November 17, 2004, 12:00 AM

Companies with the right staff get more value from analytics: Jupiter

Making the best use of analytics requires dedicated staff, according to Jupiter. A report finds companies that dedicate at least one employee to analytics are twice as likely to use the reporting features most critical to improving site performance.

Web analytics can generate data on visitor behavior to guide site improvements-but only if the online retailers and others using analytics understand and make effective use of the analytics reporting available to them. Among other things, that requires dedicated staff, according to a recent report from JupiterResearch Inc.

“Staffing is strongly correlated with the likelihood that analytics applications will be used well,” says Jupiter analyst Eric Peterson, author of “Web Analytics: Spending, Staffing and Vendor Selection.” According to data gathered for the report, companies that dedicate at least one full-time staff equivalent to analytics are more likely to use the reporting features Jupiter considers fundamental to realizing value from analytics.

For example, Jupiter found that companies that dedicate at least one staff person to analytics are as least twice as likely as those that don’t to measure key metrics such as conversion rates, and integrate external search marketing data. Companies assigning at least one full-time staff person are at least three times as likely as those assigning none to use sophisticated data import-export strategies and predictive analysis tools.

Information such as total page views, rated an important use of analytics by 59% of the companies surveyed by Jupiter, is actually less useful in terms of improving web site performance than “higher-value” metrics such as measuring conversion rates, rated important by 32% of those surveyed. The number of companies rating basic metrics as important compared with the smaller number that rated higher-value metrics as important “implies companies still fail to appreciate the full value of analytics packages,” according to Jupiter.

“Considering that the promise of analytics ROI revolves around optimizing marketing, merchandising, and site design, these results strongly indicate that companies should assign dedicated staff to analytics,” says Peterson.

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