May 24, 2011

Marketing Research Chart: Top website objectives to determine optimization priorities and tactics

SUMMARY: Defining the goal of a website is an important first step in optimization. We wanted to learn more about which processes were the primary objectives for organizations' websites. In this week's chart, find out the results from a survey of more than 2,600 marketers.
by Boris Grinkot, Associate Director of Product Development

Website objectives as determined by in-house marketers in 2010

Q. Which of the following processes/transactions is the primary objective of your organization’s website?

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In optimizing Web pages or processes, as in solving any other problem, defining the objective is a critical first step. It often remains an implicit assumption until it turns out that optimization did not target the appropriate (in other words, most valuable) conversion action.

However, if an objective is explicitly defined, marketers can examine every page and process, asking the question, "Does this contribute to the objective?" This helps to both optimize and prioritize optimization opportunities.

While it may be easy to define the objective broadly, boiling it down to the specific target behavior or set of behaviors requires the ability to tie Web analytics to business KPIs. Depending on available data, this may be as simple as counting the number of transactions, or as complex as making corresponding costs and the timing of subsequent transactions part of the model.

In the list of possible answers, there is an intentional impostor: "Providing ... information" is not a visitor action, and therefore cannot be considered an optimization objective. Providing information is intended to lead to a target behavior -- whether one that can be immediately monitored (e.g., a purchase, form completion, click) or one that takes place separately (e.g., an offline or later transaction).

It is not surprising that "providing information" was frequently cited among B2B marketers. In the absence of a clear connection between visitor actions on the website and business objectives, it is easy to fall back on the idea that the website is there just to inform.

This indicates that B2B marketers need to go through the exercise of defining what would be considered a successful outcome of visitor interaction with the site, in terms of a measurable behavior.

For additional research data and insights about landing page optimization, download and read the free Executive Summary from the MarketingSherpa 2011 Landing Page Optimization Benchmark Report.

Useful links related to this chart

Members Library -- Lead Generation Optimization: 7 'must-haves' to improve your campaign planning process

Members Library -- Marketing Research Chart: Best website design, management and optimization tactics for 2011

MarketingSherpa 2011 Landing Page Optimization Benchmark Report

Optimization Summit 2011

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