Web analytics continues to evolve with the digital space, and a lot happened in the industry last year. We witnessed interesting acquisitions and software progressions designed to help analysts and marketers keep closer watch over user behavior, the social media and mobile channels continued to gain traction, and marketers' needs for insights into consumer behavior deepened.
To be successful this year, marketers need to be aware of these developments and understand how they can maximize their analytics implementations. New tools, features, and functions abound, but they're only useful to marketers who take the time to understand the capabilities and put them to proper use.
Here are the top five things marketers need to know about analytics in 2010.
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Funny you talk about the mobile market. Though its true that 2010 is not the year of mobile, but any marketer should realize they better get their campaigns going and be in that market for branding. Don't wait until the market has been flooded. btw great article
Re free tools: Another reason to avoid them is NO CUSTOMER SUPPORT at any price. I'd gladly pay to get information from Google Ad Manager and other products that don't function as they should (and thus negatively impact my business). I generate thousands of dollars a month in ad revenue for Google, but I still can't get help. Questions posted to their forums have gone unanswered (6 months later, still waiting to know why the ads don't show). No one should expect everything for free, but when an "industry leader" can't develop tiered pricing schedules to customers who generate money for them, one can only hope that a better-run company will rise up.
Your last paragraph is the best and sums it up nicely. "analysis is the most important part of what a web analytics professional does. All the data in the world won't mean anything if it cannot illuminate a trend or highlight a problem." That's it right there. @ Peter: 15% is a lot, so I wouldn't consider that an "only" figure.
Peter-Thank you for the feedback! Your point that "rules of thumb” don't apply across all types of businesses and websites is absolutely valid. B2B marketing is a different beast than b2c, but I think a lot of the concepts can be applied to both. That said, while only 15% of your B2B users access the site from their PDA or Smartphone right now, it's definitely a growing trend. I think it's best to be prepared for trends even if they haven't hit a particular industry yet. It may happen quicker than you think. I prefer to be proactive and prepared when anticipating new ways to approach consumers/leads.To your second point, this is a challenge that I actually find to be quite fun. There is the ability to calculate the value of a lead based on the average earned contracts and how long it takes to get them to sign the contract. Once you have the value of a lead, you can back that up to the value of a click from marketing campaigns. Of course these users are likely to return to the website through multiple touch points because there is a research phase, so it's important to weigh in the value from different sources. It takes website analysis to understand how often a user returns to the website before becoming a lead and combine this data with how long it takes a lead to convert. Thanks again for your comments, and you've given me a few ideas for a b2b-specific article.Claudia- It may help to answer that question if I first understand how you are currently measuring brand search. Typically, brand search is attributed to brand awareness campaigns, however, it is important to have visibility in top SERPs and there must be a strategy in place to maintain such placement. James- Thank you for the comment. Mobile is definitely here and usage will continue to grow.
Good article and I definitely agree with the analysis part. As I heard from one expert, statatisions and analysts are the sexy jobs over the coming years!Mobile is a definite, and social media will be interesting to gleam really useful insight to develop contact and engagement strategies. We're seeing this as a culmination of the systems driven analytics and those on the front line who are interacting day in day out, be it client staff or ghost writers.
Do you know of any new ways to measure the impact of search branding (paid and organic presence in top SERPs) and how this metric can included in ROI calculations?
Nicole,You make many good points. I would like to amplify on a few of these. First, I will share with you that my bias is that I am an online Publisher and I do sell advertising.With that said, I have found that some of the "rules of thumb" must be seriously modified when looking at the difference between a general consumer-type Web site and that of a B2B site. For example, use of social media for work is very different, with a much higher use of LinkedIn and much less for Facebook and Twitter. As a matterof fact, we ran a survey on our Site and found that only 15% of our B2B users accessed the site from their PDA or SmartPhones -- this is a much lower number than more "popular" consumer sites.Second, many B2B Web sites advertise products and services that start around $5K and often result in $50K or greater contracts. Many are not sold directly online, but through a prolonged kick-the-tires-and-negotiate approach. In these types of cases, the value of metrics is more difficult to measure, and there is not the immediate feedback that a site gets at times such as when purchasing a CD at Amazon because it came up in the Gold Deals Box.Third, with B2B sites the value of a click through is increased tremendously when one is able to place an ad in a place on a Web site that attracts a targeted audience, and then that visitor is directed not to the advertiser's Home Page, but to a specific content page on the advertiser's Web site -- content that relates to the content on the page on which the ad appeared. This visitor is worth much more to the advertiser than one who just click to the advertiser's Home Page, and may have immediately left the site from there. Unfortunately, many advertisers (and sadly many agencies, who should know better) tend to find it easier to over-simplify and just count all click throughs as equal to one another. Clearly, this is not the case. We have some advertisers who recognize the value of quality versus quantity (and they have their own ways to measure that), and we have some that simply look at numbers of click throughs and let it go at that.With so many articles being written on metrics, I would like to see more on differentiating between consumer and B2B sites, especially when research numbers are reported. I also would like to see more on the value of a click through, and that they are not all created equal.Peter
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