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Monday, Jul. 14, 2008 at 4:41 am

Survey Results & a Question: Marketing Analytics in Action Part 1

By Bryan Eisenberg
July 14th, 2008

how often look at web analyticsThere is a lot of interesting information to report from our Marketing Analytics in Action survey from about a week ago. The first thing that really caught my eye was the fact that 96.85% of people are running web analytics, and out of those, 26.56% have a full time analyst and 53.12% are already testing. The thumbnail will show you how often are people looking at their web analytics.

I’ll be filling you in shortly on the rest of the results, but my question relates to the full time analyst and why more people don’t have one.

Is it because:

A. You don’t think you need one.
B. I need one, but can’t find one.
C. I want one, but can’t afford it.
D. My organization won’t let me justify one.
E. We outsource it.
F. Part-time is enough.
G. Other. Please let us know why.

I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.

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Comments (7)

  1. Like with all technology solutions, I think there’s too often a sense that the tool itself is enough. People make the same mistake with CRM systems, and especially CMS tools.

    Metrics tools provide data, and it may be easy enough to disseminate the data via self-service accounts etc. To provide value, though, requires that someone translate that data into actionable information. There’s a combination of metrics and web savvy there that most organizations under-estimate, let alone the need for dedicated focus on extracting the insights.

  2. Unfortunately, a full-time analyst is out of the question at this time.
    But, I am curious, I know you have said and written in the past that analytics can tell you “what” someone did, but not “why”
    Why did they leave this page?
    Why did they go from this link to this link to this link?

    How does an analyst help with this?

  3. Interesting results although I think the next response will be even more telling.

    Bryan,

    An analyst helps in many ways — first you have to know the question exists to need to solve it. Splitting a resource to look at analytics often means looking at the top line data with an occasional brief jump into the finer details and having less opportunity to get truly granular – granular is where you often find the best gems, or at least the most actionable ones. If no one is there to find the issue there can’t be a question to solve… or if you look at the data but don’t look deep enough, you may ask the wrong question and end up searching for “why” to the wrong issue.

    Secondly, when you have an analyst, you [hopefully] have someone who can strategize on how to sort out the “why”. Web analytics rarely give you this insight (although sometimes it is there…. the analyst discovers 50% of people are leaving page X, the team checks page X and it doesn’t match the campaign offer, that’s probably a big why) but once you have the problem you can start looking for the solution which is often also a job of your analyst. Analysts ideally have training in more than just reading web data and can put together surveys to tease out issues, design usability tests, suggest alternative testing to try and sort out the “why” through iterations.

    By having an analyst you have someone whose job it is to discover the issues (point #1) and figure out how to understand what’s causing the issue (point #2). Without the analyst you can still do this but now your team has to find even more time to go beyond digging through data and start building out testing strategies and lets be honest, do your existing resources (possibly just you) really have time to all that and do it adequately?!

    That’s my experience… hopefully the team here will provide even more of their insight.

  4. I think we should have a full time analyst but they would have to come under another name. This is because of managements understanding of using it day to day. They would feel they were giving choices to a junior (though with facts and figures). They are too used to responding monthly to sales and trends. To forecast and plan in advance on stats would be ahead of their mental game. They will shift I hope but I am not sure how. Small to Medium Business in the UK does not yet move at online speeds or thinking.
    The new role that could become is some one in a marketing or sales that works on forecasting and also planning and running campaigns and managing customer data. This will be more possible when there are small applications or webservices these people can work with rather than having to request development to implement. So more actioning the data they have.

  5. Bryan E.,

    It’d be very interesting to learn who the numbers represent. Can you help put that into perspective for us?

  6. We’re a small CPA firm, but we have 7 websites (all focused on different aspects of our business). Considering our focus on individuals with complex tax situations and small businesses, we get a lot of traffic to our websites, but compared to a big brand–probably not so much.

    I designed the websites and promote them on search engines. I also do all the administrative work for the firm and only work 20 hours per week. Yes, I look at analytics, but infrequently and rarely have time to act on the results.

    Should we hire a full-time analyst? I doubt it would do us any good if we did. Even if we got valuable information, we probably would not be able to effectively use it.

    I think most small businesses probably feel the same way.

  7. I’m sure while Yahoo, Amazon, and these huge companies can afford full time analyst(s), most small businesses can’t. At best it’s the web designer doubling as the analyst, and that only accounts as a part time position.

    Answer: B & F

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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