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Proactive vs. Reactive Web Analytics

Jan 13, 2008
Proactive web analytics is necessary for successful web presence. Everything that is meant to help your business succeed online must be tied into your web analytics strategy. Every web site, e-mail campaign, Pay Per Click ad, landing page, and blog must be measured. There is no improvement possible without rigorous measurement of what is happening to your web presence. As the old cliché goes, if you can't measure it you can't manage it. Without measuring the effectiveness of your efforts, all you do is make decisions based on feelings instead of facts.

The reactive approach to web analytics equates to running your business in crisis mode. It's not pretty. Whenever you are doing anything in crisis mode, you can't plan for anything and without planning you can't succeed. You should not make a change, spend another dollar, and start a new marketing campaign without measurable goals. Web analytics is your tool to measure your level of success and failure.

A web presence that does not include a proactive web analytics strategy creates an environment where decisions are based on assumptions instead of information based on data. Such a system is a recipe for disaster. Before your start a new e-mail campaign, make changes to your website, begin a pay per click campaign, or make any change you must list specific goals to measure its effectiveness. Once you have set your goals, you must determine your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Then, you have to determine what tool you are going to use to capture the data.

With proactive web analytics, you can quantify the elements of your web presence. The insight you get through proactive web analytics is going to help you understand how all that affects your profit.

Reactive web analytics means that you are waiting for something bad to happen before you examine the data. There is benefit in using web analytics reactively, but the greatest value is in proactive web analytics.

For example, if you have been measuring the effectiveness of a landing page for your previous e-mail campaigns, you can get a good understanding of what worked and what was less effective. With the proactive approach, you are armed with useful information that can be readily applied to new projects. You can create the e-mail campaign based on the web analytics intelligence you have gathered through previous campaigns.

Proactive web analytics empowers you to prevent failure, or at least minimize the likelihood of failure. The fix it later, or reactive approach, is most likely to fail because it is always a step behind. The reactive approach to web analytics is the same as putting out fires. Unfortunately, putting out fires results in damage, while preventing fires, the proactive approach to web analytics, avoids damage. To succeed in business you must be able to plan ahead, proactive web analytics is part of a winning business strategy. With web analytics, you are going to be able to measure the KPIs that will make or break your business objectives.
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