Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t have posted the comment from Emerson Hartley on my last SEM Analytics post since it is more of a commercial than a comment. That’s an obnoxious practice in general and I try not to encourage it. But I decided to post it anyway because I wanted to comment on it. Here’s Emerson’s comment:
Multivariate testing and optimization should take place outside web analytics. what's more important is that optimization leverages crm, approval and other data rather than traditional WA data. Only in this manner can we optimize throughout the customer lifecycle. what i'm saying is, as a customer of memetrics and a user of their solution, it's more important for us to know that a particular ppc ad and landing pages converted people who were approved for a credit card, activated and used it than any type of integration into our omniture package.
Take away the memetrics commercial (about which I have no opinion pro or con) and you have an attitude that’s actually fairly common and has led to the siloing of multivariate testing and landing page optimization from the rest of web analytics. So what’s wrong with this argument?
The first part is unobjectionable. If you need approval and back-office data to optimize correctly then you need approval and back-office data to optimize. You’ll never hear me arguing against using the right optimization points. But this raises an interesting question – if you need those variables to optimize landing pages then presumably you need them to optimize anything else as well. So what in god’s name are they doing with Omniture? Reporting page views? And why don’t they move that data to Omniture so they can optimize something besides Landing Pages?
If you can move your customer data into some other system, you can move it into your web analytics package. And if you absolutely refuse to ship your data offsite, then get a web analytics package onsite.
The idea that landing pages are somehow distinct and require different data to optimize than any other aspect of web navigation is absurd. The all too common idea that if you’ve moved your key conversion optimization data into your PPC or Landing Page tracking then you don’t need to move it into your web analytics package is just plain stupid.
There is, as I mentioned in my post on this topic, a very good reason why multivariate testing HAS taken place outside web analytics. The web analytics (and CMS) vendors have done a terrible job of supporting it. But that isn’t an argument about WHY it should be that way. And the argument Emerson makes in terms of data integration is not reasonable either from theory OR real-world practice.