The necessity for personalization emerges as a website undergoes rounds of testing that examine the impact of different experiences on different users. It is an exciting time when a brand realizes that revenue is driven by personalization (the ability to target customers based on their individual preferences). Personalization and testing allow marketers to evolve their website into a more effective tool instead of risking time and money to build a one size fits all approach that doesn’t meet the needs and preferences of their customers.Read More
Website experimentation is the most under-rated, under-valued, under-used way to improve your conversions or your sales online. With a small amount of effort or cost, you can multiply your leads and add to your bottom line, while at the same time improving your customer’s level of satisfaction with your brand.
So why is it that most web sites are not actively running an experiment? Check the source code of every web site you visit today – can you find any tags for Google Website Optimizer or SiteCatalyst Test & Target? You may find them once a day, if you’re lucky.
Is the lack of actively running website experiments on the web due to technical challenges? Is it attributed to a lack of education to the masses? Are there simply not enough options available to choose from to run experiments?
The latter of those questions is something I can help you with today, because there has been a lot of buzz in the analytics community about Optimizely – and for good reason. Optimizely is an A/B website experiment tool headed by two ex-Googlers (but not a Google product), and is giving the established website experiment players in the marketplace a run for their money.
Other Optimizely features that you may want to ponder (full feature list on this page of Optimizely’s website):
– Automatic Goal Tracking: No need to configure specific conversion points
– Multiple Goals, Simultaneously: Track more than one conversion for an experiment
– Multi-Browser Testing: Screen-shots of your experiment on the major browser platforms, pre-launch
And, while those features are great, the greatest thing about Optimizely’s service is that you can preview what your experiment will look like, even before you open an account or install tags! In fact, you can mock-up an experiment for any website on the internet! This is why Optimizely will become your next guilt pleasure (online). Which leads me to sharing with you something I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time.
I always wished that Google would insert an “Analytics” link on their top navigation menu on their homepage. This would obviously increase the visibility of the Google Analytics product, while providing an even faster way to access a Google Analytics account. So, I made it happen in my fantasy world through Optimizely’s experiment preview. First, at the bottom of Optimizely’s homepage, I entered in the website’s URL:
Then, I began to work my quick magic. I simply hovered over the row of links on the top-left of Google’s homepage and started editing the text:
Within less than one minute, I finally re-created what I’ve always wanted to see – even if it was in this temporary, intangible capacity:
Is that cool, or what?
(Full disclosure: you should know that Optimizely is not a free service. You can use it for experiments on your web site from as low as $19 / month. However, Optimizely does offer a free 30-day trial).
2011 is the year of taking action. The time to sit on the sidelines and watch your reports and web site data fly by is over. We in the web analytics industry and all of us here at MoreVisibility feel that the time is now for you – the website owner, developer, and marketer – to take charge and get involved.
Many web pages, web sites, and web ecosystems out on the internet are still not using any web analytics, customer feedback, or business intelligence tools, which are now widely available, cost-effective, and easy to learn. Other websites appear to be using a web analytics tool, but a quick look at one of their page’s source code quickly confirms a fearful intuition of a broken implementation.
It’s no surprise to us that we are seeing a direct correlation between online success and an involvement in web analytics. If you’re not involved, the time to start getting involved is today. Below, we’ve outlined five types of web analytics tools for you to go out and open accounts with, and install them on your websites today to start getting involved in the wide, wonderful world of data mining and web analytics.
1. Traditional Web Analytics Tools
You know of, or you have at least heard of the names by now: Google Analytics, Yahoo Web Analytics, WebTrends, Omniture SiteCatalyst, CoreMetrics, LyrisHQ…the list can go on seemingly forever. As a Google Analytics Certified Partner, we obviously endorse and recommend Google Analytics. Prefer not to use Google Analytics? You have several other options to choose from.
2. Social Media Analytics Tools
Most of the traditional web analytics tools, like the ones listed in the previous paragraph, specialize on collecting information about your website properties. There are some other tools – Klout, Twitalyzer, Radian6 – that specialize in calculating how influential and how effective your social media presence is. If you’re on social media or if you’re even thinking about being on social media, start using one of the social media analytics tools – today.
3. Voice of Customer Tools
If you provide an outlet of expression for your customers, you may surprised to see the type, and, the volume of feedback that you’ll receive. Advance warning: most of the feedback will most likely be negative – it’s a lot more appealing for someone to tell you how bad you are than it is to sing your praises. When you use OpinionLab, SurveyMonkey, or ForeSee Results, you’re allowing your audience to tell you what’s wrong and what can be improved upon, which is information that is priceless. Your customers – your constituency, is telling you what they want. You ought to listen to them if you want to grow your business.
4. Mobile Analytics Tools
Everyone is on the go now a day. Almost all of my colleagues at work have some type of iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android-based smartphone. More and more people are accessing websites with their smartphones or their iPads. More and more people are also side-stepping the traditional websites and are using apps to interact with services. Using a tool like PercentMobile, Bango Analytics, or Mobilytics will help you understand how your mobile audience is consuming your brand – in some cases, far more effectively than some of the other types of tools mentioned so far.
5. Experimentation Tools
It isn’t good enough anymore to simply have an online presence. Having the same website promotions, graphics, buttons, and content that you did back in 2004 isn’t going to cut it. You have to try new things, sticking with those that work and ditching those that don’t – it’s the only true way to improve and become even better than you already are. Google Analytics users have already heard about Google Website Optimizer for running simple or complex A vs. B experiments. There’s also Optimizely and Omniture’s Test & Target available.
For any of the tools in any of the categories, we don’t necessarily care too much about which tool you wind up using. We do care that you are taking action and getting involved in web analytics this year. Why wait? Start exploring those tools today!