Sales analytics is the process of determining how successful a company's sales forecast is and how best to predict future sales. Many companies now employ not only a sales and marketing group that is responsible for forecasting, but also an analytics group that is responsible for data mining and analysis. The data-mining department looks for relationships and trends in the data, which assist sales, and marketing to provide a more accurate forecast of what customers want.
Some companies, however, may outsource the data-mining portion of the forecasting process and use the output, or sales analytics, to determine future planned sales. The most common types of sales analytics are web analytics and Google analytics. Web sales analytics are specific to consumer activity on the Internet. For web analytics, data is collected regarding visitors to the website of a particular business through either log file analysis or page tagging. The information is analyzed to determine how many visitors there were, the number of pages within the site they visited, and whether a purchase was made.
Log file analysis includes both the number of page views and the number of visits or sessions. Page tagging involves a counter which tracks the number of visitors to a specific web page. Tracking occurs by using a process known as cookie assignment where each visitor receives a unique Internet protocol or IP assigned tag or “cookie.” The sales analytics software then consolidates the gathered information so forecasting professionals can identify trends and better predict what may be purchased in the future.
Google analytics are a type of web sales analytics operated through Google. Unlike many of the other sales analytics software, Google provides the statistics at no charge. In 2005, Google bought Urchin Software Corporation, which had been one of the larger sales analytics firms in the industry. Google then modified existing Urchin software to develop Google Analytics.
Google Analytics works by tracking visitors through the Google Analytic Tracking Code (GATC). Similar to a cookie, the GATC gathers information such as page views and number of visits but also is able to differentiate between pay-per-click, referrals, and search engine visitors. Knowing where the visitor originated from provides marketing professionals with powerful data that helps them better focus their efforts and advertising budget in areas that are profitable.
Pay-per-click visitors were advertisers on another website that the visitor clicked on to reach the website being tracked. Referrals mean the visitor knew the website and intentionally typed it directly into the web browser to reach the site. Search engine visitors arrived at the website by searching on a site such as Google or Yahoo then clicking the link.