POINT OF view                                                      WEB                                                    ...
POINT OF viewTHE CORE OF CROSS-CHANNEL ACTIVITIESFor many organizations, the web is a common element of the marketing mix,...
POINT OF viewACTION: BEYOND DATA PRESENTATIONAt the heart of every analysis is data. At the same time, no analysis is comp...
POINT OF view                           Business Objectives Mapped To KPIs    Lead                                        ...
POINT OF viewA VALUE-DRIVEN APPROACHToday, little correlation exists between Web Analytics spend and business benefit, a p...
POINT OF viewTRENDS FOR 2012The business of measuring web activity has come a long way since its modest early stages. It’s...
POINT OF viewKEY CHALLENGESThere are some key themes that limit Web Analytics success.1. Data is a commodity. Web Analytic...
POINT OF view   • Existing expertise will not be squandered. The future success of Web Analytics is dependent upon     exp...
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Web Analytics — The Soul of Digital Accountability

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This paper describes an imminent change in the digital world, and how Web Analytics plays a vital role in successful contributions to an organization.

Point of View by Parmjeet Kaur, Manager Marketing Strategy & Analysis and Deepak Jain, Manager Marketing Strategy & Analysis

Published in: Technology, Business

Web Analytics — The Soul of Digital Accountability

  1. 1. POINT OF view WEB ANALYTICSWeb Analytics —The Soul of Digital AccountabilityBy: Parmjeet Kaur, Manager Marketing Strategy & Analysis and Deepak Jain,Manager Marketing Strategy & Analysis Today, a majority of enterprises are under‐invested in analyzing data flowing from digital channels. Even when enterprises have invested enough money for measurement technology, they usually fail to apply commensurate resources and effort to make the tools work for their business. Instead, most organizations focus too much on generating reports and too little on producing true insights and recommendations, opting for what is easy, not for what is valuable. When most people think of analytics, the first thought that often comes to mind is a data-dump of numbers, overloads of information that add more to confusion than to elucidation. Ask yourself: Are you measuring your success and improving? Do you know why people leave your website? Do you know your customer satisfaction scores? Are you targeting the right audience? Senior management, sales and marketing, and customer service teams all need answers to these questions — all of which can be answered through Web Analytics. So what is Web Analytics? In its simplest form, it can be defined as one of the ways to help hone and transform online experiences to help accomplish organizational goals. “Web Analytics is the science and adeptness that leads to drive change for websites to increase their profitability by cultivating a customer’s online experience. It is science because it uses statistics, data mining techniques, and a methodological process. It is an art because the analyst has to draw from various pallets of data sources to find the impeccable synthesis that will yield actionable insights.” Avinash Kaushik This paper describes an imminent change in the digital world, and how Web Analytics plays a vital role in successful contributions to an organization. We comprehend this not because we believe there is anything erroneous with today’s Web Analytics functions, but because we believe Web Analytics should play a bigger role in business decision making in the future. IDEA ENGINEERS © Sapient Corporation 2012
  2. 2. POINT OF viewTHE CORE OF CROSS-CHANNEL ACTIVITIESFor many organizations, the web is a common element of the marketing mix, and as such,decision makers cannot afford to miss the opportunity to use Web Analytics to close the gapsbetween cross-channel marketing strategies. Web Analytics is one of the most critical sourcesof activity because of:• Widespread espousal. The dispersion of Web Analytics is extremely broad and companies have Web Analytics abilities in place to gather the requisite baseline data. While Forrester’s data indicates that 73% of businesses are using Web Analytics tools or are evaluating them in a pilot program, revenue has been hard to come by. Providers of free tools take up 78% of the market share, and even when businesses are paying for analytics, 37% of them are only doing so in addition to a free offering.• Faster turn-around. Activities on the web are executed in quick time spans; campaigns are often completed in days or even hours, at the speed of light when compared with traditional media cycles. The ability to gather real time data and analyze it quickly allows for testing and iterative improvements that few channels can rival.