When marketers dive into web analytics they often start to focus on all the data they can gather in a web analytics tool. “We have x visitors and y visitors, isn’t it great?” But what does this mean? Does this give any information on the quality of the website, the quality of the visitors and the business results?
Starting web analytics is not starting puking out a lot of data. You have to start with asking yourself questions. Do I pay too much for my PPC campaign and should I turn it off? How many visitors start the checkout process and how many people are finishing it?
Question you should ask must be related to your business goals and be answerable by using web analytics. And the answers from these questions should be actionable. This means that when you can’t change anything, when you can’t take any actions on the outcome of your questions, you probably are wasting your time and money.
I will give you an example: Can I stop with my PPC campaign?
This question is related to a business goal. (Return on Investment) and is measurable by web analytics. (You can identify the visitors coming from your ppc campaign and track them towards your goal pages. ) Now you can decide whether you should stop with your ppc campaign, or continue with a raised budget. If you determine the PPC visitors are meeting your demands on Return on Investment it is possible you decide’ll to raise the budget instead of cutting it.
Knowing in times of budget cuts
Why is this so important? With a new recession looking towards us, lots of marketing departments will see another round of budget cuts. Businesses are having more trouble to attract new potential customers and keep up the customer value. Most marketers know the quote: “I know that half of my advertising dollars are wasted … I just don’t know which half.”
Overall cuts often leads towards a negative spiral of less budget, less prospects, less clients and a smaller customer value. This is often the outcome of slicing budgets.
But if you can identify which visitors will more likely become prospects and when you know which clients are your best clients in terms of client value, you’ll probably won’t like to spend less on them.
This sounds easier than it is. How do you identify new prospects? Perhaps this is not so hard in a webshop selling directly to the consumers, but in B2B processes this can be a painstaking effort. For governmental websites this is even harder, as the goals are often more diffuse. This does not mean you should not try to understand your target audience and improve on reaching them and converting them.
In an effort to save money on ppc or offline campaigns, lots of organisations dive into social media as the new miracle. It is hot and it is cheaper. Not always because it is a better way to target a new audience or that they ‘ll have proven that their target audience is better reached. Without knowing where your best target audience can be reached it is fishing in the dark.
Do you always have to use web analytics to prove something is not working? No sometimes common sense will do: An elderly member of my family ( over 85, no computer) only can ask for help by using email or Twitter. As I asked why they were doing this to elderly people without any computer skills they answered: budget cuts; this way we can keep the communication as cost effective. This organisation is certainly going to loose clients.