So where are your users? Probably from all over the world. Even thought it’s 2009 and DigiKnow has an office in Argentina, I’m somehow still amazed at the random visitors that stumble onto the websites I’m analyzing. So far this month, digiknow.com has had visitors from 43 countries (year to date it’s 90!). Amazing.
Despite living in a global economy and an ever shrinking planet, we often forget about those visitors that come to our site who can’t buy our products, can’t participate in contest or can’t read the language of our site’s content.
Step one is to know who is coming to your site. Almost all analytics packages offer some kind of geographic report or map overlay. Check it out for your site and see what you can find.
Step two is to determine what, if anything, to do with this data. While there is no hard and fast rule, I can provide a few examples of how we’ve handled this.
One of our clients launched a product in a limited test market and we found through analytics that 20-25% of the visitors coming to the site did not live within the test market. This meant that while they could visit the site and become engaged with the product, they couldn’t buy it yet in their state. Since we knew this would somewhat be the case, at the initial launch, we added a screening page that asked for a zip code and alerted those not in the test market that the product was currently regional. Because of the high percentage of “outside” visitors, we are now adding a way for them to sign-up to be notified when the product is available. Had there only been a handful of people from outside our test market, we wouldn’t have bothered, but analytics showed us that they were a modest sized group AND they were very engaged in the website.
In another case, our client was offering a printed booklet sent by mail to US customers. Since mailed booklet was only available in the US (and for instant access for everyone), a PDF version was also on the site. We made the assumption that because the booklet wouldn’t be mailed internationally, the PDF would have a higher rate of download for internationals than for US visitors. After looking at the analytics, we found that the percentage of international downloads was the same as the percentage of overall site traffic, so the PDF wasn’t overly downloaded by those outside the US.
In both of these cases, we made one assumption and found something else in the data. Making assumptions is part of the business, but using analytics to determine the truth may allow for in-process changes or at least will inform future decisions.