Thursday, March 17, 2011

Digital Asset ROI for the Entire IT Enterprise - Analytics Aren't Just For Websites

The use of website analytics and reporting software isn’t new to most website owners. Tracking and analyzing the usage of your website by people and search engine ‘bots are obviously essential activities for validating your investment. Typical metrics tracked include number of visits by various user types, number of downloads or access to particular content, and navigation routes most commonly taken by visitors to, through, and out of your site. These metrics, perhaps aggregated into meaningful reports (i.e. overall unique visits per month), tell you how your site is performing. But are these reports evaluated for the impact or opportunities they reveal with respect to your entire IT budget? In other words, do your web analytic reports support “Key Performance Indicators” (KPIs) for your entire IT Investment portfolio, not just the website maintenance budget?

If your answer to this is “no”, your overall organizational IT investment may not be properly balanced to deliver the maximum ROI from your website, resulting in a lot of money left on the table and accumulation of very real business risk.

Let’s say your analytics show a dramatic increase in conversions by users completing a particular website form and uploading the required attachments. This is good news: the marketing and SEO folks have done their job, and more users are signing up and paying for the services offered. Plus, the analytics indicate that users are spending a lot more time before and after the conversion on your site – i.e. the “bounce rates” are getting lower (or “dwell” times are getting higher) for the pages that support the conversions. Revenues are growing, feedback is good, a bit of positive press and “earned media” (i.e. positive social commentary) is generated. All is good.

What are the KPIs here? Typical website managers, translating system utilization metrics to immediate business value indicators, might categorize their metrics as supporting goals and KPIs like:

1. Higher Conversions per User (i.e. our “stickiness” campaign is working, with value perceived in upsells, cross-sells, good recurring value in subscriptions);

2. Lower Conversion Abandonment (i.e. we’re making it easier to close the sale, once the decision to buy is made); and

3. Lower Cost per Conversion – this is an indicator that is based on specific, additional cost factors (beyond fixed expenses, like an ad network buy) incurred to drive particular kinds of traffic and conversions.

Typical response to these KPIs usually begins and ends with website investment. For example, if KPI (1) is trending low, there probably needs to be more compelling opportunities for cross-sells on the landing pages, or simply better “combined” value described for multiple products. If KPI (2) is trending higher, your online form or payment gateway is either due for redesign, or there’s a serious bug in the application. Continue reading more here about Digital Asset Enterprise ROI at Navigation Arts.

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