Web analytics are a major investment for any online website both in terms of tools and personnel. However, web analytics teams and tools face the challenge of actually showing their contribution to the top line in order to compete for budget. More specifically, the challenge is to take all of the advice and suggestions for improvement and show how much incremental revenue they contributed to the company.
Can web analytics experts just sit idle when organizations are scrutinizing every investment and CEOs are looking for higher ROI? How can web analytics increase accountability and turn its perception from a cost center to a revenue generating machine? Avinash Kaushik and Jesse Nichols suggest that it is time to start calculating the ROI, or as Nichols calls it, “Return on Analytics” (ROA).
It seems that everyone is jumping on the ROI bandwagon these days. Marketing is measured by Return on Ad Spend and new product features are measured on incremental sales. Internal tools are measured on the work (and cost) that they save to the organization.
According to Kaushik and Nichols, the challenge in Web Analytics is that it improves the ROI and performance of other teams which makes it hard to calculate its contribution directly. For example, if an analyst improved conversion rate by 50%, marketing can then say that ROI on ad spend is 50% higher and therefore more budget should be allocated to Marketing.
Kaushik and Nichols have a different suggestion. Their solution is to sum up the improvement over a period of time and divide it by the total investment in analytics.
For example, let’s imagine company is investing $30k in analytics and gets a return of $120k in monthly sales—or overall a 400% ROI. Now, they hire a web analytics expert that is able to take the same investment in marketing increase conversion rate and user experience and turn it in to $180k in revenue.
The challenge is that right now, the Marketing team actually claim credit for the improvement, while it is hard for the analytics team to be recognized for it. However, by calculating the ROA, the web analytics team can show their true worth.
Let’s assume that the company invests $5k per months in web analytics tools and services. So a monthly improvement of $60k in revenue and $5k in cost delivers an ROI of 1,200%. You don’t need to be a finance professor to know that is a great return.
To get the place they deserve in the organization’s totem pole, the analytics team need to be able to show indecisively the contribution that they are making to the organization’s top line. If they would like to justify the investment in more sophisticated tools they should compete with the other departments on ROI or ROA.
Filling long and exhausting forms and reading oceans of text in legalese may be part a lawyer’s typical day, yet it seems that visitors to law firms’ websites expect a different experience. New analysis shows that in order to generate leads online, law firms should avoid those habits that became synonymous with the trade.
A new post by John McDougall reviews how ClickTale can help law firms convert more of their website visitors through tracking user behavior and improving landing page conversion rates. McDougall is the CEO of McDougal Interactive, an expert in online marketing for law firms and the publisher of The Lead Review.
As the article points out, most law firms are way too focused on driving traffic and are not focusing enough on converting the traffic that they already have to leads. McDougall used ClickTale in order to track customers along their conversion funnel, see how far they scroll down, which links they click and how they interact with forms.
According to McDougall, form analytics is one of the most helpful features ClickTale offers. For law firms, lead generation is one of the most important goals for the website. Yet, according to McDougall, law firms use very long forms that typically have lower performance. Another important feature is the Scroll-Reach map that can teach you what portion of users actually see your call to action.
Even for law firms, data and knowledge are key to a higher conversion rate and better user experience. There is something in common for law and web analytics—good due diligence lets you win more cases and visitors.
A new report from eMarketer shows that online travel sales are growing rapidly in China, India and the rest of Southeast Asia. The research expects online travel sales in the region to grow from $79 billion in 2012 to $91 billion in 2013. The good news is that some of this surge in spending is likely to leak into international travel websites, hotels and destinations.
Growth in online travel is especially strong in India and China. eMarketer’s digital travel sales forecast from January 2013—which includes online, tablet and smartphone bookings—also expects the trend to continue all the way through 2016. Online travel sales in China will increase from about $33.3 billion in 2012 to nearly $50 billion by 2016—growth of 50%. India’s digital travel sales will nearly double from $9.61 billion to $18.65 billion during the same period.
This growth encompasses a great opportunity also for international travel sites, hotels and destinations. How can you know that your online customer experience is optimal for Asian travelers? Well, you can’t, not without tracking and measuring it first. When you analyze your website’s customer behavior and conversions, don’t forget to take a look at travelers browsing from Asia and see how they behave. This can be key for unlocking some further growth.
Nevertheless, there are some rules of thumb that work for every travel website. In a whitepaper titled “Best Practices for Online Travel,” ClickTale’s Customer Experience Experts give some advice about their user engagement analysis on online websites.
According to the analysis, there are 4 specific web elements that can improve user engagement on travel websites:
- Provide engaging details of the amenities or destination. Distinguish yourself from the competition by giving website visitors an in-depth description of what they are going to get. Remember that for many users, building expectations is part of the fun before a vacation.
- Remember that most users skim rather than read the text. Therefore, use bullets, bold text and images to let users get as much as they can in as little time possible.
- Reviews. Travelers are more likely to believe fellow travelers than believing you. Therefore design a program to facilitate reviews of past happy customers.
- Call to action. Grab users’ right when they make a decision. Make sure always to have a visible and compelling call to action. Once someone has made a decision, don’t let them look any further for the booking page… They may choose to check out the competition instead.
Asian travel is booming and it’s a great opportunity for you to buck on this trend. Make sure to analyze the user experience and engagement of travelers from Asia to optimize your website for them as well.