Q&A with June Li, Founder and Managing Director of ClickInsight

With SES Toronto coming up June 16-18, 2008, we interviewed June Li, the founder and managing director of ClickInsight. June will be one of the speakers at the “Giving Credit Where It’s Due: Which Campaign Sold What?” session, which will be held on Wednesday, June 18, from 4:00 to 5:15 p.m.

June has over 20 years of e-business, marketing, manufacturing, logistics and sales experience. She is also an associate instructor for the web analytics program at the University of British Columbia, as well as an instructor for a web analytics course at the University of Toronto Professional Learning Centre, Faculty of Information Studies.

June has spoken and moderated at the Emetrics Summit and is a contributing writer to OneDegree.ca and the AIMS blog.

Q. You founded ClickInsight, a business that creates successful strategies for clients to multiply their online leads and sales. Can you provide SEW readers with a sample of some of your latest Web analytics projects? What is the latest “buzz” in the field of Web analytics?

A. We use web analytics to help businesses accelerate their results from marketing initiatives. Almost all of our business breakthrough projects involve an analysis of search marketing, either organic or paid. And since Canada is a net exporter of goods and services, with the Canadian dollar as strong as it is, there’s been increasing interest in using search to get more qualified leads. Cold calling is such a probability game, why not attract the buyers who are need your goods and services and are looking for what you have to offer?

Analytics is a necessity for defining baselines for improvement. Businesses that have not optimized their site for search or are not using paid search should look at their organic search keywords using their web analytics system. What searches are driving traffic to their site? More often than not, the search keywords include just the company name in some way. This means only the people who already know about your organization are coming to your site, and you’re not reaching new prospects. And if you are getting generic, non-branded searches, don’t stop there? You may not be visible to your target market, and unless you drill down to see who your visitors are, you won’t know what you’re missing.

What’s the latest buzz? Social media measurement and mobile analytics. Both have great linkages to search and positioning on the search results page.

Q. How does your company make use or not make use of Google analytics?

A. We and many of our clients make use of Google Analytics (and other tools) to assess the impact of marketing and site changes. We want to see whether our changes have the intended impact on where our visitors are coming from, what’s driving them to our sites, and what’s not. Google Analytic’s new benchmarking availability is interesting and has definitely triggered some very interesting discussions. We also use Google Analytics to mine and analyze onsite search to see what people think you should have on your website. Perhaps what they’re looking for isn’t present or is difficult to find.

But Google Analytics can’t tell you what might work better. So we also use and recommend Google Website Optimizer for testing alternate options and 4Q (4Q.iperceptions.com) to “listen” to the voice of the customer. Without listening, you won’t have the insight on what might be improved or the reason why people behave as they do on your site. And if this still doesn’t provide what you need, surveys and usability testing might be next.

Q. What got you fascinated about Web analytics to begin with? Did you ever suffer any of the experiences that so many of your clients come to your company for to help solve?

A. Since I started with web analytics on the client side, I’m quite familiar with the issues companies have managing web analytics data, reports and analysis.

Without analytics, you’re guessing as to what’s happening on your website and with your online marketing initiatives. And who can afford to guess, particularly now that we’re seeing the economy slowing down and in Canada, coping with a stronger dollar. Web analytics won’t solve everything (it’s not magic and it’s not perfect) but you’re much better off with the insights analytics can provide than none at all. Web analytics practices continue to evolve, integrating with data mining and expanding to include social media and mobile analytics.

Q. What excites you about Search Engine Strategies Toronto? What do you look forward to most?

A. This will be the 4th Search Engine Strategies I’ll have attended in Toronto, and they get better every time. Last year, I was happy to see there was much more discussion “beyond the click” and about landing page conversion, the money-making “value event”. I’m sure this year will bring yet another advance in the community.

SES is a great place to gauge the pulse of the search community, where businesses are at with search, learn what leading organizations are doing, and have fun discussions about the current myths of search and what the crawlers are up to now, where they’re going next.

Q. You teach a Web Analytics Training course at the University of Toronto. Do you plan to draw upon any of it for your presentation at SES Toronto?

A. Absolutely. The Web Analytics training course at the University of Toronto is an introductory course intended to help those who need to show value from website content understand not only the technical basics but also the management and organization pre-requisites for success. Key to using web analytics is a clear understanding your goals. Only then can you set up your analytics plan to properly (and sanely) assess performance and progress towards attaining your goal. I’m really looking forward to the panel I’m on. We’re tackling the topic of Multi-Channel Measurement. Goal setting is critical to ensuring you don’t drown in multi-channel data and can actually make sense of what you’re measuring.

Q. Put on your prognosticator helmet: What is the future of Web analytics? Say over the next 10 to 20 years?

A. 10-20 years? We’re having problems with 2-3 years! Web analytics will become “analytics”. With new online and integrated technologies proliferating, the tools to measure will evolve, perhaps not fast enough but they’ll evolve. For sure things will get more complicated, and that’s what keeps it interesting and fun!

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