Analytics Data CRM

Analytics focus: data integration and tracking mobile traffic

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By The Drum Team | Editorial

April 16, 2012 | 10 min read

As part of The Drum’s special report on analytics, we speak to a number of agencies operating in the space to gain an insight into the key issues surrounding this heady topic.

In a series of features, we’ll be looking at the industry’s responses to the questions we posed, to determine the challenges and trends facing analytics in 2012.Data integration is a major problem facing the web analytics industry. Is it actually possible to track mobile traffic?Carl Fernandes, head of analytics and conversion optimisation, iProspect Integrating web analytics data with CRM systems, third party data and other technology solutions is definitely a challenge faced by the web analytics industry, however, there are solutions in place that allow the majority of providers to provide a joined-up approach to data analysis.Tools such as Omniture SiteCatalyst have features in place that allow advertisers to classify their web analytics data using data from external sources such as product catalogues/databases. Omniture also has a technology called “Genesis” that allows the platform to integrate with many suppliers, including Doubleclick, Mediamind, ExactTarget and Comscore. Google Analytics Premium now allows advertisers to integrate Doubleclick data into their reports, opening up lots of possibilities in terms of attribution modelling and providing more insight into the impact of display advertising.The majority of web analytics solutions have APIs in place that allow developers to export data into any format required for integration with other platforms. At iProspect we have developed data connectors into both Google Analytics and Omniture to allow us to integrate this data with other data sources (such as Facebook) and present this back to the client using our proprietary dashboarding solution.Custom Variables allow advertisers to add new metrics and dimensions to their web analytics data that aren’t available by default. For example, you could use this data to segment visitors by gender, or age group. The same logic can be used to provide unique IDs for each visitor that arrives at a website, that can be matched back to a CRM solution or another data source (depending on the terms and conditions of the web analytics provider, for example, Google Analytics does not allow this, but Google Analytics Premium does).Mobile tracking is definitely possible within web analytics tools, with many suppliers providing reports out-of-the-box for this tracking. The historical issue was around tracking non-smart phones (that don’t support Javascript) and tracking mobile applications.Many solutions have provided SDKs allowing GA tracking to be utilised for mobile Apps, as well as a server side tracking solution that does not require Javascript to track non-smart phones. Conrad Bennett, VP of technical services, EMEA, WebtrendsThe problem of siloed data is being tackled across businesses as a whole, not just in analytics. Fractured data can impact on the accuracy of analysis, and on how the data is used to inform decisions. Mobile channels are adding another dimension for analytics, and businesses need to be aware of the different customer experience expectations on mobile devices versus the traditional desktop. Just because analytics on mobile traffic leads to one conclusion, doesn’t mean the same learning can be applied to the desktop version of a website.It is possible to track mobile traffic through analytics, but marketers need to collect data at the lowest level possible to make it easy for developers to add analytics to the system. That means you need to build analytics into the mobile code.Across mobile and other channels, marketers need to make sure that they only collect the information they need and don’t become data hoarders. Otherwise, they run the risk of drowning in data, and not using any of it to drive effective business decisions. Ultimately they need to decide what the purpose of the site is, which in turn will allow them to decide what they need to measure. Matt Bullas, managing director, Click Consult It is possible, but the information provided by Google is to some degree slightly limited. When using a mobile, people are often looking for something on the move – a phone number for a restaurant, etc. But bounce rate to some degree doesn’t give the full picture on whether the page is actually relevant. For example, the bounce rate might be high on the page, but is this due to the fact that the page is poor, or is it actually really good, as the information they wanted was so direct and relevant? You cannot use conventional methods to determine how effective your mobile site is. Even average time on site depends on what you are trying sell on your site. The market is different and ultimately there are different targets and this should be reflected within Analytics. Apple has the rights on phone numbers on sites automatically connecting and calling; this isn’t tracked through Analytics but something bespoke can be built in, this should not be the case and Analytics should report this as standard. This is one solution to help with detecting how your site is being viewed through mobile