February 18, 2013

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Digital Analytics: Are you capturing everything you should?

The way the World Wide Web is used has drastically changed over the time. In a matter of few years, the internet has consolidated itself as a very powerful platform that has changed the way we do business, and the way we communicate. Online strategy has become an important aspect of the overall marketing strategy of an organization, as people spend considerable time online to buy products, express their views or seek information. Organizations are spending a lot of money on various digital marketing initiatives and are keen to know the outcome of these initiatives. They also want to track online visitors’ activities and utilize the data to identify market trends, product popularity and consumer preferences. Web analytics enables the companies to easily capture these activities and statistics and use them to manage campaigns and measure their success, optimize websites and create personalized web experience for consumers. From providing simple statistics like click-rates, page views, site traffic etc. to complex page optimization techniques, campaign optimization and effectiveness measurement, web analytics has been a handy tool for digital marketers. Some of the popular web analytics products in the market are Google Analytics, Webtrends and Omniture.

The advent of social channel has enabled people to express their views, provide their opinions and share their personal experiences on various social media websites. These activities can prove great influencers during a buying decision of an online visitor. Also, feedback based on personal experiences of the consumers can help companies to improve on their products and come up with better offerings. Social analytics, hence, has become an important element of digital marketing. The social analytics tools capture these consumer activities and help identifying consumer preferences and sentiments. It can also help in real-time monitoring of consumer activities which gives a company the opportunity to respond quickly to market sentiments and changing trends. Major social analytics tools in the market today are Radian6, Alterian SM2 and Adobe Social.

Mobile analytics is one of the most exciting digital opportunities for marketers in the coming years as lots of people now prefer to connect to web through their mobile devices and do transactions from there. Smartphone penetration is now higher than 50 percent in the U.S. Around 60% of consumers already consult their smartphone en route to stores according to a report by Deloitte Digital.

It is a challenge for marketers to optimize the content for mobile devices in order to provide right content to attract mobile traffic, setup right mobile marketing campaigns and include mobile advertising. Also, traditional web analytics techniques cannot be applied to collect data from mobile devices as the data points are different. For example, identifying unique visitors is a challenge because mobile devices do not support cookies and the changing of IP addresses. Also, retrieving geographic information can be difficult as well –not all devices enable geographic detection. This means that traditional web analytics methods will not apply. However, it is essential to optimize the content and capture all important data points. Segmenting and understanding the mobile visitors can help creating a winning mobile experience that will optimize conversions and increase sales. Google recently introduced an analytics module specifically built for mobile analytics trying to overcome these challenges. There are also multiple small players in the market providing tools for mobile analytics.

By applying analytics to the digital channels, an organization can get the following benefits:

  • Measure return on investment for each digital initiative taken

  • Optimize the digital channels

  • Understand customer preferences 

  • Improved decision making

  • Reduce bounce rate

  • Increase site traffic

In order to stay competitive in the market, the organizations have to make sure they are able to understand consumers coming from all these channels, be it website or social media or mobile devices, and act swiftly on the insights to take firm marketing decisions.