It points out one of two different directions in current analytics for websites and banner ads, where the other is preached by companies such as ROI Solutions (of Tribal DDB) whose blog has an interesting article with "A Call for Using Only Financial Metrics to Measure and Evaluate the Performance of For-Profit CMOs". This thinking is supported by others as well, such as the planner Nina Åkestam in an article in Resumé a while ago, arguing that for any campaign, the only thing worth measuring is profitability. I don't suggest that the metrics for evaluating the people in marketing and the ads should be the same, but the trend is cleary a call for metrics for what's really in your wallet.
While both of these directions are very interesting, are we missing something important here?
I'm assuming that the holy grail for all my analytics friends would be to track their users across all digital media throughout their day, such as corporate websites, banner ads, widgets, email, mobile and all the rest. The data keeps piling up for each new medium, but I rarely see it turned into real insights of how different people behave.
I want to put out a call to bring social knowlegde into web analytics. Let's make an effort to unify what knowlegde the media buying agencies have about user trends and demographics, combine that with behavioural patterns emerging from search and web analytics and voila - we'll have some pretty powerful insights about how different users behave online and communicate.
For example, if you are IKEA and you learn from your web analyst team that people from the west coast tend to spend a lot of time looking for new kitchens, while the northerners are really more into wardrobes, how about setting up your DM department to tailor for these needs? Or maybe you'll learn that traffic from your ads in an upmarket online magazine are using the search function on your website to look for kitchen appliances, and mobile users mainly look for childrens furniture? Should that change how you make your print adverts?
My idea, and I guess it's pretty obvious, is that what we learn from our consumers online tells us a whole lot about what they except from our offline communication. Let's fill the gap between what the analyst evangelists are eagerly giving us and the traditional social insights that account planners dig their heads into. The first one to be able to combine these with automatic tools is going to have a serious advantage.
And that's really what will bring in the money.