Nice to Meet You [Vir­tual Handshake]

Hello blo­gos­phere, please let me intro­duce myself like any polite per­son should, my name is Tyrone Ander­son, and I am a Senior Sales Engi­neer at Omni­ture sup­port­ing our Con­ver­sion divi­sion, specif­i­cally, Test&Target and Rec­om­men­da­tions. I came to Omni­ture via the acqui­si­tion of for­mer Offer­mat­ica where I worked on the Client Ser­vices team, help­ing lead­ers in online busi­ness and media change their phi­los­o­phy regard­ing online mar­ket­ing to one founded on the use of data to objec­tively mea­sure and cater to the moti­va­tion, will, and needs of their visitors.

Don’t Just Iden­tify the Prob­lem, Fix it

This expe­ri­ence pro­vided me direct insight into the stan­dard chal­lenges online mar­keters face today: expen­sive ad spends with no ceil­ing in sight, land­ing pages about as sticky as Kevlar, con­ver­sion fun­nels that have sprung a leak, and a boss who pro­vides them with the tools i.e. an ana­lyt­ics plat­form, to iden­tify all these prob­lems, yet no tools to fix them. A mar­keter with no con­ver­sion tools is like a neu­rol­o­gist… they are fully capa­ble of diag­nos­ing the prob­lem, how­ever that prob­lem is often ter­mi­nal and noth­ing can be done to fix it… a some­what bleak real­ity to face. How­ever, let me say that there is hope.

Times are a-changin’

If we take a moment to reflect over the events of 2008 in Amer­ica and across the world, this rapid change is fully evi­dent. In Amer­ica, the inher­ent social & polit­i­cal psy­chol­ogy of a major­ity of Amer­i­cans has shifted in an instant and the econ­omy is in a rare state of flux with a tan­gi­ble impact upon how the world does busi­ness. In the com­mer­cial realm, com­pa­nies are cut­ting bud­gets, scal­ing back on per­son­nel, aban­don­ing real estate, and in many cases, sim­ply try­ing to “weather the storm.” How­ever, this moment rep­re­sents a key oppor­tu­nity for orga­ni­za­tions to closely ana­lyze their busi­ness chan­nels and firmly estab­lish them­selves in the upper ech­e­lon of their indus­try while their com­peti­tors strug­gle to stay afloat. “When there is blood in the streets, it’s time to buy,” and buy­ing an opti­miza­tion suite is cer­tainly what any com­pany hop­ing to lead in online busi­ness should do.

Start Prac­tic­ing Your Touch­down Shuffle

It is time for com­pa­nies invested in an online chan­nel to adapt to the dig­i­tal age and real­ize that they must quan­tify any of their major off­site adver­tis­ing efforts, while simul­ta­ne­ously mak­ing those adver­tis­ing dol­lars work hard for them onsite by pro­vid­ing a more rel­e­vant and per­son­al­ized expe­ri­ence dic­tated by the observed behav­ior of their vis­i­tors. I have heard a lot of talk within our client base and from ana­lysts say­ing that despite the macro-economy, com­pa­nies are invest­ing more in online ad spend. This, I believe, is a direct result of the fact that online ad spend and the effects of that spend can be mea­sured. Yet, mea­sure­ment only gets us to the 50-yard line, test­ing allows us to stand up in the mid­dle of the office and do the touch­down shuffle.

Adap­ta­tion or Nat­ural Selection

A gra­tu­itous online ad spend is sim­ply no longer an effi­cient way to attract con­vert­ing traf­fic, and just like Amer­ica is real­iz­ing that liv­ing beyond one’s means is not intel­li­gent or sus­tain­able, that bad habit must be cor­rected at some point either will­ingly, or nat­u­rally. Com­pe­ti­tion is becom­ing fierce in the online space and if an orga­ni­za­tion does not adapt and begin to make quan­ti­ta­tive, data-driven deci­sions to per­son­al­ize their land­ing pages, opti­mize their con­ver­sion fun­nel, and make it eas­ier for vis­i­tors to do what they came to do, a com­peti­tor will. So how can a com­pany adapt and embody savvy online mar­ket­ing in 2009? Here are 3 essen­tial steps:

