The fact that the ‘Not Provided’ count in Google Analytics increases by the day shouldn’t be of too much concern.

Google say the move to encrypt keywords in the search referral section of analytics is to give “extra protection to more users who are not signed in.”

It’s a privacy issue, apparently, but that excuse doesn’t really wash with myself and scores of other online marketers. A move to drive more people toward the keyword-rich paid search, perhaps?

Do you buy Google’s privacy excuse? Let me know just how big an impact Not Provided has had on your online strategy in the comments below.

It’s interesting to note, though, that the most vocal marketers and agencies against Not Provided are those that have focused solely on keyword optimisation over the years instead of providing an all-round online marketing solution.

If you consider keywords to be the only form of valuable data for providing a fantastic online consumer experience then you’re in big trouble.

Focus on broader areas

 

Data collection as a marketing method is a much older practice than search engine optimisation but can seem just as confusing to newcomers.

 

Followers of my blog will know the emphasis I put on providing an all-round, high quality web experience to users that incorporate a huge number of disciplines to strive for perfection.

A philosophy of not optimising for search engine behavious and providing the best experience possible for users will always set you on the right path.

But to grow and expand you need to concentrate on the right areas to improve your site and further its reach.

You need to collect big data.

Generating brand new leads

Data collection as a marketing method is a much older practice than search engine optimisation but can seem just as confusing to newcomers.

Some corners of the internet, for instance, are murmuring that MMS marketing is the next big thing in the mobile world.

In reality data marketing is easy to grasp once you understand – like SEO – that there are different solutions for different sites.

Some sites will perform better than others with a targeted email marketing campaign. Some will benefit from PPC, while all some brands need is to get their details in Google Places.

But one thing’s for certain. Data’s becoming more important than ever in a post-Hummingbird world.

Big, beautiful data

Big data takes a lot of time to sift through, analyse, and relate aspects of your business to.Teradata’s 2013 Data Driven Marketing Survey suggests that 71 per cent of marketers will incorporate a ‘big data’ analytics solution over the next two years.

Big data? It’s something that larger marketing corporations are currently focusing their efforts on. Because data is now available through such an enormous variety of channels (social media, video, email, audio, and more) that it’s a challenge in itself to process it.

Big data takes a lot of time to sift through, analyse, and relate aspects of your business to. But once a proper streamlined system has been worked out and you can make sense of it then it creates an incredible picture of your users and their habits.

Properly analysed, retailers can improve conversions, the overall user experience, gain brand insights and much more.

Are you handling big data for your company? Is it tough to collate so much from so many different channels? Let me know about your experiences below!

Slowly slowly…

But – and as I’ve explained with local SEOyou shouldn’t set out to take on the world as soon as you can.

Can you imagine the horrors you would face if you were suddenly confronted with hordes of data to sort through as a small business owner?

You don’t. You plant small seeds at first, nurture them, and grow with them. As cheesy as that may sound, it’s the template that the majority of successful businesses and sites have used to great effect.

An honest face

You’d be forgiven for worrying whenever you hear the word data.

For a number of people Facebook’s long-standing privacy issues are always inextricably linked to data. Data equals breaches of privacy and trust.

How to combat that? By being upfront and honest about the types of data you’re collecting, why you’re collecting it, and how it’s going towards improving the overall user experience for the benefits of your site.

Keep in touch and show them how their thoughts have helped craft and develop your site and its strategy over time.

How to begin collecting data

 

What data can you collect to get the ball rolling if you’re on a budget?

 

So what data can you collect to get the ball rolling if you’re on a budget?

  • Site profiles – Incentivise people to sign up to your site with a profile. Not only can it help them with transactions (remembering consumer details) but it opens a number of communication channels with them including phone and email
  • Surveys – Services such as SurveyMonkey are free and allow visitors to give their opinion on what you offer and how you offer it. Users can claim anonymity, but there are ways to offer incentives for follow-ups, such as…
  • Competitions – Competitions are an incredible data collection method encouraging users to leave details to be in a chance to win a prize on certain terms and conditions. It’s especially effective with social media to gain followers and spread word of your brand
  • Market research – Just ask! Take to social media and ask your consumers questions, which will also help to build a rapport with them. Take a look at the trends competitors are targeting to create your own ideas, expand on existing statistics, or hire a market research agency

The vast benefits of data collection

Data collection and inbound marketing can be pricey – justifiably so.

But the beauty of online marketing is that no one professional website is the same. Brands and webmasters across all sectors all have their own customers and data to collect, refine, and use to give the best service possible.

But collection is just the start. You also need to find ways to store the data, discover the laws associated with it, refine it, put it into action, and more.

Get it right, though, and you and your customers are well on the way to building a better brand.

If you’d like to learn more about collecting data and how the right metrics can help with your online marketing contact Webpresence today!

 

(Infographic images courtesy of IconicMind.com)