Europe and Web Analytics

    January 26, 2007

I caught up with Lars Johansson earlier this week to discuss Web Analytics in Europe.

Lars was able to provide me with some great information, read below for the entire conversation…

Please tell me a little bit about yourself (and your company) and your background.

I am coordinator for Web Analytics Association in Sweden and work for one of Europe’s largest energy companies that also offers services such as district heating, telephony and high-speed Internet connections. My background is in working with offline campaigns but have been working with both online and offline campaigns for some time. I have worked with all channels: Internet, e-mail, direct marketing mail-outs, inbound calls and telemarketing. I have also done survey work and I even spent several months talking directly with the most displeased customers. Bringing all of that together I think I have a pretty good idea about what’s going on on our customers’ minds. I am currently busy optimizing various campaigns on the Internet and making certain our new website will be fully measurable.

How do you think Web Analytics differs in Europe vs. the North American Market?

Neil Mason has written a couple of ClickZ columns on that topic that describes the situation quite well. Europe has been behind the U.S. for some time but is starting to catch up. Looking at Sweden, where I am, things are really starting to move. It used to be rare to see companies hire full-time web analysts but it seems like they have woken up the last six months. There is an increasing number of job openings for dedicated web analysts. Maybe that can in part be attributed to the attention created by Web Analytics Wednesdays.

How does the recent purchase of Instadia by Omniture effect Instadia?

My understanding is that it’s business as usual for Instadia’s customers. They can continue to use ClientStep at the same time as they can take advantage of SiteCatalyst and the other tools and services offered by Omniture.

Where do you see Web Analytics (KPIs and measurement of them) going in 2007?

I don’t think the page view will die in 2007, but it will be really, really, sick. It will be interesting to see what its illness will do to vendor pricing.

Either way, bloated page views as a means of tricking advertisers will hopefully die a painful death in 2007. Cost per impression will hopefully once and for all have to give way to cost per unique visitor and cost per action, though I wouldn’t count on it.
I also think discussions about engagement metrics will grow in importance since the buzz about social media will continue.

I hope that measurement of SEO will focus on whether that new top position on Google leads to a higher conversion rate than your old position and whether it will produce a lower CPA than can be achieved through PPC. Being number one shouldn’t be the goal in itself, the goal should be getting the right visitors who do the right things. Web analysts will have to revise the work of SEO firms and educate ad networks and advertisers.

All web design agencies should have to employ web analysts.

What do you think are the biggest client pains in regards to Web Analytics (KPIs + measurement) in Europe?

A major pain point is web design agencies creating “cool” Flash movies based on someone’s personal preference rather than solid analysis. Especially in large organizations there will always be a number of people who don’t understand the value of web analytics since people leave and join all of the time. You have to continually educate people in all business units on the importance of data-driven decisions.

Other pain points include excessive obsessing over data quality. That is, not finding a level of confidence with the data, moving on and start focusing on trends rather than arguing about raw numbers down to the last digit.

And, as I mentioned previously, advertising agencies only talking about page views, impressions and CPM is tiring when you’re wanting to measure success in sales and not based on long-term branding goals.

I don’t know whether your situation differs, but over here advertising networks and web design agencies seriously need to learn web analytics and be held accountable much more than is the case today.

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Manoj has been working in the search engine marketing industry since 2002. He started out as a software developer but now provides in-depth web site analysis using web analytics.

Manoj is also the author of Web Analytics World. Web Analytics is an essential component in developing a successful
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