updated interface next week). You will have access to Real-Time reports if you are an Administrator on your Analytics account, or if you have access to a profile without profile filters. Real-Time does not support profile filters.
We just turned the reports on for a number of you, and over the coming weeks, everyone will have access to Real-Time. If you can’t wait, sign up for early access here: https://services.google.com/fb/forms/realtimeanalytics/.” Source: (Google Analytics)
Obviously, this is great news. But having access to real-time data will be wasted if you don’t follow the practice of testing your marketing to obtain optimum results. While testing sounds like common sense on the surface, you’d be surprised how many marketers don’t bother testing at all. They operate blindly – throwing a bunch of crap against the wall to see what sticks. That’s no way to run a business and is a recipe for disaster.
So Why is Testing So Important?
Testing allows your business to operate as efficiently and profitably as it possibly can. Or, in the words of Pat Benatar, testing allows you to “hit the competition with your best shot!” Testing is crucial to your overall business success. I can’t emphasize that enough. In my opinion, you should test every aspect of your marketing to make sure you’re obtaining maximum efficiency and profitability.
Me personally, I’m a fanatical tester. I test different advertising methods. I test the color of my websites. I test font styles and sizes. When I write articles and ads, I test headlines and copy. I test forum signatures. I test various website analytics programs for accuracy. I test domain names for SEO effectiveness. I test mailing list services for efficiency. In a nutshell, I test virtually everything, as it relates to the marketing of my business.
But whatever you do, don’t just test blindly. Closely monitor and record your results, so that your findings are as accurate as possible. Google’s Website Optimizer is an excellent free, multivariate testing software that allows you to test virtually every aspect of your marketing.
Split-Test Your Marketing
For example, Google Website Optimizer gives you the ability to split-test your marketing. What’s split-testing?
In a nutshell, split-testing is basically a method of testing multiple versions of your sales pages and ads in order to determine which version performs best, and is the most profitable. Testing should include fonts or font size, the size and wording of your headline, the images you use, the price of your product, paragraph text, text color, etc.
If that first definition wasn’t layman enough for you, here’s another one:
Split-testing is the method of creating multiple versions of your ads to see which version converts more visitors into sales.
Always Track Your Advertising
In order to ensure that you’re not throwing your money down the drain, when it comes to your marketing campaigns, it’s important to always track your advertising.
Always make sure to carefully track the results of your direct mail, pay-per-click ads, ezine ads, banner ads, etc.
Advertising is measurable by the amount of responses you get per dollar spent, and you can quickly analyze your results to determine whether or not your advertising is profitable, or if you need to make adjustments to your ads. If you’re not effectively tracking your advertising, you’re foolishly leaving money on the table. That’s what amateurs do, not professionals.
One last thing:Testing isn’t something you should do every now and then. For best results, you should develop the habit of testing your marketing constantly.
David Jackson is a marketing consultant, and the owner of Free-Marketing-Tips-Blog.com – Powerful, free marketing tips to help grow your business! http://free-marketing-tips-blog.com