In this post, I'm going to talk about tools to collect your data and in a follow-up post I am going to dive into tools to analyze your data.
If you didn't already complete your data map and your data strategy go do that now in the first post in this series.
So with your Data Strategy in hand, you should know what types of data you need to collect. I'm going to cover an online business since that seems to be the prevailing model these days, myself included!
6 Data Collection Tools for Businesses
- Google Analytics
- Survey Gizmo
- Google Trends
- Twitter Analytics
- Facebook Page Insights
- Segment (advanced)
Let's talk about each one briefly…
This is your all-around champ for your website. Google Analytics, because of its popularity can provide incredibly deep insights about how people are getting to your site (referrers), the frequency and time people spend on your site (engagement), and the even the demographics of your visitors (age, gender, interests, etc.).
Google Analytics is free and easy to setup. If you're using a popular web publishing platform like WordPress, Drupal, or many others, you will easily be able to add your Google Analytics tracking code.
*A note about user privacy
Online user privacy is important. No one likes someone looking over their shoulder and tracking their activity without their consent. Google Analytics is fairly safe in this category, but if you enable some of the advanced tracking features you might be violating your users' trust. So be careful!
Survey Gizmo (affiliate link)
Survey Gizmo is a free survey tool that will let you get the ever important sentiment analysis from your users. This is known in the data industry as qualitative feedback. The opposite of this is quantitative feedback, which generally means the actions a user took, not what their feeling about those actions.
An important metric to track is your customers Net Promoter Score. The Customer NPS as it's known, or just NPS, is a simple question to your users asking if they would refer you or your product to others.
The simplicity of this question is also it's beauty. This single question is often a benchmark of businesses large and small, so the sooner you start tracking it the sooner you'll know if you're on the right track, regardless of what the other metrics say.
This one isn't so much of a data collection tool as it is a research tool for you to help figure out what topics your users might be interested in. Buzzsumo can uncover things like related searches, trending topics, and top influencers.
I recommend going here for inspiration and looking for things you're considering developing or offering to gauge the potential interest online. In that sense, it is sort of like a crystal ball into what the internet is thinking about. Magic !
Twitter is a great way to connect with your customers. I know I personally often will reach out to a business first on Twitter before trying to call a customer support line. Even if I don't get the answer
According to Social Bakers, more than 80% of customer service requests on social are happening on Twitter. That means you need to be on twitter, and responding to customer demands, regardless of your size.
Twitter Analytics gives you great insights into this, and if you sign up for the Twitter Business program you'll get even greater insights into how your customers are interacting and talking about your business online. Again it goes back to understanding the sentiment, or feeling, of customers about your brand, service or product.
Facebook Page Insights
Facebook has over 1.6 Billion Monthly Active Users as of writing this. There has never been a platform in the world with as many people engaged as much as Facebook. If you're an online business, having a Facebook page is a must.
When you have a Facebook page you need to check out the Page Insights. Below are some of the key things you need to track and ways to understand them.
One challenge you'll find as you grow is getting your data from your website to the various analytics platforms you'll inevitably need to understand what's going on with your customers. One way to solve that is with a data engineering time building a data warehouse, however at this stage, you're probably not ready for that. This is where Segment comes into play.
Segment allows you to automatically add the code you need to your site and push it directly to many analytics platforms. It essentially saves you a ton of time and money trying to setup these integrations yourself.