Web Analytics Best Practices Lowres Final.12.08

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Best Practices for DMOs - Measuring the effectiveness of online traffic

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Web Analytics Best Practices Lowres Final.12.08

  1. 1. WHITE PAPER Monitor, Measure and Manage Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations David Kirschner, Omniture and Chris Adams, Miles Media
  2. 2. Monitor, Measure and Manage: Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations INDEX Introduction 3 About the Authors 5 Principles of Web Analytics 6 Web Metrics and Research 7 Choosing a Web Metrics Solution That is Right for You 8 Overview of the Metrics That Matter 9 Visitation Metrics 9 Engagement Metrics 9 Signals of Intent to Travel 15 Market Penetration 17 Managing Marketing Programs with Web Analytics 20 2
  3. 3. Monitor, Measure and Manage: Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations INTRODUCTION This is an introduction and overview of best practices in Web metrics, reporting and analysis for Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs). In the last decade, the Internet has emerged as the primary information source for most travelers and, in many cases, is a central part of the destination’s marketing activities. An estimated 92% of US consumers who are “active travelers” are also Internet users. Around 40% of these travelers report using an official DMO Web site in their travel planning in the past year. Unless you are closely monitoring, measuring and analyzing your online activities – and taking action based on this information – you are not managing your online activities. Hence, applying best practices in Web measurement, monitoring and reporting is a vital part of fulfilling your DMO’s mission. 3
  4. 4. Monitor, Measure and Manage: Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations The Web has emerged as the center of DMOs’ marketing efforts. This white paper is an introduction to a rapidly changing and evolving area of marketing and technology. Seeking additional information, advice and recommendations from skilled staff, vendors, industry partners or consultants will help apply these best practices to the specific needs of your DMOs. * Sources: PhocusWright Consumer Online Travel Trends 10th edition. July 2008 and Destination Analysts’ State of the American Traveler Research report, July 2007.”Active” travelers is defined as consumers who have flown by air and stayed in a hotel at least once in the last 12 months. 4
  5. 5. Monitor, Measure and Manage: Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations ABOUT THE AUTHORS David Kirschner is Principal Consultant for the Travel Industry at Omniture – a global leader in Web analytics and online business optimization. David has extensive experience working with tourism clients as well as major airline, rental car, cruise line and hotel groups. Prior to joining Omniture in 2005, David developed extensive client-side experience as the Director of CRM and Strategic Analysis for Expedia’s hotels.com subsidiary. Chris Adams is Director of Online Marketing at Miles Media –the largest destination publisher in North America. Chris helps service the needs of 14 states and more than 30 CVBs at Miles Media and also has extensive tourism, DMO and new technology experience from New Zealand, Australia and the UK. If you have additional questions or clarification in follow up to this paper – you can contact David or Chris: David Kirschner Principal Consultant, Travel, Omniture e: dkirschner@omniture.com t: (954) 563-2589 Chris Adams, Director of Online Marketing, Miles Media e: chris.adams@milesmedia.com t: (303) 484-1655 5
  6. 6. Monitor, Measure and Manage: Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations PRINCIPLES OF WEB ANALYTICS. Regardless of the specific Web metrics solution(s), vendors and staffing you use for your specific DMO, there are certain critical principles that should apply in all Web analysis and reporting: Personalized Dashboards in Omniture SiteCatalyst provide quick reference to the most important metrics. Metrics That Matter Focus your reporting and analysis on the key performance indicators (KPI) that are most important to you. “Less is more” in Web analytics so defining a clear, limited set of KPIs and measurements aligned with your business and marketing plans is critical for clear, easy to use information. Actionable Analytics Information is of little value unless you can act on it. Web sites are a process, not a project, so they should be continuously improved, refined and tested based on Web analytics. Make sure you have the budget and/or resources to make ongoing improvements to your Web site based on what you learn from your Web analytics efforts. Customized Reporting Whatever the Web analytics solution, ensure your reporting is customized to the needs of your DMO. This includes preparing personalized, user friendly reports that are available for key managers and other stakeholders at the time and in the format that meets their specific needs. Reporting should be easy to use and easy to follow, focusing on what is important (see “Metrics that Matter”) with indicators of trends or areas for attention. Customized weekly or monthly reports can integrate online metrics with offline indicators (eg: guide orders) and supplement the online reporting and custom Dashboard features available through SiteCatalyst and other Web analytics tools. 6
