Thursday, January 05, 2012

One Awesome Web Analytics Tip: Think Beyond Web Analytics

I am sure you have heard of a story about a guy lost his ring in a dark alley. It was really dark and he could not see anything, so he went to a nearby lamppost and started searching for his ring underneath it. When asked why he was looking for ring under the lamppost, he said “because it is bright here”.

That’s what most of the web analyst do. Even when the problem might exist somewhere other than what their web analytics data can show majority of the web analytics folks just look at “Web Data” for the answers. Why? Because that’s all the data they have easy access too. It is brighter there.

Here are some other things which are in the “dark” areas. It is time for you to shine light on them:

  1. Ad Server – There are several factors that impact a performance of a campaign, many of them don’t show up in your web analytics tools, they reside within ad servers or with 3rd parties. Example: Which pages the ads was shown, what time was the ad shown etc. I will write more on this in a future post.
  2. Conversions – Conversions can happen offline in-stores or via phone. Most of the time these won’t show up in your web analytics tool. I wrote about this in my post Are you Optimizing the Wrong Steps of the Conversion Process?
  3. Social Media Conversations – Conversations about your brand, products, offers happen outside your domain and impact how people react to your campaigns, engage with your site and ultimately impact the conversions and bottom line. Many companies have started to collect the conversation data but they might sit within a different system owned by a different department.
  4. Mobile – Mobile usage is growing every day. More users spend their time on Mobile. If you don’t have an integrated view of the mobile data with other data sources then you will end up barking the wrong tree.
  5. Third Parties– Some companies do not sell any products on their site. Their sites are mainly there to provide information. They sell their products via 3rd parties. However these 3rd party sites also provide information on products, provide reviews, have user communities etc. You don’t need to visit the official company site to make a decision to purchase something. For example, you might never visit Samsung’s site to buy a Samsung TV. All the research you need is already available on Amazon or Best Buy. Similarly, many insurance providers sell their insurance through 3rd party agents. Game companies sell their games via 3rd parties. What does web analytics data show in this case?
What you need is integrated data sources that provide you data other than just web analytics. I am not saying that it is going to be an easy task to get all this data but at least start thinking about those and see how you can bring them all together.

Comments? Questions?

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  1. Totally agree.

    Many look at "what Analytics metrics do we have" and define their KPI's based on these. A proper approach should be from a business perspective to look at "what critical business insights do I need to monitor" and first then look at how to transform these into KPIs.

    Typically Analytics data can supply you with some but also data from other data asources like CRM, Social monitoring and others you have listed will together provide insightful and actionable KPIs

  2. Nice post Anil. I would add a #6: Demographic data

    Majority of analytics solutions do no provide demographic data such as age, gender, and online interests. Not having access to this important data makes it that much more difficult to understand who you should be targeting your web page content and your online advertising to.

    However, if I have an understanding that a majority of customers that visit my site are males between the ages of 18-34 who tend to search for high tech terms like "ipad", I'm more inclined to tailor my web site content and online ads to younger techies.


I would like to hear your comments and questions.