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Web Analytics & Measuring Success Overview

This is a transcript of the live session in San Jose, August 20, 2007. Subject to typographical errors.

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.





Matthew Baily:

Old school metrics vs. new school metrics. Old school = hits, top 10 keywords, top 10 pages, to him it”s BS. Doesn”t tell the full picture.

SEO: If you cant be found, you dont exist. Same with usability. Usability – if they cant find a conversion point on the site – not there. Analytics tells us what happens and how to improve it.

Goals: Every site needs goals. A primary goal. People need to go thru a process to convert, unless its a 2 page site. Action is made of macroactions, tiny steps. Navigation, etc. All these little things that add up. Thats where analytics is key. How can we improve the process. Where are the microactions stopping people from getting from point A to point B.

Only by segmenting traffic will you undersrtand whats happening. Can understand analytics by looking at his Star Trek example – 59 deaths in 5 years of the show. Thats a 13% conversion rate. Yellow shirt that trekies that died wore 10%, blue shirts – 7.2%, etc. Why? What is the reasoning for this. You want to figure out what improves conversion rate.

Principal of segmention: Only by doing this can you understand what factors that are causing actions on the site. We have intelligence that gives us the answers. Take these factors and apply them to site. Need conversion rates based on different users and searchers and search queries. Can figure out where you are losing visitors, gaining conversions. You need to break up traffic into different areas. Tie $ to actions.

Three C”s of analytics: #”s must be put in context – need backing , a situation. Thats why hits, time on site, are BS. Need to compare segments to eachother. Comparison- once segmented, you can compare and contrast and find problems. Especially if you are doing well in one segment and not the other. Tells you what to change and what to avoid.

Key performance indicators: What do you want buyers to do? Conversions, time on site, etc. When you look at it by segment – things look clear. If someone came searching for X, and bouncing, it gives us intelligence. He likes to segment based on keywords and keyword groups. Compares major groups against eachother. Did they come from blogs? Social news? Search? Break this down, and compare and contrast.

A case study: People that entered from homepage, lower conversion rate than thru subpage. Makes sense. Also found 404 error pages for #2 keyword. You need analytics to see these, and segmentation is key. Segment conversion names from brand name searches – do they have a higher CR? Gives focus to optimization!

Engagement factors: Look at how people found site and compare metrics. Keywords, Referrers, Ads – measure CR”s, PV”s, Time on Site. In case study – social news / social media brought 0 conversions, but lots of traffic.

How traffic compares: Blogs and articles do well for him – its like word of mouth. Topical search – pretty well engaged. Social news – competing against others – audience its more time wasting. So this forces us to look at links bringing the most sales, and find context of the link. It”s the context of the link that sets up expectation. It”s a competition for attention. You have many links competing for attention. If you get a link on a blog – you get people”s attention and the conversions will be high. More link juice context is crucial.

START WITH A QUESTION! QUESTIONS MAKE ANALYTICS SUCCESSFUL. Measure each segment, compare and contrast the results, put the results in context, focus on business value!

Lionel L. (sitting in for Dean) from Fathom.

How do you measure success and what stats should you watch? Quick answer = technology. Not the complete answer. In fact, in his opinion, cannot automate marketing profitable. No setting and forgetting for optimization. Technology is just a piece of the process. Here to understand web analytics. Goal is to provide with some clarity and guidence how best to revisit your numbers, and take a look at it differently.

First place to start is a definition: A term that is losely used by marketers to cover A-Z. According to WAA its the trackin, collection, measurement, reporting, and alaysis of quantitive internet data to optimize websirtes and web marketing initiatives. A little short sighted, because in his opionon there needs a more robust opinion. One focused on ROI, not just quantative analysis. A paradigm shift for marketers – you need to connect the Silos. The cross channels – the TV, offline media, etc. At the end we are striving for max profitibility.

Analytics is time consuming and difficult. 82% Don”t know what it is – organizations struggle with the topic. Many are too busy to manage / monitor it. About Half struggle with the tools- w/ 2 years experience. It”s confusing because theres too much info to collect. We are trying to reach billions across multiple channels – there”s search, emerging platforms – mobile, gaming, 2.0 sites – YouTube, social media, 3rd party ad servers – Atlas, etc. And CRM. Too much data to close loop entirely. That said, we need to consider technology that reaches beyond visits, click streams, and other ways to collect market information. Analytics measures all marketing, not just online marketing. Brick and mortar offline advertising sales teams, call centers, etc. are all part of the mix.

Most of us look at one silo at a time – search, tv, email. We need to collect info across all channels and make it actionable. First question is what data do we need to make great decisions to produce great results. Few measure all this and connect the silos. Many marketers cannot or do not measure ROI. Third party tracking is key to integrating your marketing programs for analysis. We can use techniques, such as call tracking, etc.

Conversion funnel analysis. Evaluate keywords for both paid and unpaid data. Analytics tells us to make decisions how much to spend on paid ads. Gives us the tool to make investment decisions.

How do we get started? Before we can extract any data, we need to start with the basics. Test theories. Need a plan and tie it back to marketing objectives. What will give you efficiency and profibility. User patterns. Correlation between offline and online activity. Can”t track all of it, but technologies are emerging. It”s about OBJECTIVES not metrics. Identify what data is available and not available. Regularly work with the data. Can”t put it on a shelf. Can”t automate this stuff. Continuous process.

What stats should we care about? Every organization is unique and has it”s own objectives. At the end, what counts is that the data goals align with business goals. Depends on the business. Proper upfront work – find out what metrics are available.

Continuous cycle of monitoring, reporting, and analyzing. Key is to use tools to spend time in the data. Think beyond the CTR. Make sure tools are flexible to measure data sources – PPC, SEO, CRM, Call Center, etc.

Laura Thieme:

Searc, site, blog, and social media analytics. Landscape is changing in what you need to track. Is your data accurate – organic vs. paid – comes up alot. Autotagging, etc. What does your KPI matrix look like? Are you using Google Analytics and another tool or just one?

New Google Analytics and Bounce Rate Obsessions.

Basic Paid Search KPI – your basic dashboard – ad console. Any variation based on what you”ve customized. Advanced KPI s – deeper – CPA, Cost Profit, Net Profit, ROI, ROAS. Not always possible. They need 27 tools to service 5 clients!

Recommends book: Managing Customers as Investments  Sunil Gupta. The value of customers in the long run.

Do a checkup on tracking URL”s and tagging. What about Autotagging – some people are told by Google that Autotagging does everything that you need. Wish there was a standard. Are you 100% confident that everything is accurate? Are you tracking spider activity? Google can index content within hours. Don”t believe the 3-6 months myth. Latency, ROAS, competition. Webposition Gold tells you whose next to you – competitive analysis.

When to run ranking reports? They do biweekly. Automatic schedule reports in PDF is nice. Need to look at bounce rate by KW – otherwise meaningless.

Clicktracks funnel reports slide. Shows the microactions in visual. Darker pages are most persuasive. Heat maps. Case studies and company profile is where the most important for us.

Top traffic drivers were blog entries to her site.  Bloggers have such an effect on SEO in her opinion. Double traffic by blogging, but bounce rate is up. Obscure off topic queries giving 100% bounce rates.

Tracking is like solving a crossworld puzzle. Can be time consuming, time wasting as well. Time is money. Not everyone is good at crossword puzzles.

Agencies are more willing to invest in this. Be willing to spend time discussing the findings. Influence what your clients think.

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