What good is data if you don’t know what to do with it?
Web Analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of internet data for the purposes of understanding consumer behavior, improving user experience and optimizing web usage.
This might sound intimidating to some but the reason why companies do web analytics is simple: To find insights that help make better business decisions.
Who does it well?
Here are 10 case studies of companies that used insights from web analytics and drove ROI.
BT FINANCIAL GROUP: Is a leading provider of superannuation, investment and insurance products. The BT website focuses on service and usability with an online application form as one of the key conversion points. Landing pages with different combinations of the design elements for testing are created to optimize the user experience and maximize conversions. With conversion testing, BT increases form completions by more than 60%.
BUILDDIRECT: Does business in more than 100 countries with an expanding portfolio of building materials. Though the company is growing rapidly, management is eager to improve the efficiency of its online spending. Through web analytics, BuildDirect finds home buyers who purchase a sample have a 60% likelihood of returning to the site within the next 30 days and placing a full order, BuildDirect uses GA’s A/B testing capabilities to perfect its marketing approach. With insights from web analytics, BuildDirect increases sales by 50%.
HARVARD UNIVERSITY: To expand the digital reach of two established schools, Harvard Summer School and Harvard Extension School, Harvard ran a 12-month SEO and PPC campaign. They use web analytics as an audit to identify technical setbacks, content positioning, to create new landing pages for search traffic, and top-of-funnel paid search awareness campaigns. The result are: 1) 89% increase in visits from organic search, 2) 75% increase in registrations from organic search, 3) 30% increase in CTR with AdWords and 4) 124% increase in ROAS with AdWords.
KEEN FOOTWEAR: Is an outdoor shoe manufacturing company based in Portland, Oregon. The company needs a better way to measure, analyze, understand metrics that mattered on their social network provide meaningful insight. A framework involving reach, engagement, influence, sentiment and effect is developed. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) within each area are established. Using the metrics: 1) Page Likes increase by 92%, 2) Post Reach increase by 342%, 3) Post Engagement increase by 137% and Active Users increase by 213%.
MOTOREASY: Is a company that sells extended auto warranties. Motoreasy’s Web site is re-designed to give you a quote for an extended auto warranty on your car. This involves: 1) Tell people what you want them to do (fill in the form) and 2) tell them the benefits of doing so(you’ll get a quote which could save you money). The telephone number is featured prominently at the top, making it easy for them to call if they found filling out the online form too tedious. These changes reduce the drop out rate from 65 percent to 29 percent overnight. This increases the completion rate of the sign up page from 31% to 69%.
NIKE GOLF: Is the golf-specific retail branch of Nike. Although there is the benefit of the Nike brand, there is also the lack of a focused keyword strategy on the Nike Golf website. It is very difficult for search engines to crawl for content. Research helps make decisions like whether target keywords should be “golf apparel”, “golf clothing”, “golf clothes” or “golf sportswear.” As a result of the research, Nike Golf sees a 169% in total increase in organic search traffic.
ON THE BEACH: Offers value for money flights and hotels to the world’s most popular beach holiday destinations, providing consumers with a huge selection of travel products, including 50 million airplane seats and more than 30,000 hotels. On the Beach finds that their generic search is undervalued under last click reporting, a discovery that allows the company to build a custom attribution model and increase budget on generic campaigns. This helps drive a higher volume of site traffic, holiday sales and market share in the travel sector, which in turn led to a 25% increase in ROI.
PBS: Helps individual PBS producers and local PBS stations create and promote each section within PBS.org. PBS wants to develop a coordinated approach to analysis and reporting that would inform their future strategic decisions. Analysis of search engine trends leads to an increase in PBS traffic by 30%. Web analytics is set up to allow PBS to evaluate the way users consumed video. As a result, PBS increases both conversions and visits by 30%.
PUMA: Has rich, dynamic web site; but, just as PUMA constantly improves its products, it also believes in making site changes that help visitors easily achieve their goals. While testing its web site header, it finds a variation that increases online orders by 7.1%. Puma more than doubles the amount of time visitors spend interacting with PUMA brand content, such as news, videos, and photos. It results in 47% more traffic.
