Web Analytics, Privacy, and Beer

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I am going to play the devil’s advocate here with relation to privacy and analytics.  After all, I am a marketer and my goal as a marketer is to sell the most products or generate the most leads possible. The future of marketing is going to be understanding the user and being able to deliver the best message or promotional offer to a specific user for the specific product he/she needs at the specific time they need at the right price.    How can you do this if you can’t tie any of the information you learn about the user to that specific person and all we ever do is look at the aggregate.

We intentionally create this disconnect through the GA terms of service and privacy but nobody seems to care about the “privacy” aspect when it comes to their information being in some CRM.   I don’t understand why if we collect their personal information we can’t connect it back to the actions they took on the website.   There is a need for this connection of user information with the personal information to achieve the best possible results.  Google however, is in a very difficult position to provide this product because of the level of information they already have and scrutiny on them because of this.  If they connected the dots, there would likely be a major backlash against Google.   Essentially it appears Google is handicapped by their size and notoriety in this situation.

As a web marketer, when someone volunteers their information via a form being filled out, or they buy something, or in any other way possible that they volunteer their user information, I NEED to be able to connect this personal information back to the actions they take.    People are starting the see the value of remarketing because it works.   However, remarketing doesn’t have to extend to just display ads on websites.  Imagine the results you could get if you segmented all the users on your website who made it to step 2 of 4 in checkout and sent all the users who didn’t buy a follow up email or text message with an additional promotion.  (We can already do this to some extent,  the data just has to be synced outside GA)

There are products out there that are great CRMs and there are great web analytics but so far the integration of these two features stems more closely to CRMS pickup up the role of some very basic analytics.    There are some products like Marketo who are more analytics based but again, they fall very short in relation to the information that you could have if you merged a product like GA with a CRM system.

Could you imagine how powerful a “leads” profile could be if you a had a profile that contained all leads and their associated contact information.  Once anyone who volunteered their personal information triggered a custom variable called “leads” and then any action that visitor did could be tied back to the user that took those actions.  Your insights and ensuing actions would be much more intelligent.

It takes the idea of remarketing to another level altogether.    This could be huge for businesses that have long term revenue cycles or a lot of repeat purchases.    If you know Johnny Smith who registered 8 months ago just came back to the website yesterday for the first time in 6 months but didn’t take any action, your email marketing could be much more targeted and efficient at delivering the right message.

I’m all for protecting user’s privacy but think once they’ve agreed to provide you their personal information and agree to your terms don’t see any reason you limit the information you associate with that person.  It’s like somebody gave us a bucket of water, a bucket of barley and hops, and some yeast that would make this incredibly wonderful drink if we mixed them together but never do so out of fear that the people who gave us the ingredients would be mad if they knew we mixed them.