• Delivered information to a variety of stakeholders. Web Analytics reports and dashboards can be distributed to the entire marketing team in numerous formats that are appropriate for varying types of audiences, creating a consistent view of activity and a foundational set of data for action.• Substantial qualitative and quantitative data. Websites deliver granular customer data on a large scale to support significant samples of specific behavior and outcomes. This data includes a cross-section of known customers as well as anonymous visitors who can be analyzed and used to support specific intelligence objectives such as segmentation, re-marketing, and behavioral targeting.• Useful links to other channels and activities. Just as a website serves as a hub for customers’ multi-channel activity, Web Analytics provides the ability to measure and attribute business results to other cross-channel marketing programs. IDEA ENGINEERS © Sapient Corporation 2012
  3. 3. POINT OF viewACTION: BEYOND DATA PRESENTATIONAt the heart of every analysis is data. At the same time, no analysis is complete if it does nothave actionable recommendations to improve business performance. Analysis is not magicand it needs a deep business understanding blended with analytical skills. Most organizationsimplement good tools and measurement strategies, but when it comes to reaping businessbenefits from analytics, they end up with data reporting or a less-than-insightful presentation.Often, the data presentation is misinterpreted as an analysis and that is where the real value islost. When there is an action based upon data, and that action is supplemented with a potentialbusiness value (related to revenue), that is where actual ROI of analytics is measured. Tounderstand the impact of analytics in decision-making, take an example of eCommerce KPIs(Key Performance Indicators) to track conversion rates. Most sites have a 2% conversion, butwhat about other 98%? How many potential customers did not convert? Why were they droppingoff? Was the wrong audience targeted? If you get answers to your questions, your conversion willimprove. In addition, decide if those potential customers can be retargeted through emails, futureoffers, or a new marketing strategy based on data.Let us now look at the phases of the Web Analytics lifecycle. Web Analytics LifecycleAnalytics is a continuously evolving process where the data and analysis define future strategiesand goals. This does not stop with one cycle.KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS AND THEIR ROLE IN WEB ANALYTICSKey Performance Indicators are quantifiable measurements, agreed upon beforehand, thatreflect the critical success factors of an organization. For Web Analytics to be carried in the rightdirection, the key is to identify and map the right KPIs as per your business objectives. Here arekey steps to identify correct KPIs. IDEA ENGINEERS © Sapient Corporation 2012
  4. 4. POINT OF view Business Objectives Mapped To KPIs Lead Content/ Commerce Service Generation Media Website Website Website Website Conversion Rates Visit Value Average Selling Price Sourcewise % drop offs Sample KPIs by IndustryThese are just a few KPIs, and the challenge is to not get lost in the options available. It’s crucialto select the right ones. Otherwise, KPIs won’t do any good. For instance, with a lead generationwebsite, the main goal is to get new leads. In this case, “conversion rates,” “cost per lead,” “singleaccess ratio,” and “traffic concentration” KPIs may be good options. In comparison, a commercewebsite, where the focus is on the purchase, may benefit from “visit value” and “average sellingprice” KPIs.Mapping too many KPIs might give you lots of data with no insights or recommended actions.On the other hand, a selection of the right KPIs can result in actions that lead to continuousimprovements and met business and organizational objectives. IDEA ENGINEERS © Sapient Corporation 2012
  5. 5. POINT OF viewA VALUE-DRIVEN APPROACHToday, little correlation exists between Web Analytics spend and business benefit, a problemexacerbated by the technology-heavy approach taken towards site measurement. As businessmanagers are increasingly pressured to optimize the value of their web investments, they will beforced to adopt more flexible tool sets and sounder analytical methodologies.A Web Analytics Demystified survey found that 25% of the companies who are tracking ROI fromWeb Analytics report a zero or even a negative return on their investment. What’s worse is thata full 75% of web analysts are working for companies where the return on investment from WebAnalytics is either not being tracked (54%) or is not widely known (21%).The Value-Driven Approach helps assess the impact of the outcomes of the analysis and findingsdriven by Web Analytics. If the outcomes are coupled with potential value in respect to benefits,this can compel an action. In order to implement this