Analytics: What do all the numbers mean?
By Mael Hernandez, June 2008
I recently read an article in which an executive of an international advertising agency said that 70% - 80% of their efforts for their clients will be digitally based by the end of the year. Of course this agency works with big fortune 500 companies. The big boys (or girls) seem to always lead the way when it comes to marketing and advertising. Why this migration to digital marketing? There are many of reason, but basically it's because most consumers, whether B-to-B or B-to-C start their interaction with a brand online. They either go directly to company's web site or searching for a product/brand. The digital or interactive marketing, unlike most other mediums gives marketers the ability to track every visitor, what they are interested in, how long they are on your site and many more statistics. To clarify when I say digital in can include web site, email, RSS, banner ads, SEO, webcasts and press releases.
I am going to focus on the web and how even the smallest of company's can do many of the same things the big boys do to increase their marketing effectiveness for not a lot of money. That's the great thing about the Internet - no matter the size of your company you can use it to grow your business.
In an earlier email I wrote on Analytics I described some of the basics. If you are not currently tracking your web traffic, I highly recommend you take the time to add it to your web site. It doesn't cost a ton of money to add this to your site, in fact Google offers an analytics program called Google Analytics for free. This is a very powerful tool and is easy to use and understand. If you are tracking your site visitors, make sure to exclude your IP address so it will exclude internal visitors to give a truer sense of what your customers are interested in.
What is some of the basic information you should be looking at in your sites analytics report?
Analytics provides an enormous amount of information and it can be overwhelming at first. I recommend you start by just tracking a few key statistics like the ones I have outlined above and add additional ones as you feel more comfortable. Analytics programs can also provide you with information on operating system, screen resolution, internet connection speed which can be very important if you planning to redesign your web site so you can make sure your customers/prospects can get the information they need quickly and easily.
Once you have an understanding of how analytics work you can begin to use your site to test marketing message, calls to action, offers and/or price points. Let's say you are planning to launch a direct mail campaign and have developed two headlines or calls to action. Which one is going to give you the greater response rate? For little or no money you can test your message on your web site and track with analytics which one your customers/prospects respond to most. Then launch your campaign with the message that got the best response. You have greatly increased your chances for successful campaign.
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