Marketers struggle with using Web-site clickstream behavior in email due in large part to lack of expertise, data overload, and integration issues.
Posted Oct 25, 2006
The possibility of realizing substantial ROI from email marketing mailings that use Web-site behavioral data is real, but most email marketers are failing to gravitate to Web site behavioral segmentation in email, according to a report released by Jupiter Research this week. "The Connected Click-Through," notes that a mere 15 percent of email marketers use Web-site clickstream behavior as a way to segment their audience. The report findings are based on a Jupiter/E-Rewards email marketing survey of 253 US-based email marketers in May.
Much of the reasoning for the low acceptance is general market maturity, according to David Daniels, vice president and research director at Jupiter and lead analyst of the report. "We find also that there's only 32 percent of marketers actually using clickthrough data from their own email marketing campaign as a segmentation or targeting attribute. To get into Web analytics it's not an easy thing to do--it's easier than it has been in years past--but the classic production, integration, and resource issues are the primary reasons why that number isn't higher."
During 2007, however, adoption is expected to rise by a moderate rate of six percentage points. "Adoption is being driven by the need for marketers to improve the effectiveness of their mailings and increase relevance, as well as by the rise of usable solutions in the marketplace from both Web-analytics vendors and ESPs," the report states.
When segmented by type of email marketer using Web-site clickstream behavior for segmentation, email marketers using self-service email service providers (ESPs) led the way with 21 percent currently using the approach, trailed closely by B2B email marketers (20 percent). Eighteen percent of email marketers use full-service ESPs, followed by 16 percent of email marketers using on-premise apps, 12 percent of B2C email marketers, and 11 percent of email marketers using homegrown solutions. Regarding email marketers' planned use of Web site clickstream behavior within the next 12 months, however, the strongest expected adoption lies with email marketers using full-service ESPs (30 percent) and email marketers using self-service ESPs (29 percent).
There are several hurdles that email marketers face that can hamper their ability to use Web site behavioral data as a method for engaging in email marketing. But lack of expertise and too much data struck a nerve with survey respondents, leading with 33 percent each; integration of post-mailing results data is also a major challenge (31 percent). One of the key things to do to avoid data overload is track immediately actionable behavior with dramatic business benefits, like identifying cart and application abandoners, viewers of underperforming products, and prospects whose behavior qualifies them as highly engaged, according to the report. "Marketers should trial these approaches leveraging Web analytics solutions that use a page tagging methodology," the report states. "This approach can relatively more efficiently provide the visitor session with granularity needed for e-mail marketing purposes."
As far as Daniels's view on the "marriage" of Web analytics and email marketing data, "It's definitely the next big thing to happen to email marketing," he says. Players on the Web-analytics side of the equation include Coremetrics, Omniture, WebTrends, and WebSideStory, while players within the ESP space include CheetahMail, EmailLabs, Responsys, and Silverpop. "We've seen it already with online advertising, behavioral and contextual targeted advertising," he says. So "while the adoption is increasing slowly, the fact that the vendors in this space on both sides of the equation have invested product development dollars into making this a pretty key feature of their applications also signals that there's a lot of demand, pent up demand, in the marketplace for it."
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