Tracking tools prove that what you don’t know can hurt you.
It used to be that when you complained to colleagues about your money pit, you were talking about your house. These days you’re probably talking about your company Web site.
Businesses plow thousands – or in many cases millions – of dollars into their sites to improve navigation, increase viewer interaction, and boos online sales. Yet in a Forrester Research survey of 20 companies that spent up to $1 million revamping their sites, many redesigned without measurable goals in mind. “People are looking to make smart decisions about their [online] investments,” says Anne Estabrook, VP of marketing for NetGenesis, a Web tracking software company. “The only way you’re going to do this is to understand your customers.”
Web tracking tools can help your company by tapping into customer behavior and spotting trends you might not have seen otherwise. The technology tags your Web pages with HTML markers to capture the costumer data you want to measure – where customers came from, what they click on, and where they exist.
Even though most companies use some type of Web analytics, few like to talk about it. Those that benefit from it don’t want to give away their competitive advantage. Those that find it useless don’t want to draw attention to bad technology investments. “Either it’s a secret weapon, or you’re ashamed,” says Matthew Berk, an analyst with Jupiter Media Metrix.
To lower its customer acquisition costs, one top 10 U.S. insurance company, which requested anonymity, uses Web tracking to boost the number of customers who request auto insurance quotes online. The company drives roughly 100,000 visitors a month to its site through advertising, but only about 35 percent of those visitors start filling out quote requests online.
To pinpoint the site’s trouble spots – and ultimately raise the number of people who use the online quote process by 20 percent – the company set up LimeLight, Web analytics software from Keylime Software, which digs up site data in real time and updates it every four hours. “If I can get people through the application online, I’ve saved $16,” says the insurance company’s director of Internet marketing. “If they submit online, I’ve saved another $56.”
So far, Limelight has revealed that most customers abandoned the quote from when asked irrelevant personal information. Results also showed that a small contingent of customer left when asked a certain question. “So we took out the question,” says the director. “I’m no longer losing 6 percent of my traffic because of that process.”
Secret Weapons: Keep Your Eye on Customers
Start with these providers to figure out what’s right and wrong with your site.
Data mining, business intelligence, and Web tracking. Start at $15,000 to $35,000 per month.
Keylime Software LimeLight
Web-based solution that tracks user activity in real time. Starts at $2,000 per month.
Tracks and analyzes customer behavior from a series of vantage points. Starts at $100,000.
WebTrends Reporting Center
eBusiness edition caries up to 250 predesigned reports, plus customized tables and graphs. Starts at $3,500 for the first server, $2,000 per additional server.
By: Carolyn Abate
Source: Smart Business