The Wired Hotel: Web site analytics - What's it really all about?
By Jerry Tarasofsky CEO, iPerceptions Inc. | January 27, 2012
It is almost impossible to pick up a trade journal or newspaper today and not read something about web site analytics. Google is giving it away free and experts are saying you can't run a web site without it. So what are analytics really all about?
Let's begin by first looking at the need for analytics.
Winning in the online world is not a whole lot different than winning a golf match for example - you have to outperform the other players in your foursome. You have to play smarter, you need a consistent long game as well as a great short game and you need to be able to measure your performance every time you hit the links.
How you go about improving your golf game is what separates the pro's from the duffers. You have to know what clubs to use, you have to perfect your swing with all clubs and you have to know your limits. When you are confident you have these necessary skills in place you are ready to take on Pebble Beach.
Your web site is no different. For a web site to perform well and deliver an acceptable ROI, it has to be perfect or as near to perfect on many levels and in many areas before it can achieve business success. To do this you need to understand how the various components of your site are performing. And to do this you need access to metrics or analytics that will allow you to measure and benchmark your customer's experience and overall satisfaction with your web site. You need to understand what makes your web site visitor tick.
There are two ways to collect this information. You can watch what your visitors do (behavioral) or you can listen to them (attitudinal). To put this into practice in the traditional bricks and mortar sense, you can observe a guest's reaction to a new room design and know whether it had positive or negative impact, or you can ask them when they checkout what they thought. In this scenario watching will only take you so far. Until you actually listen to them and get their feedback in a form you can take action on, you won't know what if any impact that design change had on their intention to return to your hotel.