  7. 7. Monitor, Measure and Manage: Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations Web reporting should be visual, easy to follow and easy to use. Miles Media prepares monthly “Dashboards” for its DMO clients that integrate Omniture Web analytics with metrics from other sources (eg: guide orders). Color coded arrows indicate trends and areas for attention. WEB METRICS AND RESEARCH Any Web metrics solution needs to be a part of a broader research and analytics framework for your Destination Marketing Organization. While a Web metrics product like Omniture SiteCatalyst can deliver a wide range of mission critical data, it should exist as part of a “holistic” approach to monitoring, measuring and managing your DMO. Additional services in the below areas are available from Omniture and from a range of other third party vendors: Audience Measurement – These solutions allow you to understand the profile of your online users (demographic information of consumers and their broader use of the Internet) plus more directly compare your DMO’s activity against competitors and others you wish to benchmark. Omniture, as well as other enterprise-class Web analytics solutions, also provide a wide range of technographic information, such as browser type and version, monitor resolution, connection speed and java version. DMOs can use these data to ensure that any new features launched will be compatible with the audience’s technographics. Research – Research complements Web analytics by adding the “why” to the “what.” Probing the travel intentions and attitudes of users (through online intercept and/or email surveys, for example) allows a more complete understanding of the consumer and how to meet their needs. For this reason, Omniture recently launched Omniture Survey, a powerful tool for gathering feedback from users of your Web site. The Omniture Genesis Network allows DMOs to integrate a wide range of third party tools, such as email vendors, ad serving companies and tools like OpinionLab, which are specifically designed to improve user experience. This marriage of Web analytics data to external sources of information provides customers with a holistic view of Web site activity and areas for improvement. Specific research projects such as online usability panels (to test new sites or new functionality) and online conversion studies (measuring the real world travel and economic impact generated by your Web marketing) are also important research projects. Regardless of the project, coordinate this work with your Web metrics solution and, when necessary, work with a credible, third party research company on a robust methodology. 7
  8. 8. Monitor, Measure and Manage: Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations CHOOSING A WEB METRICS SOLUTION THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU User-and Tag-Based vs. Log-Based Web Metrics In general, there are two types of Web analytics tools, those that are tag-based, and those that are log-file or server-based. The difference is important. Tag-based solutions use code placed on each individual page of a Web site to collect and report on the behavior of users. Such solutions are generally far more accurate in tracking real visitors to a Web site (distinct from spiders, “bots” or other software agents), often give real-time data and are usually have a range of enhanced and custom reporting features vs. log based tools. Omniture SiteCatalyst is an example of a tag-based Web metrics solution. By comparison, log-based solutions periodically (eg: every 24 hours) analyze a wide range of information gathered from the server log files that record site activity and requests handled by the server. They use this analysis to provide indicative information of activity and user behavior. These server logs have the undesirable side effect of producing huge volumes of data, which need to be stored and backed up. Such solutions have been used the longest, so their reports may contain important long-term trend data. However, in addition to the cost of data storage, their value is further compromised by the inherent limitations of log-based analysis. The different methodology and limitation of log-based tools make “apples to apples” comparisons with user-/tag-based solutions and log-based tools extremely difficult. In general, since they don’t have the concept of “visits” or “sessions,” log-based solutions aren’t good at identifying a unique user across multiple interactions with a Web site. The combination of real-time data availability, freedom from buying hardware to store data, and gaining a holistic view of customer activity have made log-file solutions nearly obsolete. Bottom Line: Log-based Web tools have only limited applications – for example monitoring server load and looking back at historic trends. Every DMO of any size needs a robust, tag-based Web metrics solution as their primary reporting and analysis tool for their Web site. Selecting the Right Tool and the Right Vendor The final decision on choosing a Web metrics solution should be based on a clearly defined list of reporting requirements, the specific information you are looking to track and the support and training your DMO needs. Web metrics solutions range from relatively simple; but with limited reporting and customization options - to more enhanced solutions; offering far more powerful analysis and customized reporting – but requiring more time and skill in implementation and management. Define the needs of your DMO. The decision on a Web metrics solution is often made in conjunction with your Web vendor(s), so seek their input throughout this process. In some cases (eg: Miles Media) they may have done the in-depth analysis for you and can advise on the pros and cons of different solutions. The input of your DMO peers is also another source of advice and commentary. If you or your staff wish to research the options yourself, independent third party evaluations and reviews of different Web metrics solutions are available online, ranging from blogs and user sites (of mixed content and quality) through to paid consultancy reports from companies such as Jupiter Research. Whatever solution you chose, it’s important that it has good customer support. While Web analytics tools can bring tremendous insights to their users, they often raise as many questions as they answer. You’ll want to be certain of your interpretation of the data before acting upon it. 8
