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Web Analytics - What is it good for?
By Mael Hernandez, November 2007
Absolutely everything, to paraphrase the old Edwin Starr song. Before we go over why web analytics probably is one of the most powerful features the web offers, especially in terms of marketing, let's define what web analytics is and what it offers. The Web Analytics Association (www.webanalyticsassociation.org) proposed a standard definition for web analytics in 2006:
"Web analytics is the objective tracking, collection, measurement, reporting, and analysis of quantitative Internet data to optimize websites and web marketing initiatives."
So what does this mean to your company, and how can you take advantage of it to market and grow your business? The best description of how web analytics works is by Avenish Kaushik, a web analytics expert, who uses a grocery store analogy: "Imagine walking into and out of a supermarket. If you don't purchase anything, the store manager probably doesn't even know you were there. If you purchased something, they know something was sold. Visiting a web site is a radically different proposition. The web site knows every ‘aisle’ you walked down, everything you touched, how long you read each ‘label,’ everything you put into a cart and then discarded, and lots and lots more."
Web Analytics is where all marketing efforts come together and provides a real sense of the power of the Internet, and is one of the main reasons I believe e-marketing can increase a marketing campaign’s effectiveness and help businesses grow.
As Avenish described, web analytics provides a ton of data and there are many ways to use it. Some of the data you can glean from an analytics program includes, but is not limited to:
Wouldn't it be nice when you run a direct mail, TV, radio or print campaign to be able to log on to your computer and see how many people have read or seen your message, to track exactly what caught their attention or if it just went straight into the trash? A web site and analytics can answer any of these questions and more.
The quantitative information that web analytics provides can be used to improve marketing messages and track effectiveness of marketing and advertising campaigns. You can test and fine-tune headlines, offers and promotions on your web site and track which ones resonate with your target market. Once you have an effective message, take it offline to all other marketing efforts. I highly recommend that all your marketing and advertising drive traffic to your web site. Following this process lets you, in a very cost effective manner, to fine-tune your marketing message, which will increase the effectiveness of all of your marketing efforts.
There are many web analytics programs available, ranging from free programs like Google Analytics to those that charge monthly fees like Web Trends, Click Tracks and many others. If you would like to discuss how to incorporate web analytics to your site, contact me.
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions on topics you would like to see discussed, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.
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