The benefits of web analytics

Vlad and Gus, forensic web analysts from the Web Detective Agency, are discussing a presentation Vlad is going to give to a prospective client the day after tomorrow.

Gus: What time is the presentation?

Vlad: 10.30am at their offices on Stadhouderskade, near the Marriott.

I am not looking forward to it. When I set up the meeting on the phone with Niel, their Website Manager, he didn’t sound that committed to investing in web analytics.

Gus: Who else is attending ?

Vlad: He’s bringing along his Marketing Director, which means something I suppose.

Gus: Look, if you’re not positive about the meeting, then how do you expect to convince prospective client.

Vlad: I am positive, I’m just worried that this guy, Niel, hasn’t bought into it. Plus, I don’t think the first part of my presentation is very strong.

Gus: Well, let’s have a look.

[Vlad opens the Powerpoint presentation he’s going to use, and Gus starts flicking through the slides]

I think the problem is that you have one slide on what analytics, just a pretty dry definition from some textbook, and then you dive into the detail of what KPIs to measure.

You haven’t explained the benefits of web analytics; why their business needs it.

Vlad: What do you suggest I put in here?

Gus: Given that the Marketing Director is there, I would start with how web analytics will show them which traffic sources and keywords are profitable, and which ones aren’t.

Marketing Directors love working out where they can save money, and concentrate resources

Vlad: OK, so here’s my first one, if you don’t have web analytics you don’t know which sources of traffic and content is generating the most revenue, or profit.

Gus: Good, but phrased differently, what sources of traffic or types of visitors could be costing you money on your PPC campaigns.

Vlad: OK, so ‘save money and make more money’.

Another point is that your website needs to do accomplish lots of tasks – reaching out to new visitors, engaging them, converting them into customers and then retaining; and without analytics you are flying blind.

Gus: That’s right. These are the central functions of any commercial site, and if you aren’t measuring then you can’t be managing them.

Also you need to mention the impact on your brand of a poor online experience.

Vlad: What do you mean ?

Gus: I mean, online, your brand *is* your visitor experience, and if that sucks so does your brand. So for those businesses that have invested huge sums in promoting their brand, all that hard work can quickly be undermined if their website is unusable and frustrating. Like, covered in Flash, but ultimately doing nothing for the user, ‘flashturbation’ as Eisenberg calls it.

Vlad: That Bryan Eisenberg, he’s a funny man.

Also you could say.that without web analytics you can’t measure the contribution or impact that other departments within the organisation are making.

For example, you could evaluate the efforts of the merchandising department in encouraging visitors to view their products and add them to basket, across a range of categories.

Many merchandising departments won’t be used to being judged in this way, and it could lead to some friction, but with analytics you can make the relationship between their work and the activity on the website very transparent.

Gus: Yeah, I like that one a lot – it means holding the whole organisation to account for the website performance, not just marketing.

You could also judge the finance department in terms of speed of refunds against the number of emails receiving chasing refund payments, or in fact the warehouse on speed of despatch using surveys.

Vlad: Exactly, and added to that last point, if you don’t have web analytics you will be missing an important opportunity to understand more about visitors and customers. There’s not many other environments where you can find out as much about the way your prospects and customers behave and experience your service.

Vlad: Right, and we know that if you, the client, isn’t using web analytics, then you can be sure that their competitors will be.

Gus: Is that list of points enough?

Vlad: Yep, five is fine. Let me just read it back

Websites need to Reach, Engage, Acquire and Nurture

Gus: Yes, just explain that multi-purpose web site means to attract, engage, convert and retain

Vlad: Next one is that websites consume marketing expenditure and you have to know how effective this spend is.

Gus: So without analytics, you have got marketing expenditure, but no control

Vlad: Next one, ‘Is your website hurting your brand?’

The one after that is ‘Which departments are helping website performance?

And finally, ‘How much do you know about your online visitors?

Gus: That’s all of them.

Vlad: That’s good, I think there is a much better connection between what web analytics is and what KPIs you need to measure.

Gus: Let’s see if Niel and his Marketing Director think so too.

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Posted in: Google Analytics, KPIs

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