How many reports and spreadsheets appear on your desk or inbox every month and how many go unopened or only get glanced at due to other pressures?
A danger of the digital age is that anyone can easily produce glamorous spreadsheets and reports that look impressive on your screen, but in reality tell you nothing of value or help you make any meaningful decisions.
From a website perspective, you should be receiving at least the basic metrics we all now expect (visitors, key sources, lead generation ratios, user-goal completion, time on site) and be able to see the variance from the previous month and the trends over various time frames.
The problem is that unless you know what these measures are really telling you and what ‘good’ looks like then it can all be meaningless and confusing.
For example, if you increase website visitors from 1,000 to 1,100 per month you might feel good, but what if you found out all your local competitors get 2,500 visits, or they generate far more leads per thousand visitors than you – would you still be happy?
Equally, if ‘time on site’ has increased from three to four minutes, is it because your content has improved or is it because customers can no longer find what they were looking for or your homepage is now so cluttered?
The real value in reporting is when it is backed by meaningful insights – reports and data are meaningless unless they are put into context and explain what matters; why the variance, what ‘good’ should look like and how you stand relative to the local competition.
If they don’t help you understand what you can do to improve things then they probably aren’t worth opening, and someone has spent a lot of time producing them for no effect.
So when it comes to reporting, less is definitely more – don’t accept reports unless they are accompanied by insights and recommendations that enable action.
Spending less time reading reports and more time understanding the insights will help you improve things – from the web perspective that’s about helping you generate more leads, sell more cars and increase profitability.