Analytics Is Not An End In Itself

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For many people, the term “Web Analytics” is meaningless or confusing. Not surprising since Web Analytics has been used to describe:
# The software and tools used to report about data
# The process of analyzing data
# The results and insights of the process
What’s the right answer?
All of the above!
It’s a means to an end. Think of Web Analytics as a combination of tools and analytical processes you can use to measure the results of your marketing efforts. Analysis uncovers new insights (aha’s!) into what you can do to kick your marketing performance up, one notch at a time.
How exactly is Web Analytics a means to an end? The end is a marketing goal. Dramatically higher campaign response perhaps? Web Analytics helps you analyze people’s behaviour and answer meaningful questions that move you forward to your goal, one step at a time.
Sometimes these steps are small, sometimes large. The more questions you ask and get answers to, the faster you’ll improve. Small changes, made frequently, lead to big gains.


Think about your most important marketing goal. Then think about what you need to know to refine your marketing tactics and achieve your goal.
Then ask questions such as:
* Which of my high clickthrough PPC(pay per click) keywords are really converting into paying customers? Where are visitors going when they don’t convert?
* Are the email newsletter readers who click through to my site staying or leaving quickly? What’s the difference between who’s staying and who’s leaving?
* Are the articles that we spend time writing being read? Are they really reading the article or do they quickly leave? Can we tell if they’ve printed it?
* What is searched for on our onsite search engine? Is there content that we think should be obviously findable by browsing and shouldn’t require a trip to onsite search to reach?
* If I increase my early registration discount from 15% to 20%, will more people register early? What happens if I keep the discount at 15% but say “save $90” instead?
OneDegree writers have encouraged you to ask questions similar to these in other posts, such as “here on email”:http://www.onedegree.ca/2006/05/15/email-marketings-top-tactic and “here on site search.”:http://www.onedegree.ca/2005/11/23/learned-site-search-best-practices Use Web Analytics to get the answers to those questions. The answers may lead to more questions or a new learning that you’ll want to take action on. Make changes, look at the results, and ask more questions. Keep asking, changing and evaluating until you meet or exceed your end goal.

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2 thoughts on “Analytics Is Not An End In Itself

  1. Leslie Andrachuk

    Indeed, great points. Web analytics are also essential tools when evolving a web site, in particular a media site. For instance, sophisticated tools such as Omniture actually enable publishers to create A/B version of web pages, which then enable the publisher to publish the web page that pulls the most.
    At the very least, web analytics should tell you who is coming to your site, when, and for how long, which certainly helps in sales and marketing efforts, but also in product development. If one re-designs a site, for instance, and pageview average jumps, and sticks, one could certainly attribute the jump in pageview average as owing to the site re-design. Of course, one must have analytics installed on site to know that pageview averages have jumped.
    It is important however to not only get the data, but to have the proper indivudals in-house who can analyze the data, and then send recommendations back to the marketing, development and sales teams. No small task. Also, some sites just don’t need sophisticated analytics. No point in owning a Bentley if you really only need a Lada.

  2. David Dougherty

    Great post June! If you’re not measuring you’re missing the boat.
    Once you have a clear set of objectives and you have established your KPIs, what is equally important to getting the data is making sense of the data, and more importantly having people in place who know how to act on it – putting together action items to implement in response to your results…and of course measuring again.

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