'Web Analytics' No Longer Means Web Rage

  |  June 28, 2002   |  Comments

Information overload? For marketers, that once meant knowing how many visitors' browsers were version 6.0 versus 6.0.1. The new generation of analytics tools generate information you can actually use.

Ever have one of those moments of utter frustration? You don't know whether to pull your hair out, scream insanely, or just toss the monitor out the window. When something that should take just a couple of minutes takes hours and then underdelivers, we get like that. We're disinclined to repeat the activity that caused such frustration. But wait! There's some good news for former Web rage victims.

Many people (even some of you) stopped "analyzing" Web logs due to the amount of effort required to find actionable data. It's not unusual. We learn to avoid frustrating messes. Web analytic software was created by engineers (seemingly for engineers) to take the raw data your server stores in its logs and convert it into structured information in the form of reports and charts. Sounds promising, but if you've worked with these tools you know better.

Finally, things are changing.

On one level, it's amazing how many online businesses don't use Web metrics regularly. Only one in five companies even bothers to track customer behavior using analytics. Of those that do, according to Jupiter, 28 percent of site managers distribute reports -- which are generally ignored.

The biggest value of the Web is you can measure and test everything. The downside? You can measure and test everything. You can even measure when there's nothing you can do with the information. There was a time when Web analytics companies competed on the number of reports they were able to generate. Skimming through those reports is just like browsing "War and Peace."

Gartner recently wrote: "It has long been said you cannot manage what you cannot measure. Nowhere is this more true than on the Web -- where examining what works and what doesn't directly influences the bottom line."

Out of frustration, pain, and the need to please clients comes insight. We need to test, measure, and optimize clients' Web sites to improve conversion rates. We need a reliable and standardized way to measure visitor behavior on their sites. We developed a couple of dozen metrics based on the interrelationships of various reports.

There's a lack of business-oriented demand for clearly defined metrics and analysis because of poorly defined objectives. The responsibility of developing Web site traffic analysis fell to engineers. For them, it was important to know 78 percent of traffic is from Virginia (demographics or AOL servers?), that 88 percent of visitors use Windows 98, and hundreds of other reports that don't help us get cash. Again, a collision of marketing and technology.

Recently, we've started seeing companies offering analytics or data mining from the marketer's perspective. WebCriteria, Omniture, digiMine, SPSS, and WebTrends all bear looking in to. Last week, WebTrends Reporting Center 5.0 was released. It provides marketing reports to marketing people and engineering reports to engineering people. Neither group has to wade through the other's data to get information it needs to improve Web site performance. Is WebTrends's new tool perfect? No. But it is a huge step in the right direction.

I'll sum up with the words of former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani from his speech last week at DMD New York. Asked by an audience member how he got crime under control, he replied the city set up the right tracking metrics and benchmarks. Giuliani said, "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it; and you can't manage it if you are not measuring it."

For direct marketers, that's common sense. You shouldn't have to choose between actionable metrics and a full head of hair. Let's be grateful we no longer have to.

ClickZ Live San Francisco This Year's Premier Digital Marketing Event is #CZLSF
ClickZ Live San Francisco (Aug 11-14) brings together the industry's leading practitioners and marketing strategists to deliver 4 days of educational sessions and training workshops. From Data-Driven Marketing to Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email, this year's comprehensive agenda will help you maximize your marketing efforts and ROI. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Eisenberg

Bryan Eisenberg is coauthor of the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, BusinessWeek, and New York Times bestselling books "Call to Action," "Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?," and "Always Be Testing." Bryan is a professional marketing speaker and has keynoted conferences globally such as SES, Shop.org, Direct Marketing Association, MarketingSherpa, Econsultancy, Webcom, SEM Konferansen Norway, the Canadian Marketing Association, and others. In 2010, Bryan was named a winner of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation's Rising Stars Awards, which recognizes the most talented professionals 40 years of age or younger in the field of direct/interactive marketing. He is also cofounder and chairman emeritus of the Web Analytics Association. Bryan serves as an advisory board member of SES Conference & Expo, the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, and several venture capital backed companies. He works with his coauthor and brother Jeffrey Eisenberg. You can find them at BryanEisenberg.com.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Analytics newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

BigDoor: The Marketers Guide to Customer Loyalty

The Marketer's Guide to Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is imperative to success, but fostering and maintaining loyalty takes a lot of work. This guide is here to help marketers build, execute, and maintain a successful loyalty initiative.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

WEBINARS

    Information currently unavailable

Jobs

    • Interactive Product Manager
      Interactive Product Manager (Western Governors University) - Salt Lake CityWestern Governors University, one of the 20 largest universities...
    • SEO Senior Analyst
      SEO Senior Analyst (University of Phoenix (Apollo Education Group)) - San FranciscoSEO Senior Analyst   Position Summary...
    • SEM & Biddable Media Manager
      SEM & Biddable Media Manager (Kepler Group LLC) - New YorkAs an Optimization & Innovation Manager at Kepler Group, you will be on the bleeding...