Outsource Solutions: Web Analytics
Track Your Traffic
In “Web Analytics: Getting Down to Business,” Diana Cirillo and David Flint of research and advisory firm Gartner wrote: “It has long been said you cannot manage what you cannot measure. Nowhere is this truer than on the Web, where examining what works and what doesn’t directly influences the bottom line.”
Unfortunately, the Web allows you to measure and test everything, even information that has no relevance or actionable data to be learned from it. For example, tracking hits has gone the way of the dodo bird, giving way to metrics such as conversion rate, navigation paths and revenue. Before you set out to analyze your Web site’s performance, you need to decide on the most important metrics to measure.
The Web analytics industry is roughly seven years old. Since 2002, however, there has been a tremendous enthusiasm for measuring online efforts. This has resulted in an explosion of companies offering solutions. We won’t say that there is a cover for every pot and that every solution has its customer. However, the universe of Web sites includes many different objectives, different technological issues and, of course, different access to resources. If you’ve chosen to outsource your Web analytics functions—essentially the tracking of key performance factors of your Web site—take several factors into account before you decide on the best tool to meet your needs.
1. Evaluate your business needs. Are you doing e-commerce or lead generation? This distinction will impact your choices.
2. What is an analytic tool’s breadth and depth? Questions to ask include: How many reports does it provide? Is it flexible? Does it allow for customization?
3. Company support. How will the company help you get the most from your solution?
4. Company track record. Never buy service or software without due diligence. If you want to keep records long-term, supplier longevity will count.