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From Online Marketing to Web Analytics

Guest Post by
Pakming Daniel Chan, Lead Consultant, MFG-ADT Online, Infosys

Introduction

Web analytics is the key component for the success of corporate digital marketing strategy. Without web analytics there is no effective way to measure the performance, test and refine their marketing campaign. Web analytics allows us to make our decision, evaluation and perdition based on facts with confidence. Here I will go through some basic concepts and how they work together to build a successful web analytics frame work for you business

Start with the Basic Questions

When people talk about web analytics, they jump to KPI quickly. However, I think there are some basic questions that we need to answer first..

Introduction

Why does your website exist? What are you hoping to accomplish for your business by being on the web? What are the three most important priorities for your site? Or other questions like it...Without a clearly defined list of business objectives you simply don't know where you are going.

Business objectives can be quite strategic and high level, such as sell more stuff, create happy customers, improve marketing effectiveness. Goals Identification is the next level of drill down. It is a task to identify the tasks/activities that to need to happen to achieve our objectives. It goes something like this...

Sell more stuff really means we have to: 1. Improve SEO and SEM plan, 2. Make use of social media, 3. run online ad on site...

Improve shopping cart conversion might translate into these goals: 1. Identify broken things in m, 2. Improve check out flow, 3. Add more incentive to check out...

Web analytics KPI

Now we have our business objectives for the site. We know what our goals are in order to achieve our objectives. Let us talk about how we use KPI in web analytics.

Web analytics is a very important tool for online marketers. It can provide you a lot of useful information about your website. However, the large amount of data or information may become overwhelm and can cause you to lose focus. KPIs, key performance indicators, are metrics that helps you understand how you are doing against your objectives. Different industries and site types will have different needs. Here are some typical KPIs.

Business Objectives

Typical KPIs

eCommerce sites

Drive site visitors to purchase product or services online

Conversion rate, order loyalty, cart conversion rate, revenues per order, average order value...etc.

Content & advertising sites

Attract repeat visitors who explore the site in depth

Page view, visits and unique visitors, average page views per visit, conversion rate, subscriptions, registrations logins, cancellations...etc.

Lead generation sites

Capture information about a visitor to use in future communications for the sales purposes

Leads, cost-per-lead, conversion rate, registrations, newsletter sign-ups, partner referrals, price quote requests, demo requests, collateral downloads

Customer support sites

Quickly and successfully answer customer questions and address customer problems online

Visits, unique visitors web inquiries, web inquiries-per-visit

(Failure Rate), percentage of successful support inquiries, call center volume (unique web number), customer satisfaction

index, file downloads...etc.

Here let us just focus in two most common scenarios, ecommerce site and lead generation site. The turning of site visitor into order placing customer or the turning of site visitor into qualified lead is not a one step process. Understanding the conversion funnel or sales funnel help us to understand all the touch points and different stages a potential customer may go through before the final conversion.

eCommerce conversion Funnel and KPI

A conversion funnel is the path a customer takes from entering your site through the checkout process and finally reaching the end goal.

Here is an example of conversion funnel:

Total visitors (%100) -> Visit Shopping area (%60) -> Place item in cart (%30) -> Make a purchase (3%)

Understanding the process and what site visitor will do in the process can help to capture a more complete picture of our customers in different stages.

Sales Funnel and KPI

The sales funnel depicts the processes or stages of contacts may go through before they turn in to a customer. Specific steps or stages in a sales process vary from company to company but generally include the following elements:

Prospecting/Initial contact -> Interested lead -> Marketing qualified lead -> Sales qualified lead -> Need assessment -> Presentation -> Proposal -> Negotiation -> Closing

Understanding the processes, the funnel type, and the stages that your leads will go through in your industry will help you to identify them at the early stage. You measure the effectiveness of each process, test them and refine them.

Important Web Analytics concepts

Before I move further, I would like to introduce a few more terms - metrics, calculated metrics, threshold/target, dimension, and segment.

Metrics

Metrics is numeric data about the web site traffic or content. It can be a count, a total or a ratio. The following are examples of metrics.

Metric Group

Metric Name

Description

Site Usage

pageViews

The number of page requests made during visits.

 

uniqueVisitors

The number of inferred individual people with one or more visits to a site.

E-commerce

transactions

The total number commerce transactions completed.

 

transactionsRevenue

The total amount of revenue from e-commerce transactions.

Calculated Metrics

Sometimes the data that you get from the reporting do not provide the information that you need directly. You may need to do some additional work or calculations in order to get the information that you are looking for. Some of the examples are.

Category

Metric Name

Formula

Description

Site Usage

Bounce Rate

bounces / visits

Calculates the rate of site visits that are only include a single page view.

 

Pages Per Visit

pageViews / visits

Calculates the average number of pages views per visit to your web site.

Threshold/Target

Your metrics are just numbers to show the current state. It can not tell you if the number showing success or file in term of achieving your business goals and objectives. Thresholds/Target are the numerical values you have pre-determined as indicators of success or failure. When we define the metrics to keep track with, you may need to define the threshold along with the metrics so that they become meaningful information to you.

Dimensions

Dimensions are usually the attributes of the visitors or your website. For example, the referring URL that your visitors come from. Dimensions usually will show up with metrics. For example the page report may show the top pages being visited for this month. Mostly likely it will show the number of visits or average clicks of that page too. In this case the page URL is dimension and the number of visit or average clicks are metrics. The following are examples of dimensions.

Category

Dimension Name

Description

Visitor

browserVersion

The version of the browser used by the visitor.

 

browserType

The browser type used by the visitor.

Ecommerce

daysToTransaction

The number of days between the first visit and when a transaction occurred.

 

visitsToTransaction

The number of visits a visitor made prior to a transaction occurring.

Segment

When you put these dimensions together with a certain constraint you can create customized reports to provide some very meaningful information on a particular subject. A segment is a collection of dimensions. Creating a segment is to gather a group of related dimensions together to create a customized report.

This segment reports about interested returned visitors locate in

Dimensions with constrains

Conditions

California

State matches exactly California

Time > 1

Time on site greater than 1

Bounce Visits

Bounce Equal to 1

Page depth > 3

Page depth greater than or equal to 3

Search referral = Google

Search Referral URL contains Google

How it all work together

You know your business objectives.
You have the specific goals that you want to archive identified.
Now you may use them to help you to identify dimensions or metrics for your KPIs and to determine the success and fail threshold. You may also use the conversion funnel or sales funnel to help you identify scenarios that you want to keep track with.
You may create segments to help you to report some specific.
Lastly you may want to put all of your KPIs, segments on a dashboard so that you can easily access to all your interested reports in one single place.
You may set up e-mail alert to have the report send to you on a specified schedule also. Now you have your complete Web analytics report framework.

Conclusion

The digital media and channel become more verity and more complicated. Web analytics become even more important to help us to keep up with changes. If we use it correctly it will be your edge to be successful in this digital age. I am seeing web analytics not only an essential component of the marketing architecture. It is becoming an essential part of the enterprise level business intelligence architecture too.

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