The very young field of ‘Web Analytics’ has undergone some seismic shifts in the space of a few short years. One of the most exciting developments is the ability to integrate multiple data sources with web analytics data. A classic example of this is the integration of web analytics and CRM data where it is now possible to link and leverage data across two key organizational touch points. (see http://bit.ly/aBrYGl)
One standout tool is Unica NetInsight 8. Unica has pushed the envelope with the recent introduction of its Data Model Extension (DME) features. As a standalone enterprise level analytics package, NetInsight is in the top of its class. The ability to easily integrate additional data to the reporting of a Web site is an incredible extensible feature.
In most cases, it’s not just a case of connecting a data source and reporting with it. Clearly, in order to make the data valuable, there has to be a lot of thought process and planning. So long as data can be linked back in some way to the basic Web analytics data, it can become extremely valuable to your organization. For example, with some planning, an organization can go from acquiring a new visitor to understanding very specific details about the actions they take over the lifecycle of that visitor.
For example, let’s assume that when a new visitor comes to the site, they are ‘cookied’ (persistent of course). Let’s also assume this person comes back a few days later and signs up for a newsletter by entering their name, job title, and topics of interest to the newsletter subscription form (i.e. healthcare, investments, sports, real estate, education, and so on). Now, consider this sequence happens for 10,000 visitors and imagine the amount of data you can achieve by integrating this newly acquired data to the Web analytics. In this case, with Unica’s NetInsight DME feature, the organization could start to create reports which show what pages were looked at by people whom selected particular topic areas of interest. Moreover, by inferring other types of data such as “intent of visit” to this data source, a behavior profile cross-tabbed by intent be created. By then combining these possibilities with the job title, very granular reporting could be generated to get a strong sense of what core audience groups want from the organization and how they may be drastically different or remarkably similar in nature.
Obviously, privacy becomes a concern whenever you begin to link multiple data sources together. However, personally identifiable details such as a visitors name, age, occupation or gender need not be collected (or can be deprecated after the fact) from the data model as segmentation can be based on any variable of parameter. The possibilities are endless with the right data model and lifecycle.
For a lot of organizations, general Web analytics are absolutely great. Corporation and large scale enterprises that manage large data warehouses can readily benefit from more the integration possibilities provided by paid web analytics tools. It is important to be aware of the possibilities and consider that this example is only one of literally hundreds of ways in which it is possible to connect and web analytics data to other data sources. A robust and comprehensive analytics program can provide the organization with ample data to improve traction on their site, increase the success of marketing programs, and increase revenue through a better understanding of what visitors want.
Consider if the data from your analytics package is answering all the questions for which you need answers. As a first step, check to see if the analytics program your organization uses has the capabilities to work with third party data. A second step is to identify data sources which are available within your company, are publicly available, or are available for purchase. Finally, assess the value of incorporating these other data sources and consider the level of effort required. While it may not be a simple task, it may be worth thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to get better analytics on your site(s).
Director of Products and Operations
PublicInsite Web Analytics Inc.