approach, businesses must have a revenuemodel in place to compute the potential value of driving change. Below is a proposed approach: Value-Driven AnalyticsValue is a direct function of Cost, Revenue, and Net Promotor Score*, which Web Analyticsfocuses on to help• Increase sales• Increase campaign effectiveness• Improve user experience• Increase self-service and drive down costsKey benefits of this approach include• Enforcing action when coupled with monetary value• Helping justify the investment on the Web Analytics activities and team• Helping assess the contribution of Web Analytics towards an organization’s financial bottom line• Enhanced reliability in data: 1. Increased trust in Web Analytics, if implemented value is close to recommended value 2. Confidence in the decision taken, if implemented value is close to targeted value (target set by business themselves against their decisions) * Net Promotor Score (NPS) - A gauge of customer satisfaction IDEA ENGINEERS © Sapient Corporation 2012
  6. 6. POINT OF viewTRENDS FOR 2012The business of measuring web activity has come a long way since its modest early stages. It’s nowtechnologically advanced enough to provide a fine-grain picture of what’s going on at and around thesite. There is more competition in the market of Web Analytics providers, which includes not only largeplayers but also companies that specialize in custom solutions for online brands. The driving forcebehind the development of Web Analytics as a business area has been the rise of online business.2012 will be an eventful year for the Web Analytics industry. It will continue to try to catch up with anexpanding online ecosystem that endures a growing variety of businesses. Here are key trends towatch.1. It’s not just about the website anymore. We now also have mobile, social networks, and tablets to name a few. While the web is a common thread in the marketing mix, today’s emerging channels mean that we need to find a way to bridge the gap with this broad technology and be capable of measuring the success across all these channels.2. Web acumen is applied beyond site-level. Web Analytics will be spread across different data sources and campaigns, which will be used to build multi-channel marketing initiatives, including CRM, the Enterprise Data Warehouse, and customer databases, as well as marketing laboratory initiatives (including A/B testing, multi-variate testing, and behavioral targeting) — all feeding data in a forward approach.3. Real-time data and analysis will require faster adaptation. Online companies want to react more quickly to what is going on with their web strategy. It will be more important than ever to keep adjusting to customer needs and improving to stay ahead of competition. More employees will be dedicated to monitoring the effects of online activities and implementing changes before it’s too late. That’s why real-time Web Analytics will play an increasingly important role and service providers will have to develop solutions to make it more useful for users.4. It’s time to move toward performance-based metrics. Web businesses will continue to put pressure on Web Analytics providers to deliver not only more actionable metrics, but also metrics that give a better view of performance. Web Analytics providers will continue to develop models to deliver more than just response or engagement data.5. Increased focus on predictive modeling and forecasting. In an era where digital marketing spend is to the tunes of tens of millions (if not more), for many companies, CMO’s and other digital decision makers are increasingly curious to understand what the future holds for them from an ROI perspective. This has spurred an increased flurry of activity and investment around finding the appropriate models to predict future performance and provide businesses with the ability to forecast the impact of moving marketing dollars across various channels to achieve the optimum mix. Some of the leading web analytics vendors are well into the game and on track to launch predictive modeling tools, which aim to shield users from the statistical complexity that such an approach would warrant.When we get out of the “data puking” business and realize that we need to solve business problems, wecan finally embrace business-centric, structured approaches like using the Web Analytics Value-DrivenApproach. We are starting to look forward to testing and optimization as a way of life. Yes, it is not easyto deal with, but then again, making a huge investment to benefit the bottom line never is. IDEA ENGINEERS © Sapient Corporation 2012
