Combine Web analytics with e-mail efforts, stress ad:tech New York panelists

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NEW YORK - Fifty-six percent of marketers say the Web is a huge part of their organizations, but only 15 percent measure analytics, according to an ad:tech New York JupiterResearch study cited by executives on a panel called "Merging Web Analytics with E-Mail Marketing Metrics to Increase Performance."

The session walked marketers through the importance of analytics in growing sales through e-mail campaigns.

"If you don't have Web analytics to analyze your e-mail campaign, then you are leaving money on the table," said Bill Nussey, president/CEO at Silverpop, Atlanta. "E-mail should not be thought of as a broadcast medium if you want to be relevant."

According to Mr. Nussey, an e-mail campaign that sends targeted messages based on Web click through metrics is nine times more successful in terms of sales than one that broadcasts out the same message to all its customers.

No one will contest the benefits to adding Web analytics to an e-mail campaign, but there are some challenges in implementing these two systems.

According to panelist Jay Kulkarni, founder/CEO at Theorem Inc., there are two things that drive successful integration.

The first is to make sure that the e-mail application allows marketers to track information without knowing an e-mail address. Sometimes customers do not give an e-mail address. But the goal is to be able to keep a database on the customer and have the ability to update information like an e-mail address automatically once the consumer decides to give it.

Next, does the e-mail platform allow marketers to maintain a customer database within a Web analytics tool? This is the easiest way to integrate data across the platforms.

When deciding on whether to measure analytics in-house or with a vendor it is key to understand in-house capability in regards to programming and analysis. Some outside vendors recommended by the panelists include Omniture, Coremetrics and WebSideStory.

Whether choosing to go to a vendor or to stay at home, tactical data issues that need to be addressed when setting up an analytics platform are simple. It is critical to define what information is to be measured. This will keep the information on track and relevant.

"It is important to understand the difference between reports and analytics when measuring campaigns," Mr. Kulkarni said. "Reports are static, while analytics is a dynamic interpretation that is sophisticated."

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