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
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.
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.
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.