Thursday, July 07, 2005

Blog ROI

Heidi Cohen on measuring blog ROI

Haven't had a lot of requests from clients to measure the impact of blogs, but it sure seems like a good idea. You can easily build a hard-dollar case for the value of a blog by treating it as another piece of online media. Include your blog (or blogs) in your campaign reports and correlate conversion metrics, such as product views, purchases and revenue to customer behavior on your blog.

Don't sell stuff? Correlate any conversion, like lead capture, and assign a dollar value to each conversion event. You don't need to sell online to understand the revenue impact of conversion and the media driving conversion.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Measuring the right things. [part 1]

The thing I get asked to do the most, and the thing the most people seem to have trouble with, is identifying the right things to measure. It's not surprising that clients have so much trouble - the possibilities are crazy. You can measure anything (well, anything that's measurable).

It's actually an age old marketing problem - if you provide too many choices, the customer gets option paralysis. They can't make up their mind. In the classic marketing sense, option paralysis leads to a slowed or lost sale (I can't pick which one I want - it's too difficult). In the case of web analytics, it leads to data bloat (I want everything, just in case I might need it). Problem is, there tends to be an inverse relationship between the amount of data available and value derived. While it's true that we consumers want choices, we don't function very well if we have too many of them.

So in these cases, it's my job to help clients identify the right data - the key data points they should surface to understand, at a strategic level, the business performance of their web site. You may have heard of these data points...they're your Key Performance Indicators (KPI's). Of course, you need more than KPI's to manage a site. But the right KPI's will make using the rest of your data easy. They're like a road map in an unfamiliar city. Without them, you're completely lost.

Actually, come to think of it, they're more like the Neverlost GPS you get in your Hertz car. Well thought out KPI's actually tell you where to go.

Now, in my mind, KPI has become over used and under utilized. Lots of people talk about tracking KPI's, but very few people are tracking what I would call truly key performance indicators. Further, we run the same risks with KPIs as we do with data in general. Too many, or poorly organized, KPI's become just more data.

Stay tuned. In another post I'll talk about how I help my clients arrive at the right KPI's for their business.

What are we?

What are we... Web Analysts? Customer Behavior Analysts? Site Optimizers? Design Analysts? Web Analytics Gurus? [fill in the blank] Experts? Online Business Analysts? If you take into account where we come from, how we got to be Web Analysts (or whatever), you could add Usability Engineers, Interaction Designers, Information Architects, User Experience Analysts & Designers, Interface Designers, and Direct Marketers to the list. We're quite a varied bunch.

I'm not sure what the best title for us is, and I'm not sure we know enough about what we do and where we're going to have the right title just yet. I suspect there may be some specialization in the field required before the titles start to settle in. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on how the field will specialize (or is specializing already).

Whatever you call us or what we do, it appears that, according to Jason Burby, we have very satisfying jobs. I would have to concur.