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Tuesday, Apr. 14, 2009 at 8:31 am

Dirty Diapers, Shame and Web Analytics

By Jeffrey Eisenberg
April 14th, 2009

Kudos to Omniture for posting “Survey: Search Marketers Underutilizing Sophisticated Metrics.” It takes guts to stop applauding customers and share some tough love.

According to the Omniture survey:

  • Marketers picked cost per click and click through rate as among their top metrics to optimize search campaigns instead of deeper metrics such as return on ad spend, cost per customer (or sale) or profit per order
  • 43 percent of e-commerce respondents do not know how to accurately measure profit per customer (or order)
  • 67 percent of respondents indicated not having enough time to effectively manage campaigns as their top issue in search marketing, while only 35 percent use an automated bidding solution

Are you surprised? We aren’t; check out the 7 Deadly Sins of Web Analytics.

Every day leading companies strut their James-Bond-cool stuff, showing off their sophisticated tools and fancy talk about ROI.

It’s hard to take them seriously knowing that underneath that James Bond tuxedo their diapers are soiled.

In 1998 we were frustrated because companies didn’t understand their conversion rates. In 2009 we remain frustrated.

Much less than 1% of the thousands of companies we’ve spoken with are the exception.

Do you have any insight as to why marketers remain enamored of the shiny new object but reject focusing on the fundamentals?

___________________________________

P.S. Josh James, the CEO of Omniture, in January of 2005 said “Web analytics can pay for itself with a single business improvement — so the real question is how quickly can companies make data-driven decisions? This willingness to change will ultimately dictate time to ROI.”

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Comments (67)

  1. [...] new “Survey: Search Marketers Underutilizing Sophisticated Metrics” report and likes what he sees. Why is it that so many don’t use the right metrics? And it’s not just for search [...]

  2. My idea on the question is that Web Analytics tools are being used by web analysts and not online marketers. To optimize ROI, you need to watch over your KPI, yes, but you also need ask questions, get answers, and test new ideas. Marketers only receive reports with KPI. Great! I can see that I’m doing better by 1.4% than yesterday or last week. Great! What’s next! Unless Web Analytics tools get directly used by Online Marketers (Ad manager, editorial staff, merchandizers, search markerters, CMO, etc), conversion rates will still grow very slowly. That’s my 2 cents…

  3. In my experience some CMOs have incredibly short attention spans. They will nod their heads and promise to get serious about making proper data driven marketing decisions using meaningful outcome KPIs. But often getting the data is slow, experiments can be interative and create small improvements. Making changes to ad text or landing page design is not very sexy and its much easier to boast about CPCs and CTRs. Doing things scientifically with tools such as Google Website Optimizer takes time and can get a little bit boring. And before you know it the marketers have switched attention to the next cool thing or product launch.

    The key to this is to recruit somebody specifically responsible for delivering business insight. Not somebody whose job it is to create the KPIs and keep the scorecards up to date but somebody senior properly empowered to run marketing experiments on a daily basis and to report back at a senior level on lessons learned.

  4. This is a great article!!!

  5. wow those stats are astounding, a successful business should have a way to measure ROI effectively.

  6. Good points Jeff. I think you’re touching on the problem all companies are facing now. The tools are ubiquitous, all businesses at least have access to GA and have the financial clout to open an adwords account to start testing. Those are no longer barriers.

    The problem as addressed by Olivier and Jim is the lack of a role, or responsibility being taken by those that can drive change.

    The urgency to change is not there and that is bad news, especially in a recession.

    In companies that have identified a problem they have with their business that could literally see all their staff unemployed in 5 years there are key metrics and good analytics starting to take shape. They spot the challenge and have the urgency to do something about it. I’ve seen lots of evidence of this especially over the last few months.

    So my advice would be without urgency and top management buy in you’re in a dangerous position. Create the urgency in your business to look at the core metrics and the advanced stuff to give you a competitive edge.

    Before you go down.

