The hockey player Wayne Gretzky, came up with a great quote which can be applied to the business mindset when using website analytics …
A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.
Changing that just slightly, we get:
A good business plays where the puck is. A great business plays where the puck is going to be.
The ‘puck’ could refer to market demand for a product or service. So, the business that anticipates the future market demand for a product or service (i.e. where the ‘puck’ is going to be) can build up strength that beats those who are purely focusing on current demand for the product or service (i.e. where the ‘puck’ currently is).
Here, we’re focusing on the ‘puck’ being the subject of website analytics.
The slow acceptance of analytics
We have been hugely surprised at how many years it’s taking for businesses to grasp the benefits of fully utilising website analytics. Whether it’s Google Analytics, A1WebStats, or other analytics software, it’s still a very tiny percentage of businesses that are properly using website analytics in order to get more from their websites.
Sure, many businesses look at their analytics data to come up with some basic information, but how many dig deeper than that? Answer: not many at all.
In short, ‘website analytics’ seems about as important today as ‘having a website’ did many years ago. And we all know how many companies had to play catch up when they realised that having a website was no longer a ‘nice to have’.
If Wayne Gretzky was talking about website analytics he’d basically be saying:
If a business is using website analytics to even a basic level, that makes them a good business compared to those who aren’t. However, those businesses that are thinking ahead of those businesses that are ‘on the puck’ will be those that ultimately score.
A tale of two hockey players
Let’s compare two businesses/hockey players and how they view website analytics …
Business 1/Hockey Player 1
Playing where the puck currently is, they’re using website analytics to identify some patterns and, in a relatively small way, they’re making beneficial changes to their websites/online visibility.
They will be better positioned than their non-analytics-focused competitors.
Business 2/Wayne Gretzky
Looking ahead to a time when businesses view analytics as being more important, they are investing time in digging deep into their website visitor patterns and are planning/making changes that strengthen their online proposition.
They will create a strength in their online proposition that beats business 1/hockey player 1 and thrashes those companies that haven’t invested any time in analytics.
Where are you?
If you are currently, or are planning to be, getting heavily into website analytics then you are playing where the ‘puck’ is going to be in the future. You are digging into data in order to uncover opportunities for improvement. Such improvements make your website more successful, which brings in more business.
Although it’s been a long time coming, we will see a time when ‘analytics’ becomes a hot topic within businesses of all sizes. The big businesses are already heavily into it, and are winning business as a result. Small to medium sized businesses are mostly not doing enough – they’re playing where the puck is, accepting basic analytics data but not questioning what else can be achieved.
Amongst our own A1WebStats subscribers we see huge differences between businesses who work in the same industry sector as each other. We see those who use the basics of our system (which is better than nothing) and we see others who interrogate the data, contact us to ask questions, and make beneficial changes (to their websites/online visibility) accordingly. We can see the future winners and those who will struggle more. It’s actually possible to predict which companies will grow and which will find it tougher, and we get feedback from those businesses who have used analytics to their benefit.
Opportunity for everyone
It’s unfortunate that many businesses see these types of subjects as being a drain on time/resources:
- Social media
- Website analytics
Several years ago, the same could have been said about:
- Having a website
The fantastic news for small to medium businesses is that general apathy about analytics, blogging, social media etc. means that ‘being on the puck’ means that companies are currently putting in a relatively small amount of effort.
Why is that fantastic news? Because those who think where the puck is going to be (i.e. these things will become more important in months and years to come) and start taking action, will be those who gain significant online strength, which leads to business prosperity.
This is one of the reasons why we like to talk to all of our A1WebStats trial subscribers. We want to highlight, through analytics data collected, where the missed opportunities are, and why it’s so important to keep using analytics data to celebrate wins , while identifying more weaknesses to correct.