Producer at eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit
03 May 2004 17:59pm
One of the important features of the "Emetrics Summit" (24-26 May, Four Seasons Hotel) http://www.emetrics.org/summit604 is that we spend a great of time in group discussions.
Yes, there are plenty of speakers (Amazon, Argos, MSN, HP, etc.) but the focus is on people meeting and conferring with their peers on the issues they face on a daily basis. Suggestions for topics are requested from the audience and I like to seed the creative process by offering up some options.
Therefore, I'm turning to the participants of e-consultancy for ideas. What's bothering you in the area of measuring website success? What would you like to ask your web analytics peers?
CEO at Econsultancy
04 May 2004 13:03pm
The 3 questions which we'll be discussing at our roundtable on web measurement and analytics at the end of this month (details at http://www.e-consultancy.com/about/roundtables/680/web-measurement-analytics.html) are:
1. How do you ensure you actually act on what web analytics tells you?
(e.g. internal business processes, optimisation, resource and skills requirements, turnaround times)
2. How do you integrate web analytics into multi-channel measuement?
(e.g. CRM integration, avoiding channel silos, cross-channel tracking)
3. How do you combine user-centric data with site-centric data to optimise ROI
(e.g. customer profiles vs. traffic data, usability vs. path analysis, surveys vs. web stats)
These are based on feedback we've had from the attendees as to their key challenges at the moment.
I think you're coming to the roundtable anyway aren't you? If you could figure out the answers at the Emetrics Summit in the preceeding days it will save us some time at the roundtable... ;)
Digital Marketing Consultant, Trainer, Author and Speaker at SmartInsights.com
04 May 2004 16:51pm
Yes to all of those. Here are 3 more issues I am interested in:
A. Diminishing returns from conversion optimisation
The design-offers-messaging-navigation of many established e-tail sites have been well optimised to maximise conversion rates. What are the future options for further increasing conversion? For example personalisation according to behaviour on site plus existing profile information.
B. Customer scoring.
Given that maximising the lifetime value of purchasers should be an aim of all e-tailers, I am interested to discuss different techniques companies use to model customers to help better target them to improve LTV. I think it is useful to score customers individually according to their activity / interaction levels on site and to e-mail i.e. not only look at their responsiveness to individual e-mail campaigns but across the whole year, which customers engage with e-mail and the web site and then follow-up communications according to responsiveness. Recency-Frequency-Monetary value/FRAC are the well known ones, but what other approaches are used?
C.Process and Six Sigma.
This is similar to Ashley's first one.
What is best practice for the big-picture process of improving a site's contribution to the business. For example, take the DMAIC Six Sigma tool of Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control.
What are the cycle times for this process for different types of metrics and who is involved - particular marketers outside the e-commerce core?
How is this linked in to business objectives?
Also how are the metrics from different analytics tools and channels reconciled and consolidated? What sort of dashboards are people using?
It would also be interesting to see who is planning / using the Six Sigma approach.
I hope that helps. I'm looking forward to the event - you have lined up some great speakers.
Internet Marketing trainer, consultant and author
eResources and Books: www.marketing-online.co.uk
On 13:03:00 4 May 2004 Ashley wrote:
>The 3 questions which we'll be discussing at our
>roundtable on web measurement and analytics at the end of
>this month (details at http://www.e-
>1. How do you ensure you actually act on what web
>analytics tells you?
>(e.g. internal business processes, optimisation, resource
>and skills requirements, turnaround times)
>2. How do you integrate web analytics into multi-channel
>(e.g. CRM integration, avoiding channel silos,
>3. How do you combine user-centric data with site-centric
>data to optimise ROI
>(e.g. customer profiles vs. traffic data, usability vs.
>path analysis, surveys vs. web stats)
>These are based on feedback we've had from the attendees
>as to their key challenges at the moment.
>I think you're coming to the roundtable anyway aren't you?
>If you could figure out the answers at the Emetrics Summit
>in the preceeding days it will save us some time at the
VP, Client Services at Maxamine, Inc.
05 May 2004 14:23pm
There is a huge hole to fill that is chronically overlooked. Prevailing thought equates web analytics with traffic, as if perfect understanding of a visitor’s movements on a website will reveal all.
Questions one and three contain elements that can only be understood by studying the site itself – the way it has been constructed, what navigation paths are available, and whether the site is unintentionally turning visitors – and potential customers – off, and sending them away to the competitor.
By knitting “usability” with “web analytics”, companies are able to understand where they have inherent problems in the site, and how likely it is that those problems are damaging their brand and/or their bottom line.
Until people expand their thinking beyond “web analytics = traffic”, they will not be able to reconcile what visitors are doing with why.
07 May 2004 17:29pm
I disagree that the broader issues you mention are "chronically overlooked" by practitioners - particularly e-tailers - they have to look at the big picture.
But I agree in that the term 'web analytics' is often used narrowly to refer to the detailed analysis of clickstreams, customer segmentation and behaviour, etc rather than the bigger picture of how e-marketing contributes to achieving business objectives. I think the problem is with the term - I run workshops on 'Improving E-marketing Peformance' which is all about increasing channel contribution through using web, e-mail and underlying databases to support all marketing activities. Similarly Jim talks about 'Channel Performance Management' which suggests the big picture and the contribution.
By chance I just received my copy of Eric Peterson's 'Web Analytics Demystified' and I think you would argue that this supports your argument - it concentrates on the detailed metrics to improve performance (but does this well). Eric gives a host of analyst definitions and his definition is:
'Web analytics is the assessment of a variety of data, including web traffic, web-based transactions, web server performance, usability studies, user submitted information [i.e. surveys], and related sources to help create a generalised understanding of the visitor experience online.'