  • Mon­i­tor & Seg­ment Your Visitors

  • Start to pay atten­tion to the behav­ior of your vis­i­tors and iden­tify the key vis­i­tor seg­ments dri­ving the most value for your busi­ness. This may be done eas­ily via an ana­lyt­ics pack­age such as Site­Cat­a­lyst. If you do not have an ana­lyt­ics pack­age in place, then you are far behind in the realm of online busi­ness and it is time to catch up. Use your ana­lyt­ics pack­age to mon­i­tor site per­for­mance and study vis­i­tor seg­ments which may be defined by source (search engine, paid, nat­ural, affil­i­ate, email, dis­play ad), onsite behav­ior (pur­chase his­tory, cat­e­gory affin­ity, site engage­ment), geo loca­tion, tem­po­ral val­ues (time of day, day of week), envi­ron­ment (OS, browser type, res­o­lu­tion), etc.

  • Iden­tify & Quan­tify Poten­tial Value

  • After tak­ing step 1, you will most likely observe that a high vol­ume land­ing page on your site has a high bounce rate, a par­tic­u­lar step in your con­ver­sion fun­nel has a seri­ous aban­don­ment issue, one of your ad spends is dri­ving min­i­mal con­ver­sions, or a cer­tain seg­ment of vis­i­tors is sim­ply not react­ing to the cur­rent mar­ket­ing on your site. You can fix all these prob­lems and more by test­ing & tar­get­ing. At this point it will be easy to project how much more money your com­pany could make by cre­at­ing a sim­ple spread­sheet show­ing the value of an X% decrease in bounces on said land­ing page, a Y% lift in vis­i­tors mov­ing from step A to step B in your con­ver­sion fun­nel, a cost sav­ings of Z on this ad cam­paign, or an increase in the num­ber of return vis­i­tors. These oppor­tu­ni­ties com­bined should rep­re­sent a sig­nif­i­cant rev­enue opportunity.

    Gen­eral Con­ver­sion Lift Quan­tifi­ca­tion

  • Run a Test or 2 or 3 or 4…

  • This must be done in order for any orga­ni­za­tion to truly under­stand the value that an opti­miza­tion pro­gram presents for their busi­ness. No exec­u­tive believes in poten­tial value until that value is placed in the palm of their hand. Run dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ences on dif­fer­ent servers, uti­lize your ana­lyt­ics pack­age, or try a free opti­miza­tion solu­tion… do what­ever you have to do, but test test test. It is our motto, as proven by our clients, that the more tests you run, the more value you will yield, it is that sim­ple. Speak­ing of sim­ple, per­haps in a later post we can dis­cuss how easy it is to com­pli­ment your test­ing efforts with seg­men­ta­tion in order to drive a nat­ural evo­lu­tion into behav­ioral tar­get­ing… but no need to boil the ocean now.

Are you hav­ing prob­lems get­ting opti­miza­tion off the ground at your com­pany? Do you have the tools but lack strat­egy? Are you a frus­trated mar­keter spend­ing your entire work day vent­ing on Twit­ter? My blog posts are absolutely open-ended and I wel­come all questions/comments. For all you techy Twit­ter fans, great news… Omni­ture Con­sult­ing just released a new inte­gra­tion ser­vice between Site­Cat­a­lyst and Twit­ter. For more infor­ma­tion see www​.omni​ture​.com or Adam Greco’s post.

3 comments
Renee
Renee

Thanks Tyrone, this was really informative. You know your stuff. As one of those online marketers operating like a neurologist, I appreciate your solution-oriented understanding of our plight.

Matt Daniels
Matt Daniels

Great overview of site analytics and why they're important.

John
John

Very insightful Tyrone. I'm looking forward to your next posting!