  7. Great article Jeff. From the smaller site owner perspective, establishing an ongoing, data-driven improvement process is difficult. This is because it seems there are always 100 other things that need to be done at the same time. However, in my opinion, understanding and then improving your sales conversion rate is critical, since that has a direct impact on what matters most – life-giving revenue. To get there, I’ve had to give up my DIY mentality and find others to help pick up the slack. In doing so, I’ve found there are lots and lots of “gurus” and “partners” and “doctors” out there that are ready to make you a killer, mouthwatering offer. But very few that have the horsepower to deliver after you’ve forked over the cash. I don’t know that the problem is jumping from thing to thing, as much as it is being let down time after time by vendors that have great marketing pitches but cannot execute on their promises – or even come close – or even make it worse! I’m sorry to say I’ve given away more than my fair share to such empty promises!

    I’m also glad to say that I have found a handful of providers that are the “real deal” and do deliver. I consider these people to be gold and I establish long-term relationships with them.

    With all I’ve said, I’ll close with – I’m enjoying my OnTarget membership very much…!

    Thanks, Ryan

  8. IMHO there is a simple reason for this – marketers that like to do brand and messaging don’t like math! All of these numbers things feel like they are “in the weeds” for marketing execs that got their career promotions because they understood print advertising, logos, and “WOW” PR and events. There are certainly exceptions of course – especially in CPG that is very metrics driven. But it’s more typical for marketing execs to yawn when you pull out graphs then get very engaged when you talk about using red fonts or Hummer-limos.

  9. [...] While early and middle stage conversion points help a Web analyst/website optimizer get a better handle on a sites overall success in engaging early and middle stage buyers, it still leaves them guessing at the big picture, simply because they can’t track a lead generation or sale all the way back to that prospect’s first visit to the Website.  This can be crucial for gauging the real success of a PPC campaign.  Key words that might look unprofitable (because they target earlier stage buyers) might be spectacularly profitable – but only after the 8th (or 20th) visit to the site.  Unfortunately, if you can’t track visitor behavior over multiple visits, it’s difficult to get a handle on real – vs. false- measures of keyword performance. [...]

  10. The flip side of creativity is destruction so when marketers joined the cult of creativity in the era of the big TV spots they subscribed to a ‘blow-it-up’ and let’s start again vs. the culture of ‘results are king’ and continous improvement and learning that characterized advertising pioneers like Ogilvy and Burnett. So we have to change the incentive from shiny awards to riches from getting good results.

    http://www.twitter.com/bobnunn

  11. I agree with Bob Nunn.
    Good article, I find this site is very useful. I can learn very much.

  12. Isn’t this just amazing that 43 percent of e-commerce respondents do not know how to accurately measure profit per customer (or order). How is it possible to make sure you are doing something right if you can’t monitor it?

  13. Now is it part of a web analytics vendor’s job to help the user/client define this so there is ROI and continuation of the relationship?

  14. I’m currently trying to think where threaded comments fit in the roadmap right now, but it is something that is definitely planned. We’re not going to say people *have* to use threaded comments, but the system shouldn’t restrict people who want to have that option. Plus for larger conversations I think threaded comments make everything easier to follow.

  15. Thank you very much for this great information. It is very useful to us.

  16. Thanks for this great article.

  17. Very interesting post, I find this site is very useful

  18. Clever name on the article, haha :)

  19. Brilliant stuff, What’s next! Unless Web Analytics tools get directly used by Online Marketers (Ad manager, editorial staff, merchandizers, search markerters, CMO, etc), conversion rates will still grow very slowly.

  20. Great, Nice posting, thanks for this information
    I enjoyed reading your blog.

  21. I’d highly recommend the seven deadly sins of web design article to go along with this one.

  22. Loved it! Dunno that advertising dynamically interacts with social networks though.

  23. Great survey,
    Omniture was acquired by Adobe Systems On september 2009.

  24. Thanks for sharing this information. I believe that you need good analytics for your website to survive.

  25. Google Analytic is the only tool I used. It works well, at least to me.

  26. Interesting article…keep up the good research!

  27. Would like to see a follow up article.

  28. I believe that you need good analytics for your website to survive.

  29. I use analitics for many sites. It’s useful to collect all sites in one account by sharing access.

  30. This is really a great article!

  31. Thanks for sharing this information. I believe that you need good analytics for your website to survive.

  32. I heard that in Germany they made Google Analytics illegal. What do you think about this act?

  33. Interesting article. keep up the good research.

  34. There are also some web based ROI calculators. They could automatically determine your ROI for your web advertising, search engine marketing, or PPC campaigns.
    You have to know your costs and projected results and then you can estimate the return.

