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October 15, 2007

eMetrics - Eric Peterson Presents at the Guru Panel

By Mike Churchill

During the Monday afternoon Guru Panel, Eric Peterson of WebAnalyticsDemystified.com presented his “Web Analytics is Easy, isn’t it?” presentation.  (Jennifer Veesenmeyer also presented during this session).  He provided many and varied examples from vendor advertising illustrating that web analytics must be easy.  It must be easy, he says, because so many companies are telling us so (sometimes more than once in the same sentence).  Eric’s presentation was humorous, but the message was serious: the truth is: web analytics is hard.  Otherwise, why would we struggle to gather accurate data, compute meaningful metrics, etc.  The truth is that it is not easy to turn data into actions.

According to Eric, there are several reasons why this is so, including:

  • inconsistency in the literature defining common terms
  • few good resources to turn to for clarification
  • visitor “engagement” is critical, but poorly defined
  • Web 2.0 measures are hard to collect
  • Cookies may be an issue for many because they are often
    o Deleted
    o Blocked
    o Or may not be allowed due to privacy concerns or administrative standards
  • Offline conversions are hard to track/trace back to online behavior

In addition, other factors may come in to play, especially in larger organizations, including:

  • implementation flaws may cause data inconsistencies
  • staff turnover requires retraining of analytics personnel
  • disparate streams of data give different answers, making it hard to determine a “true” picture

Eric suggests that using a RAMP may make analytics “less hard”.  In this case, RAMP stands for:

  • Resources – generating reports and using various sources of data to establish a more complete picture
  • Analysis – reports are a necessary evil, but are still evil.  Reports of data without analysis and conclusion are not useful.
  • Multivariate Testing – Eric says if you are not doing testing, you are not really doing analytics
  • Process – you have to invest in learning how to do web analytics within your organization.  You need to improve internal understanding and learn to approach web analytics as a strategic business initiative.

Eric concluded with the following value proposition:

RAMP + a strategic plan for measurement = amazing potential for improving your entire business

For Search Marketing Gurus, Mike Churchill of KeyRelevance Search Engine Marketing

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