All the facts in the world…

Posted: Wednesday 6th July 2011 in eCommerce Technology, Retail Strategy, Thought Leadership.

Knowledge is power. And immediate access to accurate, reliable and trusted information can often mean the difference between success and resounding failure. Who wants to make important decisions without knowing the facts?

You wouldn’t buy a home without conducting a survey. And you wouldn’t book an expensive holiday without looking up the resort. So surely it’s a fool’s errand to run a paid search campaign without effective tracking and reporting?

Measurability has always been one of the key selling points of online advertising; the precision with which advertisers can track interaction has remained an important distinction over print and TV advertising since the web was first commercialised.

So any retailer who doesn’t utilise this advantage is missing a very obvious trick.

Facts in isolation however, are just the first part of the story.  It’s the decisions made, based on those facts, that make their collection worthwhile.

Any retailer who is serious about maximising their marketing budget based on the insights gained from tracking needs a single view of this information: the ability to watch trends, do year on year comparisons, see what’s working – and what isn’t – and begin to understand why.

To put it another way, all the facts in the world are useless without some kind of context.

For example, reading a hotel report that complains of noisy builders tells you nothing until you discover that it happened last summer – and that the five star extension is now complete. Facts with context get closer to telling the whole story.

Similarly, knowing that 20,000 visitors to your site came via Google – without knowing the search terms they used, the cost of any paid search, and the value of any corresponding sales – is just a nice big number without any useful context.

So, if you’re tracking the ‘success’ of your online advertising, make sure you also have a reporting structure that can make the most of the highly valuable data you’re capturing.

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