Implementing Google Analytics for a Successful Interactive Marketing Campaign
According to a recent Forrester Research report, interactive marketing is expected to reach $61 billion by 2012. This includes channels such as search engine marketing, online display advertising, e-mail marketing and other emerging media.
As more consumers are going online to research and purchase products and services, it's essential to capitalize on the array of tools available to optimize the performance of interactive programs.
In order to gain insight into the effectiveness of your Web site (and, ultimately, your interactive campaigns), you must have some form of Web analytics in place. While there are numerous tools available, such as those from WebTrends, Omniture and Coremetrics -- all of which will help you to track and monitor the traffic performance of your site -- you must first evaluate what level of analytics you really need. For this reason, a good place to start is with Google Analytics.
For those just entering the analytics space, Google Analytics is a great place to begin leveraging customer data -- and it's free.
This service has about 80 percent of the functionality of the costly analytics packages and it is tied to Google, the industry giant, which is a plus. By implementing Google Analytics, those in an entry-level analytics or marketing position have the chance to analyze click-stream data, as well as to scope out which level of tracking and monitoring is really needed prior to purchasing a more sophisticated analytics package.
This tool also can benefit those with experience with Web analytics, as it is integrated with Google AdWords, Google's advertising platform that offers cost-per-click and cost-per-impression pricing for advertisements served on Google.com and partner sites. By linking to your paid search campaign, Google Analytics allows you to pull Google's CPC expenditures and click data. Additionally, it allows you to have an unlimited number of page views with an active Google AdWords campaign. (Other tools often charge by the views.)
The tracking capabilities of Google Analytics are another great feature as they are extremely user-friendly (the functionality of the tool exists in the user interface) and provide detailed insight into viewer patterns. This feature enables you to track multiple engines with minimal SEM or campaign implications. Along with this comes the capacity to track various forms of traffic -- such as direct, organic, referral or campaign -- as well as paid, e-mail, banner, shopping feed, etc. You also can receive information about your site, such as what pages and links visitors click on the most; what source is driving the most traffic to your site; how many new and returning visitors there are to your site; at what point on your site visitors tend to leave, etc. This information will help you make the right modifications to your Web site and ultimately increase conversation rates.
While Google Analytics is a powerful tool for improving your results online, it does have some limitations. Other analytics packages (such as those that are purchased) offer not just site analytics but also the ability to pull off-line data into the mix. Additionally, services such as WebTrends allow you to connect to back-end systems. In general, if you need the capacity to segment your visitors in different ways, perform analyses across domains that you own, or perform other advanced analyses, you need to go with the advanced solutions.
Keep in mind that Google is constantly updating its features and capabilities, some of which are in beta now or have been recently released, such as Google Audio Ads, which are sold on a CPM basis through Google's AdWords platform, and advertisers can target them based on factors like geographical market and time of day. Having direct access to track and monitor these offerings is a great incentive to implement or maintain this service as part of your armamentarium of Web site support. Using this tool is a cost-effective way to optimize your Web site, increase ROI on your interactive campaigns and ultimately bring in more customers.