On September 12th, Apple announced the iPhone X. When the device debuts in early November, it will be the most expensive iPhone ever, designed to appeal to a very specific subset of Apple fans. These affluent buyers are motivated by social status and will happily spend money to be seen as a leader or trendsetter. But phones aren’t the only things iPhone X owners are buying. If you’d like to know how many iPhone X users are also your customers, there’s one place to look: your website data.
Do: Pay attention to device usage
Device usage is an easy to access data point collected by Google Analytics, which is installed on most small business websites. Google Analytics is currently being used by more than 30 million live websites, according to BuiltWith, an Australian data company. Website owners can see if visitors come to their site via a desktop computer, tablet, or mobile device. Within the mobile device category, it’s possible to see the makes and models of smartphones your customers are using.
Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, the James Irvine Chair of Urban & Regional Planning at the University of Southern California’s Price School of Public Policy, has written extensively about the ways a person’s choice of smartphone reveals meaningful information about their world view and value systems. She calls the iPhone X overtly and unapologetically opulent, noting that its owners could have saved hundreds by choosing the very similarly featured iPhone 8. Knowing what percentage of your customers opt for a premium product compared to the ranks of more pragmatic, value-driven Android device owners, is useful information for any small business owner.
Don’t: Think you’re finished creating a customer profile
Device usage is only one of many factors about your customers that can change over the course of time. “The amount of information that’s available now allows for a greater degree of targeting than ever before,” says Dion Roy, founder of AMP3, a boutique public relations firm based in New York City. “The ability to track campaigns closely means you can see what’s working.” This means that in addition to device usage, you can determine what media and platforms are actually important to your customers—a list that may be radically different than whatever the prevailing wisdom of the moment may be. As preferences change, your tactics should evolve with them.
Do: Be selective about data points you monitor closely
There is no limit to the amount of data you can collect. For instance, an 85-point customer survey has played a huge role in apparel company Stitch Fix. They use this opt-in data, along with website and social media analytics and human insight, to create their individually tailored subscription boxes. Stitch Fix reportedly has 75 data scientists on staff. Companies that are getting by with fewer scientists have to be more selective in which data points are monitored most closely.
“We focus on social signals, user experience, customer feedback and other metrics like interaction rate, bounce rates and, of course, shopping cart checkouts based on a particular placement,” Roy explains. “Every client is using analytics, and we track conversions based on the referring press placement.”
Don’t: Accept data reports without question
“Data is only useful when it’s accurate,” cautions Raz Itzahki, CEO of Shleppers Moving and Storage, a New York City moving and storage company. “There was a point where the conversion rate we were seeing just didn’t make sense, given the amount of traffic the data told us we were getting. It wasn’t until we brought an external CMO on board who could examine those numbers critically that it became clear that some of our website visitors were being counted twice.” Data problems can occur due to improper systems configuration, faulty integration methodology, and user error. “Don’t be afraid to question the numbers,” Itzahki says. “If something doesn’t make sense, dig into that data or have someone do it for you. Once you know your data is accurate, you will have a better picture of what’s actually happening in your business and what you need to do to grow.”
Do: Begin with audit and analysis
In order to be sure your organization is making full use of the data available to it via website, social media and other analytics, a digital audit should be performed at least annually. This process helps ensure the quality of your data, and is a good time to assess year-over-year trends in traffic and conversion rates. New smartphones, technologies, and communication platforms appear regularly, impacting customer expectations and shopping behaviors. By monitoring your website data, you’ll be able to gauge the impact of these changes on your business for yourself.