Arkansas Internet Marketing and Arkansas Inbound Marketing Blog

Key Web Analytic Principles and KPIs - Key Performance Indicators

Posted by Jon Dodson on Thu, Aug 30, 2012 @ 19:08 PM

Web site goals, online outcomesThere was a time not too long ago when it was cool to have a website. You didn't need to bother with concerns such as usability, conversion rates (site visitors into customers), and click paths since the internet was nowhere near as competitive as it is today. If you had a site that looked good, you were good to go. Let's face it, if you had an unsightly website you were still pretty good to go. If you actually got some business from your website good. If not, you were sort of pleased with that too. In the beginning a lot of businesses didn't truly think they could profit from their site.

Today the internet supplies substantial options for business sites to expand opportunities, raise their profits and increase their bottom line. For this reason, the internet has actually come to be a fiercely competitive space. In such a competitive atmosphere, you need to understand exactly what works and exactly what does not for your online spend. Without determining KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you will never give yourself an opportunity to truly understand your online business opportunities.

Determining performance of traditional advertising such as direct mail or post card mailer marketing is achievable but can be somewhat difficult. You can easily say it worked or failed based upon total sales. However, it is difficult to determine the exact information such as what part of the advertisement was efficient, just how frequently individuals considered the advertisement or for how long?

With web analytics, we can easily get a much greater understanding of where and just how successfully you invest your marketing dollars. Web analytics plays a strategic part in determining success and notifying decision makers to susceptibilities within their online efforts. The value of web analytics is not just in its capability to collect and report data.  A key value of web analytics is to assist in determining site visitor behavior that presents a basis for "doubling down" on successful outcomes and driving modifications to the site that increase conversions - site visitors into customers .

For businesses that make use of web analytics in this method, 75% raised brand-new website visitors to their websites, 78% enhanced web site visit duration and 65% increased returning website visitors. 83% raised web page views per visit, 68% raised their conversion prices while 64% increased their number of visits per existing consumer.

The value of analytics is not merely in the measurement of the data. However, web analytics provides site owners the capacity to discover actionable insights and act upon the insights of the data. KPIs should drive action! Every KPI we determine must represent action. Developing an efficient web analytics strategy calls for more thought than cash.

Effective, goal driven Internet advertising is impossible without KPIs. Without KPIs, you are just investing in online advertising because it simply feels like the right thing to do. When investing in online advertising because it feels like the right thing to do without KPI's in Web analytics you may as well be throwing your money into a black hole.  With defined KPI metrics, you can invest cash based on solid data that makes sense. With KPI's you can make educated decisions about your next strategic moves online.

Web analytics is effortless according to every professional that offers internet analytics services. Go to their web sites and they'll inform you loud and clear that internet analytics is just a "stroll in the park". The truth is Internet analytics can be extremely challenging.

KPIs need to be part of your strategy. Web analytics is not an isolated project within a business. Web analytics must be part of your company analytic efforts. Just as you determine your desired sales and income goals, you must determine your web site KPIs.

KPIs are more about site visitors and Internet strategy than any modern technology. Lots of online marketers shy away from web analytics since it seems like something an engineer would appreciate doing. Web analytics is about determining customer behavior. Web analytics is among the most efficient devices to expand your business online.

Web analytics allows you to turn raw data into actionable insights that can lead to better outcomes. Numerous online marketers construct their own advertising programs based on information about another companies’ marketing history. Do not make this mistake! Exactly what worked for another company is not automatically going to work with your company. When you consider your sites web analytics it allows you to hear from your potential customers within the data from your web site.  Build your Internet marketing strategy based on what your web site visitors are telling you they want or don't want in your web analytics data.  This data represents the voice of your customer.  Are you listening?

Do you know what the KPI's are for your web site?  Are you reviewing this critical data monthly to know whether your site is doing what you intended it to do?  What are your desired outcomes or goals for your web site that you can measure with Web analytics?

Contact us at Vertical Studio today to discuss how we can help bring efficiencies to your online spend and increase desired outcomes.

Topics: Web Analytics, outcomes, KPI

GSI & ClearSaleing - Does Anyone Care about Interactive Attribution?

Posted by Wilson Kanaday on Tue, Jan 11, 2011 @ 23:01 PM

GSI's acquisition of ClearSaleing provides a good time to revisit the field of Interactive Attribution.