  9. 9. Monitor, Measure and Manage: Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations OVERVIEW OF THE METRICS THAT MATTER What to track and analyze on your site. No two travelers are alike and, for that reason, Web sites must meet a variety of requirements. In this white paper we’ll explore how, through a sharp focus on relevant metrics, it’s possible to discern and meet the needs of vastly different types of travelers. The number one metric, engagement, is actually a combination of several different metrics. There are many definitions for what constitutes engagement, but most of them involve metrics that are calculations. Basic Web analytics metrics such as visits, page views, and unique visitors are still important to track, but, while these metrics may tell you what is happening, they give no clues or context in terms of what actions to take. The calculated metrics listed in this white paper each have one or more actionable outcomes that can be pursued when flux is noted. While each Web analytics tool has a slightly different definition of each of these terms, visits, page views and daily, weekly or monthly unique visitors are the building blocks for insightful engagement analysis for DMO Web sites. Visitation Metrics Important metrics to track are: visits, unique visits (by day, week, and month), page views, and visitation by target segments (eg: geographical markets, activity by content or promotion). Visitation metrics are the top line activity numbers that track response to your DMO Web site. Visits (also called “user sessions”) and “unique visits” (an estimate of the individual users to access your site) are two of the most essential numbers to measure – especially when trended over time (or compared to the same period last year) and from your defined geographical markets (most enhanced user or tag based tools allow users to be accurately tracked down to a city and/or DMA (Designated Market Area) level). These top line activity metrics provide important trend information to assess the response to your Web site. Engagement Metrics Important metrics to track are bounce rates (by home page, across site and by entry/landing pages), time on site, videos viewed, site tools used. Engagement metrics focus on defining the depth and quality of interaction with your DMO Web site, rather than just the overall response or quantity. As such, engagement metrics provide some important insight into the user experience – how respondents are interacting with the content and functionality of your site. Engaging with a user is an essential first objective for any DMO Web site, grasping attention and then building interaction. In the absence of engagement, much of the activity on your Web site may have little value in its overall objective – generating travel to your destination. For some DMOs, engagement is a supporting metric to the all-important conversions or “Signals of Intent to Travel” - a fuller expression of how engaged users are on the site. However, numbers such as average time on site, average page views per visit, bounce rates (of the home page and all entry pages) and loyalty metrics provide some important guidance over time to changes in the user experience. For sites that use video, it is important to note that, as of this printing, SiteCatalyst is currently the only Web analytics solution that allows site operators to optimize videos on their site, by delving into how video is used. For each video, SiteCatalyst’s reporting shows, the number of users who drop off at various time increments. This can illuminate clips that are more compelling than others, and inform decisions about the right length for online videos. 9
  10. 10. Monitor, Measure and Manage: Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations This SiteCatalyst report shows how many users watch an entire video and when they stop watching. Bounce Rate – Measuring and reporting on the bounce rates of your various entry pages is one of the most important engagement metrics – as this helps define the performance of individual pages in grabbing and holding attention. A “bounce” is the percentage of users to enter the site through that page, go nowhere else on your site and then leave. For some entry pages a bounce rate of 50% or even 75% can occur, meaning half or three quarters of all traffic is not going beyond the entry page and is therefore essentially “lost.” Measuring the bounce rate of the home page, groups of major entry pages and, in particular, for all campaign landing pages (the entry page for traffic from online advertising for example) is essential. Lowering the bounce rate by testing different designs, content or calls to action (a process called landing page optimization) can have a very significant impact on the net acquisition cost and, therefore, ROI of campaigns. Ensuring your agency and DMO work together on a landing page optimization process is vital part of all online marketing campaigns, and most of the most powerful ways to generate return from your Web metrics solution. Bounce rates are one important way to test the results from different landing pages in A-B or multi- variate testing. 10
