The majority are in the Developing Phase (45%) with just 3% in Optimizing. This indicates that there is a strong need for greater integration of social networking, permission marketing and customer information management in many e-commerce strategies today. The results shown in Figure 3 also indicates there is significant upside potential for companies who attempt to grow quickly through the integration of social networking, trust-based permission marketing based on relationships created via social networks and the use of customer information acquisition that also benefits each customer as well. All of these factors need to be brought together into a unified, strategic plan in order for companies to excel. The majority of companies in the Developing phase (45) of the maturation levels signal that marketing is merely interacting, not anticipating and planning what to do next for customers. What's needed is more of a focus on making all elements integral to a common, unified customer-centric strategy based on trust.
Figure 3: Social CRM and E-Commerce Maturation Levels, 2012
Based on an analysis of (Cooke, 1994) (Doyle, 2007) (Harris, Rae, 2009) (Jones, 2002) (Plaza, 2010)
Question 2: Describe and illustrate what you consider to be important tools used to measure customer visits to a website, enable customer navigation around a website, and measure customer time spent on the website.
The most valuable tools for measuring customer visits to a website, designing more effective navigation through informed decisions, and also measuring the time spent on a website in aggregate across all customer segments and by audience are web analytics. There are literally hundreds of Web analytics applications available on the market today. One of the most powerful for accomplishing these tasks happens to also be free to use. Google Analytics is free, has extensive support for tracking customer visits to a site, can provide real-time updates on which areas of a site are delivering the greater value for navigation and also easily can measure the time spent on a website by a given customer (Perez, 2007). It can also analyze to the audience level what specific customer groups are looking at, interested in, and seeking more information on. Google Analytics can track Web traffic by Audience, Advertising, Content, Conversion and Traffic Sources. This is a very powerful analytical platform that can compare time series data across an entire range of dates, content sources, campaigns, and also has the ability to complete preliminary testing of advertisements that are published to Google AdWords, a complementary platform that Google relies on for nearly $300M in advertising revenue every 90 days (Perez, 2007). AdWords is the single most profitable product line in Google, and Google Analytics also has the ability to track overall performance of AdWords campaigns. Google Analytics also has extensive support for a series of features called E-Commerce Goal Sets that give companies the ability to quickly define up to four different goals, including visits, transactions, revenue, average value, e-commerce conversion rate and Per Visit Value. All of these factors are combined into a single dashboard for evaluating the effectiveness of e-commerce strategies (Plaza, 2009)
. Data on e-commerce strategies can also be analyzed by visits, revenue, transaction, Average Value, E-Commerce Conversion Rate and Per Visit Value. All of these can then be analyzed both in tabulated reports and also in graphical formats as well.
Recent additions to Google Analytics include conversion analysis for Multi-Channel Funnels, support for Social Media traffic analysis. The main screen of Google Analytics is shown in Figure 1. The saw-tooth-looking activity across the main part of the screen indicate peaks and valleys of visits to a website being analyzed using Google Analytics. The series of options along the left column are specifically used for navigating between options for Audience, Advertising, Traffic Sources, Content, Conversions and Help.
Figure 1: Google Analytics Main Screen
Google Analytics by default measures the following metrics of everyone visiting a website: visits, or the amount of traffic a given website gets in the period of time as configured in the upper right corner of the application; unique visitors, which differs from Visits in that this metric captures to the Internet Protocol (IP) address which specific visitors have visited the site, and Pageviews, which shows the number of pages that visitors have viewed. It is often the case with Google Analytics that there will be more Visits and a high level of Pageviews relative to Unique Visitors. This is an indication that the content on the website is of interest and valuable to those reading it. The more valuable the content, the higher the number of Pageviews and the higher the next metric shown on the Google Analytics dashboard, which is Pages/Visit. In the example screen, this value is 3.37, which is common to find on a website performing well. This indicates that customers are viewing 3 pages on every visit to the site, which is another indicator they are finding value in the content. Average Visit Duration is at 7 minutes 20 seconds, also showing that visitors to the site are seeing value in the content and staying a relatively long time (by Internet standards) on the site to read and understand what the site is providing and selling. These figures also indicate the e-commerce systems on the site are relatively easy to navigate and can be quickly used to create a unique experience. It is possible to see this customization aspect by the high level of Pageviews and Pages/Visit. There is also evidence that this website is attracting new customers by the 70.48% of traffic from New Visitors. The last three metrics shown in the Main Screen show Average Visit Duration, Bounce Rate of 61.88% and % New Visits all indicate that the site is being very successful in attracting new traffic as well. One of the greatest strengths of Google Analytics is the ability to drill down into each specific area or page of content and understand how much traffic it is generating. Many marketers, both from a B2B and B2C standpoint, are using these fundamental metrics to plan their content management and e-commerce strategies (Plaza, 2010). Having visibility into how successful social media strategies are performing is also critically important to both B2B and B2C marketers who continue to seek out strategies for connecting with and selling to customers in entirely new ways. One of the most insightful aspects of using Google Analytics to plan out social media strategies is the flexibility this analytics application allows for capturing the purely social value of ongoing campaigns to drive traffic to a website (Plaza, 2010). Appropriately called Social Value, this is an aggregated metric that combines Conversions, Assisted Social Conversions and Last Interaction Social Conversions. The aggregated nature of this metric is represented by the concentric circles in Figure 2, Social Media Analysis Using Google Analytics. It is readily apparent from this figure how valuable this analytics platform is for managing social media campaigns in the context of their total contribution to website traffic and e-commerce. What Google has been working on throughout 2012 and just introduced into this application in April, 2012 is the ability to drill down into which social network brought traffic to the website. This is now available in the free editions of Google Analytics, and is shown in the lower right section of Figure 2. In this example, the HootSuite-generated Tweets (those are small messages sent on Twitter) generated 35.94% of all traffic during the time period of January 1 to May 4, 2012. Following HootSuite, LinkedIn generated 85 visitors to the site, or 26.56% of total traffic. Previous to Google Analytics supporting this level of functionality free, this type and depth of analysis would cost approximately $600 or more per month as Radian6, WebMethods and other very high-end analytics software applications captured this. This is a major breakthrough marketers in both B2B and B2C marketers as they can gain these insights free, freeing up more of their funds for more marketing and selling activities. Marketers can also drill down into each of the specific social networks shown in the lower right corner by clicking on a specific name. Marketers would for example be able to drill down into the HootSuite entry and see a graphical analysis of which visitors to the site were coming from which specific tweet, campaign message or mailing. This is exceptionally powerful analytical software for marketers in search of greater insights into their customer base.
Figure 2: Social Media Analysis Using Google Analytics
Google Analytics is designed to track activity of visitors back to the Internet Protocol (IP) address location, which provides excellent insights from an e-commerce perspective (Plaza, 2010) (Plaza, 2009). The website that is being monitored in this example is just launching a new e-commerce strategy and has an online catalog up and running. The use of IP address analysis done completely in the background to track location and plot it in real-time in Figure 3 shows how…