RYANAIR: Is Europe’s largest low fare airline. 99% of Ryanair’s bookings are made through its website making it the company’s single most important marketing tool. Web Analytics helps understand email and visitor behaviour. Ryanir is able to increase click-through rates by 200%, decrease bounce rate by 18%, increase visitor traffic by 16% to strategic pages and double revenue generated from their email campaigns.
We, at BarnRaisers, are big believers in how data-driven results helps make better business decisions. Helping companies connect the dots between strategy, execution and results is a big part of what we do.
To these case studies help you see how insights from web anlaytics can drive your businsess’ ROI?
Case studies are a form of problem-based learning, where you present a situation that needs a resolution. Case studies are a great way to improve learning, gain involvement and encourage immediate use of newly acquired information and skills.
But case studies are also grounded in stubborn facts that must be faced in real life situations. A case study can be a couple of paragraphs or 20 pages or more.
Case studies may differ in length, depth of research and market situation, but great case studies share similarities.
Here are 10 compelling characteristics of great case studies.
TELL A STORY: Case studies stories are told to make a point or teach a lesson. They explain a journey. One that has a clear beginning and end. In this journey, the audience learns of heroes, villains, obstacles, extraordinary actions and imaginative thinking. In the end, meaningful change results.
HAVE A LOGIC FLOW: Instead of chapters, case studies follow an outline that establishes a logic flow. The right outline is one that teachs the lesson you want the audience to learn. It can be as simple as: Situation, Solution, Results or Customer, Challenge, Journey, Discovery, Solution, Implementation, Results or one that is more customized to your desired result.
RESOLVE A PROBLEM: The logic flow explains a problem that is resolved. At the beginning, great case studies provide perspective and context that fully explain the problem. Who is company? What do they do? What is the problem they were facing? How is this situation different for the past? Why is this relevant to your business? This establishes credibility and relevance with the audience and makes the resolution have more impact at the end.
FOCUS ON THE CUSTOMER: The problem and the resolution always has the customer at the core, especially their relationship with the company or brand. In most cases, the company’s relationship with the customer has changed. Maybe the company stopped listening or customer needs changed or they have outgrown the product or service the company offers. But there is something that has been lost that has to found in a new way.
PRESENT INSPIRING ACTIONS: One of the most important part of case studies is the action the company takes to overcome their problem. It should be logical but profound; smart, imaginative and showld motivate the audience to do something similar for their company.
AVOID JARGON: Case studies should avoid terms such as “market leading” and “unique.” No one believes them. They diminish credibility and relevance.
ARE GROUNDED IN HARD FACTS: The conclusion for all case studies is results. They should include statistics to show the difference made and benefits gained. Hard fact demonstrate how the application of the actions produced real-life results. Ballpark figures and/or indexes (if figures are confidential) are fine.
ARE SKIMMABLE: More than one case study is generally given to make a point and teach a lesson. You may be presenting them or your audience may read them without you. Organize and write case studies so it’s easy for your audience to get the information you want them to take away.
WORK AS SALES TOOLS: Case Studies are not about praising past work as much as courting new prospects. Whether you are responsible for the case study or merely telling the story, case studies are a reflection of the type of challenge you rise to, thinking you admire and results you recognize as important.
HAVE A CALL-TO-ACTION: The lessons in case studies are meant to inspire others to action. It’s best to help them take the first step with a call-to-action with what you or your company offers.
Here are 15 B2B case studies. They show how content marketing drives ROI with B2B businesses who:
Know their audience
Don’t create content for the sake of creating content
Use specific content solutions to impact different stages of the buying cycle
Integrate internally with their teams
ADP: Developed a content marketing campaign to connect and engage with their target audience on a ADP solution using white papers and a diagnostic assessment tool. The campaign generated over $1 million in new sales opportunities with several deals closed within the first 3 months of launch.
CISCO: Has long been engaged in social media activity, often running campaigns alongside its ongoing engagement strategy. To demonstrate the extent to which this has impacted the company, it launched a new router using only social channels and saved an estimated $100,000.
CROWE HORWATH: the public accounting firm used 48 pieces of content in 4 different topic areas, this campaign targeted C-level prospects in financial institutions with $1 billion or more in assets across the buying cycle. Content tactics included: executive briefs, case studies, infographics, checklists, Q and A, and Brainshark video. 778 contacts were engaged with a 70% open rate (vs. 10%), 2 engagement worth $250k in revenue.
