Web Analytics Special Report: Analyze This

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The online channel may still be a small percentage of retail sales, but it casts a long shadow. Consumers visit Web sites not just to browse or buy directly, but also to research for purchases completed in-store, via direct mail or by telephone. Understanding what makes the consumer tick on the site is the role of Web analytics.

Why should Web analytics matter? Because marketers need to analyze consumer behavior online to deliver relevant Web pages, offers, content or experiences. And they need validation that the investment toward driving consumers to the site is returning its value.

U.S. e-commerce is projected to grow 22 percent this year to $172.4 billion from $141.4 billion in 2004, according to Forrester Research and Shop.org. Albeit on a smaller base, e-commerce is the fastest-growing retail channel.

However, industry spending on understanding consumer behavior online is pitiful: a mere $400 million this year, rising to $1 billion by decade's end, if JupiterResearch's forecast proves true. Stretched marketing budgets may be one reason for such an allocation for Web analytics. Equally possible is another reason: inadequate awareness of Web analytics' role in retail.

This special report on Web analytics hopes to change that. Experts from companies like JupiterResearch, Google, Omniture, Coremetrics, 24/7 Real Media, WebTrends, Offermatica, Experian's CheetahMail, Keynote Systems, ClearGauge and Optimost participated in this editorial endeavor. I thank them and their communications executives for their time and insight.

Issues discussed in this report are A/B and multivariable testing, holiday preparation, re-marketing, first-party cookies over third party and site design. Also included are tips on maximizing online ad revenue, translating visitor data and remodeling campaigns. And the case studies cover JoAnn.com, Select Comfort, Wine.com, BuildDirect and TheDeal.com.

Please start by reading the interview with Eric T. Peterson, Web analytics guru and senior analyst at JupiterResearch. That article, and others that follow, will help you understand the relationship between the marketing and the Web traffic.

To read more stories from our Web Analytics special report visit: http://www.dmnews.com/imarketing

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