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3 Min Read

Descriptive Analytics: What It Is, How It Works, and Why You Need It

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Descriptive analytics is a powerful and data-driven technique to analyze and gain insights from customer data.

It’s used to gain insight into customer behavior and preferences, as well as competitor information.

With descriptive analytics, you can gain valuable insights into your customers’ behavior like:

  • How they used your website
  • How long they spent looking at each page
  • What products they clicked on during their session
  • What pages they visited before or after visiting your site
  • What devices they prefer to use
  • Which days of the week/month they shop online
  • And much more!

Here are some ways to use this powerful tool for your marketing success.

What is descriptive analytics?

Descriptive analytics is a powerful and data-driven technique that analyzes and gains insights from customer data. It’s used to gain insight into the customer's behavior and preferences, as well as give you insights into competitors.

 With descriptive analytics, you can gain an understanding of how your customers browse your site and make informed decisions about their purchase journey.

For example, you could use descriptive analytics to see which product categories they visited first on your site or what page they skipped after visiting a specific page. You could also determine what devices they prefer to use while shopping online. This type of information helps marketers design better customer experiences to improve conversions and boost revenue.

What are some examples of descriptive analytics?

There are tons of ways to use descriptive analytics, including...

Use descriptive analytics to understand which pages your website visitors are visiting. You can use this insight to improve your site—add links or content that will be of interest to your audience.

Use descriptive analytics to determine what products your customers clicked on during their session so you know what products you should promote in order to increase sales.

Use descriptive analytics to track what days of the week/month your customer base is shopping online so you can better anticipate seasonal trends and adjust prices accordingly.

Use descriptive analytics to find out how long different pages on your website take for customers to complete so you can adjust page content and design accordingly.

Why should you use descriptive analytics?

Descriptive analytics can give you a deeper understanding of your customers. It lets you know who your customers are, what they're looking for, and how they use your website.

With descriptive analytics, you can see the data behind why people visit your website and what they do when they get there so that you can improve the experience for them.

By using descriptive analytics, you'll be able to better understand your customer's preferences. You'll be able to identify trends in their behavior and provide content that will resonate with them more effectively than ever before.

What are some descriptive analytics tools?

Many descriptive analytics tools exist, and there are many ways to use them. Many of these tools can be used in tandem to gain more insight into your customers’ behavior.

Examples of tools include:

  • Google Analytics. This is a powerful tool that allows you to track key metrics about your website, like bounce rate, conversion rates, traffic sources and more.
  • Mixpanel. This tool provides granular data about how visitors interact with your website. It also offers insight into how users interact with their own devices during the visit.
  • Segment. Segment lets you track customer visits from across all different channels and devices. Additionally, it gives you insights on where people come from and what they do online when they visit your site.
  • Google Search Console. Google Search Console allows you to track keywords that have brought traffic to your site in real time so you can make adjustments as needed.
  • Artificial intelligence tools. There are also tons of AI tools for descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics.

What is the difference between descriptive analytics and prescriptive analytics?

Descriptive analytics is also a highly valuable tool for marketing success, but it's not as specific or detailed as prescriptive analytics.

It provides insights into how your customers are using your website and their behavior in general.

You can use descriptive analytics to gain insights about your customer base, like the days of the week/month when they shop online and what devices they prefer to use.

Prescriptive analytics is a little more advanced, and often leverages artificial intelligence.

While descriptive analytics tells you what customers are doing on your site, prescriptive analytics will actually suggest what to do with that information.

Instead of just telling you that a customer took a long time to complete a landing page, prescriptive analytics will recommend what you should do about it.

A prescriptive analytics system may recommend you change the page length, design, or content to make the experience better and faster.

Want to learn how to use AI in analytics?

Take our free online live class Intro to AI for Marketers.

In it, Marketing AI Institute founder and CEO Paul Roetzer will teach you exactly how to understand and get started with AI in analytics and other areas of marketing. During the class, you’ll learn:

  • What AI is, and why it matters to marketers.
  • How to identify AI use cases.
  • How to find and evaluate AI technology vendors.
  • How to classify AI applications within the five levels of the Marketer-to-Machine ScaleTM.
  • What business outcomes AI can help you achieve. 
  • How to measure the value of AI tools on your company’s efficiency and performance.
  • How to prepare your team for piloting and scaling AI.

In just 30 minutes, you can lay the foundation to transform your career and business for the better using AI.

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