DEMANDBASE: A B2B marketing cloud, helped B2B marketers make the right content technology investment by using a white paper, infographic, webinar, Slideshare and a live presentation to spotlight tools that can maximize the power of content. The results of the campaign generated 1,700 leads, 125 webinar participants, 5,000 views on Slideshare and $1 million in new business.
FISHER TANK: Makes giant, above-ground welded steel tanks. With clients in the fuel industries, waste water, pulp & paper and other industrial and municipal areas, projects tend to be big (multi-million dollar) and take a long time to sell (12 months and longer). For more than 60 years, the company has made its sales primarily through cold calling and referrals from existing clients. So it took some moxy to launch a content marketing strategy online. The plan including sprucing up the website, integrating a blog and social sharing, and offering some valuable content by free download. The campaign increased web traffic by 119%, traffic from social media by 4800%, lead conversions by 3900%, quote requests by 500% and new qualified sales opportunities by $3.4 million.
IBM:developed a social sales program for their inside sales team. They identified their target audience and monitored social media platforms for relevant topics and conversation. The company trained their sales team to nurture online relationships and drive prospects to team members’ websites. As a result of this focus on social sales and personnel training, IBM saw a 400% in sales.
LINKEDIN: Had to be converted to social selling. After the release of tools such as Sales Navigator and TeamLink, LinkedIn’s own sales team began seeing significant results. Ralf VonSosen, the company’s head of marketing for sales solutions notes, “We started seeing a 50% increase in leads to meeting conversion rates.”
LOGICALL: A company that focuses on inbound and outbound customer management solutions, uses content assets such as emails, microsite and ebook, Logicalis developed a thought leadership effort that supported sales teams by enabling custom messaging based on the prospects interaction with the campaign. With a target audience of about 2,000, nearly $8 million in new pipeline business was closed.
MAERSK: Danish shipping company Maersk first began using social back in 2011 to raise brand awareness, gain insight into the market, increase employee satisfaction and get closer to its customers, It focuses on the stories that emerge from within the business, such as how it is helping fuel a boom in the sale of Kenyan avocados and where its staff come from. Its presence on each network is tailored to that platform, so for example on LinkedIn it promotes job vacancies and publishes articles about the work culture within the business, while on Instagram it encourages followers to post photos of its ships using the hashtag #Maersk. Maersk now has more than 1.5m Facebook fans (of which around 15% are customers) and 12,000 Twitter followers, as well as active accounts on Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, Google+ and
OPENTEXT: A software solution for enterprise information management, created a personalized new customer onboarding site offering a variety of assets (white papers, checklists, product pages, ebooks, case studies) and content to welcome new clients and provide upsell, cross-sell opportunities. The campaign also included a two phase nurturing program. 1,700 new contacts were identified along with 31 new opportunities worth $1.8 million.
OPTUM: A health services business, created an integrated marketing campaign to support the launch of a new solution, support sales and build thought leadership. The content marketing mix included: advertorials, display ads, email, direct mail and a campaign website. The successful campaign earned a 23.5 lead to conversion rate, 475% increase in website traffic, 2,500+ resource downloads, 28% increase in YoY blog followers and $52 million in contract value of new business with less than $ 1,000,000 invested.
RS COMPONENTS: The electronic product distribution company created a specific social hub, spanning four different languages, having the purpose of being a collaboration and engagement hub for Electronic Design Engineering. One of the centrepieces of the site is the free tool store, which includes a free design tool that’s been downloaded more than 60,000 times and the site itself gathered more than 45,000 members within its first 12-month period.
SAP: The global strategy was aimed at enabling cross-cultural information to be efficiently shared around the company. SAP Latin AmericaOne year after implementing this strategy SAP Latin America had more than 100,000 fans and followers (an increase of 900%) and achieved a 17% interaction rate across the region, while a campaign featuring a social app targeting specific buying centers drove more than 12,000 visitors and a 15% engagement rate. has four Facebook pages, four Twitter feeds and two LinkedIn accounts. These profiles are split out by language (e.g. Portuguese and Spanish) rather than country and aim at achieving a split of 20% promotion material vs. 80% of interesting, engaging content for its community.
