Web analytics analysts should not only focus on rear view mirror, and churn out that weekly/monthly reports. It is really fun to look forward and see what kind of data are out there to explore and share the ideas or add value to analytics insights. Don’t be afraid, even those highly respected analysts on Wall Street aren’t always right. Sharing and adding value to your perspective on upcoming opportunities online requires some research and solid rationale based on your data observations and analysis. Allow me to add few ideas to your back pocket.

There are so many angles and uniqueness to where you could potentially start sniffing around for data and trends, because every industries are unique. To put the idea in chew-able fashion here are some points to think about that’ll lead to “upcoming” opportunities.

  • Seasonal trend
  • Versions
  • News or Incident
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Competition

Seasonal and Consumer Trend/Behavior
- Summer and Winter for apparel
- Seasonal Retail Sales Event (back to school, black Friday, X’mas, etc.)
- Pet’s shedding / mating

You name it, there are seasonal trends in most of industries, so capitalizing from the uniqueness of seasonal activities or trends are important. It will definitely be a great place to start looking into.

Questions are when and what is the trend? or by how much?
Traffic Acquisition Footwear Seasonal

Using tools like Google Search for Inisights will allow you to pick up important cut off time when a particular category of products will change in popularity due to seasonal trend. Obviously, that will impact what consumers will shop when they even go to offline retails. You definitely need to bring that up and apply those learnings to marketing strategies and tactics.

Versions
Depending on the industry, new versions of a product is expected to make it into the market. Pretty common for games, softwares, or drama series. Typically, a company would tell you in advance when that new version will be released. In my view, versions are pretty easy thing to start looking into, because you could expect the outcome to certain degree and potentially benchmark against the historical sales or how other categories performed, etc.

Here is an example from Grand Turismo 4′s release and how there was a lift in search for steering wheels. This year, Grand Turismo 5 is expected to be released in Nov 2010. We should be expecting a lift in interests for wheels again if history repeats. What should the marketers do then? Obviously an opportunity to reach those audience via search, banners, etc.

Traffic Acquisition Game Trend

News or Incidents
Good and bad things could happen. When something goes up something goes down. An incident could yield an opportunity for specific group or sector in business. When BP oil spill took place, what happened to shrimp price and who benefited from that demand? Go on Google News and see who benefited from it. News or incidents could allow you to hedge against something bad to come as well, so keeping in mind of these relationships within your industry is important. Here is one example, the “antennagate” issue on iPhone 4.

Observation from this antennagate example — If I’m selling phone accessories, I would stock up some incase brands. Nice to know Droid brand is steadily growing in search interests, maybe suggesting to invest and look out for opportunities in those mobile devices are the key to upcoming Holidays, who knows.

Traffic Acquisition iPhone

Competition
Don’t let your competitor eat your lunch. Make sure to eat their lunch instead.
What are your competitors are doing on your product, and where are their efforts in online marketing strategies for their products that its in a same category as yours.

It is always important to pay attention to what blog/news sites are publishing about your competitors services/products and see how they are marketing their services/products as well. You could do so by rigorously search thru their sites and on search engines and see what comes up. Some news or blogs may pick up some hot deals or upcoming products that could cause a shift in interests for a particular keywords online. It is imperative to leverage various tools online and use your skills to sift through online info/data/trends.

Here are some tools to use to check your competition:
Google Ad Planner: Free media planning tool, but you can check your competitor’s site to see their demographic and see how it differ from yours. Are they making more money than yours because they’re reaching a different target audience?

Google Search Insights: By now, you’re use to seeing it from above example, but how does search interests on your competition’s brand look like from yours. Check it out.

Compete.com / Hitwise / Alexa / Google Trends
Compete, Hitwise, and Alexa are nice tools to check traffic against competitors. Google Trends got comparison feature on Google Search Index as well as stock symbol to see how they trend.

Social Measurement Tools – GraphEdge / Twitalyzer / TweetStats / etc.
There are so many of these tools to capitalize from. Idea is to check out your competitors and see what consumers are saying about the brand and where competitors are putting their efforts on.