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Web analytics and measurement are playing an increasingly pivotal role as marketers strive to deliver the best possible customer experience, according to two pieces of research published by E-consultancy this month.

According to marketers surveyed for the annual Online Customer Engagement Report, produced in partnership with cScape, the use of web analytics is regarded as the single most important method for gathering intelligence in the context of improving engagement with customers.

An overwhelming 91% of marketers believe that web analytics are either 'essential' or 'important' for this purpose, a higher percentage than for usability testing, customer feedback and insights from customer-facing staff.

Of course, in order to have the best chance of success in understanding and improving the customer experience, companies should use a variety of different tools and resources. Any approach used in isolation has its limitations.

In an interview published by E-consultancy this week, analytics expert Eric Peterson stresses that clickstream data should be used in conjunction with qualitative data which gives insight into the 'voice of the customer'.

The owners of web analytics and 'customer experience' within organisations are finally becoming acquainted with one another because of the healthy focus on effective interaction with customers, whether offline or via digital channels.

A key reason why web analytics has gained so much ground as a sector  - the 2007 Web Analytics Buyer’s Guide, published this month, found that spending on web analytics by UK businesses will grow 25% this year - is because marketers are getting better at extracting useful and actionable information to make better business decisions and to improve customer engagement.   

However, an on-going challenge for marketers is to establish exactly what 'customer engagement' is and how this should be measured. The Customer Engagement Report found that marketers understand this topic in a number of different ways.

Healthy debate will continue to rage around an exact definition and best measurement of customer engagement, but what is not under any dispute is the critical importance of interacting with customers effectively both online and offline.

Linus Gregoriadis

Published 29 November, 2007 by Linus Gregoriadis

Linus Gregoriadis is Research Director at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn or Google+.

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Comments (2)


John Harrison

The growing use of web analytics is good news. They produce a vast amount of data that can be put to use.

The first objective should be to target the right information set for the business that will give key performance indicators (KPIs). To be of value the KPI must reflect the goals of the business and be important to its success but also be mesaurable, comparable and above all allow for corrective action if things were to go wrong. There would be little point investing money, time and effort into monitoring information if you couldn't take real action upon it.

As to the point about customer engagement it strikes me that it will always be a thorny issue when you try to measure it. You can obtain some stats on how many people read your web page or received a peice of email. Yet no matter comprehensive the Web analytics tool is it is not going to inform you about what people actually think about your marketing message. Long may the debate continue but any solution must include human interaction - talking and listening to customers.

almost 9 years ago

Mihkel Jäätma

Mihkel Jäätma, Founding Partner at Realeyes

There are instances where customer engagement can be measured quite objectively without any thornyness.

Eye-tracking is one example. Average eye fixation length on a web page or an area of the web page is a good measure of how engaged people were with the media.

Take a look at this quick report for example (page 12): http://www.realeyes.ee/Studies/HSBC/HSBC.pdf

It gives a pretty good idea how engaged people were with different parts of the web page.

Another point: sometimes NOT talking to customers can actually be a very good way to to listen to Your customers ;)

almost 9 years ago

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