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Web Analytics — The Soul of Digital Accountability
By: Parmjeet Kaur, Manager Marketing Strategy & Analysis and Deepak Jain, Manager Marketing Strategy & Analysis
Today, a majority of enterprises are under‐invested in analyzing data flowing from digital channels. Even when enterprises have invested enough money for measurement technology, they usually fail to apply commensurate resources and effort to make the tools work for their business. Instead, most organizations focus too much on generating reports and too little on producing true insights and recommendations, opting for what is easy, not for what is valuable. When most people think of analytics, the first thought that often comes to mind is a data‐dump of numbers, overloads of information that add more to confusion than to elucidation. Ask yourself: Are you measuring your success and improving? Do you know why people leave your website? Do you know your customer satisfaction scores? Are you targeting the right audience? Senior management, sales and marketing, and customer service teams all need answers to these questions — all of which can be answered through Web Analytics. So what is Web Analytics? In its simplest form, it can be defined as one of the ways to help hone and transform online experiences to help accomplish organizational goals.
“Web Analytics is the science and adeptness that leads to drive change for websites to increase their profitability by cultivating a customer’s online experience. It is science because it uses statistics, data mining techniques, and a methodological process. It is an art because the analyst has to draw from various pallets of data sources to find the impeccable synthesis that will yield actionable insights.”
This paper describes an imminent change in the digital world, and how Web Analytics plays a vital role in successful contributions to an organization. We comprehend this not because we believe there is anything erroneous with today’s Web Analytics functions, but because we believe Web Analytics should play a bigger role in business decision making in the future.
© Sapient Corporation 2012
• Substantial qualitative and quantitative data. IDEA ENGINEERS © Sapient Corporation 2012 . decision makers cannot afford to miss the opportunity to use Web Analytics to close the gaps between cross‐channel marketing strategies. 37% of them are only doing so in addition to a free offering.POINT OF view THE CORE OF CROSS‐CHANNEL ACTIVITIES For many organizations. • Faster turn-around. and even when businesses are paying for analytics. the web is a common element of the marketing mix. Just as a website serves as a hub for customers’ multi‐channel activity. This data includes a cross‐section of known customers as well as anonymous visitors who can be analyzed and used to support specific intelligence objectives such as segmentation. • Delivered information to a variety of stakeholders. and as such. Websites deliver granular customer data on a large scale to support significant samples of specific behavior and outcomes. The dispersion of Web Analytics is extremely broad and companies have Web Analytics abilities in place to gather the requisite baseline data. Providers of free tools take up 78% of the market share. Web Analytics is one of the most critical sources of activity because of: • Widespread espousal. While Forrester’s data indicates that 73% of businesses are using Web Analytics tools or are evaluating them in a pilot program. Web Analytics reports and dashboards can be distributed to the entire marketing team in numerous formats that are appropriate for varying types of audiences. re‐marketing. and behavioral targeting. campaigns are often completed in days or even hours. revenue has been hard to come by. • Useful links to other channels and activities. creating a consistent view of activity and a foundational set of data for action. at the speed of light when compared with traditional media cycles. The ability to gather real time data and analyze it quickly allows for testing and iterative improvements that few channels can rival. Web Analytics provides the ability to measure and attribute business results to other cross‐channel marketing programs. Activities on the web are executed in quick time spans.
but when it comes to reaping business benefits from analytics. future offers. For Web Analytics to be carried in the right direction. Most organizations implement good tools and measurement strategies. or a new marketing strategy based on data. Let us now look at the phases of the Web Analytics lifecycle. When there is an action based upon data. the key is to identify and map the right KPIs as per your business objectives. To understand the impact of analytics in decision‐making. agreed upon beforehand. KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS AND THEIR ROLE IN WEB ANALYTICS Key Performance Indicators are quantifiable measurements. At the same time. and that action is supplemented with a potential business value (related to revenue). Most sites have a 2% conversion. the data presentation is misinterpreted as an analysis and that is where the real value is lost. Web Analytics Lifecycle Analytics is a continuously evolving process where the data and analysis define future strategies and goals. but what about other 98%? How many potential customers did not convert? Why were they dropping off? Was the wrong audience targeted? If you get answers to your questions.POINT OF view ACTION: BEYOND DATA PRESENTATION At the heart of every analysis is data. Often. that is where actual ROI of analytics is measured. This does not stop with one cycle. your conversion will improve. Analysis is not magic and it needs a deep business understanding blended with analytical skills. In addition. take an example of eCommerce KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to track conversion rates. IDEA ENGINEERS © Sapient Corporation 2012 . Here are key steps to identify correct KPIs. they end up with data reporting or a less‐than‐insightful presentation. no analysis is complete if it does not have actionable recommendations to improve business performance. decide if those potential customers can be retargeted through emails. that reflect the critical success factors of an organization.