  11. 11. Monitor, Measure and Manage: Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations Social Media – User-generated content is becoming an increasingly important part of user interaction on travel sites and contributions from your DMO’s online community can be an important indicator of site engagement. This can include tracking the number and trends of users’ submitting travel tips, itineraries, reviews, comments, questions (eg: “Ask the Expert”) and photo/video submissions. Per the graphic below, Forrester Research has applied weighting to differentiate various levels of engagement and contribution for social media. The goal of any DMO Web site is to move more users from the bottom rungs of the ladder up the value chain to become influencers, driving ancillary visits and page views. Loyalty Metrics Loyalty metrics typically measure the number of repeat visitors who come back to your Web site in a defined period (eg: week or month) and the frequency (number and spacing) of these visits. Most DMOs do not generate significant repeat visitation to their Web site, as in many cases their content and functionality is focused on the destination decision rather than the final trip planning. Research can help you define how consumers are currently using your site in the overall travel planning and booking process. Based on this feedback, the objective of your Web site and the content and services you may wish to add, these metrics may be important to see if you are building repeat visitation. “Per Weekly/Monthly Unique Visitor” Metrics: When analyzing how users interact with a Web site, it’s myopic to limit one’s analysis to a single visit or session. Few travelers come to a single site and make their entire vacation plans. Rather, it’s a process of consuming written content, viewing images and movies and submitting requests for information. For this reason, DMOs need to expand their views of customer activity over a longer period of time than just a day or a single visit. 11
  12. 12. Monitor, Measure and Manage: Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations Visits per Monthly Unique Visitor is a good place to start. By understanding how frequently an average user is returning to your Web site, you can begin to understand where they are in the decision-making process. There is often a direct correlation between this metric and intent to travel. While this is true of those people using a DMO site to do research, the majority of unique users will only visit a site once in any given period. For this reason, the Visits per Monthly Unique will generally be just slightly greater than one, so this number should be taken out to two or three decimal places in order to most accurately track trends. Visits Per Monthly Unique Visitor will tell you how frequently users return. For additional insight about the number of visits a unique user makes either before or after performing some kind of hand-raising activity, the next step is to go beyond the general audience and apply segmentation. For instance, it’s nice to know that, on average, users visit your site 1.25 times per month. It’s considerably more important to know that after they request a brochure about your destination, they visit 3.5 times per month; or that users from a particular search keyword that you’re paying $8 per click for are returning less frequently than the aggregate, indicating perhaps you should discontinue spending on that particular keyword. For sites interested in serving more relevant content to customers with high visit frequency, Omniture and other providers offer solutions that can place timely offers, ads or specials on your Web site designed to act upon their Signals of Intent to Travel. 12
  13. 13. Monitor, Measure and Manage: Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations Page Views per Monthly Unique Visitor is a related metric, but one that speaks more to visitors’ interaction with your Web site. When this metric increases, it generally indicates an interest in your content. For more insight, break down the types of content that are drawing the most page views (photos, reviews, blogs) and position this content accordingly. It’s a proven fact that photos and videos garner more clicks than plain text and what better way to sell your destination than through stunning imagery? For most DMO sites, increasing Page Views per Monthly Unique Visitor should be a goal. Not only does it indicate higher interest but, assuming traffic stays consistent, as Page Views per Monthly Unique Visitor increases, so does the number of advertising impressions and their associated revenue. The one notable exception when Page Views per Monthly Unique Visitor increasing can be seen as deleterious is when users are trying to complete a process, such as registering, filling out an online form, or making a purchase. In these instances, higher Page Views per Monthly Unique Visitor may indicate confusion or difficulty in completing these processes. Here, leveraging other measures such as Conversion Rate or Time to Complete, both available through Omniture SiteCatalyst, will tell you if your increase in Page Views per Monthly Unique Visitor is a desirable trend or not. Page Views Per Monthly Unique Visitor indicates interest in your content. 13
