When colonial separatists needed a logo and a slogan to state their case, the angry snake with the words “Don't Tread on Me” seemed to express their feelings to a T.

That independent spirit lives on today in corporations across America, and as a result it's harder than we expected to make the most of Web analytics.

Web analytics can reveal an as-yet-untapped wealth of information about site value, the marketplace in general, and your customers in particular. Although Web tracking and reporting systems are not simple to implement, many companies are making real progress in cranking out interesting reports. Sadly, there is an angry snake keeping those reports from being useful.

It's interesting that 30% of Macintosh users are buyers compared with 3% of Windows users. It's interesting that 23% of visitors to a home page click on support while 19% click on products.

Those numbers are only useful when they become part of a process of continuous improvement. Improved lead generation. Improved revenues. Improved cost control. Improved customer satisfaction.

So where's the snake?

The CXO-level people in your organization understand the power of measurement. They know they cannot manage what they do not measure. The people on the front line understand the value of good gauges. They know instant feedback is their friend in the battle to stretch their advertising dollar, streamline processes and improve the customer experience.

The snake slithers right between the chiefs and the Indians.

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image of Jim Sterne

Jim Sterne (jsterne@targeting.com) is the founder and director of Target Marketing (www.targeting.com), founder of the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, and the founding president and current chairman of the Web Analytics Association.