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 Mon​ster​.com. (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.