digitalCThe proportion of digital contact points, significant for the success of your own business model, is growing. As a result, the online customer journey has become an integral part of the customer intelligence strategy today. In addition to the online advertising contacts that take place along the entire digital customer journey, one's own website plays a central role here, too. Whether in traditional eCommerce or lead generation, the focus is always on the user. With the help of digital analytics, the behavior and needs of users can be better understood so that in-depth recommendations for action can be derived, thus, leading to improved service, a better product, and an optimized customer experience.

In order to make successful decisions for all digital contact points, it is important for companies to establish a digital analytics culture. In close cooperation with all specialist departments, such as the product team, online marketing, website and app managers, appropriate requirements are developed and tracking strategies implemented.

For a comprehensive customer-centric view, the needs and behavior of customers must be analyzed across channels, devices and platforms. An important component of customer-centered communication is thus the analysis of digital channels and the associated derivation of concrete recommendations for action.

For Digital Analytics, three essential components have emerged:

  • Web Analytics deals with measuring events on a web page.
  • Online Marketing Controlling measures the effect of digital acquisitions.
  • Digital Customer Insights builds the bridge between anonymous cookie-based and personal data.

Ideally, all three areas should work hand in hand to maximize synergies.

Web Analytics

The aim of the web analysis is a continuous monitoring of the success of websites. Web analytics is the basis for understanding the behavior of users on a web page, optimizing the user experience and conversion goals. User behavior includes, for example, the length of stay, visited page areas, interaction with elements such as video views or the on-site search.

The conversion goal depends on the business model and can be, for instance a sale in e-commerce, winning a lead in the B2B area, or interacting with an article in an online magazine.

Within the scope of the web analytics it is also assessed which users are on the page (e.g., number of users and user quality), where they come from (acquisition channels), and whether user behavior differs depending on the acquisition channel. For this purpose, the subdivision of the page into page areas and different goals makes sense and it can be found out whether the users also perform the desired action on the page, such as, for example, buying a product online, completing a contact form, or reading an article.

An analysis of the conversion process (conversion funnel) on the page can provide information about possible optimization potentials. For example, payment methods that make users more likely to buy can be identified, or form fields that lead to cart abortion.

Onpage analytics also involves continually adjusting and improving the page through testing and conversion optimization. Not only classic web analytics tools that collect user data on a page view and hit base can be helpful, but tools that can record mouse movement and click heatmaps, as well as entire sessions of individual users, which are a great addition, too.

Online Marketing Controlling

Online Marketing Controlling comprises the evaluation of the entire online marketing measures as well as their interaction, in other words the entire digital customer journey, with the aim to distribute the marketing budget as efficiently as possible.

The evaluation and optimization of the channel itself is handled by an agency or the in-house team responsible for the operational implementation. More difficult to judge is the interaction of the channels, especially when different parties work together. The overarching view across all channels and the corresponding customer journeys is important in order to evaluate the overall marketing mix and to allocate budgets correctly.

With the help of different attribution models, in addition to last-click attribution, it is possible to optimize the entire marketing mix, save resources and increase budget efficiency. Last-click attribution simply assigns the conversion to the click of the last ad. Other models also consider contact points (advertising or even customer service contacts) throughout the journey to purchase. The appropriate model depends not only on the channel, but also very much on the business model, the product, and ultimately the individual user.

Digital Customer Insights - from anonymous cookies to happy customers

In the web analysis, anonymous user data is initially collected and grouped into user clusters, although the entire online marketing addresses the individual customers. Hence, the digital and real world are increasingly merging. When an entire user journey was previously only viewed online, visiting a website or viewing the product video online is just a touchpoint to a much more complex customer journey today that extends across multiple digital and real touch points. Similarly, the use of multiple devices complicates the cookie-based evaluation. To avoid this, the cookie data can be linked to an anonymized user-related identifier in order to map a holistic user journey across all digital contact points.

This data can be used to segment user groups that allow significantly more relevant targeting options. If a customer in the web shop informs himself in detail about the product, but does not buy online, he falls into a retargeting cluster for website visitors. If he carries out the purchase later in the brick and mortar shop, this purchase can be allocated with the help of a loyalty card as an identifier to the customer, meaning the offline purchase can be assigned. That way, this individual customer can again be excluded from the retargeting segment for website visitors in order not to unnecessarily harass him with advertising material and at the same time save marketing resources. It also makes playing real personalized content possible.

Last but not least, it is important that the full control over the evaluations and the knowledge gained is anchored in the company internally and not externally. The analysis must be neutral and independent of factors such as, for instance, marketing budgets or website development preferences. Therefore, it is always advisable to establish web tracking and marketing controlling parallel and in a neutral way.

By Daniela La Marca