Rebecca Lieb opened up the session to introduce the panelists and explain that this would be an informal and fast paced session.
Measuring success according to Bizresearch, Laura Thieme opened up the presentation telling us that there are always ways to improve. Success comes in many forms and that with her clients online retail sales are up a minimum of 40% each year. She says small biz retailer acquires over 22,000 customers in two year period from search engine marketing (organic, paid, shopping search). She gave some more client examples, on how a law firm increased leads by 700% with one month of the newly optimized site (how many leads though?).
According to Bizresearch there are only 19% of online retailers that conduct ROI analysis. There are some lesions to be learned from this. Organic rankings outperformed paid search, where organic search sent over 70% of monthly sales. They also determined that Google Adwords outperformed organic search in terms of lead generation.
There is some good search engine visibility tools out there, such as WebPosition Gold and Ranking Manager. Laura says you should look at when a spider/robot comes to your site and how often. There are a good number of web analytical tools such as CoreMetrics, WebTrends, Hitbox, Netbox, NetTracker, Urchin, and Click Tracks. As a general suggestion you might check with you ISP or hosting company to see if they provide one of the web analytic tools. For example I asked one of the hosting companies I use to put Urchin on the servers I used, and they had no problem doing so. I just had to ask.
Laura asks, Who tracks ROI? Mostly its small businesses that seem to track it first, because every dollar counts. They need fast ROI and are more likely to stop ad campaign if ROI is not proven quickly. Are we selling? is a question business owners will have to ask. If not, then why, what is impacting our ROI negatively. She goes on to give some examples where price and keyword choices were influential in impacting the amount of sales that came in. Lowering the price helped one retailer compete with other retailers. Bad keyword choices can negatively impact the campaign.
She made some good ending points. There is no tracking tool that will do everything. You may need 2-3 tracking tools. Make sure your tracking tool is accurately collecting the data (good point). Great search engine marketers may not be great research analysts. Might need to hire someone else to interrupt the data.
Dave Cadoff from Future Now Inc. got up to show what these web analytic tools can actually show you. Visitors on the web leave a trail, and part of that trail can be analyzed, and it will. He says CLICKS are PEOPLE. Remember that. You can also take any piece of data and interrupt it anyway you want, you can mold that data into whatever you want it to say.
You have to plan, and know what success is, but not in a general way. Its looking at every page you have and figuring out what its supposed to do. You need to know this. You will need to plan scenarios intentionally on the site, and if its not working you can correct it. Recognize a problem on the site, do an information search to fix it, evaluate of alternative and purchase decision. Also, start backwards from the sale. Try to see if you can get back to the homepage. These are things that will help you manage. Web analytic software takes raw data and turns it into structured information in the form of reports. Once we understand the inter-relations of the data. You need to make sure the data is actionable. Look at the trends, because nothing happens in a vacuum. The relative value is more important that the static value.
Dave gives a very good presentation and none of the examples are directed towards a particular product, he remains unbiased, which is good to see. He is probably one of the best speakers in a session today in my opinion. He gives good advice that squeezing the efficientcy out of the site is what you will have to do. He asks how many people track their ROI in spreadsheets, from ISP, or with software? More people in the room use software to track their ROI. He says on these pages ones like what is given in WebTrends will not give you the answerd but give you the questions. So ask them. He says its very important to understand that. Dave said the homepage was the worst thing ever created or as mentioned in another session. People focus too heavily on these pages when they should be focusing on the inner pages.
He puts up a full list of content and commerce metrics. Excellent list. Here is sample of what can be tracked:
Take rates: newsletter, bookmarks, downloads Repeat visitor rate Heavy user rate Committed visitor share Committed visitor index Committed visitor volume Visitor engagement index Reject page: Home Page Reject page: Sub Page
Things to remember about web analytics. Use the metrics to provide action items and things you can improve on for your website. He ended by presenting a matrix of all the analytic tool landscape, and where certain tools fell in there.
Rebecca then asked all the presenters from the 4 major analytic companies to do a 60 second overview of their software. They are Jason Palmer from WebTrends, Akin Arikan from Nettracker, John Marshall from Clicktracks, Brett Crosby from Urchin.
Side Note from the Blog Room: Avoid the potato salad at SES Chicago, three days of it, is way to much!