  35. To optimize ROI, you need to watch over your KPI, yes, but you also need ask questions, get answers, and test new ideas. Marketers only receive reports with KPI. Great! I can see that I’m doing better by 1.4% than yesterday or last week.

  36. I use analitics for many sites. It’s useful to collect all sites in one account by sharing access.

  37. Crunching numbers can be difficult. It doesn’t surprise me that 43% of e-commerce responders don’t know how to measure profit per customer accurately.

  38. I’m currently trying to think where threaded comments fit in the roadmap right now, but it is something that is definitely planned. We’re not going to say people *have* to use threaded comments, but the system shouldn’t restrict people who want to have that option. Plus for larger conversations I think threaded comments make everything easier to follow.

  39. thank you for share us.

  40. thanks you for sharing a priceless information you have posted. Keep doing this forever. Your article are really 100% beneficent in all ways.

  41. I never knew this that what i m doing is all good about making a perfect campaign to target audience and at last to convert in sales but this time i have lot more to do before start any further campaigns.

  42. Every day leading companies strut their James-Bond-cool stuff, showing off their sophisticated tools and fancy talk about ROI.

    It’s hard to take them seriously knowing that underneath that James Bond tuxedo their diapers are soiled. ROI it is very well known term for us folks.

  43. I enjoyed reading your blog.บ้านมือสอง | หอพัก

  44. The key to this is to recruit somebody specifically responsible for delivering business insight. Not somebody whose job it is to create the KPIs and keep the scorecards up to date but somebody senior properly empowered to run marketing experiments on a daily basis and to report back at a senior level on lessons learned.

    Very true

  45. Great article, good arguments and superb for inspiration, I am going to use it for my work! thanks.

  46. ROI is the benchmark for companies in determining company policy. Lucky I found this article, I enjoyed reading your blog.

  47. ROI is always a measure of the company in determining the worth or not a project done. I think the business instinct is also needed so no need to bother to calculate ROI.

  48. Great post! Thanks for very useful information.

  49. Very well written Article containing brilliant in-depth information about todays marketing (it´s still valid as of 2010), I am going to send this URL to some of my friends in management and Marketing, thanks, dankesehr!

  50. Way to put a creative spin on it…..

  51. If there are no analytics is like working blind

  52. Just purchased a few of your books guys. Cannot wait to read them :)

  53. We’re not going to say people *have* to use threaded comments, but the system shouldn’t restrict people who want to have that option. Plus for larger conversations I think threaded comments make everything easier to follow.

  54. Thank you for sharing. Will be an appreciate for it.

  55. This is really a great article!,

    I think the business instinct is also needed so no need to bother to calculate ROI.

  56. Website analytics help you improve your website and some score that friendly with people more than normal. More, you can optimized your website following that analytics and review to maximum your success. Great to share.

  57. great post. thanks for share

  58. They spot the challenge and have the urgency to do something about it. I’ve seen lots of evidence of this especially over the last few months.

  59. Doing things scientifically with tools such as Google Website Optimizer takes time and can get a little bit boring. And before you know it the marketers have switched attention to the next cool thing or product launch.

  60. Well Jeff, why dont you launch your own analytics software? I know a lot of people don’t rely on Google analytics and prefer to use standalone softwaresfor that.

  61. This blog post is very great, I like the way that author analyze this problem very much.
    Thanks for share.

  62. sometimes tough love is what we all nedd . very indepth article thanks

  63. I agree with the article inthe sense that tough love is often beneficial, if not unpleasant to the receiver.

  64. Looking at those statistics, it would seem some internet marketers are still not thinking correctly when it comes to conversion rate optimisation and overall strategy. After all, surely everyone running a store should be able to work out profit per customer?! Shocking.

  65. That just means a huge market for you guys to go and help these businesses solve their problems.

  66. Thanks for referencing my Omniture (now Adobe) blog post. I’m glad you found our metrics useful and I appreciate the reference.

  67. Looking at those statistics, it would seem some internet marketers are still not thinking correctly when it comes to conversion rate optimisation and overall strategy. After all, surely everyone running a store should be able to work out profit per customer?! Shocking.

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Jeffrey 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. You can friend him on Facebook.

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