Patterns in Statistics and Demographics

I still haven’t seen the movie (or read the book), “Moneyball”, but because I’m a fan of the game of baseball, I am familiar with the story. A general manager of a baseball team by the name of Bill Beane tries looking at his team in a different way than any of the other general managers in the league. With the help of a statistician, he develops a formula or process to evaluate players based on several traditional measurements (like batting average, slugging percentage, earned run average, etc…) and several non-traditional (at the time) indexes (like performance on artificial turf vs. natural grass, night games vs. day games, etc…). His experiment paid off and they almost won it all. In the end there were too many variables to overcome the chaos that is inherent in most team sports. He did however change the nature of baseball team recruiting and management forever.

This post isn’t just an excuse to write about baseball. I’m using it as an approachable analogy to get you to think about looking at your website traffic in creative ways. You’ve heard the term “think outside the box” and maybe you’ve wanted to slap the person that said it, but there is some wisdom in the saying.* Looking at things like visitor demographics from different perspectives is important. I worked with a client whose search engine marketing and search engine optimization (SEM & SEO) we’re doing unexpectedly well in Ontario Canada. It wasn’t something either of us expected when I first implemented the strategies for improved reach. Being in Vermont, I wasn’t completely surprised about the Canadian traffic, but our gains in Montreal and Quebec traffic were dwarfed by the increase in Ontario traffic. Looking at the website from a Canadian perspective was thinking outside of our borders. We used our knowledge of what played well in Ontario to refine some of the content to see if we could increase our traffic in Toronto. The language difference (Quebec is French speaking, Ontario is English speaking) also played a role in our attempts to increase our Quebec traffic. Ultimately our efforts paid off, and the Canadian traffic became part of the monthly report. What began as an experimental tangent on a statistical anomaly, ended up being a significant part of the audience for this business. Once identified, we worked to sustain the audience sector and worked to grow from there.

Look at your customer base to see if any patterns emerge from the chaos of their demographics. Pursue the patterns and see what kind of waves you can make. You might just build a new audience for your product or service that you didn’t have before.