On reading this title you may be forgiven for thinking I am going to criticise the use of web analytics. You would be wrong. As everybody knows the appeal of online marketing for many businesses is the depth of data available to commercial leaders, the transparency of results and of course the ability to optimise as a result of triggers your web analytics provide.
Web analytics also support decisions across a whole range of departments, including marketing, merchants, tech & design teams and customer experience professionals. However with ever complicated reports being generated and increased levels of analytical power being unleashed does web analytics provide all the answers? My truthful response to that question is No. What web analytics provide is a great foundation to inform discussions, however as online businesses have matured so have their needs.
In the past you could probably get away with employing a very analytical skilled online marketeer to run your analytics. Partly because the primary use of web analytics was to measure campaign and SEO performance. As e-Commerce matures so do the requirements of businesses. e-Commerce is now core to most medium to large businesses. Web analytics supplies a much wider audience with huge volumes of data to inform decisions.
Even if you have managed to employ a highly talented web analyst that understands your Omniture, Coremetrics or any other system you use, they may not understand the commercial ramifications.
Every business needs to set their objectives and then set their web analytics to help provide the data and modelling to assist in their decision and development plans. Then the modern commercial leader whether from a marketing or trading background needs to be conversant in multi-channel business and how the web analytics assist in measuring their performance.
However that isn’t enough. The leader then needs to apply old fashioned inturpretation to those figures. When doing so they need to do so with preconceptions or being blurred by their own view. They need to use their commercial and technical experience and match it with instinct.
Web Analytics is still one of the most powerful tools a modern business has. The more data you have the more you can base decisions on fact rather than gut. Remember to utilise your web analytics with your other data, such as inventory data and customer research. Put it all together and what looks a great website might get ruined by poor stock availability or negative customer feedback. Yet looking solely at web analytics could show a rosey picture.
I will follow this post up in the future looking at how web analytics can be used for different areas of a modern business.