Web Analytics: Measuring Success

Mar 17, 2008 - 3:29 pm 1 by

How do you know if you've been successful with search engines and your website in general? 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 both classical and newer "cutting edge" techniques to measure success, what statistics you should really care about, ways to be more strategically focused, and how to drive increased revenue for your business. Moderator:

* Yosi Heber, Founder & President, Oxford Hill Partners, LLC


* Avinash Kaushik, Author, Blogger, Analytics Evangelist, Google * Jason Bishop, Sr. Consultant, SEM, Omniture, Inc. * Akin Arikan, Senior Manager, Internet Marketing, Unica Corporation * Lauren Vaccarello, Director of Publishing, FXCM

Yosi introduces the session and explains that clients have difficulty understanding what analytics mean and how to make it meaningful. For clients, it's important to look at actionable information that can maximize customer engagement and increase revenue.

He shows a framework of measuring success: 1. Potential traffic and new customer acquisition 2. Home page and branding 3. Products and merchandising: good pictures, etc. 4. Navigation and customer experience 5. Entertainment value and stickiness: what gets people to stay on the site 6. Customer care and trust: can they get help easily? Good privacy policy? 7. Call to action/revenue maximization (traffic conversion): free shipping, call now 8. Relationship building and customer retention: long term engagement These are the things you can think about in terms of analytics. You need to do #1 before anything. This framework adds to the overall user experience and its ability to drive revenue.

He then illustrates the framework in an example - some points are strong, some weak, and some are neutral. With the information gleaned, you can get ideas about how to improve your search experience and to get your ROI.

Avinash now talks about how he drank focus Vitamin Water and now he has to go to the bathroom.

Four actionable tips for awesome SEM/PPC success: Search engine optimization entails 5 things: 1. keyword discovery, 2. keyword management, 3. keyword bidding and optimization, 4. website and landing pages, and 5. business outcomes

Everythng starts with the little box: keyword research. Integrate or die. Many people measure success with Google Analytics which is basic analytics. People are getting a lot better at measuring complex goals. At the end of the day, search engine marketing is not about driving clicks to your website. It is about making money. You need to take the data (impressions, visits, and clicks) because it helps you understand what happens beyond your website. Then look at the cost and what makes you money.

What else can you do? 1- Measure bounce rate. "I came, I puked, I left." If you see 50% bounce rate, it's not success. "This is suckiness," he says. 2- Go beyond ego bidding. We all have seen the F curve but with web analytics really help you measure success. One of his favorite reports is Keyword Positions. It gives you multidimensional analysis. Adwords > Keyword Positions - you get visualizations of how many visits you get from each position. "Isn't this sexy? It's very cool!" Figure out what your own success measurement is. You might want people to stay on your website for a very long time - what AdWords position? You are making a tradeoff between the number of visits versus success measurement. The interesting thing is that this report helps you figure out how to maximize the balance between ROI/profit/making money with the number of visits. 3- Experiment or go home! When people come to the website, it may not be designed very well. Design it for the users. The landing pages may be designed by hippos. The second thing is that when you click on the first result for "bathroom sinks," you'll get a Home Depot page about faucets. That doesn't answer the question. The bathroom sink is underneath the faucet! The second paid result is better and more targeted from faucet.com. Do A/B testing. Check what pages work well. Take 6 minutes to test these things out. He shows a Skype page - one with a clean page, one with a man and a woman, and one with an "androgenous" man (with long hair whose back is faced toward us) and a woman. The "androgenous" woman and woman win - but you wouldn't know that unless you tested, right? Beat the hippos and improve scent with experimentation.

Lauren is up next. She talks about Zen and the Art of Analytics. Okay, she's seriously not talking about that because she's from New York and we don't do that stuff here. Her advice is practical. 1. Figure out who you are: Who are you? Are you a publishing site? Are you an e-commerce sites? Are you B2B? There's no one-size-fits-all conversion metric, but conversion should make you money.