  14. 14. Monitor, Measure and Manage: Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations Visit Frequency is another valuable report. Much like analyzing Visits per Monthly Unique visitor, a goal of any DMO site should be to increase visit frequency. This is often shown as “days since last visit” and a decline in this metric often corresponds to an increase in aggregate interest. The primary difference in how to utilize Visit Frequency versus Visits per Monthly Unique Visitor is to look for both an aggregate decline in the Visit Frequency report as well as an increased incidence of intra-day visits. These indicate a higher degree of interest as well as a pending intent to travel. Again, applying other metrics to Visit Frequency make this metric more actionable. Some recommendations include Visit Number (how many previous visits to the site they’ve made), Original Referring Domain (which will tell you how they first found your Web site) or more time-sensitive measures such as keyword or referring domain, which will tell you how they arrived at your site most recently. One would expect that as Visit Frequency increases, so should the percent of total guests coming to your site directly, rather than through more costly programs such as SEM or display (banner) advertising. Increase in Visit Frequency indicates a higher degree of interest and possibly impending travel. 14
  15. 15. Monitor, Measure and Manage: Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations “Signals of Intent to Travel” Also called “success events” or “hand raising” activities, Signals of Intent to Travel can range from ordering a visitor guide, to viewing detailed accommodation listings, to actually booking online. A critical part of Web reporting for a DMO is defining the “conversion” events or “hand raising” actions that define success for your Web site. As many DMOs have no online booking functionality on their Web site, and in all cases final booking is likely to be completed elsewhere, this conversion or success event is not usually a transaction but rather a “Signal of Intent to Travel” (SIT). Defining, validating, tracking and reporting your SITs is a central part of your DMO’s Web analytics solution and ultimately the most important part of distinguishing “quality” over “quantity” in your Web reporting. Top 10 Most Commonly Used SITs: 1. Ordering a visitor guide online 2. Signing up for an email newsletter 3. Visiting a deals, specials or packages page 4. Visiting the detailed listing page of a hotel, activity or event 5. Reaching a defined stage in any online booking tool that is available on your site 6. Downloading a brochure, map or other file from your Web site 7. Clicking through to a hotel or activities’ external booking or information page 8. Seeking more information from your DMO, Visitor Center, etc. 9. Asking a question of an online expert or other users 10. Posting a photo, video, trip report, review or rating 15
  16. 16. Monitor, Measure and Manage: Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations Most DMOs define a small list of SITs that seem best suited to their destination and type of traveler. Ideally, Signals of Intent to Travel should be tested and validated by third party conversion research which connects actual travel to online behavior. In this type of research, the impact of the DMO Web site and/or email marketing program can be isolated and the visitor spending, economic impact and Return on Investment for the DMO’s online marketing efforts better defined. Success Events Completed per Monthly Unique Visitor: While it’s valuable to look at each SIT individually, looking at them in total is perhaps the clearest indicator of intent to travel. Some companies assign a weight to these success events (sometimes called “scoring”), putting a premium on events that involve some sort of data capture such as email or physical mailing address which can be used for remarketing. Click-outs to External Web sites are, as noted, a success event for many DMO sites. Although it may seem counterintuitive to send traffic off your site, in many cases these “exit links” are the desired path once a user has found the information they need. Click-outs can take users into a booking engine, to an attraction or property Web site, or to any other destination linked from your Web site. Your better Web analytics products provide some form of “path analysis” that will help you determine how users navigate from page to page. The keys to taking action from click-outs lie in these path reports. Visualizing the most popular click-out links in a report will help to inform their placement on your Web site, but also, looking at the pages people saw on their way to clicking out can yield new opportunities. For instance, if you see a high incidence of people coming from your home page to your search page to a search results page and then clicking out to a paying partner, you may decide to move that partner link onto the home page. Of course, unless you have a reciprocal tracking agreement with the site you’re sending your traffic off to, you will lose visibility to the customer after they click the exit link. Brochure/Visitor Guide/Hard Goods requests are always desirable for two reasons: They indicate a strong intent to travel and they provide the DMO with a physical address. The benefits of having an address are many, including remarketing to that traveler, not; using data append services such as Claritas or InfoUSA to learn more about the demographics and psychographics of locale, and understanding the origin cities that have an affinity for your destination, which will inform your marketing efforts. 16
