Thursday, May 20, 2010

Omniture Study Suggests Marketers Doubt Value of Analytics Investment

Not to beat a dead horse, but Wednesday’s eMarketer reported on yet another survey that touched on the question of why marketers don’t measure. Although the Omniture 2010 Online Analytics Survey is obviously limited to Web analytics, the answers probably apply to other types of measurement as well.

I wasn’t able to get a copy of the full survey results, despite two requests to Omniture and even filling it out myself, which was supposed to yield a copy that compared my answers with my peers'. Perhaps I’m peerless. But the snippets published in eMarketer are enough for now.

Specifically, eMarketer reported that the leading challenge in Web analytics was “talent”, cited by 58.4% of respondents. Assuming that “talent” is really a polite way of saying “skilled staff”, this suggests that lack of education, not lack of time, is the critical roadblock to better measurement. I’ve been betting the reason is time, but would reconsider in the face of new evidence.

But wait.

When I took the survey, the question about “talent” actually defined it as "lack of skill/time". So it’s perfectly possible that marketers picking "talent" really saw lack of time as the most important challenge.

My position is arguably strengthened by the relatively low ranking of "support/training" (37.6%) and "budget" (31.7%) in the answers. Those can certainly improve skills but they can’t expand the manager's available time. Even hiring more staff wouldn't do that.

On the other hand, the second- and third-ranked challenges were "actionability" (47.3%) and "finding insights" (41.5%) which both suggest doubts that Web analytics can deliver real value. This would show a need for education – but, as I wrote in my comment on the original Why Marketers Don't Measure post, it's a need for education in the fundamental utility of measurement, not education in specific techniques.

Bottom line: the Omniture survey confirms that marketers won’t invest in analytics until they’re convinced it’s the best use of their limited resources. Efforts to expand adoption of analytics should start with that.

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