Web Analytics: The Power's in Integration

  |  December 19, 2006   |  Comments

Understanding the overall marketing ecosystem is imperative if you're serious about online. New vendor tools are rising to the challenge.

Last week I attended Omniture's release of its new offering, Genesis. The event was very well attended. Omniture Genesis is basically automated integration (think plug and play) that allows marketers to easily integrate other data and common systems right into the tool.

This helps satisfy a longstanding frustration. I've written a fair amount about how Web analytics data is valuable on its own but becomes much more valuable when integrated with other insight. We often combine attitudinal and competitive data with behavioral data like Web analytics. Of equal value is the ability to truly integrate marketing drivers and other site-side tools.

Yes, people have been tracking e-mail campaigns, banner campaigns, and onsite search effectiveness through analytics tools for years, and all the vendors have the ability to do so. But the trend we're seeing now is a much deeper integration of this data type in an even easier framework.

Other leaders in the space are also rolling out solutions for improved integration of other data sources. Check with the vendor you're working with and find out what it's doing with integration. See who it's partnering with. We have clients that use all the top-tier tools. I truly believe that, depending on your specific situation, any of the top three companies may be best for you. Again, it depends on the situation and area of focus.

After the event, I asked Omniture's John Mellor, SVP of business development, for details on clients who using Genesis and what they're seeing. Mellor told me, "Customers can realize significant gains by focusing on just a few integrations -- many begin with e-mail or site search." He added the integration is helping many clients better understand the 95 percent plus people who don't convert on the site.

One of the most impressive areas was the ease of integration. They walked through a few live examples during the presentation. I'm a pretty good detector of vendors oversimplifying processes in demos, but as I dug more into it, I really struggled to find any hidden troubling issues.

I encourage you to check out what Omniture is doing with Genesis, as well as where WebSideStory and WebTrends are heading in terms of integration.

Vendors are spending more time and energy in this area for a good reason. Understanding the overall marketing ecosystem is imperative if you're serious about online. It just isn't enough any more to look at click-throughs, see where people are going, then count conversion. Companies shouldn't have to read through all the reports from all their different advertising and marketing partners only to find when added up, they equal well over 120 percent of orders placed that month. It's no fun logging into 15 systems to try to understand what's happening on the Web channel, then trying to tie visitors from one system to behaviors in another system.

I'm certainly not saying that suddenly all your systems can easily be integrated. But based on what I saw, I think we're getting closer. Companies like Omniture are talking very complex integrations and building an infrastructure that allows marketers (without IT support) to tie systems together to get what they really need: an integrated view.

Here are a few high-level examples of what this can mean:

  • DoubleClick is one of the accredited partners that can easily tie into Omniture through Genesis. Now you can truly understand how all ads placed through DART are performing on a very granular level. You could have done some of this before by passing a campaign code when someone clicked through from an ad. But it was very difficult to understand view-through traffic from a given campaign. These are the people who are exposed to your ad but don't click through right away. At a later date, they visit the site on their own. Now you can truly understand what this means.

  • E-mail partners like ExactTarget, CheetahMail, and Responsys are now easily integrated. You no longer need to bounce back and forth between your e-mail and analytics systems. You can leverage powerful tools within the Web analytics systems to really understand what e-mail programs are doing for you.

  • Optimization engines like Offermatica and Optimost can also be integrated. This is possibly one of the most exciting components, tying the best on analytics, segmentation, and so forth with premier optimization tools.

After the event, I talked with others to see how they viewed the ease of integration. There was one constant theme I kept hearing: I can now truly hold my marketing partners accountable based on my terms, not theirs. People seemed excited to be able to test new partners. A few said they would challenge some of their marketing vendors that have been trying to get in the door to do a trial and really show them what they could do. They wanted to plug into the integration and have the partners prove their value in a way they can understand -- through Omniture's new tool, not just through squishy metrics.

Integration with other data types may or may not be important to you today. But easy integration and a combined view of marketing efforts and initiatives can only be a positive for the people who do embrace a full ecosystem view. Web analytics is only a means to an end, not the end in itself. Use it and other tools to help you better understand prospect, customer, and site performance. If you aren't acting on the insights, you may as well not even be looking at them.

Shoot me an e-mail and let me know how you're integrating Web analytics and other data to improve your site.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Burby

As president of the Americas regions for the digital agency POSSIBLE, Jason is responsible for leading the long-term stability and growth of the region. Jason has 20-plus years experience in digital strategy. He is a long-time advocate of using data to inform digital strategies to help clients attract, convert, and retain customers. Jason supports our clients and employees in driving new engagements and delivering great work that works.

Jason speaks frequently about helping marketers take advantage of data to make smarter business decisions and improve the success of their organizations. He is the co-author of Actionable Web Analytics: Using Data to Make Smart Business Decisions.

Follow him on Twitter @JasonBurby.

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