SHIPSERV: It’s difficult to imagine the maritime industry getting to grips with social media, but Shipserv one of the leading industry marketplaces, proves that in can be done very successfully.As part of a wider marketing strategy and customer engagement strategy, various social approaches were taken, resulting in greater site traffic, alongside increased brand awareness and lead opportunities.From an initial $30,000 social media marketing investment, it’s estimated the overall results achieved would have cost more than $150,000 through traditional media.
XEROX: Created a targeted “Get Optimistic” campaign to connect with 30 top accounts and partnered with Forbes to create a magazine that offered relevant business tips. 70% of targeted companies interacted with the microsite, readership increased 300-400% over previous email campaigns, added 20,000 new contacts, generated 1,000+ scheduled appointments, and get this: yielded $1.3 BILLION in pipeline revenue.
Do these case studies convince you of the value for content marketing for B2B businesses. Do the trends below help you with direction with your business? Does your B2B business need to learn how to use content marketing effectively?
A Brand Community is “a specialized, non-geographically bound community, based on a structured set of social relations among admirers of a brand.” This is according to Albert Muniz Jr. and Thomas C. O’Guinn who coined the term in 2001 with their study on Brand Community for the Journal of Consumer Research.
Muniz and O’Guinn said Brand Communities exhibit three traditional markers of community:
Rituals and traditions
A sense of moral responsibility
Although it would be easy to see how a lot of brands would jump on this bandwagon, the Harvard Business Review said in, Getting Brand Communities Right, it’s not so easy. There are Myths vs Realities about Brand Communities.
MYTH #1 :A brand community is a marketing strategy
THE REALITY: A brand community is a business strategy
MYTH #2: A brand community exists to serve the business
THE REALITY: A brand community exists to serve the people in it
MYTH #3: Build the brand, and the community will follow
THE REALITY: Engineer the community, and the brand will be strong
MYTH #4: Brand communities should be love-fests for faithful brand advocates
THE REALITY: Smart companies embrace the conflicts that make communities thrive
MYTH #5: Opinion leaders build strong communities
THE REALITY: Communities are strongest when everyone plays a role
MYTH #6: Online social networks are the key to a community strategy
THE REALITY: Online networks are just one tool, not a community strategy
How do you separate the myth from reality? Who is getting brand communities right?
Here are 7 best examples of Brand Communities. (All of these Brand Communities have been around for at least 5 years and are growing).
BEING GIRL (PROCTER & GAMBLE): The site was created in 2000 as a destination for young, teenage girls. P&G includes content provided by experts and encourages open discussion with expert advice on topics such as menstruation, eating disorders, acne and dating. They take a big-sister approach. They also advertise the companies products, Always and Tampax. Being Girl is now available in over 25 countries. It has been cited in the book, Groundswell, as delivering 4X the Return on Investment (ROI) of traditional marketing.
FIGMENT (RANDOM HOUSE): Is an online writing community owned by Random House, the biggest general-interest trade book publisher in the world. It was founded by Jacob Lewis and Dana Goodyear in 2010. It currently has over 300,000 users. The target group of the community is mainly teenagers between 13 and 18 years old. It’s succeeded because they gave the community something to do, write and share novels. This isn’t just a community of interest, it’s a community of practice too. They highlight the best contributions of the community.
H&R BLOCK: Tax preparation is a highly seasonal business. H&R provides immediate access to a tax professional for Q&A through the “Get Answers” section of their website but also connects you to learn and share experiences with others through their H&R Community. The effort secured 1,500,000 unique visitors and answered 1,000,000 questions for a 15% lift in business versus the period before H&R Block created the community.
HARLEY OWNERS GROUP (HOG): Is a sponsored community, operated by Harley-Davidson for enthusiasts. The HOG is “the grandaddy of all community-building efforts,” serving to promote not just a consumer product, but a lifestyle. The HOG has also served to open new revenue streams for the company, with the production of tie-in merchandise offered to club members. Membership is 1,000,000+. The Harley Owners Group was created in 1983 as a way to build longer-lasting and stronger relationships. At that time, the company was facing bankruptcy.
LUGNET (LEGO): When Lego Group set out to develop Mindstorms NXT, the latest version of its game for building programmable robots, it enlisted help from a group of adult enthusiasts whom it found on Lugnet.com the largest unofficial community of Lego fans. While the marketing target for Mindstorms is mainly teenage boys, the people that Lego reached out to were a group of men in their 40s and 50s who knew each other from communicating and working together on elaborate Lego projects on Lugnet.com.The group’s members, according to a Lego spokesman, contributed “incredibly valuable insights” in hardware, software, design and usability based on their own experiences.