Simple Background

The first time I formally heard of Interactive Attribution was a little over a year ago.  Now everyone in web analytics is familiar with the problem that Interactive Attribution is trying to solve; potential clients/customers have numerous touch points with a business before they commit their cash.  So which point should an analyst attribute the conversion?  

  • Google Analytics does it by "last touch", which is to say that the last way a unique visitor came to the website when they converted gets credit for the conversion.
  • Google Adwords creates confusion by attributing conversion to the "first touch."  If a visitor comes by Adwords and then 30 days later by direct navigation and makes a purchase, then the Adwords ad gets the conversion credit.

Right here - at first glance - separate bodies of Google data do not give an apples-to-apples comparison.  There are ways to reconcile this and even hack Google Analytics to adjust the data sets.  

You can imagine how complicated this becomes when you factor in email marketing, social media, display campaigns, retargeting and offline advertising.  

Who gets credit for the sale?  From our view, it seems like everyone should get a little bit of credit for each touch point.  But how much?  Have fun solving that.

Where Is Interactive Attribution Today?

Dax Hamman from Chango - the Search Retargeting Company - did a piece on his blog back in late November accurately stating that not much happened in the Attribution field in the previous twelve months.  A) He's right.  B) The lack of progress caught people off guard (at least the few people that were interested) because once Forrester publishes a report on something it is supposed to become the next big thing.  

In late 2009 the players Forrester named in Interactive Attribution were (you can download the report here):

  • Atlas
  • Coremetrics
  • Theorem
  • TruEffect
  • Visual IQ
  • [x+1]
  • ClearSaleing

ClearSaleing was placed in the prestigious upper right corner.  They are still the player today, not much has changed.  But the ground is starting to shift a little bit.

Josh Dreller pointed out on iMedia in December that Attribution "adoption is still growing, slowly but surely."  In addition, Dreller listed off challenges to Interactive Attribution adoption.  The one that strikes me as the most true was #3 - It is not a high enough priority.  We speak with Interactive Marketers all of the time.  And in passing, they agree Attribution Modeling is a problem.  But they don't seem to actually care.

My best guess as to why is a bit of a variant to Dreller's #3 point; it is not a high enough priority because there is too much to do that comes way before that.  Dreller mentions budget planning, managing employees, etc....  But I think it is more of a data problem.  

THERE IS TOO MUCH DATA ALREADY!!

Interactive Marketers have data coming out of their pores - Google Analytics, Coremetrics, Omniture, ad networks, email marketing and search campaigns.  How does a vendor expect to cut through all of that market noise and say, "Hey, look at our really cool data now!"  Marketers, in the aggregate, haven't come close to mastering their current data.  That's actually being generous.  Many marketers don't really have the first clue what their data actually says or what to do because of it.  

The current problem Interactive Marketing practitioners are trying to solve - whether they want to admit it or not - is still "more eyeballs."  Yep.  Super Bowl advertising stuff.  "How can we get more people to our website?"  It is the rare marketer we come across that really drills into converting the same number of "eyeballs" into more cash.  If you aren't focused on conversion, or better yet - Conversion Rate Optimization - how do you get to committing budget to getting the conversion the credit it deserves?

This brings us to the ClearSaleing acquisition.  

I don't take this event as a real positive for the Interactive Attribution "industry."  The concept of Attribution Modeling is ahead of its time and so is/was ClearSaleing.  GSI was likely their largest revenue channel for a year now.  This allows GSI to have a technology "add-on" for their 500 clients and gives ClearSaleing better access to that client pool.  I am sure that add-on will still cost GSI clients a premium.  But this has to hurt ClearSaleing's growth in the long run.  Not exactly the rocket ship the industry wanted to see from Interactive Attribution at this point.

Dax Hamman provided some follow up thoughts for this blog post that fit in with how I see Interactive Attribution following the Clear Saleing deal.  "ClearSaleing did well in terms of getting an offering into market and have benefited with the acquisition, but it will not be the last deal in this space. TagMan has recently announced additional funding too by iNovia, and further investment and consolidation will come.  It is likely that investment will come first to help such firms work out exactly what the offering needs to be, something that is still a grey area, and then in 2012 and 2013 the consolidation will follow."  

Hamman's point lines up well with events we have seen in the past in Interactive Advertising; namely, web analytics.  WebTrends was the first great web analytics company and they were acquired by NetIQ back in 2001.  First movers were into WebTrends, but it couldn't stand on its own at the time.  Several years later web analytics saw WebSideStory, Urchin, Visual Sciences, Omniture, Coremetrics and scores of other vendors taking the market by storm in 2006.  

