How to Use Web Transaction Data in Data Driven Marketing - dummies

How to Use Web Transaction Data in Data Driven Marketing

By David Semmelroth

When a customer interacts with you online, it gives you access to a wide variety of information that can be useful in your data driven marketing efforts. You obviously have access to customer purchases. But beyond that, virtually every click, search, and page view can be recorded and accessed. Furthermore, because you control your web content, you can react to many customer interactions instantaneously.

How to use e-mail campaign data

When you send a marketing e-mail, you almost always include a link to your website in the e-mail. Your call to action often involves directing the customer to your website to register, shop, purchase, or go for a discounted offer. Your customer’s response to these campaigns can be measured.

Your e-mail service provider will typically provide you with daily or even more frequent reports that include two key metrics for these campaigns:

  • How many customers actually looked at your e-mail. That is, how many people actually opened the e-mail and presumably read it.

  • How many customers clicked on the link in your e-mail and proceeded to your site. This is the more important metric. The click-through rate often forms the basis for judging the success of an e-mail campaign in getting the attention of its audience.

Your e-mail service provider (ESP) can provide you with a good deal more as well. To really understand the success of your campaign, however, you need to know who purchased. Click-through data can actually be tracked to the individual customer.

More precisely, it can be tracked to the individual e-mail address. Your ESP can provide you with this e-mail disposition data so that you can load it into your marketing database for analysis purposes.

The customer may click through to your website but not purchase immediately. They may come back to your website later by clicking on the browsing history button in their browser. If they make a purchase during that session, you may want to attribute that purchase to your e-mail campaign.

This can be done by tying the e-mail address associated with the purchase transaction back to the e-mail address on the mail file.

How to use page-use data

Another useful type of data pertains to how your customers use your website. Most websites have a large number of different pages full of various kinds of content. Your web-hosting system can keep track of every one of the pages a user views and even the order in which they view them.

Market-basket analysis and groups of products that are frequently bought together are defined like suits and ties, for example. Much of this kind of analysis is based on purchase data. But page-view data can also tell you a lot about the groups of products that customers are interested in.

Websites frequently make suggestions while customers are shopping on the site. “Customers who bought that often bought this too,” for example. The page-view data is critical to understanding how well these recommendations are performing. If no one ever clicks on the recommendation, then you know you’d better find a different recommendation.

You also have access to data about how your customer got to your site. You can know, for example, whether they came to your site from a competitor’s site or from a search engine or sponsored link. You also have access to information about where they went afterwards.

Many websites allow their users to perform keyword searches of their websites, and you can analyze that data — in context. In other words, you know what page the user was looking at when they searched for a particular keyword.

Much of the page-use data from your site is anonymous. You may not recognize many of the customers viewing your page. But this data is still incredibly valuable in understanding how customers are using your website and how they shop for, and ultimately buy, your products.