  17. 17. Monitor, Measure and Manage: Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations These types of requests often involve filling out some type of form and, whenever users are asked to complete a form, there are inevitably errors. The job of the DMO Web site is both to make the form easy to find and to minimize the number of errors encountered by those who begin to fill out the form. Improving throughput on forms is not difficult. It simply requires a bit of experimentation and visibility to the problems people are encountering when they’re unsuccessful in completing the form. Omniture offers a plug-in to specifically track form abandonment. It shows the number of times data was entered – or not entered – into each field on the form. Analyzing this data can highlight fields that are extraneous or confusing. The form should be streamlined, easy to understand and should have a “thank you” page with navigation to other areas of the Web site. In addition to looking at which fields on the form are causing problems, you’ll want to track which errors people are encountering. These could be due to missing data in required fields, misspellings, contrary data for state and zip code and any number of other issues. By analyzing the top errors, you will quickly be able to see what problems people are having and take corrective action. As an example, the airlines realized that most of their travelers do not know their local airport code. To correct this problem, they have begun using “auto-complete” functionality on their Web sites. This improves the user experience, provides the airline with cleaner search data and improves throughout. Analyzing where forms are abandoned can guide improvements. Market Penetration It’s an established fact that affinities exist between certain origins and destination pairs. For instance, a central Florida CVB knows they’ll get visitors from all around the state, but can sometimes have a difficult time determining what other feeder markets it should focus for marketing programs. Like most state-of-the-art Web analytics tools, Omniture SiteCatalyst has functionality that will allow you to geographically locate visitors to your Web site, right down to their zip code or their Nielsen DMA number. 17
  18. 18. Monitor, Measure and Manage: Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations On first glance, this report may not yield many surprises, the majority of traffic comes from within Florida, with neighboring states and states with large populations close behind. Going down to a city level is more insightful. Now the CVB can tell which Florida cities and out-of-state markets are driving the most traffic, incredibly helpful information for market-specific advertising as well as for placement of collateral materials along top drive routes. We also see some out-of-state cities (New York, St. Louis, Atlanta) as feeders as well. New opportunities are beginning to emerge. 18
  19. 19. Monitor, Measure and Manage: Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations Showing popularity is valuable, but differs from Market Penetration. Your top states or cities are unlikely to show much flux over time and your marketing approach could stagnate without going another level deeper to look at Market Penetration. The Omniture SiteCatalyst product has this functionality on the state and DMA level, although not all Web analytics tools do. Clicking on “per capita” compares the number of visits from each locale to the most recent US Census data. This is true penetration data – out of the universe of potential visitors in this state or DMA, what percentage of them have been to my site? Now we see a completely different picture, where this CVB actually indexes well above the national average for nearby markets, but far below in other key DMAs. 19
  20. 20. Monitor, Measure and Manage: Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations MANAGING MARKETING PROGRAMS WITH WEB ANALYTICS Important metrics to track are campaign performance by target market (eg: DMA) including responses, unique responses, campaign traffic quality including bounce rates, other engagement metrics plus signals of intent to travel, gross and net cost per acquisition and Return on Investment. Web analytics solutions are also an invaluable tool in researching, planning, monitoring and reviewing your various DMO marketing programs. Though Web reporting tools are geared toward providing a rich set of information for online marketing activities, even offline campaigns can be broadly monitored, assuming your call to action is your Web site. Therefore, at the start, it is important with any marketing program to consider what information is available from your Web metrics solution to help in campaign planning and how you are going to monitor and report on the performance of the campaign. It is also essential to correctly set up campaigns in your Web analytics solutions, to ensure that each campaign is being correctly identified, tracked and segmented in your reporting tool. This usually involves the use of “response triggers” (code that identifies campaign traffic to your reporting tool) and coordinating the efforts of you and your Web publishing vendor with your agency to ensure campaign reporting is accurate and the results are used to regularly review the performance of the campaign. 20
  21. 21. Monitor, Measure and Manage: Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations Web analytics tools such as Omniture SiteCatalyst supplement the advertising reporting options that your agency will offer (eg: for SEM keyword campaigns) by providing independent validation of the campaign’s performance and far more in-depth metrics on the quality and behavior of respondents attracted to your site by the campaign. Omniture also offers a complementary product called SearchCenter for DMOs who want to manage their own ad spend. This type of “bid management and optimization” software works in tandem with the Web analytics solution to show in very granular detail the activity around each campaign, search engine, and keyword. Analytics tools can provide independent validation of SEM performance. Integrated Marketing - Measuring Online & Offline Advertising Online marketing forms a significant and increasing part of the marketing budgets of most DMOs. The Web is also a