Do you remember measuring web site hits?
For me, it’s a fuzzy memory, like watching a VHS tape of "Night Court", but I know I had a row of cells for it in my Microsoft Works spreadsheet.
In the Mesozoic era, it was just one of those things you counted, not that it mattered. The fact was, if you had a website of even moderate size, your hit count was ENORMOUS and to your boss—not to mention his or her boss—it was easily the most impressive sounding of the four things your stats program could actually count.
So what were all those people machine gunning hits back and forth doing? What did they want, and how did they get there? Who cares!? It was the heady days of the Clinton administration, and we had better things to worry about, like whether we could finish our game of Myst while our log analyzer analyzed our logs.
Eventually, some over-achieving killjoys left Brigadoon by actually trying to go out and make some money online, but for marketers or developers or anyone who has been spent a decade or more in the digital space—feeling old yet?—it’s possible to get the sense that a great deal of time has passed and not many lessons have been learned along the way.
A recent Omniture survey crystallized for me that we’ve spent so many years reacting to new tactics and technologies that we still haven’t figured out what our high school woodshop teachers were telling us: Measure Twice, Cut Once. In that order.
In addition to maudlin numbers about measuring mobile technology, video, and ROI, according to Ominutre, 69.1% use social media in their marketing, but 41% of those can’t measure conversion.
The three-phase explosion of social media in digital marketing: hundreds of millions of consumers climbing onboard, followed by fleets of companies jumping in with both feet and then deciding that maybe they should measure something. This led to the Clinton-era Wild West landscape of social media listening platforms that can personally attribute one’s every digital thought to their ZIP code, airline, and soda preference. This should remind us all that the tired, but relevant, quote attributed to John Wanamaker is now only half true: “75.1% of the people who say they like me on Facebook are only in it for the discount; I just don’t know which 75.1%.”
You can know which 75.1% only like you for the discount, or at least get awfully close. However, with the overwhelming number of avenues for marketers, both online and offline, the majority find they cannot even kick the tires of a unified solution to match up the disparate activity, that perhaps should be filtered.
According to Forrester’s Using Digital Channels to Create Breakthrough Multichannel Experiences:
- 53% of U.S. online consumers say they research products online that they subsequently buy offline.
- 68% of Forrester’s eBusiness panelists say that their organizations support a consistent cross-channel experience—but only 29% say their companies do it effectively.
In the same report, Forrester says something so dead-on-the-money obvious that it’s easy to skim past it without recognizing what it means in what can be a short-sighted digital world: “Although the Web may capture just 6% of an online shopper’s annual retail spending, consumers use it routinely to plan purchases made through offline channels.”
The Internet and its stepchildren of social, mobile and e-mail are ever-expanding in the areas of mindshare and consumption, but sometimes it’s very easy to forget in the hyperactive digital world that an awful lot of cash registers still ring offline.
Just as web analytics grew from measuring hits to ever more sophisticated metrics, the ability to escape the world of hits is now the key: to attribute that online activity blanketing the world in ones and zeroes with the actual individual souls who make the decisions within human interactions, using complex and intricate data management practices aligning digital channels of all stripes with offline—dare one say—real-world experiences.
2010 Omniture Online Analytics Benchmark Survey. (Omniture)
Image Courtesy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myst
Image Courtesy: http://www.mallofamerica.com/#/media/home/media
About the Author:
Andrew Lucyszyn is a Web Marketing Analyst with SIGMA Marketing Group.