2. Follow Gordon Gekko's 3 rules for Glengarry leads - Rule #1: Always be converting. (ABC) - This should be the goal of your everyday life. - Rule #2: The most valuable commodity I know of is Information. Integrate with your CRM for a lead-gen site. For offline campaigns, it's hard to figure out the tracking. - Rule #3 - AIDA - analytics is data into action. Make your analytics data actionable. Do something with it.

3. Generate sales lead lists 4. Do lead segmentation through time to purchase

She uses some examples with case studies - a fake e-commerce site. Get people's information because it gives you permission to market to them. Integrate your email solution with your analytics solution. 5-7 days offer them a coupon. 10 days or more do it more aggressively but don't spam them!

What about transactional leads? Send in your best closers and take away obstacles away from them that prevent them from closing.

Glengarry Leads are golden. They are for converters!

Next up is Akin Arikan who flew across the entire country for this 10 minute presentation. Unica is one of the top 4 web analytics providers left in this market (according to him and Forrester). He wrote a book called Multichannel Marketing which will be out in April.

Questions: 1. How do visitors find your site? 2. Once they're there, how do we convert them? He talks about the metric on the trend chart and he shows that the conversion rate is going down. Only after segmentation can you see what's going on. In his situation, he realized that it helps to reduce the mass email campaign (since it coincided with the lower conversions), but paid conversion rate was actually up. Segmentation turns a mundane report into something that provides advice. Conclusion: keep the webmaster, give a raise to the search guy, and fire the email marketer!!!!! Even though conversion rates are down, conversions might be up becasue it's a matter of volume. The morale: a single metric doesn't suffice for taking action. Ask about the cost per acquisition. One example is that someone paid $20k and only got one conversion. Is it worth it? Obviously not! Beware of ROAS vs. ROI. ROAS = revenue / marketing investment. ROI = return / investment = (gross margin - marketing inestment) / marketing investment

How to improve the experience to reduce dropoffs? Use a cycle of testing and measurement. We suggest funnel reports which essentially draws people in. Don't just do the funnel report. Segment the report also so that you can take action. Paid vs. organic search is a way to segment; draw different conclusions. Segment by different landing pages. Do some A/B testing. He shows a test vs. control and how the different shade of green for the "Go" button showed a 2.2% higher CTR!

Unica's recommendations: 1. If it's not segmented, it's not web analytics. It's probably information. 2. No single metric does it all. 3. Don't be fooled by ROAS. Use it to fool other people. 4. Test, test, test.

Last up is Jason Bishop who will talk about Search Marketing with web analytics.

Content: - driving additional SEM traffic and how it relates to geotargeting - improving navigation - search marketing and web analytics - taking action - campaign hierarchy and how that relates to your text ads

Using geo-segmentd data to apply to your SEM budget. Look at geotargeted data - where are my visitors coming from? Set up structures within your account and group them together. STructure/restructure keyword campaigns based on top geographic locations. Apply larger budgets to the higher traffic areas - this gives more concise reporting and helps you target better. Group your lower traffic areas together as they may not be getting as much traffic.

Analyze your SEM conversion path: We want impressions, clicks, and then a conversion. All other metrics - impressions, CTR, clicks, conversion rate, orders, revenue, ROAS, CPA - may also be included. Revise: we want impressions, clicks, [????], and then conversion. In the [????] use a tool like Omniture and incorporate that with web analytics. Check product videws, cart, cart adds, cart removals, checkouts, average order value, cost per step metrics (cost per product view)

Then we have the funnel - how many product views, carts, checkouts, average order value, etc. in terms of SEM and then looking at the analytics afterwards.

Effective keyword strategy - do you understand your keyword campaign hierarchy? The basic structure you start with begin with ad groups and then keywords - you really want to drive home relevancy with your keywords or with anything. Group similar items together because it will help you drive home the endpoint (which generally means bringing people to your site). Take action with relevant text ads: headline (eye grabbing), value proposition (what is the offer), and call to action (what do you want them to do?).

Takeaways - 1. Create geo-segmented campaigns can allow for improved targeting/budgeting (keyword grouping based on region) 2. Combining search marketing and web analytics data (what happened in the process?) 3. Having an effective campaign hierarchy to allow for specific text ads


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