Keith MacDonald 11:02 pm on Feb 2, 2012 Reply  

One of the benefits of working as a consultant is having the chance to work with a wide variety of companies, who pursue many different business models, across a wide breadth of industries.  Each engagement we do is unique and gives us experience applying digital analytics in a variety of ways for a number of different purposes.

Traditionally digital analytics is used to look at the level of success digital properties (websites, mobile apps, etc.) achieve in serving business goals:  how many new people registered for a newsletter, how many orders and how much revenue were received, how many times people found an answer in FAQ instead of calling the customer service department, and so on.

Each of these activities is valuable and so they are measured and analysed against goals set by the business.  The result of this analysis is (hopefully) optimization: making small changes to get more people to register for the newsletter than last month, generate more orders and revenue, etc.

Product optimization however isn’t the only way that digital analytics can provide value to a business.  The next-most-common use of digital analytics is to look at marketing and promotion efforts:  how many people registered for your newsletter from an email promotion sent to your subscribers, how many orders were generated after users clicked on your display ad, etc.

Here again the result of this analysis is (hopefully) optimization: identifying which creative, what messaging, delivered on which channel gets the best response from your followers (audience, clients or customers) and gets them doing more of that, whatever “that” is.

Google Analytics took that one step further last year by introducing the Multi-Channel Funnel report.  Google certainly wasn’t the first to come up with the idea – Omniture calls it Cross-Visit Participation or “Campaign Stacking”.  The purpose of multi-touch analysis is to acknowledge that most businesses don’t do just one type of marketing (a single campaign may include paid keywords, display ads and email advertising, as example), and similarly that most users don’t see just one of those types of marketing.

Most users “touch” your company or campaign multiple times:  they see your ad when they search for “tea kettle”, they see your ad again when browsing their favourite food website, and they see it a third time when they receive your weekly email newsletter.  Multi-touch analysis looks at how all of these touch points work together and highlights the role each type of marketing (marketing channel) plays in the bigger picture.