Abhishek Anand

@abyshake

Google Analytics and the potential it has for AI startups

“How to get the best out of google analytics” has more than 27 million results. People realise they don’t know how to get the most out of this amazing analytics tool.

In my opinion, you shouldn’t have the need to become an expert at a product that has mass application/usage. (img src)
Google Analytics can be difficult to understand and dissect.

That’s how the article — from where I picked the above image — begins.

And it’s true. “How to get the best/most out of google analytics”, “How to analyze google analytics data” are just two of the many queries people all around the world are searching for.

There are countless articles, tips and tutorials like these available on different websites, and they keep on making rounds on every sharing platform you can think of. Try searching for stories on Google Analytics on Medium itself and you will find stories ranging from Beginner’s Guides to Ultimate Guides to Unlocking the Power of Google Analytics.

Why do so many articles exist on the topic? Why is everyone trying to help you get better at this product?

It’s simple really. Marketers and business owners everywhere constantly depend on Google Analytics to understand their web traffic, campaign performances and what not. The problem many of them have exists in the form of not knowing how to understand, discover or analyze all that data that exists in different modules and segments.

Other than the most basic information that is available on the main dashboard and some inner pages, there is not a lot that many marketers typically use and even if some do, you can be sure that no business owner does. And that is precisely what I find weird. After all, this is one robust tool that is capable of completely dissecting your traffic information, giving you a drilled down view of your audience, so why would you not use it? Primarily because, for the uninitiated, they have no way of using this information in a way that’s easy to use. This leads to instructors offering Udemy and Coursera courses on the topic, and bloggers and marketers write tutorials on it. Unfortunately though, that just offers you a workaround, it doesn’t provide you a solution.

UNDERSTANDING THE BUSINESS OWNER

Let us understand the audience we are talking about here. We are not talking of digital marketing experts who know everything there is to know about Google Analytics, Adwords and what not. I am talking of the business owners and other stakeholders who can (and do) find the data quite useful, but are not able to use anything off of Google Analytics other than what it offers off the shelf — right at the very first page.

Percentage of new visitors, unique visitors, page views, average page views/session, bounce rate, top pages, exit pages.

Do you think a business owner uses any the dashboard for anything more than this? No, right? To be honest, there is a half decent chance that they aren’t even using all of these. And even when they do, many a times they do not know what to infer out of this data or what to do about it when the trend is not moving in a favorable direction!

And that is exactly where the opportunity exists for the deep learning startups of today (and has actually existed for a long time for even a standalone developer).

There are two ways of going about it. As a business, you can think of building a product that does what Google Analytics does, but present it in a more comprehensive and easily consumable fashion. A tedious process, too much time consuming, would require massive dev bandwidth, and you would need to start from scratch, competing against possibly the biggest competitor imaginable — and to make things worse, one who offers its services largely for free. I wouldn’t recommend it.

The other route would be to a build a layer on top of Google Analytics. Use the Google Analytics API and build a system business owners would love to use.

“Build on top of Google Analytics”. Google wants you to.

WHAT CAN YOU DO — OR — WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

Pretty much sky is the limit. There are countless things that Google Analytics offers that are valuable to businesses. Can you provide them a simpler way of accessing it?

Creating goals, custom dashboards, custom alerts, audience segmenting, behavior flows, creating custom campaigns and their tracking — these are just some of the many functions that you can help others perform at ease and in an effortless fashion. So maybe you can do that.

THE OPPORTUNITY FOR DEEP LEARNING STARTUPS?

Start offering insights from the constant stream of overwhelming data. Can you help a business owner answer questions?

Why is my bounce rate so high this week?

I discovered Google Analytics when I was running my first startup, and boy I was excited. The excitement only lasted for a few days though. I could look at my bounce rate, but I had absolutely no clue on how to reduce it. I had to accept it as a reality of running a website — like taxes and death, bounce rate is something that exists and is unavoidable. I was fine with it.

The big problem happened one day when I noticed that the bounce rate in the past 2–3 days was almost 30–35% off than historical data. What the hell!! What’s going on? Unfortunately, once again, I had no clue. I ended up spending a good part of the next 24 hours trying to identify the problem. What wouldn’t have I given to have a system that could tell me just two things:

  1. Why is my bounce rate all of a sudden higher than what it typically is?
  2. What can I do to reduce my bounce rate?

Deep learning can aid in answering both those questions, and not just in real time, but maybe even alert me in advance. Talk about having a proactive resource helping you take preventive measures!

And this, this is just one particular example. There are countless ways in which you can help business owners make sense of a lot of data that Google Analytics provides them with. For example, you can help me with actionable intelligence on the kind of campaigns I should be running on Adwords or Facebook, the kind of content I should be producing as a part of my content strategy, the nature of emailers I should be sending and what not.

WHY DO I THINK IT MATTERS?

Of late, I have been giving quite a lot of thought on improving usability of products and systems we use in our daily lives, the potential these products offer to us, and how can we make sure that people using these products are able to get the most out of these systems. Google Analytics is one of those products that is used by millions of business owners all over the world. There is so much it has to offer and so little of it is used; and that is how this whole thought process started.

Undoubtedly systems like these will bring in a lot of transparency for stakeholders like me, and if they can learn from my behavior and help me get meaningful actionable insights, I can focus on the business side of things regardless of the fact whether or not I have a strong team of analysts sifting through data that my businesses are generating.

It’s selfish, I know. But if such systems are of use to me, then they are of use to many out there as well!

WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE A STARTUP IN THIS SPACE

If you are someone with a product in this space, shoot me a mail. I typically don’t invest much, but if you are looking for an angel investment <50k, I may be able to be of help. Cheers!

That’s it for today; see you tomorrow!

I am Abhishek. I am here... there.... Everywhere...
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