Rich Clark Marketing

Opinions from Rich Clark one of the UK's leading Marketing Professionals


What Do You Think? – Beyond Web Analytics

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.


Web Analytics – how can you utilise to create improvement?

Web Analytics

In today’s economy most organisations have a website.  Most organisations invest in the design of the site.  A high proportion invest in usability.  A number of organisations invest in additional content.  A good proportion of organisations invest in web analytics, however a good proportion don’t.

Of the organisations that do invest a number don’t really utilise the full benefit.  So those that don’t realise the full potential of web analytics or don’t use them at all are really missing the real advantage of the web.  Most people love the internet because it is ‘so transparent’ or ‘it is the most measurable channel’.  However without fully utilising web analytics those benefits cannot be truly reaslised.

How do you make it work?

Most organisations completely fail to realise the full potential of their investment because they invest in the tools, however don’t invest in the resources needed to make the tools work.

The main building block to making web analytics truly work is to invest in personnel that can both operate the tools and as importantly understand the outputs, analyse and put plans into action to improve, based on the results.

Companies also need to recognise what they want from web analytics.  It may be that all you need to know are basic traffic numbers, or sales per visits.  These parameters should be set and where possible, dashboards shWeb Analyticsould be set to ensure consistency of output and easily comparable data.  In addition, this should create efficiencies within business decision-making processes.

What should you use Web Analytics to achieve?

The obvious areas are measure, analyse and optimise on your KPIs.  Simple, however many organisations fail on these basic central points.

A key reason for adopting a thorough approach to web analytics is to input into your optimisation strategy.  Let the data identify key issues that are impacting on your conversion in both a positive and negative way.

Web analytics should also allow you to track the sources of your traffic.  You should be able to track all your sources of traffic, de-dupe and prove what channels are driving traffic, sales and ultimately conversion.  With the two elements combined you should be able to optimise both your site (layout, call to action, customer journey) and your media/creative mix.

Going back to the original point, if you clearly define your objectives and KPIs, web analytics can really

The continuous improvement process

The continuous improvement process sometimes termed kaizen (Japanese for improvement) is what should underpin any web analytics implementation or strategy.  The basis of this concept is actionable measurement.  You need to do more than just measure results, feed the output back in to everything you do.  Change both the elements that are measured and review everything it impacts.  Even though you may be identifying a away to optimise your call to action buttons on your website, it may be down to the language – this in theory could influence how retail staff interact.

top5Top 5 Key considerations

1 Delve into your analytics and get past the top layer

2 Mirror the output with the objectives

3 Once the basics are cracked, undertake more complex initiatives such as multi-variate testing, which allows you to make dynamic changes to your site to speed your optimisation cycle

4 Can areas of improvement being made on the website improve other areas of the business?

5. Don’t just collect data, act upon it, optimise and review

Cost Vs Benefit

Remember, web analytics doesn’t have to be expensive.  You can get complex systems such as Omniture, that can interrogate all levels of detail and integrate into all your business systems.  However if your requirements aren’t as complex, your implementation timescales are shorter or quite simply you don’t have those levels of budget, you can get a very rich layer of information from free tools such as Google Analytics.  Whatever happens, don’t let cost be a barrier to implementing web analytics.  The benefits of a small investment will far outweigh any costs, as long as you act on what you are being shown.