Think you have a solid handle on your online marketing analysis thanks to your web analytics? Maybe not so if you’re a victim of one or more of these problematic situations.
If you’re doing any kind of online marketing, it’s crucial that you have access to your web analytics to be able to measure and learn from the performance of your efforts. More than once, however, my firm has encountered businesses who think they’re able to analyze their online marketing through analytical software when they really can’t…and they don’t even realize their problem until we start poking around. Why does this happen? What problems do these situations present, and how can you guard yourself against and rectify these problems? Here are some of those detrimental scenarios and what you can do about them.
Scenario #1: Don’t Ask, Don’t Get
In this first scenario, your site is running web analytics, but you hardly know how your site’s performing since you only receive sporadic reporting from your marketing partner. Or worse, you don’t receive reporting at all unless you ask, and when you do it’s literally an unformatted, unanalyzed data dump requiring you to sort through and decipher everything. Unless you plan on boning-up on your web analytics technical skills, it may be time to consider another resource besides the one you’ve been relying upon to help. You want to look for web analytics analysis that tells you stories: stories about what’s working, what’s not, how close or far off to your objectives you are and what those spikes or anomalies in your data sets really mean. If your current provider isn’t delivering that, time to look elsewhere.
Scenario #2: Analytics Held Hostage
You just reviewed your monthly P&L and certain dips in online revenue areas have you concerned. You need to gather information immediately, but you can’t log into your web analytics and view your reports directly because you’ve never been given log-in information. In effect, because you can’t get access to your analytics information, you don’t even “own” your own data. Don’t let this happen to you! Even if you like the idea of outsourcing your reporting and analysis, be sure you always get the administrator rights to your account.
Scenario #3: Unqualified Technicians
In this scenario, your web analytics has been implemented – either by a third-party or an internal IT department, and you think everything is hunky-dory because you are receiving regular reporting. An attempt at a deeper-dive into analytics, however, reveals the software and/or code was improperly set-up (or missing altogether on certain key pages of the conversion process) leading to inaccurate, conflicting or even missing data. For example, multiple versions of analytics code in place on the same page leads to double-counting of website traffic. In another example we’ve seen, analytics “goals” that were set up had nothing to do with a client’s specific and critical KPIs — the data tracked and reported upon, therefore, was irrelevant. Having a Web Analytics Audit performed on your website is one way to root out improper or inadequate software set-up and to ensure that you can feel confident in the report data you’re receiving.
Scenario #4: IT-in-the-Way
I don’t mean to bash IT, but if you’re a busy company with finite internal IT resources and your digital marketing analysis relies on fast implementation or fixes by IT, you might wind up waiting a lot longer than you care to. In fact, since IT spends the better portion of its time putting out fires or handling individual user requests (your IT team has fun acronyms for those), your campaign might be over by the time IT gets around to your request. To avoid this problem, include IT on your planning and start early. Treat IT well and thank them for their help — make IT your ally, not your enemy.
Scenario #5: Failure to Ignore the Facts (a.k.a. Fear Gets in the Way of Data and Common Sense)
Your COO just met with a big-name vendor who enlightened him that now “social media is the way of the world.” The COO calls the Marketing Director and demands the company moves ahead immediately on a project to implement Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Meanwhile, for the past three months, a team of mid-level managers in the marketing department has already conducted extensive market research and data analysis to determine that social media should not be the main focus of your resources. Rather than piss off the COO, the Marketing Director follows orders and trashes three months of solid research. Solutions? Nurture a culture of testing marketing ideas and one that empowers people at all levels to speak-out when a radical marketing shift could hamper business objectives. Otherwise, you could end up trying to show the value of friends or fans for the next six months instead of driving real revenue through proven tactics.
Scenario #6: Set-It-and-Forgot-It
You launched your website and your web analytics two years ago, but you really haven’t revisited your analysis set-up since then. Think for a minute how much about digital marketing has changed in just two short years. Do you know how mobile access has impacted your website? Is your Facebook page cannibalizing your website traffic? What else has changed? The worst thing you could do with your web analytics is to ignore them or to accept your initial analysis points as still relevant today. The fluidity and rapid evolution of the digital landscape can wreck havoc on things like your company’s KPIs and ROI expectations if you also do not constantly evolve your own analysis.
Avoid these scenarios, and you’ll do a better job understanding the impact of your online marketing today and into the future.Comments(0)
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