For most businesses, the top priority is offering valuable products and services to their consumers. The best way to do this is to stay ahead of their competition and keep innovating.

In the past, companies would use flawed, time-consuming models to gauge how their businesses are performing. That said, as we step into the era of data, more information is becoming available to companies. Utilizing all this digital data is the best way to steer your company on the right path.

In the business world, one wrong move can thrust you ten steps back and further delay your company’s progress and growth. The most common cause for an error in judgment is the absence of sufficient information. Before you can launch a new product or begin working on a new idea, you need information to tell you what your consumers want. All this makes analytics a lifesaver when it comes to pulling data and reviewing it.

As implausible as it may seem, 39% of companies with a social media presence don’t utilize analytics tools. We can’t even begin to imagine why, but unfortunately, that’s the reality of the situation.

The use of analytics can speed up your company’s development, while the lack thereof could hold your company back.

Build your company’s foundation on analytics and web intelligence. Analytics can be thought of as the backdrop of all your digital marketing efforts. Even at the most basic stage of marketing, you wouldn’t be able to track how many people are visiting your website without analytics.

There are many analytics tools out there for you to use. Google Analytics is one of the best options, but feel free to browse around and use the tool that best works for you. Google Analytics lets you record data and then display it on a company dashboard in real-time.

Things analytics can tell you

1. Where traffic is originating from

Knowing where most of your traffic is coming from is paramount to determining your target audience. Positioning your marketing toward a U.S. audience wouldn’t make much sense if the majority of your customers live in France.

2. If that traffic converts to a lead

See how many visitors actually make a purchase — or convert — will help you measure the effectiveness of your marketing strategy.

3. When the best time to post is

Seeing when most people visit your website or social media pages will tell you when to post to maximize engagement. It would be unfortunate if you were to spend your company’s time, money, and effort on producing high-quality content only for it to be ignored because you posted it at the wrong time.

4. What types of pages or posts attract the most traffic

Knowing which pieces of content generate the most traffic is invaluable and will help you optimize your content strategy.

Track bounces and exits

A bounce is a user visiting a page on your website and then leaving the same page without clicking on any links or performing any actions. Your bounce rate is calculated by measuring the total amount of bounces and dividing that figure by the total amount of visits to your website.

A high bounce rate is a strong indicator that your website’s visitors didn’t find what they were looking for and, as a result, left without browsing the rest of your site. If you intend to improve the experience of your site’s visitors, it is crucial that you keep track of the bounce rates for each individual page. Seeing a page with a high bounce rate will remind you to work on that page and resolve any underlying issues. Finding issues by tracking user behavior is one of the main benefits of using web analytics.

Competitive advantage

Every company faces competitors. There is no exception to this rule. No matter what industry you’re in, what country you operate out of, or what product/service you’re offering, there will always be other companies trying to surpass you. Each competitor poses a threat to your success. Using web analytics will give you the edge over similar businesses within your industry.

The information that you uncover by taking a close look at your competitor’s sales or marketing funnels, the buying habits of their customers, and the behavior of people browsing their site, can highlight which aspects they’re ahead of you in, and which aspects they’re behind in. The key to defeating an opponent is to identify their strengths and find their weaknesses so that you can figure out the best strategy to beat them with.

By analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, you can adjust your business to ensure that it outperforms theirs. Even small but tactical alterations could improve your profit margin, customer loyalty, and traffic generation.

Staying ten steps ahead

Analytics can help you predict outcomes before they happen. The two biggest goals for any company entering a specific industry are growth and expansion. Being able to anticipate business opportunities before they become available will ensure your ability to jump in at the right moment.

For instance, subscription-based eCom businesses always try to widen their customer base by providing quality service and cultivating a healthy consumer relationship. It’s imperative that you look ahead and plan out your company’s long-term development.

Analytics can help you find opportunities for your business to increase its profit and extend its reach on consumers.

A business can’t expand over time unless it is able to detect the faults within its system. The best way to pinpoint these flaws is to utilize web analytics and use the data you uncover to find out every single thing that’s even moderately wrong with your business.

Guard your reputation

Analytics can also tell you who’s saying what about your company. Monitoring discussions regarding your business can help you protect your online image.

Optimize your social media efforts

Social media analytics can show you how many people are engaging with your posts and which demographics your audience falls under. If you see that most of the people who follow the posts on your Facebook page are American men in their mid-20s then you can position your posts accordingly.

The bottom line

Nowadays, guesses simply don’t cut it. Information is key to making strategic decisions — without it, you’re practically flying blind.