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October 20, 2009

eMetrics: Accelerated Darwinism Online & the Evolution of Web Metrics

By Li Evans

I've gotten the opportunity to attend the eMetrics conference in the Washington, DC area this year and already the first two presentations have really impressed me.  The first was Jim Sterne's which I'll be blogging about a bit later over on Social Conversations, but the one I wanted to tell SMG readers about was the presentation given by Foresee Results.

It was all about the evolution of web metrics in comparison to what customers are doing online.  How did we really get here?  So much data, but yet so little true meaning for a lot of companies.  So little actionable data because of the data overload web managers are stuck under.

Larry Freed of ForSee Results gave a great presentation.  He started off with defining "Darwinism" and how its change over time that makes only the strong survive.  We see it in humans, we have seen it in animals and now we even see it with online businesses.

 With online shopping the evolution started with pre-technology, back when you had to travel to the store by foot or horse, or cart to purchase your wears. Retailers relied on manual ways of stocking, restocking and accounting for sales. Eventually technology came into play giving us real time inventory.  Then came the internet which allowed even the smallest mom and pop store to reach a global audience.  Now we have mobile where with a few touches of a screen and a minute amount of time you can have something you want delivered to your doorstep.

Along with this evolutionary cDSC_2891hange, there's another one going on it's one where we're moving from a push message to a pull message.  Where the customer is in control, rather than the business.  The internet has enable so many things, the cost of "Switching" has gone down, the barriers to entry have nearly gone to zero, and customer are now more informed than ever.

Only a few years ago our economy on the internet was basically "build it and they will come".  That no longer holds true with these new changes.  It's now becoming a lot more like the traditional business environment where only the strong will survive.  The results of this evolution is that we are now in one of the most ultra competitive environments, ever.

But how does this impact web metrics?

It makes us a lot more accountable for the changes that need to be made to improve and keep the business alive.  You cannot manage your company if you don't measure, and measuring is what you need to do if you want to improve the bottom line.

Customer satisfaction at the end of the day is a huge piece of the measuring puzzle but it's really tough to accurately measure.  Very few plans or measurement strategies that tie in measuring customer satisfaction tie that measurement to the bottom dollar.  The American Customer Satisfaction Index is likely the most reliable source to look at when looking to measure sanctification.

Metrics Must Have:  Accuracy & Precision, Validity, Sensitivity, Realiabitiy, & Credibility

DSC_2893 Freed goes on to explain the "Ecosystem of Metrics"

  • Measure What Happens - key performance indication - behavioral data (looking backwards) - clickstream, financial, tasks
  • Satisfaction - predicts what will happen
  • Observation - tells us how it happens
  • At the center is the customer

At the end of the day, it's the customer satisfaction that rules.  Satisfaction = What you get + What you Expect (what did you think they were going to do compared to what they really did).  If your customers aren't satisfied, then your business is not going to survive.

Freed leaves us with 10 tips:

  1. You cannot manage what you cannot measure
  2. What you measure will determine what you do
  3. Measure what matters most - your customers
  4. Knowledge is power - the customer is now in charge
  5. Turn data into information and information into intelligence
  6. Satisfaction will drive conversion, loyalty, retention and word of mouth
  7. It only takes two things to survice, satisfying your customers and be fiscally responsble
  8. Measurement is hard, don't fall for gimmicks
  9. Integration of web metrics magnifies the value
  10. You are in the fight of your life, if you satisfy your customers you'll be around to fight the fight!

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