I'd expect that we won't see Interactive Attribution gain real traction for years to come; there simply isn't demand for it.  But there is a lot of room to run.  The catalyst I would look for is when companies start to really fall into a pattern on Conversion Rate Optimization.  At that point simple conversion data won't be good enough, marketers will become passionate about more accurate attribution.  

Topics: Internet Marketing Trends & News, Internet Marketing Acquisitions, Web Analytics, Interactive Attribution

Web Design: How Important Is the Copy on Your Website?

Posted by Wilson Kanaday on Tue, Oct 7, 2008 @ 21:10 PM

I first saw this video on the blog of my friends at Future Now.

As I was first watching it, I imagined the beggar as typical online business.  He is set up and occasionally some revenue trickles in.

You can even imagine his business metrics (you have metrics for your online business too).  Possibly, 1 in 100 who passed dropped a coin in his can.  And for the sake of ease, let's say those individual coins were dimes.  So for every 1,000 people who passed by the beggar made $1.00.  Ouch! 

So the new words on his sign made the entire difference!  He went from a conversion rate of 1% to 5% and it looks like he may have also increased his average donation as well.  For the sake of ease, we'll say that patrons began donating two dimes.  Now for every 1,000 who passed by he made $10.00! 

A few simple words made the whole difference. 

How well is your website working for you?  Could an improvement in your copy start to make the difference?

Topics: Internet Marketing Trends & News, Web Analytics

Internet Traffic Measurement – Response to Arkansas Business

Posted by Wilson Kanaday on Fri, Jul 13, 2007 @ 16:07 PM

The latest issue of Arkansas Business has an article on the cover below the fold entitled, "Quantifying Internet Traffic Remains Elusive". Since I make a living in the Internet Trafficking business, I am glad to see it get some front page news - thanks Nate. But I would like to elaborate on some of the points in the article.

The main point of the article is that it is difficult to obtain precise traffic estimates for sites that display advertising (see the title). Should it matter to marketers that these specific traffic estimates are difficult to pin down? In a word - no.

In traditional advertising, those selling the advertising could only point advertisers towards circulation numbers or television viewers and some demographic data to attract advertisers and set their rates. So naturally, traditional marketers still have this frame of mind when judging the Internet.

On the Internet, however, the marketers' focus needs to shift from circulation numbers to measurable ROI. There are great tools like Google Analytics and Omniture that allow Internet marketers to trace any digital campaign all the way back to a real ROI number. If I spend $10,000 per month advertising on SFGate.com and I can show an ROI of 40%, should I care if the site gets 2.4 million or 7.6 million monthly visitors?

The metrics that really matter are not ‘circulation', ‘viewers', ‘page views' or ‘time on site' but profit and loss.

Nitty Gritty Details

The article speaks to a specific niche of Internet Advertising - buying banner ads directly on another content-driven site. Think of the Metropolitan Bank banner ads that are displayed regularly across the top of ArkansasBusiness.com. ArkansasBusiness.com has made a good living out of selling space on their website in the same way they sell ads to statewide businesses in their print edition of Arkansas Business.

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which is sited in the article, display advertising of this kind accounts for 22% of total Internet advertising revenue. The article doesn't speak of the advertising done on search engines like Google, Yahoo or MSN, which accounts for 40% total spending. For search engine marketing, getting the exact number of impressions (times someone was exposed to your ad), clicks-throughs (number of times someone clicked on the ad) and conversions (times someone took the action you wanted them to take for coming to your website) is straight forward and reliable.

Why are Internet traffic measurements elusive?

Measuring traffic, or visitors, on a website that you don't own is tricky. The main reason is because that is the proprietary information of the website's owners. As Nate mentions, there are services that can estimate a website's traffic for you. comScore, Nielsen/Net Ratings and the Audit Bureau of Circulation are sited directly in the article. In my opinion the best service for getting data on another website is Hitwise, which was not mentioned. Before advertisers start citing the wide variance in these traffic estimates, they need to understand how each of those services works so they can make intelligent analytical adjustments to the estimates. Maybe I will touch on the differences in the services another day.

Topics: Arkansas Business Trends & News, Internet Marketing Trends & News, Web Analytics