Web Analytics: Understanding, Reporting and Taking Action with Your Data

Bob Tripathi : Hey. Thank you. This is Bob Tripathi with Digital Sparx Marketing and what I’m gonna talk about analytics and we have Thom Craver over at CBS Interactive Thom . So you guys are in weather and things like that right. Oh yeah. So do you predict weather.

Thom Craver : No no no no. No prediction. It’s just a lot of a lot of reporting and measurement.

Bob Tripathi : So I know that you know in analytics, data is your is your expertise.

Bob Tripathi : So just start off with most people that I know are not so much into measurement. They look at data and they don’t know how to interpret it. But you know marketing is about measurement. And if you can’t measure you can’t really improve on things. So what are some of the top KPIs you recommend people to start off.

Thom Craver : It’s so subjective right. I mean it’s different for every industry. Yeah and a lot of people end up focusing on what we call the vanity metrics right. Those are the page views, unique visitors, bounce rates, I hate when people like our bounce rate is whatever it is That’s high isn’t it. I’m like I don’t know. Is it because if it’s your email campaign that somebody came in landed on that page and they bounced right away okay that’s bad. But you know I was in higher ed for a long time. I got professors that were like you know who came to my page and that was a vanity metric. But the point is if you search for Professor you know probably you’re right Bob and you read in your post that sounds great.

Thom Craver : And they come to your page they look at your office there they know when you’re there they know what room it is. Yeah. And they leave. Is that a bad thing. It’s bounce. But did you not serve the right content to the right person at the right time. You did that. That’s not a bad bounce that in that case. So I mean focusing on the vanity stuff without. Meaning or any intent behind it that’s that’s bad. But the question was What should they focus. What other KPIs. What makes you money. What makes you money, what sells. CBS. We’re a publishing business right. So our biggest metric is how much money you would make on ads and right display ads with your pre rolls, video minerals. So in that case it’s how are we driving traffic to our site and how many display ads do we get. How many video minerals do we get. How much money do we make on this content. Which content are people more coming back for. Versus other content. I care about the hurricane. All right don’t care about this other political news. Right. Right. And then you focus on. Not that. The news business you don’t want the visitors you know dictate the news obviously. For businesses in general. You know I think about the travel entertainment right. Right. How do you how do you get what people what do they care about they care more about this location not that right. Focus on what brings you the most business. If you’re B2B how did people get to you what services they interested in. Who’s a really good one. Really deep nugget. If I could tell you that there was a particular page that led to 90 percent of your conversions, wouldn’t you A want to know that and b get that page higher up in the chain. Oh absolutely. Further down in the funnel. So that kind of stuff goes on the metrics you should focus on it’s different for every business but those are some generalities to go on.

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Bob Tripathi : So for example for B2B the crux is how many leads can you capture on the Website. So that’s your objective right. I would think that would be your objective. All right. So what are the other metrics someone who the B2B marketer would look at beyond sign ups right.

Thom Craver : So how did they get you? What was the discovery what discovery leads to more conversions what discovery leads to more bounces, This is a case where bounce is a you know what page and on right did that particular page mean the bounce or did that particular page. You know it was that was it a good page that helped a conversion to read through more, what things really clicking on or going through, what drove them. And of course everybody who comes to your site comes with different methods. If I’m searching for something and I come across your site and that serves my need that’s one thing, if I search for something and you can’t really tell the words anymore exactly. Yeah there’s ways you can track that but. Did. Certain keyword not. Lead to a conversion. Right. And if so I should be optimizing that. Right. Right that kind of how people get there because they all have different intents of the company email campaign that comes from social and social is a wild hair itself too. Right. Right. Social could be hey you shared something I saw it I’m like hey what the hell is that. I decided to go out look at right or social could be I followed you. I’ve been following you for a while and I’m finally interested in your products. Nice. Different intense mean different things.

Thom Craver : The important thing is not the metric so much but how to focus on the intent intent and optimizing that intent.

Bob Tripathi : Once somebody gets and then your goals right as a business what’s your goals

Thom Craver : You can make some money what saves you money what’s the point of your website

Bob Tripathi : You touch upon a very interesting thing is social and all this what is attribution now Attribution modeling you know you’re still in the dark ages the first Click, last click and all that debate. So how do you go about creating a nice attribution model, if there is no there isn’t is there.

Thom Craver : So every attribution model as far as digital is concerned right now is awful. You find the one that’s the least awful. Right. So if you are right. Every affiliate will tell you I believe the first one that brought you to that site. Right. To say I don’t care if it was five years ago I brought them there first. Yeah. And so first touch. Five years ago is that real estate right. I’m not sure. Right. The bigger part is what is your organization right.

