B2Bento’s B2B Conversation with the folks of SEO & Social Media agency Happy Marketer continues.

So far, we’ve touched on SEO and SEM, video, and social. We’re midway through this nine-part series, and there’s more to share – but first, we’re going to wrap up the metrics talk begun in Part Four.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this interview are the personal views of the interviewees and and do not necessarily represent the philosophies or viewpoints of their organization or clients.

 (Anol Bhattacharya – AB, Prantik Mazumdar – PM, Rachit Dayal – RD, and David Liem – DL)

AB: Let’s come to analytics. Rachit’s favorite topic. I won’t go into technical detail first.

When everything is measurable and loads of data is generated how do we make any sense of that? Think about it from your clients perspective.

RD: It’s so comforting to have an Excel sheet that goes 7 tabs, and you can just forward it and say I’ve done it.

AB: And that person, without reading it, forwards it on to their boss. So here comes the question.

We are kind of getting overwhelmed with this analytics data, so how we can make sense of that data into some actionable information? How do you suggest that?

RD: I think there are certain segments of clients who are already kind of analytics-driven, like clients in hospitality for example.

Their daily reports already churn out revenue and the first question they ask is what does this work lead to. It’s in their DNA that they already attribute everything back to sales, and so there we have to pull them out a little bit and say, maybe it’s not converting today. Maybe look for a 12-day window where it comes back and converts and so some clients are already tuned into that.

The other extreme clients, they have no KPIs. They have a budget and social. 2 things that are on the brief and we have to satisfy, and there I think as agencies we have to step up and say: I think these are your objectives. Yes? Yes? Yes?

Eventually they will say yes, and we base ourselves to that, and we like to take what we call a bottleneck approach, so we say that, let’s assume your goal is a sale at the end – how does that happen? Somebody sees an ad. Then somebody clicks an ad, then they either bounce or don’t bounce on the page and then they go convert. Here are your bottlenecks.

Identify these and figure out where people are leaking out, and fix that. That I think is the purpose of analytics, not that Excel report that goes on and on and on, but simplifying to a one-slider that says: this is the journey, this is what analytics shows us and here’s what you do. That simplification, I think, as the folks in the agency world, we are in this day in and day out.

We are probably the best people to propose this, to push this through while some of our clients may not be mature enough to go do it themselves.

AB: You’re saying that it’s the agency’s duty to have that translation from the data to actionable information. Taking the data and tell the story. We have to do that. We’ve laid the blame on the clients for a long time. Let’s talk about us. We’re not doing our job. So we should be telling that story.

Prantik, you have anything to add?

PM: I think it’s very true: you need to be at some sort of high level and not go into exact details of page views, bounce rates and so on. You need to also make sense of, again, how does it tie back to my business goals and KPIs, and I think the other issue that I see is a lot of fragmentation between different kinds of analytics.

There’s the Google analytics on what’s happening on your page, social media analytics, transactional analytics, but I’ve seen good cases of companies, especially what Rachit was saying, where the analytics itself is part of their DNA so there are teams that look at analytics very holistically because GA is only about what’s happening on your page, but there is much bigger stuff happening outside your page. I think some particular division in the organization should be looking at that as to the whole picture of analytics.

In fact I’m hoping someone out there is going to actually make an integrated dashboard as to how do I know exactly across the web what’s happening. In fact I recently met someone from Unilever and that’s their biggest challenge.

He said, you know, we have so many pages, so many brands and so many countries. The boss in the center, the global team, he wants a universal dashboard which looks after, imagine in a category of soaps, he has 5 brands and 10 countries to manage. He can’t be looking at GA reports everyday.

Someone needs to tell him overall which brand is doing well where, on social or on Google – wherever. Someone hopefully will solve that very difficult problem of integrating analytics.

RD: But I tell you the problem with dashboards. A lot of companies, when a new person comes in, they create their new Excel dashboard and they pull in that data from somewhere. What’s missing there is context.

When they say that I got 17% conversions from social is that good or bad? How do we find out what the industry benchmark is? What was it before? Comparison in time, comparison between different slices, with competitors. So I think just simplifying to that picture and providing context for that picture is what that data needs to do.

AB: Web analytics, competitive benchmarking might be the difficulty but not in social. Social you can do competitive benchmarking which many companies don’t take advantage of. They just put a number to the likes they want to get.

PM: I think especially given this engagement and vanity metrics, it’s very important to at least do competitive because even if you are going to measure likes, at least see versus Anol’s company how many likes do I get. Individually it makes no sense.

Don’t go away – Part Six of our chat with Prantik Mazumdar, Rachit Dayal, and David Liem, on the future of social and web analytics, is next up.

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