devices. Another feature is actually to do with Mobile not being split into two categories: one for phone and one for tablet. The two devices are used in different ways. You use your phone on the move so this suggests less time between destinations, therefore average time on site should be lower. With the tablet, often people use this at home instead of a laptop, therefore average time on site should be longer. Dan Peden, head of SEO, Epiphany SolutionsTracking mobile traffic is not only entirely possible, but has come a long way in terms of accuracy since it was introduced. Tracking mobile traffic in silo has improved greatly, however the larger problem comes with data integration.The issues of data integration arise when you need to join the dots of a single user between their PC, laptop, mobile device use, in order to fully integrate their data to analyse their online behaviour accurately. Viewing data from individual site visits is much easier, but results in less meaningful feedback.Data integration is possible, but difficult to implement and is also a lot harder for some companies and industries than others. For example, sites that implement a user log in such as Amazon, can track a user’s activity when they access the site through all different channels, as long as they are logged in. Sites which do not require a log in will face issues when trying to connect an individual users’ mobile data to their behaviour on the site through another channel to be able to analyse their overall use of the site, as oppose to just individual visit behaviour. Mike Quinn, Product Marketing Manager, AdobeThe simple answer to this is yes. Adobe tracks 1.4 trillion transactions across the web, on mobile and via social platforms per quarter on behalf of its customers, which include the likes of Salesforce.com, John Lewis, Vodafone, Carphone Warehouse and Aviva to name but a few. To drill down further, when Carphone Warehouse found out through independent research that 23% of internet visitors were accessing websites through a mobile device, it decided to prioritise its mobile marketing strategy. It used the Adobe Digital Marketing Suite to gain real-time insights into mobile customers’ behaviours in order to deliver more relevant experiences and interactions in order to deliver personal online experiences, whilst being mindful of the consumers’ privacy requirements and concerns. Joanna Chmielewska, head of analytics and conversion, I Spy MarketingSmartphones are capable of executing Javascript – it means that traffic from mobile devices can be analysed in the same way as desktop traffic. Major analytics packages such as Google Analytics have a whole suite of mobile traffic reports and allow in-depth analysis of the mobile segment down to device, operating system and network level as well as comparison versus non-mobile traffic.Seth Richardson, CEO, DC Storm It is often the integration of non-tracking data that maximises the value of tracking data. For example, a stock feed that contains product costs can enable reporting on margin rather than just sale value. This type of integration is only possible if the analytics vendor has the technology and service to support bespoke implementations.Most tracking solutions can track mobile users as long as the mobile browser supports Javascript (which most of them do), however the behaviour use of cookies on mobile devices is highly variable. Development of other cookie-less tracking solutions are more reliable on mobile browsers and their use will certainly increase. Tracking mobile apps can be tricky given that an app is a bespoke application; it requires more complex implementation of tracking code and a different set of metrics and KPIs to measure the performance. Bundling mobile and online tracking together and thinking of them as the same thing is certainly the wrong approach; they should be considered different response channels and with the measurement of them thought out separately.Guido Fambach, VP professional services, comScoreCross-platform measurement is an important topic for comScore and a key component of Digital Analytix, our web analytics offering. As connected device usage increases, having truly integrated cross-platform measurement gains importance. Tagging mobile sites and applications allows our clients to get the full picture of their audience's behaviour, on and off their site. Lynn Wilson, analytics insight manager, EquatorGoogle Analytics certainly enables you to track and analyse this sort of data. Data from clients’ mobile sites and mobile data from non-mobile sites can be detected, as can user engagement via any client apps. Within the Adwords section Google Analytics makes it pretty easy to flick from ‘all traffic’ to ‘non-mobile’ to ‘high-end mobile’ to ‘tablet’, enabling you to quickly understand the importance (and conversion propensity) of your campaigns across these devices. And of course if you want to dig a little deeper into operating system Google makes this easy to do also.Outwith AdWords traffic, the Advanced Segments are a good way to hone in on how mobile users generally interact with your site, allowing you to build a solid strategy tailored to this group. We don’t separate mobile from non-mobile traffic until we’ve analysed them individually.

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