You will be pleased to see that usability is in there and I think researching customers views in various ways need to be in there too.
To me the definition seems to have a fatal flaw - it suggests analysis for the sake of it. My definition is (slightly) more succinct:
"Web analytics is the customer-centred evaluation of the effectiveness of Internet-based marketing in order to improve the business contribution of online channels to an organisation.
Internet Marketing trainer, consultant and author
eResources and Books: www.marketing-online.co.uk
09 May 2004 19:27pm
Dave, while your definition moves closer, I am wondering why you limit it to "internet based marketing". Utilising the web strategically extends beyond marketing initiatives, to employee-focused, supplier-focused, and investor-focused activities as well.
No company can stay in business if they are not making money, and marketing plays a huge role in that. In addition, all companies have supporting and related activities that utilize web-based information and applications - areas that marketing is less involved with, but still in the public's eye.
Looking at the definition from the book, while usablity is mentioned, usability is still a facet of looking at visitor behavior, as are all the other elements, with the exception of web server performance, which is an infrastructure issue.
Navigation structure, content quality, visitor behavior - web analysis must incorporate all of it. Companies must be able to identify the inherent characteristics of all their content, the way it is presented and how it is consumed to understand whether they are they authors of their own problems, and whether those problems are hampering the job of projecting and protecting the company's valuable brand and image.
09 May 2004 21:52pm
Yes, good point Debbie - I was jsut thinking within my marketing interest, but of course, IR, employee intranets and buy-side interactions are part of it. I think most of the books on the topic concentrate on the sell-side though, with maybe some mention of intranets.
Director at WebtraffIQ
10 May 2004 13:31pm
Glad to see that there are a few questions about integration from a technical perspective and more importantly from a business perspective.
We think the emphasis for future business metrics will be within "Membership Marketing". Cold calling, blanket email shots, data grabbing from anonymous browsers' activities all have accuracy constraints and have fueled the debate on switch off rates for cookies and indeed the accuracy of cookie and logfile reporting. Membership Marketing will eventually remove the problems associated with spam and the perceived intrusion of cookies.
We are finding that our customers (i.e. Sony, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors etc) are insisting on prospective customers opting in (by filling in a form). There is also a surge of microsites, portals and viral campaigns aimed at gathering user details for future profiling and behavioral analysis and subsequent targeted marketing.
Intelligent business models don't want to spend money on traffic for the sake of numbers they want unique users that are genuinely interested in a product or service. Breaking down a web or marketing presence into member areas and cross checking IPs to anonymous browsers, cross checking IPs to intranet users (employees), filtering IPs from CRM systems (suppliers and investors) etc. is the best way forward for all.
Marcos W. Richardson
Director at ICEtracks SA (Pty) Ltd
12 May 2004 09:58am
I have been following this thread with keen interest. Many of the posts have valid comments, however isn’t “key intelligence still missing”, part of the problem in driving online success and aligning online activities to off line business goals?
The fundamental value of the online process is the generation of interaction and the value of individual interactions as it relates to achieving business objectives. If the goal is to understand the value of each interaction (or lack there of) and respond accordingly (treat individual visitors differently in order to maximise profitability), then we need to ask ourselves one simple question:
How will we achieve this online if we cannot identify our customers’, investors and other known business stakeholders online actions independently from other visitor activity? The inability to differentiate between visitors and understand their value or motivation to interact with the website or email is a fundamental online business development stumbling block.
Broadly speaking, we simply continue to “blindly date” our customers and other stakeholders with minimal intelligence being available to improve the business process. Each visitor, visit, page impression and click generated is treated equally in the intelligence gathering process, when in reality they are far from being equal, based on varying customer value, the stage of the sales cycle, their response to a campaign and if they are a first time visitor or returning visitor etc.
Companies developing online communication and business channels need meaningful intelligence that goes beyond “nice to have” stats and provides “real actionable intelligence” which can be easily related to objectives, whether it is new customer acquisition, stakeholder retention, improved sales, improved return on investment from campaigns etc.
To achieves this, I believe three significant changes need to take place in order to bring web analytics/ intelligence in line with business management goals and objectives, namely:
- The ability to effectively segment and differentiate between website visitor groups based on each website owner’s requirements, rather than treating all traffic as being equal.
- Be able to identify and track known business stakeholders’ web interactions over defined periods of time, such as customers, channel partners, investors etc. Website owners need to be able to translate visits and page impressions generated into potential business value and assess this against objectives.
- Visitor interaction tracking and reporting over extended periods of time. This is a move away from visit, click and page impression counting and comparing traffic numbers month-by-month and a conscious decision to focus on the individual visitor and their interactions over extended periods of time.
Comments would be appreciated.
Product Marketing at Google UK
14 May 2004 15:16pm
One issue I've come across recently is how to use a web analytics tool to help manage PPC search costs and ROI.
The problem is that CPAs vary massively as the market for a keyword fluctuates, so you really need to be looking at PPC traffic and conversions on a daily basis. It would be nice to track a keyword click through the activity on the site and feed the cost per click into the web analytics tool so you can see the search engine traffic and order conversion real time alongside your normal site traffic.
As far as I know there are some tools where you can input manual keyword costs, but as the costs fluctuate so much that does not seem helpful for larger retailers managing thousands of keywords.
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