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It's 80 degrees and sunny in San Jose and I'm inside the McEnery Convention Center at Search Engine Strategies! But that's OK because I've just been sitting in a session on Measuring Success in a 2.0 World!
As the web gets more divergent and new applications and ways of interacting with brands and with each other proliferate, there comes a time when a savvy online marketer who's been tracking sales or leads on their site might just scream with frustration at just how much data they're faced with. Seeing the "wood through the trees" was just what this hour and a half was designed to help those lucky enough to attend it.
When you have such great speakers and authorities on web analytics, they do make it sound very easy but the simplicity of their delivery and the tips they gave really go along way to help ease the data overload.
Avinash Kaushik, Author, Blogger, Analytics Evangelist at Google presented in his own visual style describing Web 2.0 a challenge as it presents us with unique and different content creation, distribution and consumption. Although there are many many different channels it may be different but it is better as consumers are creating their online experience through preferences far more than previously.
One idea he was keen to press home was that of multiplicity. There is no one-stop-shop for measuring all the media we see on the web today so it's important to diversify your reporting and analytics tools so you are capturing all data in order to build the most accurate picture you can.
"Unique data collection is a wonderful, beautiful, fantastic opportunity to provide the experiences that customers want but there are ways to measure success."
Jim Sterne from Target Marketing & Chairman of Web Analytics Association, who I interviewed at eMetrics in June, declared that a web site is a window into hearts and minds of marketplace. We should be tracking data based on behaviour and to some it can be overwhelming. We have to try and understand what people are thinking and why they are responding our messages. "Metrics moves to bench marking to analysis to dynamic promotions to hearts and minds."
Continuing the same theme as my post yesterday on the Advertiser Blog, Jim talked about how the shifting economy was affecting online marketers. It's more important than ever to drill down and find out not what keywords are bringing you clicks, but which keywords are bringing you PROFIT! Where are the margins? Establish more firmly what your business goals are and know where your profits lie.
I never tire of hearing him rattle off his mantra about measuring customer engagement: "What did they do? How did they feel? What was the outcome? What was the competitive outcome?"
Matthew Bailey, President of SiteLogic, is a whiz on segmentation! His Star Trek analogy is legendary but he's also passionate about impressing on us that users are not a herd of cows. They don't all travel from one side of your site to the other in an orderly, rank and file fashion. His advice was dig into the data, segment and then tell the story of that segmentation. Ask questions and take action and don't just take the best numbers out of your analytics solution to stick into your monthly reports to show your boss!
An interesting notion was one where you should combine analytics and usability. Maybe watch customers on the page or interacting with your site. If you see them doing something that is "wrong" or you were not expecting them to do, then go back to your analytics solution and validate what you saw through the data. It gives you a much better business case to enforce change if change isn't your decision.
One thing they all agreed on is that Microsoft Excel is a great tool for managing data and reporting it.
Avinash was especially impressed with our adCenter Add-In for Excel which is about the simplest was to generate keyword lists and get a quick snapshot of keyword trends and demographics.
I'll have more from San Jose tomorrow!
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