Archive for the ‘Web Analytics’ Category

Open Rates are Open to Interpretation

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

I highly recommend you click over to Tamara’s recent post on open rates at BeRelevant, an email marketing blog, for a quick and easy explanation of how open rates are calculated.

I frequently speak with marketers who aren’t aware that open rates are based on images being loaded or that they can’t be tracked at all for text-only emails.  These facts make open rates a highly unreliable marker of success - and it’s likely that if you’re presenting these numbers to your boss, you’re actually selling yourself way short!

Pulling It All Together

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

This month, DMNews is featuring In perfect harmony: e-mail works in-sync with other channels, a piece about integrated, multichannel marketing campaigns. The article, quoting a JupiterResearch study on combining e-mail marketing with other advertising outlets, focuses on the increased results marketers have seen by creating consistent messaging across many medias. An emphasis is placed on building a brand within a campaign as well as testing elements of the marketing program.

Using an effective web marketing suite can help you easily create, test and measure many aspects of an online marketing campaign by:

Presenting a Consistent Brand
Providing uniform email templates will ensure that you’re putting your best brand forward with every piece of correspondence. In addition to making sure you have the last word on all consumer interaction, the sales team will appreciate the templates because saves them time. This way, you can reign your more “creative” sales staff, let them think it’s all to benefit them and still get clean, concise communications. Plus, using templates gives you the option to create HTML emails that will tie-in with your other campaign initiatives.

Integrating Paid Search Campaigns
With emerging technology, you can go way beyond simple cost per click and cost per conversion. New programs are available that can calculate cost per vetted prospect, cost per opportunity, cost per sale, and marketing ROI by tying your paid search costs to yourCRM opportunity data. This will show you what’s working and where to cut the fat - letting you improve your campaigns and boost the bottom line.

Testing Landing Pages and Emails
If you use programs that provide the right metrics, it can be easy to test the effectiveness of your customer-facing communications. Landing pages can be tested using multivariate testing. This works in conjunction with paid search campaigns, automatically directing traffic to multiple landing page locations. By monitoring traffic to different the sites, you’ll be able to see which page has a better conversion rate, helping to determine the stronger campaign tactics. The same theory applies to emails - try out different subject lines, times of day and days of the week to see which combinations most successfully attract opens and click-throughs from prospects.

Removing the Blinders

Friday, January 25th, 2008

PPC Hero’s week-long series Learn How To Think and Search Like Your Customers is worth a read, particularly Wednesday’s feature on using reporting and analytics to understand your prospects. Keeping an eye on what keywords perform best in your PPC searches is a great way to see where to focus your efforts and where to cut the fat. In addition, taking the time to review search terms from organic searches teaches you a lot about how your customers view your service or industry. Once visitors arrive at your site, monitoring activity can show you if they converted to prospects. If the majority are not, you may need to re-think your landing page design or the item you’re offering prospects upon completion (white paper, demo, etc).

Overall, the series serves as a wake-up call to marketers - what’s most important is what your target customers view you as, not the way you view yourself. It’s easy to get tunnel-vision. Examine how your campaigns are performing and use that knowledge to cater to potential prospects; They will feel like you understand them and you’ll reap the benefits.

Omniture’s Appetite for All Things Analytics

Friday, November 16th, 2007

On October 25th, Omniture announced its acquisition of Visual Sciences for an estimated sum of $394 million. The deal will bring together two the top vendors in the online business optimization space, which has been growing at a breakneck pace over the last few years as businesses seek ways to measure the effectiveness of their online spending. Currently, marketers are faced with a lot of choice when it comes to online marketing tools, but many of these tools remain disparate and lack effective integration.

The Omniture-Visual Sciences deal is part of a larger trend of consolidation and “roll-up” within the web analytics industry. Even though Omniture and Visual Science have some overlap in terms of products (see their web analytics applications — duh), the acquisition will allow Omniture to add to its earnings and client base, as well as knock out a key competitor. For marketers, this means the appearance of more integrated solutions that can take care of a wide range of analytics needs. This consolidation leaves 800 lbs gorilla Omniture to compete with Webtrends and Core Metrics until it eats them up as well.

The real question is where do the roll-ups stop? My guess is that they will go all the way to the big guns like in the B2B space or Google in the B2C arena. What these mergers do show for now is that a lot of people are banking on the propensity of companies to look to manage all of their marketing vehicles from one centralized interface and eventually cast aside their current toolbox of disparate systems. Look to see more and more consolidation in the space as we move forward.

