As I left yesterday’s SES session, “Measuring Success in a 2.0 World,” it seemed to me that the speakers were sending a wake-up call to marketers, encouraging them — now that Web 2.0 is changing how content travels on the Internet — to ask the right questions when it comes to measuring campaigns. Content reaches consumers in new and unique ways — it is vital that marketers use the right tools to track the results of what is taking place online. They must then ask the right questions to discover what those results mean, and to guide their future decisions.

Because I spend most of my time drilling down in search, I focused my takeaways on the measurement challenges as they apply to natural search and SEO.

The speakers were: Jim Sterne, chairman of the Web Analytics Association; Matt Bailey, president of SiteLogic; Avinash Kaushik, author and blogger; and Marshall Sponder, senior Web analyst for (Richard Zwicky, founder and CEO of Enquisite, moderated.)

Overall, the speakers felt that today’s measurement challenges include:

  • Content is being created, distributed and consumed in new ways — how do we measure effectively?
  • We have an overwhelming amount of data — what do we measure?
  • Economic challenges are forcing more focus on profitability — how do we ensure that each campaign is pulling its highest possible ROI?

In order to meet these challenges, marketers must:

  • Embrace the idea of “multiplicity.” A single tool may not be enough to measure everything. Begin with a web analytics solution, but be prepared to fill in the gaps with additional tools.
  • Use advanced keyword reporting and segmentation, focusing on reports that drill down on profitability.
  • Look at not only which keywords are most profitable. Ask: Which keywords are selling my most profitable products?
  • Segmenting data can result in valuable insights. Remember to ask questions, then take appropriate action.

Web 2.0 is about empowering people. As they gain greater control from new tools and capabilities online, marketers must continue to discover the complete story, because only by doing so can we truly understand whether we are giving users the content, products and services they desire. By asking the right questions and using a variety of analytics solutions to find the answers, we can uncover actionable data that will lead us to increases in ROI.