Analytics help decipher web traffic data

NOVEMBER 18, 2011 – Market research can help a company figure out what kind of information its customers are searching for online, but determining which pieces were the most effective in drawing more page views and click-throughs can seem impossible without the help of web analytics tools.

“Analytics has come a long way since the early days of marketing executives studying their spreadsheets and patting themselves on the back for website traffic going up,” Sean Hargave writes for Marketing Week. “Brands now realize that monitoring and measuring the activity on their homepages and ecommerce stores is only part of the story.”

Hargave reports that analytics offer a lot more opportunities that simply seeing how long a person spent viewing a particular webpage or which article on the site was the most popular for the month – it can also help the business find the most valuable customers, the ones who are likely to buy products and spread the word to their friends and colleagues.

As Paul Bruce, the analytics and optimization manager for VisitScotland, tells the magazine, the group aims to get a complete profile on each of its customers by not only tracking which pages a user visits on the website, but also how they got to that particular page, and which channel they used to get there.

In addition, VisitScotland is working to connect web addresses to emails, display ads, television commercials and all the other public “touchpoints.” The magazine points out that there is also a growing gap between the desktop and mobile computing channels, especially when it comes to retail.

Consumers behave differently depending on what kind of device they are using – those on a mobile phone or tablet computer will often book a car or hotel room the same day or one day before their stay, while someone on a desktop computer is typically planning a week or more ahead, the source says. Having access to that kind of data can help a company design smarter, more targeted marketing campaigns.

Predictive analytics company KXEN recently acknowledged that companies now have the capability to create personalized online experiences based on consumers’ preferences and online behavior. That has contributed to the resulting expectation from consumers that a website will be able to present them with the most relevant offer.

“This complexity has resulted in an insight gap for marketers due to the time, effort and resources required to obtain solid predictive models,” KXEN says in a statement. “By empowering marketers to self-service their predictive needs, businesses can ask more what-if questions and optimize each and every customer conversation.”