Free Chapter on Digital Analytics

Hi guys,

As mentioned in one of my previous posts, I am writing an ebook about Digital marketing in Vietnam and one of the topics is Digital Analytics.

The whole chapter is rather long so I will break it into smaller parts. What I discuss with Digital Analytics is:

  • What is Digital Analytics?
  • Why is it important?
  • What are different Analytics tools?
  • Free offsite tools
  • Paid offsite tools
  • Listening Tools/Platforms
  • Effective Analytics Strategy
  • Google Analytics Overview
  • Reference

1. What is Digital Analytics?

It used to be Web Analytics. However, with the proliferation of smartphone since 2007, it would be better to use the term Digital Analytics.

As we know, marketers/brand managers/sales managers/agencies need insights. Insights could come from intuition (like the brilliant Steve Jobs) or it could come from the right type of data.

For the web or mobile, marketers have an opportunity to obtain a great amount of data unavailable in the offline world about their users’ behaviour  However data overload or data puke seem to be a much bigger issue rather than not having enough data or no data at all.

On Wikipedia, we could find the definition for Web Analytics as followed: “Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage.”

and

“Web analytics is not just a tool for measuring web traffic but can be used as a tool for business and market research, and to assess and improve the effectiveness of a web site. Web analytics applications can also help companies measure the results of traditional print or broadcast advertising campaigns. It helps one to estimate how traffic to a website changes after the launch of a new advertising campaign. Web analytics provides information about the number of visitors to a website and the number of page views. It helps gauge traffic and popularity trends which is useful for market research.”

Since the birth of iPhone in 2007, internet users worldwide have been increasingly rely on their smartphones to access the internet. Together with hundred thousands of different apps created by brands, the need to collect, measure, analyze traffic through smartphone, tablets, smart tv is increasing. So the industry is now using the term Digital Analytics to include smartphones & tablets monitoring & measurement as well.

In Vietnam, while smartphone & tablet penetration is increasing, Digital Analytics is still very new so for the purpose of this part, we only talk about Web Analytics.

2. Why Web Analytics is important?

It’s important because it could help to answer many questions like:

  • With any marketing plan, there are always some numbers to help tracking whether the plan is going as per schedule, whether the target KPIs are being hit. With online we could track individual consumer, how they interact with the ads, how they interact with different marketing materials like the website, Facebook fan page. These numbers could turn into powerful insights on how the campaign/website/microsite are performing.
  • Which digital marketing initiatives are working as planned and which one are not?
  • How does client evaluate the performance of an agency?
  • Even very detailed things like why the media owner reports 10,000 clicks to the banner but Google Analytics only shows me 4,000 visits? Where does the rest go?
  • Which of my product benefits resonate more with the target audience?

Well while it’s true that Web Analytics could help to answer many questions, the fact that it’s related to technology requires whoever reading the reports to have certain degree of understanding of how the tools work and what the data actually means.

With suitable Web Analytics technologies/tools, one could know a lot about the marketplace, his competitors, behavior of its own website users, demographics of fans on the fan page.

3. Different Analytics Tools

There are basically two types of tools, one is onsite web analytics tool and the other one is off-site tool.

Onsite tools show you what happen on your website/microsite/your own platforms and they can only track users when they land on your platforms. Platform like Facebook has its own Facebook Insights, which could give some data.

Off-site tools could give you data & insights outside of your website, including your competitor website, buzz about your brand online, demand from a particular market/region etc…

For onsite tool, the most commonly used method now is javascript tracking tool, which means a few lines of javascript code need to be put on every page of the website/microsite that marketers want to track.

In Vietnam, people often use Google Analytics. However, there are many different onsite tools available like:

  • Enterprise tools: Omniture SiteCatalyst, CoreMetrics, WebTrends
  • Mid tier tools: Unica, XiTi, NedStat, ClickTracks
  • Free tools: Google Analytics, Yahoo Web Analytics

Enterprise tools are often bought at the global or regional level and when it comes to Vietnam, majority of these tools are not actively used by local team. Many agencies (even international agencies in Vietnam) do not actively use these tools or use them at a very basic, limited level. I am talking about the majority, and of course there are some minor exceptions.

Samsung Vietnam is using Omniture to track website’s performance. ANZ Vietnam is using the same tool. HSBC is using WebTrends. You could find out about this quite easily by looking at the source code of the site. These javascript tracking code is often put at the bottom.

One question people may ask is that why we need to use Enterprise (expensive tools) while we can use free tools like Google Analytics?

Well there are two main reasons i think:

  • With Enterprise tools, you own your data and you could do whatever you want with it. If you want to integrate the data into another system you build or with a third party system, you could.
  • Regular support: since Google Analytics’s a free tool, if you have any questions about Google Analytics, online help section is your best friend. With paid tool, they often come with access to dedicated account manager, one that could help you to navigate the sea of data or answer any questions you may have.

In Vietnam context, we’d better stick with Google Analytics because we don’t have many professional analysts to use these Enterprise tools effectively. (well we don’t even have enough digital marketing professional!)

For offsite tools/technologies/services, there are many types:

  • Panel based measurement: comScore, compete, Effective Measure, Cimigo. comScore is probably the most famous technology in this category with global coverage across multiple territories and languages.
  • IPS based measurement: Hitwise.
  • Listening tools/platforms: Radian6, Brandtology, Alterian SM2 etc…
  • Data from Search Engine: Google keyword tool, Google Trends

There is also platform specific reporting tool that allows the owner to see statistics of what’s happening on their property like Facebook Fanpage Insights, You Tube channel insights. It could provide a lot of data for you. In a way these tools should belong to onsite tool because you only know about users who interact with your properties. However, to make things simpler, i put them separated.

For smartphone app analytics, there are many services like Flurry Analytics, Localytics etc…

That’s it for today. Feel free to leave any comments you may have.

Thanks,

Chandler

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