Visitor vs. Web Analytics and why you should care

January 6th, 2011 by Marcus Tewksbury

In today’s customer focused environment it is very important to understand how critical your website can be in the sales process.  There is a single salesperson that touches every single deal, and that’s your website.  For a long time Google Analytics and the like have done a great job of reporting on things happening on the site.  Where they start to fall down, however, is in connecting that information to things, like sales, that may happen in another part of the business.

This is where the delineation between web and visitor analytics becomes important.  Web analytics tools are designed to tell you everything about your site.  Where did visitors come from? Did they bounce? How long did they stay on the site?  Which pages were the most viewed?  Which pages netted registrations?  Etc.  This is all great data and it certainly adds value to making improvements to your website.  What it doesn’t tell you, however, is how a single visitor progressed through those steps.  It aggregates the activity of all visitors.

In the age of customer-centric marketing this is a problem.  It’s not about what all the visitors did; it’s about what the most valuable ones did.  With visitor analytics you can trace the journey of specific visitors from first touch all the way through to conversion.  Even if eventual sales are transacted offline, you are still able to make the connection.  Visitor analytics is about taking all the same data that web analytics provide, but viewing it through the filter of a specific visitor (as opposed to the site).

By doing this, visitor analytics enables you to optimize content and campaigns around customers in a direct, trackable way.  This cannot be done with web analytics.  If you want to talk about ROI and focusing on high worth customer engagement, therefore, you will need to use visitor analytics.

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