Web Analytics from Behavioral Segmentation to Targeting and Interactive Marketing


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Coming up this Thursday, December 4th, the Web Analytics Association is hosting an educational webcast on the topic of behavioral segmentation & targeting.

Segmentation is finally becoming mainstream in web analytics:

  • It is now available in almost all web analytics solutions (even if some solutions’ segmentation capabilities remain more comprehensive than others).
  • Multivariate testing solutions too are offered not just for content testing but also behavioral targeting (see Interwoven/Optimost, Sitespect, etc.).

Back in 2005, most web analysts may have said that their job was about improving key performance indicators (KPIs). They would be excellent analysts if they ran their numbers and advised their organization how to achieve the KPI goals.

In 2009, I think that more web analysts will start being explicit about the fact that their job is also about identifying key visitor segments (KVS maybe? Should we pronounce that “kay-vees” maybe?). Analysts need to advise their organizations what the most effective content will be for targeting each segment via web site, email, or SMS.

Of course, multichannel marketers will want to apply the segments not just online, but also offline:

  • Why not make the next catalog that is mailed relevant to the interactions that each customer had via the web site?
  • Or if an offer has been shown 5 times to a customer on the web site but the customer did not click in response, then why would a company repeat the offer when this customer calls into the call center for a service call?

It is high time that we focus our attention on how to use segmentation effectively and turn it into action.

Just like there was a danger of getting lost in too many meaningless metrics, there is now a danger of getting lost in too many meaningless segments.

Web analysts can draw on their relationship marketing colleagues for some advice here. In direct marketing there is a concept of strategic segmentation. There should only be very few strategic segments, e.g. new customers, high value customers, at-risk customers, etc.

But web analysts have richer behavioral data available to them. So, it is reasonable to assume that there would be more KVS than just the strategic segments.

What is the relationship? Remains TBD. Let’s see what we will learn in the web cast about this question.

For web analysts, the shift that has to happen is that web analytics needs to grow beyond a focus on content, ads, and conversions to a focus on visitors and customers. Granted, we have been talking about visitors for a long time. But it seems to me that visitors have taken 3d place in our attention compared to content and ad optimization.

Unica, my employer, is sponsoring this webinar. That brings me the pleasure of joining Gary Angel and Anil Batra on the panel. I have also seen a sneak preview of their excellent content. Without doubt, these two are key authorities when it comes to segmentation and targeting having written and shared their thoughts on the subject over many years.

Come join this Thursday and be sure to ask lot’s of questions to the panel!

P.S.: Speaking of visitors, don’t miss a great post by Jim Novo on the subject of visitors vs. customers under the backdrop of web analytics vs. BI.


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