  7. 7. POINT OF viewKEY CHALLENGESThere are some key themes that limit Web Analytics success.1. Data is a commodity. Web Analytics is just the tool. The potential benefits of Web Analytics include improved marketing effectiveness, elevated customer satisfaction, and new revenue opportunities. The allure of these benefits has not escaped the masses as businesses across the globe increase their reliance on the web and online channels. But many adopters of Web Analytics technologies under-use their tools, fail to recognize ROI, or simply don’t apply the data.2. A deep action abyss renders Web Analytics inert. Four years ago, Forrester research identified three chasms that organizations must cross to mature their use of Web Analytics: the investment chasm, the staffing chasm, and the action chasm. While the investment chasm has been minimized by free Web Analytics tools introduced to the market, the staffing and action chasms have grown. The human resources required for analyzing data and converting information into necessary business actions are still severely lacking.3. Industry growth is inhibited by increasingly complex challenges. The Web Analytics action chasm is only one part of the story. As marketers gain maturity in their use of Web Analytics tools, the challenges grow increasingly complex. For instance, many marketers tell us that they struggle to uncover the insight within their Web Analytics data and keep pace with new measurement challenges.4. It’s hard to co-relate implemented value with recommended value. This is true especially when a lot of changes are made at the same time or when organizations take longer to implement suggested changes.5. Privacy issues when using cookies pose a problem. Due to changes in the law concerning cookies, it is now illegal to set most cookies on websites, which suggests almost all Web Analytics can’t be used without breaking the law.CONCLUSIONWeb Analytics is all about understanding the current business state and continuously exploring newavenues with tools, creativity, and best practices, including the use of• Data and analytics processes to drive future decisions• Small repetitive steps• Continuous evolution instead of complete website relaunches• Constant testing and experimentation• Strategic KPIs for accountability• Tactical KPIs as guidelines for single or local approachesThis cycle is one that shouldn’t be implemented once. It needs to be redefined and updated on a regularbasis to make sure the right results are reaped from Web Analytics solutions.Growth will emerge from unexpected places as the value proposition of Web Analytics technologywavers for sophisticated users and becomes more welcoming for new entrants. Ultimately, WebAnalytics will become part of a broader array of integrated services supporting marketers. IDEA ENGINEERS © Sapient Corporation 2012
  8. 8. POINT OF view • Existing expertise will not be squandered. The future success of Web Analytics is dependent upon experts who translate raw data into insight. Despite a necessary evolution toward automated action based on data like targeting and testing, expert analysts are required to make correlations and bridge the action chasm with logic. • Democratization of data is impending. Organizations that succeed with Web Analytics build data-driven strategies and create a corporate appetite for data. For some, data becomes an addictive drug because it can demonstrate success, predict outcomes, and establish business cases for new endeavors. • Optimization technologies are the next paradigm. As maturity with Web Analytics grows, sophisticated marketers will use data and customer intelligence to establish ecology for marketing optimization. With Web Analytics data as the foundation, marketers will formulate automated presentation methods that deliver relevant content and messaging to consumers in a dynamic fashion. REFERENCES: 1. Forrester Research “What Does The Web Analytics Industry Want To Be When It Grows Up?” 2. Forrester Research “The Forrester Wave™: Web Analytics, Q4 2011” 3. eConsultancy Report “Online Measurement and Strategy Report 2011” 4. Web Analytics Demystified / Next Stage Global Measuring the Immeasurable Visitor EngagementABOUT THE Authors Deepak Jain is working as Manager Marketing Strategy & Analysis, having five years of experience within interactive marketing, Web Analytics, and campaign measurement. He is currently working for Vodafone UK as a part of their Web Analytics team. Earlier, he was part of the Experience Marketing team working with the Miami team for clients such as Citibank, RBC, and Wal-Mart, and managed the  Deepak Jain measurement team out of India. Parmjeet Kaur is working as Manager Marketing Strategy & Analy- sis with experience in Web Analytics, campaign management, data mining, and Adobe Omniture governance. She is an Adobe certified professional with Omniture Implementation as well as Omniture Site Catalyst. She has successfully defined and implemented processes for client engagements in GDD model. She is currently leading the Vodafone UK offshore engagement for their Web Analytics solution. Parmjeet Kaur IDEA ENGINEERS © Sapient Corporation 2012

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