The Internet Marketing Driver: Glenn Gabe's goal is to help marketers build powerful and measurable web marketing strategies.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Flying Blind - The Need for Web Analytics



Imagine the following example: You are in charge of marketing a golf tournament...you've collected the best golfers in the area, a portion of the proceeds will go to charity, you've contracted the best chefs in the area to set up in the main tent, and landed the top country club in the area to host the event. You want every golf fan in the area to know about the tournament...you want large crowds...which should translate to a successful day, both tournament-wise and revenue-wise. You launch several targeted campaigns, set up a great web presence with online registration, and barrel forward at light speed.

Path 1: Registrations are flowing in, everyone is excited, and your site is barely keeping up with the amount of traffic. The big day arrives, the golfers are ready, the sun is shining, the food is ready, and the golf course is packed! Great job. But...you have absolutely no idea which campaign worked for you, how your site performed, where visitors came from, which campaigns yielded the most visitors, registrants, or bounces. Uh oh. This won't be easy to reproduce, when needed.

Path 2: Registrations are trickling in, everyone is nervous, and your site is yawning as the traffic is only 2% of the site's capacity. The big day arrives, the golfers are ready, the sun is shining, the food is ready, and the golf course is empty! What happened? Unfortunately, you have absolutely no idea which campaign worked for you, how your site performed, where visitors came from, which campaigns yielded the most visitors, registrants, or bounces. Uh oh. This won't be easy to improve, due to the lack of data...

Both paths were missing one very important element, a robust web analytics program!

How About Some Mini Pretzels On Your Flight!
There are many companies out there that face this problem every single day. They barrel forward launching campaigns and driving traffic to their sites. However, they don't have a good mechanism in place for tracking campaign and website performance. As we all know, the web enables you to track every element of a campaign in order to learn, refine, and improve performance. Without a solid web analytics program in place, you are literally flying blindly...

Some of the more powerful analytics programs (Omniture, CoreMetrics, WebTrends, etc.) enable you to track everything about your campaigns, including source, traffic, conversion, revenue, bounce rates, pathing, conversion funnels, split tests, multivariate testing, etc. With an analytics program like this in place, you can improve the performance of your campaigns with real data, tracked in real-time, enabling you to you to accurately calculate your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). Before you know it, you will have a wealth of information at your fingertips that you can utilize when building and launching new campaigns. i.e. Which blogs to target, which keywords generate the most revenue, does email work for your business, which types of creative work best, etc.

So, you've got a decision to make. Launch and learn, or launch, fly blindly, and hope for the best! I hope you agree that option 1 makes a lot more sense!

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