The 3 Layers of Data| By |Peter Szanto

You analyze your visitors’ behavior. You follow their journey, keep track of their purchases, and identify them when they register on your site. But there is a third layer of data. A layer that can inform you about the personal motivations behind these actions.

I would like to tell you how can you make more money by understanding your customers in a way deeper level and giving them just what they want.

To get started, let’s take a look at the different sources of data in the digital sphere. The user information can either be anonymous or identified.

Anonymous data usually comes from site activity. This is what analytics tools and recommendation engines examine. They can track anything that happens on your site, but at the same time, they are unable to provide personal information about your users.

So, for example, they can tell you what percent of your visitors looked at your first slider or what they did before they put something into their cart.

There are amazing systems that can predict what your visitors will buy and when will they buy that. Just based on anonymous data, without knowing who your visitors are these systems can provide accurate recommendations to almost every one of them.

On the other hand, there are systems that identify the users. You can gather the personal data from many places, too. For example, when people purchase something and register on your site, you will know their contact information, and of course you will know what they have purchased.

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The first two levels

Almost every larger website collects data about both the anonymous and the identified visitors. This is pretty common among content providers, brands, online retailers, and publishers. We know if there is any kind of purchase. And we know what our visitors have purchased.

We also know what they were doing on the site before they made a purchase. We know where they leave our site; and if we use heatmaps, we can also find out which areas catch their attention.

Purchases are easy to measure and understand. It shows us how many products and what kind of products were sold last month.

The site activity is also pretty self-explanatory. It shows you how many visitors you have, how much time they spend on your site, and how many products they looked at. Google Analytics and other analytic tools are perfect for that.

Thanks to remarketing, these two metrics are tightly bound together, and you can use the data you collected about your visitors to lower the cost of reach and encourage people to come back to your site.

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The social layer

We know all these numbers about purchases and visits, but what we don’t understand are the WHYs.

Why does someone come back to your site again and again? Why does someone purchase a specific product and not the other one?

So let’s say many of your customers bought GoPro cameras in your webshop before summer. You know how much time they spent on the site, how many visits they had, and how long it took them to make the purchase. But you don’t know why they needed this specific product.

Did someone buy it because he is a professional extreme sport athlete or because he just wanted a small camera to carry around on a family vacation?

Using the third level of data that can be reached by the implementation of social layers like the Facebook Login or LinkedIn Connect, we can answer the whys. And knowing the whys will help you make more sales and find similar buyer personas to your most loyal customers.

Conclusion

To sum it up, what we need to understand here is that there is no right or wrong with data. If we can use these three levels of data; the purchase history, the on-site activity, and the social digital footprint of the users, and we can combine them and use all these information sources to provide a better experience, we’ll be able to increase our revenues significantly!

We’ll be able to personalize our website in a meaningful way, recommend products and articles that are interesting to our users, do better retargeting, increase our AOR, lower our costs, and get satisfied, loyal customers while we can make more money.

This article originally appeared on SpringTab Blog and has been republished with permission.

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