Is Web Analytics Alone Enough to Understand Your Web Interactions?

by George Hollister on September 1, 2010

George Hollister

George Hollister

We’ve discussed this at length in previous posts…  Perhaps the fact that we keep bringing it up may allude to the fact that we believe this to be critical to marketing successes in the future.  The Web Analytics Association defines web analytics as “…the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of Internet data for the purposes of understanding and optimizing Web usage.”  From a web design perspective, that’s an appropriate description.   However, most web sites have a broader goal of attracting, keeping, and engaging a constituent base.  And, for most of us, that constituent base includes current and potential customers.

Web analytics that focus solely on the above definition help make web interaction smoother and can point out roadblocks in the web process, but those analyses can generate a “so what” response among marketers if they don’t more fully address the customers making those interactions.

This requires merging data from customer and prospect files with the online interaction data to more fully optimize the web’s contribution to the company’s marketing efforts.  In my view, optimizing marketing initiatives in this multi-channel world encompasses the entire world of the customer, not just the web based portion of that world.

Yet, in many companies, web analytics is a discipline that is separate and distinct from other customer analysis functions.   Isolating that function limits the true power of web analytics to affect the financial results of the business.

As an example, we recently conducted a web analytics project for one of our clients.  As part of that project we evaluated their web site interactions, but we also interviewed a sampling of their customers so we could understand the reasons behind the actions they were taking on the site.   Through this process we were able to suggest concrete changes to improve customer acquisition, reduce abandoned carts, etc.

Then we took it a step further.  In addition to the true web analytics, we brought in information from our client’s customer and prospect files that yielded some impressive insights.   Now not only could we tell them where improvements could be made in their web site to ease the customer acquisition process, but we were able to inform them of the relative value of customers that they acquired through the web vs. offline channels, and guide them in ways to gain more of these more valuable customers without increasing their marketing budget.   Moreover, we were able to provide ROI estimates for both the web site and marketing changes.

If you’re not bringing your web analytics efforts together with more traditional customer analyses you should begin thinking about doing so.  Break down those silos–there’s power in combining that data!


About The Author:

George Hollister is a B2B Practice Leader with SIGMA Marketing Group, a marketing analytics agency. Connect with George on  or follow him on .

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