In case you are curious, here are some quick facts about the acquisition:

  • Visual Sciences:
    • Founded in 1996 (originally WebSideStory)
    • Provider of analytics applications and analytics driven application
    • Offices in the U.S, Europe and Australia
    • Currently trading at 15.54 on Nasdaq
    • Total revenue for the year was 20.4 million, a 17% increase on year-over-year basis
    • Reported a net loss of .2 million dollars for Q2 2007, should break even in the next 2 or 3 quarters based on current trends
  • Omniture:
    • Provides search marketing, marketing integration, and web analytics tools, as well as on-site behavioral targeting
    • Headquarters in Utah, additional national and international offices
    • Currently trading at 27.78 on Nasdaq
    • Some of its current offerings come from previous acquisitions (such as TouchClarity)
    • Will acquire Visual Sciences in a stock and cash transaction worth 394 million.
    • Q2 2007 revenue of 33 million, up 13% compared to the previous quarter
    • Reported a net loss of 4 million for Q2 2007, expecting a loss for Q4
    • Acquired Offermatica in September

Use Marketing Automation to Do More with Less

Monday, October 29th, 2007

B2B marketers who have budget surpluses, more than enough staff to accomplish all of your objectives, and work from 10-4, please raise your hands. Why don’t I see anyone with her hand up? Yep, you guessed it, B2B marketers are chronically overworked and understaffed. What’s worse is that most organizations require the marketing department to spend significant time and resources on items that will not necessarily increase lead generation effectiveness or return on marketing investment, the two most import key performance indicators for a b2b marketing program.

Brian Carroll, author of Lead Generation for the Complex Sale, states that B2B marketers spend too much time on non-revenue-driving activities. He cites a post from Michael Webb of Six Sigma selling who lists the following tasks that take up valuable time and resources from already understaffed marketing departments:

  • Time spent on administration, reporting, and menial tasks (leaving little time for customers)
  • Trade shows and events that generate boxes of “leads” not worth calling on
  • Marketing literature that no one reads
  • Wasting time with the wrong prospects

Each of these tasks can be made more efficient or alleviated altogether through technology. Marketing automation solutions provide advanced micro-level analytics and automation allowing marketers to focus their efforts on their most promising leads and marketing vehicles.

Less time spent on reporting — by consolidating all marketing vehicles into one interface, slicing and dicing data should be a lot easier than when using disparate tools

Automated nurturing for “boxes of trade show leads” — let the software do the work by nurturing these “suspects.” The ones who respond will be flagged by your system and the ones who don’t… well… they were probably interested in your free iPod.

Marketing literature that no one reads — micro -level web analytics shows you exactly which white papers your promising prospects are downloading and reading. Use what you have learned from your first few papers to tailor any future collateral.

Wasting time with the wrong prospects — automatically scoring and/or grading prospects will show your sales teams exactly where to spend their time. Scores are typically based on implicit factors (online behavior — clicks, page views, etc.) and grades are based on how well the prospect fits your ideal customer profile (industry, job title, etc.). Combining these two factors gives your reps a very objective way to prioritize their time.

There are a number of good solutions available and they are starting to generate some press. It is only a matter of time before these tools are mainstream. In the mean time, marketers who take advantage of marketing automation will reap the benefits of streamlined marketing and sales processes.

Third Party Data via APIs to Massage Your Data

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

In a recent post, Brian Carroll talks about evaluating on-demand lead generation solutions. Needless to say that as a big proponent of marketing automation and demand generation software I was excited to read further. A steady stream of leads to pull from is part of the battle, but what is even more helpful is using this data to augment or “massage” your existing leads.

I’d rather have my data mart of prospects be able to call out to Dun & Bradstreet, Hoovers, or Web 2.0 technologies such as Jigsaw or LinkedIN, and pull in additional data points or company information. It is now possible to do things like this because so many services make their APIs avilable.

  • Dun & Bradstreet: API available through StrikeIron
  • Jigsaw: No API available but planned within next year
  • LinkedIn: Major API /platform to release within next 6 months

I am definitely excited about all three and am sure that marketing automation companies will look to integrate with them once available. Imagine having an anonymous visitor on your site from a company that matches your ideal customer profile. With one click, you can get the D&B, Jigsaw, and LinkedIn data to find objective company data as well as any contacts that are available. Pretty powerful stuff.

Should we score or grade? Why not do both?

Friday, September 28th, 2007

We can score leads and we can grade leads. Why not do both? Confused yet? Good. Allow me to explain.

Lead Generation for the Complex Sale author Brian Carroll’s latest blog post points out that lead scoring and automation is only part of the lead qualification process.

I couldn’t agree more. At least a modicum of human involvement is very necessary to get the most out of any lead qualification system, even one using marketing automation software. An automated solution is perfect for scoring based on implicit prospect behavior such as web site visits, chats, direct mail response, or other trackable activities. Though extremely valuable, implicit buying signals provide only part of the picture. Scores don’t help your sales teams prioritize a list of leads if you don’t also know how well they fit your idea customer profile. Suppose you sell enterprise software to large corporations and you have 10 leads that have a score of 300. Five of them are directors at Fortune 500 companies and the other five are marketing coordinators at small agencies. This is obviously an extreme example, but without an explicit means of grading prospects in addition to scoring them based on activity, sorting through your active leads may prove difficult.

A marketer must also measure explicit qualities before passing leads onto sales or entering them into nurturing tracks. Typical explicit parameters include company size, industry, job title department, and other factors that shed light on a prospect’s profile. You may give a baseline grade of a C and adjust this up or down based on whether explicit factors match or do not match those of your target customer. In the example above your Prospects may all have the same score of 300, but their grades would be different. Perhaps the five Fortune 500 leads would have a grade of A while the other Five might all be marked as Ds. You can then use the activity scores to sort within the explicit tiers.

A simple way to think about it is that implicit scoring is based on activity and explicit grading is based on how well a prospect fits your ideal customer profile. Let’s make sure we do both.