MY STARBUCK IDEA: Is now 6+ years-old and remains the gold standard of crowd sourced tip boxes that have actually worked for a brand and delivered ideas from customers (150,00 plus) with innovations (277) that have actually been implemented. Customers today can order a “skinny” beverage and a cake pop, garner digital rewards for using their Starbucks Card and enjoy free Wi-Fi – all thanks to suggestions from fans. “Our passionate customers and partners have been sharing their ideas with us on My Starbucks Idea, and we have listened and acted upon many amazing innovations that we have received from this online community,” said Alex Wheeler, VP global digital marketing for Starbucks.
ORACLE COMMUNITY (ORACLE): Is a site for people interested in Oracle Corp.’s database and software products. Members share personal stories, pictures, videos and birthdays. They can create blogs on the site, form groups around themes and build networks of designated friends. Members can also schedule meetings and events both online and in person.
These examples show Brand Communities can produce significant results and ROI but they also demonstrate companies should not try to create them unless they accept are willing to accept diversity of opinion, occasional conflict and apply the internal resources necessary to engage.
Do these examples explain Brand Communities? Are they best examples to you?
87% of marketers want to know how to measure their return on investment for social media activities (source: Social Media Examiner)
85% use social networks in some way; only 14% tie financial metrics to it. (source: AdAge)
Only 8% of companies say they can determine Return on Investment (ROI) from their social media spending (source: Econsultancy).
“How do I measure the return on my social media investment? This question has been top of mind for marketers for the last three years. Clearly very few marketers have figured this one out.” (source: Social Media Examiner)
The case studies cover a range of businesses, large and small businesses, B2C and B2B and profit and non-profit, enough to find one relevant to your brand. The chapters are organized to show with real examples how social media works with SEO, CRM, content marketing, customer service and promotion to help brands overachieve ROI.
But mostly, these are stories of courage. People made them happen. Many of the case studies occur during the worst part of a very bad recession. Social media was put to the test during often after traditional marketing failed and was the only affordable option, which makes the results that much more extraordinary.
Here are 4 videos of businesses and people featured who took that leap of faith. You can listen to their stories and the results they achieved that exceeded expectations:
AJ BOMBERS: In 2009, after six month of break-even sales and no money for traditional marketing, Joe Sorge, the owner of AJ Bombers, a burger restaurant in Milwaukee, started using Twitter to attract customers. Joe proved Twitter to be an invaluable customer service tool. Within a year, weekly sales increased +60%. Today, there is also an AJ Bombers in Madison, at Miller Park, the Milwaukee Brewers Stadium and 23,600 people follow the brand on Twitter.
BLENTEC: Has manufactured blenders since the 1970′s. Mostly for B2B use (e.g. Starbucks used Blendtec blenders to grind coffee beans) , the company decided to create awareness among B2C as well as B2B audiences through commercials that ran on YouTube and cost less than $1000 each. CEO, Tom Dickson, did some rather unconventional product demos. Company sales went from flat to a +700% increase within two years. The campaign started in 2007 and is still running today. Here is most recent video in this 7-year campaign
H&R BLOCK: Used Facebook and Twitter during the tax season to provide immediate access to a tax professional for Q&A in the “Get It Right” social media campaign. The effort secured 1,500,000 unique visitors and answered 1,000,000 questions for a 15% lift in business versus the prior year when there was no social media “Get It Right” program. Here’s how Amy Worley explained the company’s use of social media.
FOILED CUPCAKES: A Chicago company that bakes cupcakes generated 93% of its business through social media leads to surpass revenue targets by +600%. But, the most impressive statistic is this company has no storefront (it sells only through a website) and success was achieved through the relationship building and conversational benefits of social media.
This self-published eBook began as a series of case study blogs in 2010 and was compiled into an eBook in 2012. It resulted in an invitation to join the MBA Faculty of Rutgers CMD in 2010 where I teach Measurement and ROI at Rutgers Social Media Marketing Mini-MBA. The invitation came because people in the administration had been reading the blogs. The ROI has exceeded my expectations.
Does your businesses struggle with ROI? Do these case studies prove Social Media ROI to you? Do the stories behind these businesses offer inspiration for your brand?