"How do you know if you've been successful with search engines? You can check your "rank" at search engines for particular keywords, analyze log files to see the actual terms people used to reach your web site or make the ultimate jump and "close the loop" by measuring sales conversions and return-on-investment (ROI). This panel explores ways to measure success and what statistics you should really care about. Last part of session offers Q&A with measuring tool vendors."
First up is Laura Theme of Bizresearch who reviewed various tools including ranking spider analysis and NetTracker, ClickTracks, WebTrends. Presented issues dealing with 301 redirects, keyword targeting, etc.
Strongly recommends getting training on analytics. Reviews Google Analytics features and issues dealing with language in the agreement that says Google can issue a press release naming you as a user and that Google Analytics is your preferred analytics provider.
Web analytics providers:
- Google Analytics
Organic vs paid and return on ad spend are big considerations as well as ease of use, hosted versus log file analysis software, detailed robot analysis, ability to analyze aggregate data and user sessions, customer latency methodology, customer support and training, adaptability to interface changes, data ownership and use and cost.
It makes a difference which keyword phrase is being given credit for the conversion. Example, a customer might first hear of a brand from an initial search using a general phrase, and then actually convert on a subsequent search that is more specific.
Analytics will allow you to influence what your clients think though enhancements to your web site and through competitive analysis.
Possible web analytics features of the future:
- Free, lower cost
- Set business rules for organic and ad campaigns
- Alerts emailed to multiple managers, site owner
- Easier to manage multiple accounts
- Integration with business software like CRM
Keep in mind:
- No tracking tool will do everything
- Make sure your tracking tool is accurately collecting the data
- Great SEM/SEOs may not be good web metrics analysts and vice versa
Next up is Bryan Eisenberg. The probvlem is that web analytics is just a tool You have to plan for measurement. Not tool is useful unless you are prepared to take action on it.
Plugs WAA. webanalyticsassociation.org
Customers are ignoring "push" marketing. Internet is "where it's at" because it's a pull medium. Users pull themselves to your message.
Disparities exist between what advertisers will pay for other media and for online media compared to where consumers are spending most of their time.
PPC costs are increasing, conversion rates are disappointing. People are still making money, but they're also still leaving a lot of money on the table. There is still a significant opportunity to improve conversions and online marketing effectiveness.
Conversion as a measure of success. Consumers are not acting the same way. It is more important to understand what the customer wants.
Ways to measure conversion rates: 1. Overall conversion rate 2. Conversion rate over time 3. Scenariop conversion rates (linear and non-linear)
The phrases users enter in search engines shows their intent. Gives example of phrases that are increasingly specific as an illustration of where the customer is in their buying process. The more specific, the closer they are to making a purchase.
Good Scent. Gives example where banner ad creative is similar to landing page, which drills down to a category page. All are similar but not exactly the same.
Bad Scent - irrelevant ad creative and landing pages.
Broad phrases should bring the user to an informational page. A specific phrase should bring them to a specific product with the opportunity to take action.
Users typically ignore top and side navigation. They focus on the main content area.
Shows multiple examples of large companies advertising on common phrases that bring users to irrelevant pages. A lot of money is being spent this way but they're still making money. But they are also not realizing a significant amount of revenue opportunity.
Six sigma perspective on lost sales - "Anything that results in a lower level of customer satisfaction or a lost customer is a defect in the sales process." 2% is an average conversion rate. What about the other 98%?
Now comes the panel portion of the sesions which includes vendors from various web analytics packages.
Audience Question: Give some strengths and weaknesses of your software
Chris Knoch, Omniture - Offers the ability to configure weight to the keywords.
Jay McCarthy, WebSideStory - offers a suite of products, in-site search, content management which distinguishes WebSideStory from other vendors.
Brett Crosby, Google Analytics - Available in 16 languages, tightly integrated with Google AdWords, we're free. Working on ease of implementation and providing data.
Barry Parshall, WebTrends - First party cookie tracking for improved accuracy in tracking, both hosted and server side applications. WebTrends can be overwhelming sometimes, particularly on the administration side.
John Marshall, ClickTracks - Less reports is an advantage, need to do a better job at graphing results.
Danny asks vendors to provide price points. Prices range from a few thousands to much more. Don't solely look at "free" as your decision point. Google still offers a software version &895 to $5000. WebTrends is $35 for hosted to $5000 and more for the enterprise version. ClickTracks starts at $49/mo and software is $495 to several thousand.
Danny brings up the free issue of GOogle Analytics and notes that when that happened, how the other analytics vendors sent out press releases justifying their existence. Danny agrees that free should not be the sole decision point. Some companies cannot afford a tool, so free might be their only option. However, for more sophisticated needs, a paid web analytics solution should be a consideration.
Audience Question: Is a long time spent on my site (publisher) a good thing or a bad thing Bryan: It depends on the scenario. Are they looking for support or are they ready to engage? Brett: Look at repeat visitors John: Thank you for bringing up time on site as an important metric. ROI is a blunt instrument metric. Look at average time on site broken out by keyword to better understand the visitor's intent and their interaction with your site. Bryan: There's a difference between average and typical. As in the difference between "mean", "median" and "mode".
Audience Question: MTV.com is having challenges communicating metrics of success to senior management that are not "online savvy". In the middle of a search engine optimization effort and wants to know of ways besides before/after or increased saerch engien referrals. Laura: It depends on ewhat you're trying to achive. Gives example of increasing newsletter sign ups.
SES NYC Tag: sesny2006