Web Analytics In Action

Craig_menzies_forrester_1 The first time I used Web analytics, I mean "really" used Web analytics, was to end an argument. I was running the technical and eCommerce department for an online retailer, a really amazing online gadgets Web site, and the creative director and managing director were near to shedding blood over the following business-critical issue: Should a button on the home page be blue or purple, or maybe it should blue plus purple (blurple), as opposed to purple + blue (purue)? Two hours had gone by, and eight people sat in the room while the two worked themselves further and further away from rational thought and principles of civilized behaviour. I feared for the health, safety and sanity of my work colleagues.

So, I think it's safe to say that I used Web analytics for the first time as an act of sheer desperation. I used to it end the argument once and for all -- I logged in to our new Web analytics software while the two fought, and was able to show them that not only did the customers not care what colour the button was, but in fact, not a single customer had used the button in 6 months.

That's when the penny dropped for me personally... that here was a technology that could unite the certitude of data with the creativity of design, a technology that could focus the design process on the customer's best experience, and not the whims of company Directors. And this was the subject of my speech today at the Forrester Finance Forum in Barcelona.

I presented some great examples of Web analytics in action, and what it can do to find overt errors, and optimize both the customer experience and the effectiveness of online marketing campaigns. But, then I pushed further into the subject further and proposed that a better approach to customer insight is to use a whole set of tools and information sources, being analysed and acted upon by strategic teams -- not just by single half-time Web analysts. I call it the "holistic approach to online optimization" -- not a new concept (it's been called "Web 2.0" and other things), but one that is long overdue for company's to start using or risk being left behind. Why? Because the top Web design agencies in Europe and America have now adopted this approach as a critical and mandatory part of their design process. They're using it now, and they're using it effectively, as I showed with amazing examples from three of the top Web design agencies in Europe -- who, not coincidentally, were all industry Leaders in my recent Wave on European interactive agencies' Web design capabilities.

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Comments

re: Web Analytics In Action

Hi Craig,Very interesting - can you please share the presentation of 'Web analytics in action'.Cheers!Anil

re: Web Analytics In Action

Craig is hitting the nail on the head with your speech. Everyone has an opinion about web design, but the beauty of analytics and testing is that you can actually find out what works.The funny thing is that the stuff people love to argue and nitpick about, usually have little influence on a page, just as it was in this case! I've found that many of my clients want to test low influence factors, even against our expert opinion. Being a testing company, we are totally for proving our expertise, so if clients are adamant, we will include those factors in their tests. In the end, the data shows that some things just don't influence a page's performance very much, allowing the clients and us to focus in on the things that matter and get results in a shorter amount of time.

re: Web Analytics In Action

I agree, I'd like to see the presentation and/or the list of what you used to test your Web analytics in action. There is always a place for pure statistical analysis. For example, I've found the search engine ranking software www.Nemeas.com highly effective at testing different domains and URLs against each other. It's not a substitute for the human factor, but very helpful!

re: Web Analytics In Action

There is software out there that can analyze exactly what you need instead of having to wade through a lot of unnecessary information. What you mainly need to know is if your ads are working and if your url is working. Glyphius gives you fast analysis of your ads and Nemeas analyzes your url. If you know how you are scoring along those two lines, it goes a long way toward letting you know what you need to change about your site.