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Web pages are events, not locations

Every time a page is displayed on your Web site, it is an opportunity to make a sale, to build a relationship, or to deliver your marketing message. Do you treat each page view the way an airline values its airline seats, or the way a TV network uses its commercial time? We tend to think of Web pages as places, but, like airline trips and TV programs, they are turning into events.


Regular readers are familiar with the Web Conversion Cycle, a model that helps anyone determine the goals of a Web site so that visitor behavior can be determined and measured. The basics of conversion measurement are the so-called “look to buy” ratio—counting the number of visitors vs. the number of conversions.
In the days of static Web pages, this calculation was simple. Your Web metrics system could analyze any URL to understand how many visitors that viewed that URL also completed the conversion. For example, you might have an offer of 50% off the price of an enhanced sound system in a new car. How do you measure the success of that offer? With a static site, you just count the number of time the page was shown and count the number of times the coupon was printed.
But dynamic pages have changed everything. The metrics system can’t just count the page views of the URL anymore—each time that page is shown, it could contain a different offer on it. You can’t calculate the conversion rate when you don’t know how many impressions have been shown of the offer.
As metrics systems play catch-up with the possibilities of dynamic pages, a new factor is coming into play: personlaization. Not only can offers be randomly rotated on dynamic pages, but they can be changed based on less-than-random factors. Suppose visitors that have looked at that car site three times in the last week are the ones shown the sound system discount offer—because they are the most likely to print the coupon and buy that car from a local dealer. A personalized Web site can use information about the visitor to present the right offer at the right time.
Can your Web site personalize your visitor’s experience? More importantly, can you Web metrics system count when content is displayed, rather than just counting a page’s URL? Unless you can count the impressions of each unique piece of content displayed on a page, you can’t tell what a dynamic site’s conversion rates are.
When you start thinking of your pages as events—every page view can contain different content—you’ll never look at your Web metrics system the same way again.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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