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Tracking Customers Beyond Google Analytics

A marketing shop gleans powerful insights on visitors to clients' sites, filling in the details where Google Analytics leaves off.
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At Novatex Solutions, a 10-person digital marketing firm based in Sugar Land, Texas, marketing manager Jason Ephraim was dealing with a common shortcoming of Google Analytics. While excellent at tracking broad trends over time for a website, the service doesn't quickly reveal the kind of individual visitor information that can make or break a site's ability to generate leads. And the amount of time Ephraim spent unpacking that data was eating into the company's margins.

"It's not that [Google Analytics] was lacking, it's that there was no way to form a complete picture, especially of an individual user," he says. He wanted real-time, at-a-glance data on those visitors that would quickly alert him to any site issues, and more important, allow him to tweak his marketing efforts to generate solid leads from the relatively small number of visitors to his clients' websites.

His goal: Find a tool that would complement Google Analytics' big-picture snapshot and free up his time so he could manage more campaigns--and clients--effectively.

The Fix
Ephraim signed on with London-based GoSquared, an analytics platform designed to demonstrate how people use a site, tracking key information like where individual visitors are from, what brought them to the site and how they view a page. "It very easily gets you up to speed in as little time as possible," says GoSquared co-founder and CEO James Gill. "We've managed to do that by deciding aggressively to cut features out of the product that we don't think are necessary."

Ephraim tested GoSquared on a medical service provider's multistep lead-generation tool to see why it wasn't performing as well as expected. GoSquared's data indicated that the majority of visitors were getting stuck on certain steps and quitting the site. Ephraim quickly tweaked the tool, adding a step-by-step introduction page and changing its structure and flow.

The Results
The changes to the lead-generation tool resulted in a profit gain of roughly 20 percent for the client. Ephraim now uses GoSquared with all his clients' sites. Its efficiency has allowed him to nearly double his customer base and quadruple the number of advertising campaigns he can manage by himself. "With GoSquared, I always have a decent idea of what is going on and by extension know how well our advertising is working or if there is a problem," he says.

A Second Opinion
Douglas Bowman, marketing professor and co-director at Emory University's Marketing Analytics Center, calls Ephraim's combined solution a smart move. Bowman notes that GoSquared provides observational data that can be used to make quick adjustments, while Google Analytics is better suited for reviewing long-term data trends. "When trying to manage multiple sites that get modest traffic, you want, in some ways, a warning to tweak your attention," he says.

However, Bowman cautions that Ephraim will eventually need to figure out when he's reached capacity. "When does he make the transition from trying to monitor multiple sites at once to deciding, ‘Let's get a dedicated person for a single site'?"