the main goal is to get new leads. a selection of the right KPIs can result in actions that lead to continuous improvements and met business and organizational objectives. where the focus is on the purchase. and the challenge is to not get lost in the options available. “conversion rates. may benefit from “visit value” and “average selling price” KPIs. In this case.” “single access ratio. For instance. KPIs won’t do any good. a commerce website. Otherwise. with a lead generation website.” and “traffic concentration” KPIs may be good options.” “cost per lead. Mapping too many KPIs might give you lots of data with no insights or recommended actions.POINT OF view Business Objectives Mapped To KPIs Lead Generation Website Commerce Website Content/ Media Website Service Website Conversion Rates Visit Value Average Selling Price Sourcewise % drop offs Sample KPIs by Industry These are just a few KPIs. In comparison. On the other hand. IDEA ENGINEERS © Sapient Corporation 2012 . It’s crucial to select the right ones.
which Web Analytics focuses on to help • Increase sales • Increase campaign effectiveness • Improve user experience • Increase self-service and drive down costs Key benefits of this approach include • Enforcing action when coupled with monetary value • Helping justify the investment on the Web Analytics activities and team • Helping assess the contribution of Web Analytics towards an organization’s financial bottom line • Enhanced reliability in data: 1. this can compel an action. Increased trust in Web Analytics. and Net Promotor Score*. if implemented value is close to targeted value (target set by business themselves against their decisions) * Net Promotor Score (NPS) ‐ A gauge of customer satisfaction IDEA ENGINEERS © Sapient Corporation 2012 . What’s worse is that a full 75% of web analysts are working for companies where the return on investment from Web Analytics is either not being tracked (54%) or is not widely known (21%). As business managers are increasingly pressured to optimize the value of their web investments. little correlation exists between Web Analytics spend and business benefit. If the outcomes are coupled with potential value in respect to benefits.POINT OF view A VALUE‐DRIVEN APPROACH Today. A Web Analytics Demystified survey found that 25% of the companies who are tracking ROI from Web Analytics report a zero or even a negative return on their investment. businesses must have a revenue model in place to compute the potential value of driving change. Below is a proposed approach: Value-Driven Analytics Value is a direct function of Cost. a problem exacerbated by the technology‐heavy approach taken towards site measurement. they will be forced to adopt more flexible tool sets and sounder analytical methodologies. The Value‐Driven Approach helps assess the impact of the outcomes of the analysis and findings driven by Web Analytics. if implemented value is close to recommended value 2. Confidence in the decision taken. In order to implement this approach. Revenue.
the Enterprise Data Warehouse. There is more competition in the market of Web Analytics providers. structured approaches like using the Web Analytics Value‐Driven Approach. Web businesses will continue to put pressure on Web Analytics providers to deliver not only more actionable metrics. It will be more important than ever to keep adjusting to customer needs and improving to stay ahead of competition. 2012 will be an eventful year for the Web Analytics industry. and tablets to name a few. In an era where digital marketing spend is to the tunes of tens of millions (if not more). We are starting to look forward to testing and optimization as a way of life. and customer databases. When we get out of the “data puking” business and realize that we need to solve business problems. Online companies want to react more quickly to what is going on with their web strategy. Here are key trends to watch. It’s time to move toward performance-based metrics. as well as marketing laboratory initiatives (including A/B testing. 5. It’s now technologically advanced enough to provide a fine‐grain picture of what’s going on at and around the site. While the web is a common thread in the marketing mix. which includes not only large players but also companies that specialize in custom solutions for online brands. and behavioral targeting) — all feeding data in a forward approach. we can finally embrace business‐centric. Real-time data and analysis will require faster adaptation. 1. 3. It will continue to try to catch up with an expanding online ecosystem that endures a growing variety of businesses. The driving force behind the development of Web Analytics as a business area has been the rise of online business. today’s emerging channels mean that we need to find a way to bridge the gap with this broad technology and be capable of measuring the success across all these channels. Some of the leading web analytics vendors are well into the game and on track to launch predictive modeling tools. 2. That’s why real‐time Web Analytics will play an increasingly important role and service providers will have to develop solutions to make it more useful for users. Yes. but also metrics that give a better view of performance. More employees will be dedicated to monitoring the effects of online activities and implementing changes before it’s too late. Web acumen is applied beyond site-level. social networks. IDEA ENGINEERS © Sapient Corporation 2012 . which will be used to build multi‐channel marketing initiatives. which aim to shield users from the statistical complexity that such an approach would warrant.POINT OF view TRENDS FOR 2012 The business of measuring web activity has come a long way since its modest early stages. for many companies. It’s not just about the website anymore. including CRM. 4. but then again. it is not easy to deal with. We now also have mobile. multi‐variate testing. CMO’s and other digital decision makers are increasingly curious to understand what the future holds for them from an ROI perspective. making a huge investment to benefit the bottom line never is. Web Analytics providers will continue to develop models to deliver more than just response or engagement data. Increased focus on predictive modeling and forecasting. This has spurred an increased flurry of activity and investment around finding the appropriate models to predict future performance and provide businesses with the ability to forecast the impact of moving marketing dollars across various channels to achieve the optimum mix. Web Analytics will be spread across different data sources and campaigns.
