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January 22, 2014

Shedding Light on Your Web Analytics Blind Spot

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Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Web analytics offer an increasingly comprehensive snapshot of your audiences’ online interactions with your Web presence — but it isn’t the whole picture. In fact, as important as these analytics are, the sheer volume of data available for website visitors sometimes lulls firms into a sort of complacency. They think they have their audience’s interests, habits and behaviors down pat via Adobe Omniture or Google Analytics.

But these firms have developed a dangerous blind spot: offline interactions with the brand.

Preoccupation with online data sets often leave real world trends and information — purchases, customer proximity, and so on — out in the cold. And, by doing so, leaves you with gaps in your understanding. Even retailers that do track offline data generally keep it separate from their Web analytics data.

Tearing down the walls

In your marketing efforts, whether online or off, you’ll want as complete a picture of your customers, prospects and other audiences as you can manage. Walling off the online and offline worlds of your marketing into discrete silos can be hazardous to your brand health, confusing your message and your process. This separation ignores the relationship between the two kinds of customers—including the fact that there are overlaps between them, as well as potentially telling gaps.

To more completely leverage your customer data and paint the richest, fullest portrait possible of your audience, you need to integrate your Web analytics data with traditional customer and transaction systems. Once the data is drawn from its vendor environment or data warehouse — typically through analytics software like Adobe Omniture — the Web and customer data can be analyzed and integrated. The aggregate perspective that emerges lends deeper context to both your Web traffic and your customer activity.

Taking action with insight

Integration of data on online and offline behaviors sounds good in theory, but what does it look like in practice? What kind of actionable insights can you achieve once you’ve shed some light on your blind spot?

Take retailers. If, say, a merchant knows I’ve purchased a nice bowler hat from her brick and mortar store and that I’ve checked out a particular bowtie five times on her website, she can use that information to design effectively targeted offers. This kind of offer brings the close, comprehensive tracking and data-driven engagements that an online business like Amazon can accomplish to retailers with both digital and physical storefronts.

This panoramic perspective allows for more informed approaches on a host of questions. Why are your customers putting items in their online shopping carts and then ditching them? It might be because they decided to grab the product at your store. Or if they’re abandoning items in droves, it might be because something’s wrong with your website. If they’re checking out items, but then physically visiting your store for the purchase, they may be avoiding shipping charges. Sure, there might be questions raised by combining these data sets, but you need the questions before you can find the answers. And well-integrated data from your online and brick-and-mortar worlds make these questions easier to answer.

Moving forward confidently

Without the fullest possible picture of your customer engagements, you won’t just have a harder time answering questions like the ones above — you might not be able to answer them at all. After all, a blind spot is the space you need to be able to see to drive safely and confidently.

Shedding light on these blind spots isn’t just a defensive maneuver. By enriching your understanding of your audience, you’ll open up unexpected new opportunities in your marketing and even your services. By committing fully to your analytics, you’ll give yourself the power to drive your company forward.


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Glenn Facey is the VP of Business Development and Marketing at Claraview, where he achieves business growth through building teams and relationships with Fortune 500 companies and the public sector.  He possesses deep cross-functional experience in consulting, sales, business intelligence (BI) and analytics, marketing, organizational effectiveness, and working across organizations to ensure that business value is delivered to internal and external clients.

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