My grandmother had a “secret” recipe for chocolate chip cookies and they always tasted better than any other cookies. She had many mouths to feed when she baked: A dozen family members would line up for an all-you-can-eat buffet on the days our families got together, and at day’s end, she would ask us to divide the remaining cookies into our individual bags. While my three brothers would grab as many cookies as they could, I wanted to make sure I got the cookies with the most chips. For me, quality mattered then — and it does now in web analytics too.
Google Analytics has been around for a long time and it remains a useful tool. Recently, I have come to rely upon what we at MorningStar call “session evaluations.” Session evaluations utilize our analytic software to look at individual user sessions and enable us to understand how human beings are interacting with our clients’ digital offerings.
After becoming increasingly frustrated with the process of tracking users, new users, time spent, bounce rates and page views, we knew there had to be a better way. Those metrics were useful but only to a point. They became like the cookies that only had a chip or two – not what we really wanted. They were a vague report card that lacked actionable data to help us grow our clients’ business. While session evaluations do require a dedicated human interacting with the data, the payoff has been well worth it for our clients. Daily session evaluations improve outcomes due to recency, knowledge of who the actual buyer is, and the choices they are considering.
Recency is a winning attribute, especially given clients who have short shopping windows. Knowing daily when a customer is in the market helps businesses be the first to contact the prospect, leading to a higher engagement and closing ratio. Using visitor identification software to see which businesses and past known visitors are on the site allows sales and customer satisfaction teams to provide timely solutions. These teams are informed not just by software, but by a specialist who can understand what the customers’ needs and specific solutions are before direct contact is made.
Content marketing continues to lead to profitable interactions with new and existing customers. Software suites such as Marketo, Hubspot and Sharpspring provide a suite of products to assist in such efforts. These and others provide the software that gives insights into session evaluations. Such software ends at reporting these sessions – that is where training specialists on staff to understand the nature of these sessions and mine the visit to understand what the customer is seeking is an effort we are seeing benefits from daily. Training such a specialist is in its infancy.
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