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Monitor, Adjust, Optimize.

Use online analytics to find out what works and do more of it

By Richard Rutigliano, PriMedia Inc.

To market most effectively through the Internet, it’s important to monitor the performance of your online assets, identify what’s working best, fine-tune your approach, and maximize sales.

A great tool for analyzing the performance of your websites and online advertising campaigns is Google Analytics. It can help you understand how visitors are interacting with your website by tracking their behavior. You can learn how they arrived at your site: what websites they visited last; what search terms, if any, they used to find you; or what online advertisements delivered them to the site.

Visitor Behavior

Google Analytics can also reveal what users do once they reach your website: what links they click; what pages they visit; and how long they spend on each page. The program can also work hand-in-hand with Google AdWords to provide solid data about the performance of your advertising campaigns.

Analytical data such as this is highly useful for a company that wants to optimize its web presence and make its website a sales and marketing machine. You can spot opportunities, troubleshoot problem areas and develop a clear sense of which online ads are most effective.

Once you are using analytics, it becomes easy to test and compare different approaches. For example, you might create two online coupons with different special offers. You could post the first one on the home page for three days and then replace it with the second one for another three days and compare the results. If one seems to perform much better, you can commit to it with confidence.

Similarly, you can compare the performance of online banner ads at different advertising sites and then increase your spending at the more effective sites while spending less on the less productive ones.

Convert Your Leads

Analytics can also guide the way to effective lead conversion by enabling you to track user actions all the way from your Internet ads to inquiry and assess what is happening at every step. First, optimize your PPC advertising by running three different ads with the same target page and seeing which ones drive the most traffic to your website. Next, see how visitors behave when they reach the target page on your site, which should have a call to action, such as “Click here to see a limited-time special offer.” If too few people click through from the target page, you can fine-tune the page content and then retest it with the revisions.

You can also analyze your social media campaigns. If you publish a blog, include at least one link to another page on your site in each post – “Click here for more information,” for example – and track the clicks to see what kind of posts get the best response. You can also analyze the effectiveness of your Facebook campaigns by using Facebook’s own analysis tools.

When you commit to a strategy of monitoring and adjusting your SEM, you learn what works in your market and what doesn’t, and you can continuously refine your online assets to improve your return on investment. In today’s ultra-competitive environment, the advantage you gain can make all the difference.

Richard Rutigliano is President of PriMedia, Inc., a full-service Advertising/Integrated Marketing Communications/New Media firm with offices in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia.