Online marketers are in a unique position when it comes to tracking

their campaigns and activity on their web sites. Imagine being able to

follow a passer-by from the moment they see your poster, then finding

out whether they visit your shop, which products they look at and

whether they end up buying. Or think about knowing exactly how many

people have viewed your TV ads, whether they remember them a few minutes

later and if they take any action based on what they have seen. All

these things are easy to track online.

The problem that online marketers face is not a lack of data - it is an

ability to turn raw statistics into something useful. The danger of

becoming completely overwhelmed by data is a very real one, particularly

as there are few agreed metrics when it comes to online measurement.

In a sense, this is quite liberating, as marketers are free to use the

metrics that are unique to their own particular marketing challenge. But

making up a formula for every campaign rather than relying on

industry-wide agreed measurements takes time and resources. And everyone

knows that the greater the amount of statistics available, the more

figures can be manipulated to come up with a favourable result. This is

why industry bodies and the larger media owners are working hard to

develop comparable standard metrics to cover all aspects of online


Discussions about online research tend to concentrate on quantitative

statistics, whether these arise from panel-based techniques or

site-focused measurement. But the internet is increasingly playing a

role in qualitative research, with surveys being used to gain feedback

on everything from specific online ad campaigns and web sites to wider

aspects such as brand development, new product development and


It seems that consumers feel that they can be more open when they are

protected by the anonymity of the internet than when they are stopped in

the street by someone brandishing a clipboard or chatting on the phone

to a call centre-based researcher. So the next generation of online

marketers should be using the internet as a market research tool as well

as a tracking instrument.


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