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Internet Marketing and Web Development in Higher Education and other tidbits…

Are you ready for Web Analytics 2.0?

09 Jun 2008

written by Kyle James

Are you ready for Web Analytics 2.0?

analytical brain Are you ready for Web Analytics 2.0?So I’ve got some upcoming presentations this year about Web Analytics for Higher Education and me being the anti procrastinator that I am have started to think about exactly what could I possibly say, like I have EVER had a problem with that before. This past weekend one of those moments of enlightenment came over me and I present to you my full definition of Web Analytics 2.0. (Ok so I’ve done a little more research and Avinash Kaushik has already coined the term and has his own definition, but just like Web 2.0 there are many definitions and everyone has their own interpretation. Also Avinash if you happen to read this, I just want you to know I’m a HUGE fan! Maybe your initial WA 2.0 advice that I’m sure I’ve read before finally just sunk in, who knows?)

Understanding the Importance of Analytics to Marketing

So let’s see, if marketing is understanding our audience and providing them the services they want then as Internet Marketers our task is to connect with our audience not only through our website but also anywhere on the web that our brand is mentioned. One way we understand our audience is through analyzing data about our audience online. There are two kinds of data that we can acquire, quantitative and qualitative.

Quantitative and Qualitative Data

Quantitative data is numeric data. We analyze quantitative numbers by adding a Google Analytics javascript tracker (or any number of other tracking services or log analyzing software packages) to our site and gathering visits, referring sites, keyword traffic, and geographic data to name a few metrics. This data is great for trend analysis and is fairly inexpensive to gather. Unlike offline getting this sort of data online is easier and more accurate than anything in the history of humankind. Although it’s not 100% many applications are claim 95% confidence which is much better than estimates in other mediums. We have more and more accurate data about our customers than EVER before. Quantitative data is also exact. When broken down it’s easy to act upon. Also quantitative data is proof that upper management can understand. This can be an important element to prove the relevance of the Web for many reasons.

Qualitative data is all the other sorts of data that can’t simply be broken down into numbers. Qualitative data is opinions, preferences; it has complicated details, and can be interpret in multiple ways. Qualitative data is traditionally expensive to gain and it tells you things about customers that the numbers could never explain. Qualitative data is Web Analytics 2.0.

So How Has Qualitative Data Become So Much Easier to Acquire?

Online everyone has an opinion and we can track their actions, quantitative data. What makes qualitative data so expensive is traditionally it’s gained through surveys, questionnaires, focus groups which haven’t been cheap. Surveys and Questionnaires are much cheaper to perform online but you still have to promote and acquire people to fill them out. What we have learned through the web is that people will GLADLY and FREELY give you their opinion about anything wither you want to hear it or not. There are two overlapping and easy ways to listen in and gather this data, social media and online identity management.

customer survey Are you ready for Web Analytics 2.0?

Although they clearly overlap because much of your online identity management will be in the social media field it’s also important to follow the news services. There are lots of tools to monitor your online identity but actually going into social media and listening and participating is where you take your analytics to the next level. With people able to leave comments and vote up, or down, articles about your brand they are essentially telling you how they feel about your products. If a blogger writes an article bashing a new service that you are developing then it’s important to not only know about it, but to respond accordingly. A few key wrong references can potentially spell long term doom. Maybe turning a dissatisfied customer’s opinion around into a converted fan could pay dividends if they turn their criticism into a glowing review.

Conclusion

So take your web analytics to the next level and engage and understand your customers in ways that are meaningful to them. Ask them questions, read feedback, understand comments and your customers will noticed your renewed interest in assisting them and the levels of customer service that you are providing them. Take advantage of these new analytics to increase your marketing. Leaving constructive feedback and your willingness to respond to a complaint is smart marketing and excellent customer service. The tools are already there to gather this qualitative data now all you need to do is put in the time to piece it together and act accordingly.

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About the author

Kyle James

Kyle is the CEO & Co-Founder at nuCloud and formerly the webmaster at Wofford College. He also spent almost 4 years at HubSpot doing a range of jobs including inbound marketing consulting, sales, management, and product management.  Kyle is an active contributor in the social media spectrum. Although his background is technical, he claims to know a thing or two about marketing, but mostly that revolves around SEO, analytics, blogging, and social media. He has spoken at multiple national conferences and done countless webinars on topics ranging from e-mail marketing to social media and Web analytics. He's definitely a fairly nice guy.

Ways to Connect with Kyle

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This post was written by - who has written 274 posts on .eduGuru


  • http://emerille.wordpress.com EddieM

    Great intro post. You are so right about the barriers to qualitative data being broken, however if we are looking for statistically viable data (with confidence intervals and sample sizes) the web brings the challenge of always getting a certain kind of contributor and not necessarily a representative sample of your audience. So while you are getting great data fast, depending on the quantity or respondents, it may or may not be representative of your audience.

  • http://www.huomah.com Dave

    Great post and an interesting dicussion. I was musing awhile back about qualitative research and social media/networking… there are a whack of links at the end of the post if it helps your journey….

    http://www.huomah.com/Internet-Marketing/Social-Media-Marketing/Qualitative-research-and-Social-Media-Marketing.html

    L8TR

    Dave

  • http://www.foviance.com Paul Blunden

    Interesting post and as qualitative and quantitative researchers I think there is a lot of truth in what you say. I’d like to raise a new idea perhaps web analytics 3.0.

    Actually web analytics is a misnomer for 3.0 as it will be multi-channel analytics that everyone is interested in. This new qual/quant measurment will be able to identify the volumes, actions, identity, activities, preferences and opnions across the entire user journey on and offline.
    Paul

  • http://doteduguru.com Kyle James

    @ Eddie – you’re absolutely right and with these sorts of metrics it’s still important to not let one bad egg ruin it for the rest of us. Don’t let special interest groups dominate, but it is still important to listen because their voice can make or break us.

    @Dave – Thanks for the share. I’m going to check them out as soon as I get finished reading this.

    @ Paul – Your jumping right over me to go to Web Analytics 3.0 huh… hum… guess it was inevitable.  I think I see exactly where you are going and agree. WA 3.0 will be presented in such a way were anyone can instantly understand them without any technical knowledge or complication and it will bring in all sorts of data including trend analysis and social media buzz. If I had to try and describe it I would say an amazingly simple, but powerful dashboard on crack! With what your proposing we need some sort of way to plug into the grid more permanently to truly understand people’s offline activities and interests.

  • http://www.huomah.com Dave

    Not a problem, get in touch should you feel like chatting about the topic as I know few that have broached it in my cirlces.

    I started the journey last year with a book I read on the basics of qual research – I do advise it as it is about the larger sociological approach which I find qual marketing researchers tend to miss the subtle areas..

    http://tinyurl.com/6alqsp

    Once again, great topic (care to do some guest posting? he he)

    L8TR

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