When You Need More Than Clickstream Data
“Data, data everywhere” could be the cry of the merchant who selects a Web Analytics solution without understanding the commitment it requires from technical, marketing, merchandising and other staff.
The same lament might come from selecting a solution that’s not optimized for e-commerce or for a user’s special needs related to Web site optimization. In the long run, it’s better to have realistic expectations of what you want to use a Web Analytics solution for.
Like many companies, Gardener’s Supply tried several Web Analytics solutions before settling on its current application: Omniture. But the merchant’s experience taught it to be realistic about how it would use a Web Analytics tool. Chris Thompson, chief technology officer, says, “The most important thing we do with our Web Analytics tool now is A/B testing, putting a different version of our Web site on each of our front-end servers to see which one performs best. Sometimes the best design is not the best performer,” he notes.
In this article, I’ll take a brief look at several of the most popular Web Analytics tools and indicate the range of functions these applications encompass, including tracking support for campaign management, e-mail management and customer-behavior analysis. Though Web Analytics started out as clickstream tracking, it’s matured into a more robust set of e-commerce analysis and support tools.
* Omniture SiteCatalyst offers a Campaign Manager that tracks active e-mail and online marketing efforts, showing revenue generated by each. You then can drill down to examine what customers purchased. If the system’s thousands of standard reports don’t do the trick, there’s a Site-Catalyst Report Wizard that easily can create new ones, such as sales generated by paid search placement vs. natural searches. You also can put any report on a convenient dashboard with real-time gauges that give you a comprehensive view of site performance.