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Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

Web Analytics and Measuring Success

Conference notes from the "Web Analytics & Measuring Success" session at Search Engine Strategies New York '07

Moderator:
Allan Dick, General Manager, Tub & Bath

Speakers:
Stacy Williams, Managing Partner, Prominent Placement, Inc.
Laura Thieme, President/Founder, Bizresearch

Q&A Speakers:
Akin Arikan, Sr. Product Manager, Unica Corporation
John Marshall, CEO, ClickTracks.com
Chris Knoch, Principle Consultant, Omniture
Brett Crosby, Product Marking Manager, Google Analytics
Barry Parshall, Director of Product Management, WebTrends

Web Analytics & Measuring Success - Stacy Williams (Prominent Placement), Laura Thieme (Bizresearch), Akin Arikan (Unica), John Marshall (ClickTracks), Chris Knoch (Omniture), Brett Crosby (Google Analytics), Barry Parshall (WebTrends)
[L-R] Stacy Williams (Prominent Placement), Laura Thieme (Bizresearch), Akin Arikan (Unica), John Marshall (ClickTracks), Chris Knoch (Omniture), Brett Crosby (Google Analytics), Barry Parshall (WebTrends)

Laura Thieme, President/Founder, Bizresearch

It's all about proving value.

Do you know if things are net profitable? Return on investment (ROI) or return on ad spend (ROAS)? Do you know your true customer aquisition cost?

They use ClickTracks. Make sure your tracking strings are up-to-date and give you all the data you'll need down the road.

ClickZ has a good article on ROI vs. ROAS. The book "Managing Customers as Investments" is also really good.

They still use WebPosition Gold v3.5. APIs don't let them do enough queries, but they only check rankings twice a month.

They use NetTracker and ClickTracks to monitor spider activity. Spider activity is a leading indicator that your pages will start to rank.

She just launched laurathieme.com in February (not business related). MSN was the first to index it, Google was the first to crawl it.

She gets lost by all the different tools and reports. She really likes the ClickTracks tools.

She found that case studies and the company profile was what was making people "go to the next level" and contact her. The blog was getting a lot of traffic, but not converting. The demographics of blog traffic were completely different.

She also uses Google Analytics, where she found she gets traffic about penguins and "suddenly slimmer" because of non-business blog entries.

When using cross-segment analysis in Google Analytics use 50 or more keywords phrases.

Web analytics is extremely time-consuming. It's usually a separate skill level - people good at organic and PPC often aren't good at analytics.

Good idea to e-mail reports to multiple account managers.

No tool does everything - she often uses 2 or 3 tools.

Stacy Williams, Managing Partner, Prominent Placement, Inc.

She's a marketer at heart, not a numbers cruncher. She thinks anyone can do web analytics.

Different types of businesses have different KPI (key performance indicators) - some it's sales, some it's just page views... Know your goals and get your team to all agree on them. Realize that KPIs will change over time.

Don't get too obsessed with what your competitors are doing - they may not be acting rationally. A little time, sure, but don't get obsessed.

Good graph of different metrics over time - crawler pickup, pages indexed, inbound links, SE traffic.

Look for seasonal trends. Don't get worried by natural fluxuations - look at long term trends.

Realize that your bounce rate is partly because you may rank highly on terms you don't want to rank on or because people find what they're looking for on the first page (e.g. contact info).

For her company's site only 6% of the traffic is targeted terms. Another 11% of traffic is qualified leads from non-targeted terms.

Always give the story behind the numbers, not just the numbers.

Q&A

Intra-day data usually isn't very good for PPC. The ad platforms make adjustments up to 24-36 hours for things like click fraud.

Before conversions start you can look at average time on site. If it's high, the campaign will eventually start converting well. But never compare it across sites since different sites perform differently. Different groups (PPC vs. organic) will have different paths to conversions, so that's a factor too.

Related to that, bounce rates are important - particularly bad bound rates.

Humans are not efficient at bid management since the landscape is constantly changing. Computers could do it far more efficiently.

Three different types of keywords 1) brand terms, 2) sales terms, 3) marketing terms - marketing always come last in terms of priorities.

When picking an agency make sure they're willing to do the legwork to properly tag the inbound URLs for your campaigns.

Web analytics is starting to get into the field of measuring customer relationships over time and retention. Up to now it's been mostly single session oriented.

If you're trying to track customers who make calls, you can install a tracking number on the web site and ask the customers for it when they call, or use a service like LivePerson.

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Categories: Web Analytics

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