Although there are many times a day where you would ask that question, the most important time is when you are examining the data you have collected in web metrics. There are a number of fantastic tools out there to measure the traffic that is coming to your site, the behaviour once on the site, and why they leave.
There is an old saying (please leave a comment if you know who first said it!) that if you spend $1 collecting data, you should spend $99 analysing it. Although this is not a literal directive, heeding the advice is wise. In this day and age, the collecting of data is easy, but sometimes the analysis doesn’t come as easy.
Let’s take a hypothetical situation: you have a moderately successful website, which gets around 500 visitors a day. You’ve installed Google Analytics (and if you haven’t, you need to), have collected the behaviour patterns of your visitors for three months, and are now ready to look at the data. You brew a fresh pot of tea, sit down and then… What am I looking at?
Any advanced analytics suite will have a vast amount of information, with facts, figures and diagrams all over the place. There is absolutely no point collecting the data if you are not going to use it, but where do you start?
Google’s Conversion University is an excellent starting point. Not only will you get guidance on how to navigate the suite, but you will also get information on how to interpret the reports you have generated. The most important aspect is that you need to know what you are looking for. Are you after traffic? Revenue? Lead? Time on site? Branding? Be aware of what you are looking for, before you go looking for it.
After you have graduated from Conversion University, what is the next step? If you need further analysis (or didn’t have time/motivation to get through University), perhaps professional help would be beneficial. Having dedicated reports on the most important aspects of your business would allow you to have more time to implement the changes that are needed to get the most from your online marketing.
Online marketing without advanced metrics is akin to closing your eyes and picking a direction to walk in. Sure, you’ll be correct one time out of 360, but why take the risk?