What is the difference between those who get a web analytics solution vs. those who really GET WEB ANALYTICS? The following advice by Tom Harrison of Digital Advisor may sum it up: “Hire people who care about performance”. DigitalAdvisor is an online play that uses web analytics for improving their understanding how visitors looking for plasma TV and LCD TV reviews and ratings are using the site in order to improve their TV buying experience. I should disclose that they use Unica’s web analytics solution, i.e. the one provided by my employer.
In 2005 the discussion in the web analytics user community had first turned to the phenomenon that almost all web site marketers have a web analytics solution in place; yet the vast majority are leaving all the money on the table by using it solely for low value trend reporting. Only much fewer leverage the high value analytics at their fingertips for optimizing ad spending and site conversions. Countless best practices for approaching web analytics right have been published since then. For example, you need to first start with your site goals, translate those into key performance indicators (KPIs), make sure that you don’t have too many KPIs, you should assign each KPI to an owner, you should work an incremental cycle of testing and improvements.
By now, many more marketers have adopted these best practices to gain real business value. But to be honest, the majority of companies out there are still not following the best practice. Why not? Not enough people, other priorities, too busy. Too busy? Digital Advisor has been able to increase business results five fold. You are too busy for that? Obviously, most web marketing managers must still not have their priorities straight. Or they don’t believe the opportunity that waits for them in the analytics because they befriend too many bad users of web analytics reporting and not enough superstars like Tom Harrison.
Why were Digital Advisor and Tom Harrison so successful? Tom says: “We believe that the only way to run our business is to run it by the numbers”. And he recommends hiring people who care about performance as he and his colleagues do. I think that is what it boils down to. If you care about performance you are going to find ways to get the numbers and optimize. If performance is not your biggest priority, then you will always be too busy. Rebecca Lieb put it well: “Web analytics is like exercise equipment. You don’t get a great shape just from putting the equipment in your basement”. If you don’t make exercising one of your top 3 priorities in the day, you don’t get to it either.
Do you care about performance or what is holding you up?