Where Google Analytics Falls Short

analytics-chartMost of Google Analytics is focused on anonymous users in the aggregate. The online marketer can narrow the segments to groups such as paid visitors (those who clicked on PPC ads) from Utah who spent over $100. This kind of advanced segmentation delivers very powerful data, but some sites need more. Some sites (like Amazon) allow users to personalize the experience by signing in. Users can shop at online stores anonymously or can sign in to get benefits such as offers tailored to their viewing and buying history within the site. These users can see products specifically chosen for them and purchase them with a single click. In these instances, the website owner knows that this customer is a Mr. Wile E. Coyote, a very loyal Acme Products customer with an unlimited credit rating. This lucrative repeat customer is very important to Acme. An online marketer will want to track these signed-in customers with an even fi ner degree of data based on their history. This data detail is Google Analytics’ blindspot. Currently there is no elegant way to track known individuals using Google Analytics. This is where pricier analytics packages have a powerful place in online marketing measurement.

Google offers a number of tools for searching (Google Product Search for a listing of competitors selling the same product and Google Commerce Search for presenting and searching for products within an organization’s website), payment (Google Checkout), and more. But they offer nothing that dynamically creates custom pages by drawing on individual user history. Other vendors offer this kind of software and they have analytics built into it. By the time an organization gets into the business of dynamically creating pages for signedin users and tracking their behavior, it is time to evaluate such software on a case-by-case basis. Organizations that rely heavily on the power of personas (having very distinct descriptions of users, their behaviors, etc.) can help model “ideal clients” with individual tracking technology, which helps them study in detail who their top clients are as well as their behaviors, preferences, and more. Online marketers can use this detailed information to design savvier websites, messaging, and more.

You can also send marketing e-mails to individuals and track their responses so that you can customize their experiences. These fall under the heading of customer relationship management (CRM). This software prompts Acme to e-mail Mr. Coyote to show him the latest bird-catching devices. CRM software allows an organization’s sales force to track the success of their coordinated marketing efforts both online and off.

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