central fulfillment method and call to action in consumer marketing of all types including print, billboards, TV and other “traditional media.” While the attributes and values of online and offline media are different, some simple but important measurement of “offline” media is still possible within your online analytics. Web metrics solutions such as Omniture SiteCatalyst allow DMOs and their agency partners to collect some indicative information for “offline” campaign response and behavior. For example, in the case of market-specific radio, TV or print advertising, traffic from a specific geographic market area, city or DMA, can be measured and traffic compared to pre-and- post-campaign activity. Alternately, a specific call to action (“Sign Up for our Competition at www. yourdestination.com/newyork”) allows tracking of consumers responding to the ad and going directly to that page. This type of “integrated” reporting that includes measurement of “offline” marketing allows some broad comparisons between different marketing channels – including response, engagement and Signals of Intent to Travel. 21
  22. 22. Monitor, Measure and Manage: Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations Site Advertising and Specials and Deal Programs Most DMOs feature promotions on their Web sites. These can include offers, specials, featured events or businesses plus competitions for users. In addition, an increasing number of DMOs are running online advertising programs on their site as a revenue generation program (to supplement advertising in print visitor guides). These promotions and advertising are both targeted messages to feature specific business partners, highlight a specific offer and act as an immediate “call to action” for visitors to the site. Web metrics solutions can provide invaluable insights into the performance of specials and offers and help with planning the advertising formats and placements for your site. Determining where to place these promotions is easier when you have a sense of how well different parts of your site perform. Reviewing the performance of the promotions in the broader objectives of the site is also important. Which internal promotions are leading to more page views, longer time on site (and, as mentioned previously, more engagement and advertising revenue)? Which ones have a high participation index for SITs? Which ones are simply not getting any clicks at all? In more advanced applications of Web analytics, additional reporting tools (eg: Omniture Test & Target) can be used to manage the delivery of promotions and advertising on the site so it is targeted to specific users based on their current and past behavior on the site (called “behavioral targeting”). In the screen shot below, the #8 promotion in terms of Page Views is actually the #1 promotion in terms of success event completion. Note that the Merchant Discounts has a Velocity of over 10, meaning that after viewing this page, people went on to view an average of 10 more pages, ostensibly as they pored over the available offers. It also participated in 74% of success events on the site, meaning that 74% of those who completed a success event also viewed the Merchant Discounts page. It would make sense to elevate the prominence of this page, so that it gets more clicks! 22
  23. 23. Monitor, Measure and Manage: Best Practices in Web Analytics for Destination Marketing Organizations Conclusion A sound Web analytics program, aligned with your DMO’s business needs is a “must” in today’s highly competitive travel economy. It’s important to state your needs, find a tool that meets them, supplement with ancillary data as needed and to take action on your findings. As stated earlier, Web sites are a process, not a project, and even the best sites have room for continuous improvement. Using SiteCatalyst or another Web analytics solution to inform your marketing efforts and contact strategies will pay dividends for your DMO for years to come. 23
  24. 24. THE LEADER IN ONLINE BUSINESS OPTIMIZATION AMERICAS UK FRANCE NORDICS & BENELUX GERMANY + 1.877.722.7088 TEL +44 (0)20 7380 4400 TEL +33 1 70 37 53 56 TEL + 45.36 98 89 50 TEL +49 (0) 899 0405 408 TEL + 1.801.722.7001 FAX +44 (0)20 7380 4401 FAX +44 207 900 2725 fax + 45.36 98 89 51 FAX +49 (0) 899 5464 252 FAX JAPAN AUSTRALIA SWEDEN KOREA HONG KONG + 81.03.4360.5385 TEL + 612 8211 2707 TEL + 46 8 601 30 91 TEL + 82.2.2008.3228 TEL +852 2168 0873 TEL A B O U T OMNITURE Omniture, Inc. is a leading provider of online business optimization software, enabling customers to manage and enhance online, offline and multi-channel business initiatives. Omniture’s software, which it hosts and delivers to its customers as an on-demand subscription service, enables customers to capture, store and analyze information generated by their Web sites and other sources and to gain critical business insights into the performance and efficiency of marketing and sales initiatives and other business processes. In addition, Omniture offers a range of professional services that complement its online services, including implementation, best practices, consulting, customer support and user training through Omniture University™. Omniture’s more than 2,000 customers include eBay, AOL, Wal-Mart, Gannett, Microsoft, Neiman Marcus, Oracle, Countrywide Financial, General Motors, Sony and HP www.omniture.com . omniture.com WEB: © OCTOBER 2008 Omniture, Inc. Omniture and the Omniture, SiteCatalyst, SearchCenter, Discover, Genesis and Test&Target logos are trademarks of sales@omniture.com EMAIL: Omniture. All other trademarks and logos are the property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.

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