In the current economy, many Small Business, Small Enterprise, and Marketing professionals are watching their Web spend more closely than ever. I caught up with Stephen Oachs, CTO at VisiStat Inc
, and got his take on how important Web analytics is today for effective online advertising and direct impact on a business's bottom line. What do you see as the most beneficial change in analytics for the SMB/SME sector?
Without doubt, the move to real-time data, the development of more intuitive and accessible reporting interfaces, and affordability. In the past, analytics services were out of reach from both a comprehension and a cost perspective. But, that has changed dramatically. Today's services are moving toward a truly intuitive, easy to understand click-and-go delivery of data, which allows for a much wider use by everyone within a business's structure, from the sales team to R&D, execs to potential clients, and even IT!
In addition, real-time tracking data is available, which has turned analytics into a proactive tool allowing site owners to know what is happening immediately and to be able to respond as activity occurs. There is now real-time cause and effect for their online business components. This can only help to improve decision-making, from ad spend to customer service and every aspect of business in between.
Proper use and understanding of Web analytics data will provide users with an actionable "to-do list" that will give them a competitive advantage in their market space. The SMB/SME user is reaping the advantages of today's more affordable, more accessible Web analytics. There are now useable tools they can relate to, that are built for them, their needs, with their ROI in mind. You mentioned analytics tools built for the SMB/SME user, can you explain further?
Small business, small enterprise, and marketing professionals, traditionally do business in an immediate, face-to-face way. They look their customers in the eye; they see direct responses to their TV ads. The handshake and conference room are business tools that are done in the moment, as life happens. What today's business-friendly analytics reporting tools do is bring traditional real-life business practices online, making the Internet move at the speed of real business, with the additional advantage of being at the business user's comfort level.
The Web is the most measurable media we have today, yet its measurement is often overlooked and undervalued. However, today, Website usage data is accessible in a familiar language that speaks to the business user, providing truly proactive reporting without breaking the bank. Can you give me some examples of this type of proactive reporting?
Certainly. Two that come to mind immediately are Conversion Funnel reporting and Global Click Path reports. These deliver powerful feedback for online campaigns, advertising effectiveness, and visitor response and behavior.
Conversion Funnel reporting reveals the progression of steps visitors take on a Website for a specified series of pages, with attention to abandonment rate and abandonment points, which will be especially valuable for users implementing pay-per-click and other marketing campaigns. Conversion Funnels provide enhanced insight into visitor behavior, every step of the way, Web page by Web page.
Global click path reports provide a quick, easy high-level view of page activity, specifically, where visitors travel through a Website, page by page, how long they stay on any given page, and where they exit the site. This is just scratching the surface of a good click path report. It is also an excellent example of how historical data reports can work optimally side-by-side with real-time reports, providing improved data. Such reporting really adds a new dimension to analytics, and we've seen incredible user response to these reports at VisiStat
. In June, you released VisiStat 6.0, and now Conversion Funnel and other conversion and marketing reports. What will we see next from VisiStat?
Our developments and innovations are particularly focused on the SMB/SME segment. We have received overwhelming response to our latest conversion, bounce rate and click path reporting, as well as our STATS API, especially at this time of economic uncertainty, when it is vital to have a controllable and proactive strategy for the dollars earmarked for Internet spending.
As for what is next...well, we never sit still. There are always updates and new features being developed, and most come directly from suggestions by our users. Watch http://www.visistat.com/
for upcoming features that utilize StatCasting and user-specific tools in some pretty innovative ways.