CONCLUSION Web Analytics is all about understanding the current business state and continuously exploring new avenues with tools. Due to changes in the law concerning cookies. Data is a commodity. For instance. fail to recognize ROI. Ultimately. 2. which suggests almost all Web Analytics can’t be used without breaking the law. 4. While the investment chasm has been minimized by free Web Analytics tools introduced to the market. the staffing and action chasms have grown. It’s hard to co-relate implemented value with recommended value. and new revenue opportunities. Growth will emerge from unexpected places as the value proposition of Web Analytics technology wavers for sophisticated users and becomes more welcoming for new entrants. It needs to be redefined and updated on a regular basis to make sure the right results are reaped from Web Analytics solutions. This is true especially when a lot of changes are made at the same time or when organizations take longer to implement suggested changes. Industry growth is inhibited by increasingly complex challenges. 1. Four years ago. including the use of • Data and analytics processes to drive future decisions • Small repetitive steps • Continuous evolution instead of complete website relaunches • Constant testing and experimentation • Strategic KPIs for accountability • Tactical KPIs as guidelines for single or local approaches This cycle is one that shouldn’t be implemented once. the challenges grow increasingly complex. Privacy issues when using cookies pose a problem. 5. A deep action abyss renders Web Analytics inert. or simply don’t apply the data. creativity. elevated customer satisfaction. the staffing chasm. many marketers tell us that they struggle to uncover the insight within their Web Analytics data and keep pace with new measurement challenges. Web Analytics will become part of a broader array of integrated services supporting marketers.POINT OF view KEY CHALLENGES There are some key themes that limit Web Analytics success. IDEA ENGINEERS © Sapient Corporation 2012 . and the action chasm. Forrester research identified three chasms that organizations must cross to mature their use of Web Analytics: the investment chasm. But many adopters of Web Analytics technologies under‐use their tools. The allure of these benefits has not escaped the masses as businesses across the globe increase their reliance on the web and online channels. Web Analytics is just the tool. and best practices. As marketers gain maturity in their use of Web Analytics tools. The potential benefits of Web Analytics include improved marketing effectiveness. The human resources required for analyzing data and converting information into necessary business actions are still severely lacking. The Web Analytics action chasm is only one part of the story. 3. it is now illegal to set most cookies on websites.
Despite a necessary evolution toward automated action based on data like targeting and testing. Deepak Jain Parmjeet Kaur is working as Manager Marketing Strategy & Analysis with experience in Web Analytics. having five years of experience within interactive marketing. and campaign measurement. Web Analytics. REFERENCES: 1. data becomes an addictive drug because it can demonstrate success. She is currently leading the Vodafone UK offshore engagement for their Web Analytics solution. The future success of Web Analytics is dependent upon experts who translate raw data into insight. and establish business cases for new endeavors. Q4 2011” 3. Forrester Research “What Does The Web Analytics Industry Want To Be When It Grows Up?” 2. She is an Adobe certified professional with Omniture Implementation as well as Omniture Site Catalyst. and Wal-Mart. She has successfully defined and implemented processes for client engagements in GDD model. Web Analytics Demystified / Next Stage Global Measuring the Immeasurable Visitor Engagement ABOUT THE Authors Deepak Jain is working as Manager Marketing Strategy & Analysis. He is currently working for Vodafone UK as a part of their Web Analytics team. Forrester Research “The Forrester Wave™: Web Analytics. predict outcomes. eConsultancy Report “Online Measurement and Strategy Report 2011” 4. marketers will formulate automated presentation methods that deliver relevant content and messaging to consumers in a dynamic fashion. • Democratization of data is impending. expert analysts are required to make correlations and bridge the action chasm with logic. RBC. he was part of the Experience Marketing team working with the Miami team for clients such as Citibank. and Adobe Omniture governance. • Optimization technologies are the next paradigm. With Web Analytics data as the foundation. Earlier. Parmjeet Kaur IDEA ENGINEERS © Sapient Corporation 2012 . and managed the measurement team out of India. data mining. Organizations that succeed with Web Analytics build data‐driven strategies and create a corporate appetite for data. As maturity with Web Analytics grows. sophisticated marketers will use data and customer intelligence to establish ecology for marketing optimization. For some. campaign management.POINT OF view • Existing expertise will not be squandered.
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