Q&A: Chad Greenleaf, Omniture

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Chad Greenleaf, who manages Consulting Media vertical for Omniture, spoke with me by phone about the state of Web analytics in the media industry. Here’s an edited transcript from the interview.

What are some of the common mistakes you see media companies making in terms of Web measurement?

I see a lot of companies making assumptions that are hurting them – for example, that they’ll continue to have a loyal user base online. That’s not something a company can take for granted anymore. There are so many sources of content, companies have to realize they have to work hard and not take that loyalty for granted.

Is there still a learning curve for CEOs, publishers and other decision makers about the value of metrics?

Yes.  There are exceptions, but those that come from the old world publishing model, who are not exposed day to day to the data, are oftentimes the last to know about the value analytics can provide. We’re constantly working with directors or analysts to help them get that message up to their VPs or CEOs.  

There seems to be a lack of consensus on what publishers should be measuring and which metrics are the most valuable – how does a media company figure out which metrics (and which metrics vendor) are best for their needs?

There’s no question that some standardization of metrics will benefit everyone. But not every business model is the same. So not every measurement is equal. You can’t say, ‘These are the best three metrics.’

It’s become more complex as our ability to measure more things has increased. For media companies, more choices tend to create a little bit of confusion. What should I focus on to drive my business and cut through the clutter?

How do you help them work through that?

The first step is to understand the business objectives. From there, we work with them to define the drivers to get to that goal, the levers you need to pull, and the metrics that will show whether you’re moving the needle or if you need to adjust.

Can vendors still differentiate through technology, or is it more about service and support?

Over the past three-plus years, we’ve been active in acquiring other technologies to augment or improve our base of analytics. We’ve learned that we’re after solutions for customers – a combination of products and services. We’re constantly trying to leverage the products and services together. That’s our goal: best-in-class solutions.

How should media companies be working social media and mobile traffic into the mix?

Media customers that overlook those as not critical are making a big mistake. We’ve helped them analyze, for example, What’s the tipping point in terms of mobile? Are customers searching for your site from mobile devices, are they looking for a mobile site? Based on that or other metrics, what’s the tipping point?

What’s next for Omniture? What nut are you still trying to crack?

One focus is helping publishers understand audience behavior. For example, our recent integration with comScore enables our customers to add a comScore Media Metrix tag, which provides them with additional information for consistent audience measurement. We’re looking to drive more advances in that area.

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