Thom Craver : How does each department contribute? Social and SEO always have this competition right up a search always bring more traffic and socials like whatever social and search are rarely the final contact point and figure out what do we surprise us. I would think do you know what the number one last touchpoint attribution is? how many direct to right now come and just throw it in a simple everyday Amazon model. You go to Amazon on your phone because you’re in the market or whatever you’re doing something you like in the moment you like Oh we’re gonna find that you add it to your cart. You walk away from your phone you go do whatever else you’re doing at the end of the day you come home make like three things to my car this week. Now it’s kind of like I got paid yesterday and you go directly to Amazon you’re right. And that’s typical of a lot of transactions actually 66 percent of transactions online start on a mobile device 33 percent of them end up on a desktop. That’s amazing. It’s insurmountable. So it’s it’s attribution is, it part of the chain. Did social contribute how much does it contribute in search how much do you contribute. Did your paid ads contribute. Sometimes those are the final right. Right. But very rarely is it. No one is more than the other. How did they contribute equally over and then pick a time from that matters in that timeframe. How long does it take you to sell your product from your first interest. What does your sales cycle. For some people it’s you know a couple weeks for some people it’s you know you’re an attribution models at least in Google don’t go back more than 90 days. Right. So then you’re kind of lost on that. Right. What makes sense for your business your business model right. Right. Everything subjective.

Bob Tripathi : Yeah. Yes all right. And I think what I understand from you is create some kind of a person page or equal assist because at the end of the day like for example paid social people are saying oh my page social perform better than your AdWords because it’s all about budget allocation. So I think map out whatever you can say everyone gets a piece of the pie. All right. Okay.

Thom Craver : We have to cut back in whatever whatever area we’re going to just arbitrarily throw a dart at this. No actually they contribute 40 percent. They contribute 20 percent. Where this department contributes 22 percent to the pretty equal or whatever. You’ve got to keep the budgets they work together in tandem. That understanding is probably more important than who had the last touch. All right.

Bob Tripathi : Yeah. I mean that’s such a.. No that’s great. That’s great. Thank you. So the other question I have and a lot of people talk about this is, configuration like a lot of times I still see people are not measuring each and everything. So we have events and Tag Manager and Page manager. How do you go about making sure you’re tagging everything measuring everything.

Bob Tripathi : Sure. Right. So. Again get beyond your pages, you be tracking every page you absolutely hands down. Done. Now what else is going on your site. B2B services. You have forms. Measure the form. Yeah absolutely. Measure the funnel. They. Didn’t fill it out. Go deeper. Okay fine. We all have a report that says we had you know a thousand form submissions last week. Yeah. What good does that do when you’re in the services business. Somebody fills in that form it goes to Lead Gen guy. That person runs through the system and tracks each individual person and they’re doing their job. How many they got in. They know how many they’re converting. That report is useless. However, how many times they submit that form. But it didn’t go through because they gave you an invalid email address or they tried to skip out a Mickey Mouse e-mail.

Thom Craver : Right. Right. That kind of stuff. So what’s more important is take your check tag manager and say No I’m just page listen for the form to be submitted. Did it submit properly. Yes or no. And increment those numbers if it didn’t submit properly. Now start tracking all that green fields which field was blank which did had an error and tally those up and at the end of the day when you go to the boss and the bosses will know these are really required. You’re like well you know what boss I was looking and we’re losing all this business with this one here’s here’s an example where fifty thousand people tried to solve this form and they didn’t. They had two or three failures. And in the end only twenty thousand actually did submit their system enough to get through. Fine I’ll give you my real information right. Well you take that and you spin that with I think we have an opportunity here to maybe take less data because again at the end of the day that that B2B form is going to be lead gen guy. All right. His job is to follow up. do that right. If it takes one email to qualify the customer did you spend this much money and nobody wants to fill it out. All right. Here’s the carrot. We’ll give you this for free if you fill out this form let him fall the form. You’ve gone to forms all the time. Like I don’t want to give you that information was going to fudge it. And if you go through a couple times unless you really want that information you’re not going to.

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Bob Tripathi : Yeah. During your personal don’t ask so many questions

Thom Craver : You need a first name. You need an email address. Really the basics what you need. You don’t want to know how much they make or how much we will spend with you. Qualify that later.

Bob Tripathi : And I think the other point to add to that is like Chat bots right. Lot of people are coming off the chatbots and they have this huge frickin form.

