Sherlock Holmes: The Case for Web Analytics

Virtually everyone has a website these days, but to many, how to maintain a healthy site that generates growing returns remains a mystery. Why? Let’s face it – it’s a crime how many businesses still do not employ analytics to measure program performance, influence website enhancements, or drive profitability.

You may have a cool site, but if you’re failing to turn traffic into conversions, you need to do some real detective work.

Want to improve your website’s ROI? Consider hiring an online detective (web analytics expert). Someone who can uncover the clues behind your lack of conversions; someone who understands how to solve your problems by turning enigmatic information into real solutions. Consider hiring someone like … Sherlock Holmes.

Had Holmes been created today, instead of 1881, he would have been a web analytics guy and not a Deductive Detective. I offer the following quotes as proof positive:

Web Analytics is the Ultimate Brain Game

Holmes: “I cannot live without brain-work. What else is there to live for?”

Holmes: “What is the use of powers, when one has no field upon which to exert them? Crime is commonplace … “

If Holmes considered crime commonplace, no other field today would offer him the continuous challenge afforded by web analytics. Talk about brain-work! And heck, the constant, daily demands of this discipline would even curb his desire for cocaine as an alternative to boredom!

Web Analytics Play a Critical Role in Strategic Planning

Holmes: “It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.”

Holmes: “Data! Data! Data! I can’t make bricks without clay.”

Holmes clearly recognized that real insights in the strategic planning process derive from Analytics. Value is created when the right information gets to the right people at the right time so they can make the right decisions to create the right outcomes.

Some Practice Web Analytics Better Than Others

Holmes: “Watson, you see everything. You fail, however, to reason from what you see. “

Holmes: “There are fifty who can reason synthetically for one who can reason analytically.”

In other words, lots of people can run reports, but there are too few analysts who know what to make of the metrics. It takes talent, imagination, and creativity to read between the lines and decipher where the actionable insights lie hidden within the stats. Holmes would be singular; that one in fifty.

You Can Analyze Too Many Things

Holmes: “It is of the highest importance in the art of detection to be able to recognize, out of a number of facts, which are incidental and which vital. Otherwise, your energy and attention must be dissipated instead of being concentrated.”

Web Analytics is difficult: too much data; too many reports; not enough deep knowledge; too few real experts; and, not enough time. True, there are dozens of stats that one can analyze, but Holmes would only consider those metrics of vital, not incidental, importance. The result would be real improvements in ROI for his clients.

Holmes Was a Master Communicator

Holmes: “I have been guilty of several monographs. They are all upon technical subjects. Here, for example, is one ‘Upon the Distinction between the Ashes of the Various Tobaccos’. In it I enumerate a hundred and forty forms of cigar, cigarette, and pipe tobacco, with coloured plates illustrating the difference in the ash.”

A monograph on tobacco would be ill-advised in this day and age, but what if Holmes were to focus on SEO and Pay-Per-Click? Imagine the White Papers he could write or the PowerPoint presentations he could create (all with nifty graphs, charts, and illustrations).

The Big Finish

Being a Web Analyst is like being a detective: it is hard, painstaking work that requires real commitment (recommend daily); those who practice it must be able to look at the same facts as others, but often arrive at different conclusions (insight); and, they must be able to recognize, and focus on, only the most critical, relevant information (what often appears trivial to the uninitiated) in order to provide solutions to problems that often seem impossible to overcome (measurable results; ROI). Sherlock Holmes would have been perfect for the job!

Posted in: Online Marketing ROI, Web Analytics

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