Bob Tripathi : If I may say so and where they asked six questions and don’t ask them those questions right now get to the point. And as you get in the conversation then you can go to one and mention

Thom Craver : How many times that pop up right measure that isn’t it. All right. Did the person click X to close it down. That is an event worth paying for that bot still. Yeah. Which questions were more likely to be answered and interacted with. Which ones ones that you could track it after every interaction with JavaScript various so called it.

Bob Tripathi : So events are another?

Thom Craver : I think I’ll be on the page views, track events all day long all day long. If you’re doing something on your site you’re spending time, energy, money. I’m making an effort to measure it. You’ve spent time energy and money. There’s your investment now measure the return part of that see what’s actually working for you.

Bob Tripathi : And four events for our audience even says anything that you want any interaction with a web page that isn’t a page. Right. And yes. So just go. There are pages I still see some people talk about page views

Thom Craver : Unique visitors. I’d let you go the unique accounts page views unique visitors page anything. It all is relative to your window report you’re looking at if I come to your Website today and then tomorrow and the day after. If you’re looking at uniques by week I’m one unique list right. If you’re looking at it every day I’m three unique visitors near the end of the week you like I I had someone who meets every day at the end of the week I have like a third of those done.

Thom Craver : Yes uniques are a rotating number and I would ask man is gonna say why we don’t have conversion. Yes. How did you meet all these days get a measure in the same consistent time period for you. Exact meaning.

Bob Tripathi : So let me move on to the next part which is reporting you know there are all these analysts right. You get reports and you just read it. And the real trick is inferences. Right. What are some of the reports that you see people miss out on that they should focus on.

Thom Craver : So understanding historical data trends. Both with your organization and in the industry that you’re in. You know any B to C Company any direct sales company you’re going to see traffic numbers and probably conversion numbers spike up letting you know late fall right through the holiday season and drop immediately off in January. Yeah and then depending on the type of things you’re selling you might see that ramp up again in time for Valentine’s Day. Slight drop off and then wedding season hits and then drops off for the summer and real late fall rolls around again. That’s a seasonal trend right. You can’t just say oh well worse worst we were last week or the last week was Christmas. All right. So of course we’re down this week or whatever. You know it happens in every industry. So understand patterns of behavior both in the consumer and in your industry. Understand. We had this campaign. We expected numbers to go up to this level. They didn’t. Were they higher. Great. We did well what worked. How can we repeat that again. Oh they were lower. Yeah. What didn’t we do. Everybody measures. Expect to be hit. We had all these sales. That’s great. Yeah. The one you want to focus on are the ones that didn’t converge right. Right. Understand why and what was the path they felt were they on mobile or desktop that they have the same experience in both places. What were the touch points along the way. What page has led to more conversions other ones that kind of thing understand the meaning behind that you can’t. You can’t get intent out of people although if you start throwing little surveys out there and measure the intent from the surveys you get a much better idea with that. But you can’t measure intent but you can infer the right areas things that happen. And I think that’s what you focus on.

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Bob Tripathi : Yeah. And that’s what good analytics people do. That’s what makes inferences this is reporter thing.

Thom Craver : I usually start off with in my training sessions is analytics is not the reports about the software. It’s the process of going through it understanding how it works. Recommending action following through on that action and during that whole process.

Bob Tripathi : Yeah I can understand those reports that people show this oh this is the report I’m like OK what are your action buying. So every time you have to recommend five action points that you understand certainly got I recommend the ones that are most important right it’s five or 20 whatever.

Thom Craver : Here’s what you’re trying to do. Here’s what we missed. Here’s the opportunity. Here’s what goes right next. Yeah. Or Hey this we got work in this little test. Let’s expand that just to make a point.

Bob Tripathi : And that is how you become from a data analyst. Do you know a data miner. Right. If you if you will you might the data dump it. That’s right.

Thom Craver : When I understand and report it and take action and then understand how those actions implemented everything that’s that’s when you start becoming a really nice good job as is not to dump the data after you make it. Your job is to interpret it recommend action and follow through on that.

Bob Tripathi : Right. This is great. This has been great. Thom is there anything that I didn’t ask that you want to talk about. Sorry. I think I covered most of it.

Thom Craver : It’s there’s so much to do and the answer to most of this is it’s a subjective subject but there are so many generalizations if you get the wheels turning. And if you truly think about how your data is supposed to go and what you’re trying to accomplish. That’s that’s what the magic deep look you think segment segment deeper report deeper. And life becomes Shangri La

Bob Tripathi : That’s great Shangri la reporting right. Now this is good. Thank you Thom for joining. And folks please follow Thom on Twitter which is Thom Craver. Hit him up on LinkedIn. He’s there on all social platforms. But thank you for tuning in and thank you for your time Thom . Thank you. All right.


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