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The Candidates and Web Analytics

BY Lynne d Johnson | Thursday, April 12 2007

After reading a Wall Street Journal article entitled, "In '08 Race, Web Tactics Are Even More Integral, on March 19, Robbin Steif CEO of lunametrics wrote on the company's blog about the web analytics packages that the US presidential candidates and non-candidate were using.

This is what she found:

Republicans:

John McCain: No pagetagging WA
Tom Tancredo: No pagetagging WA
Rudy Guiliani: Google Analytics
Mitt Romney: SiteCatalyst

Democrats:

Hillary Clinton: Google Analytics
Barack Obama: Google Analytics
John Edwards: Google Analytics
Dennis Kucinich: No pagetagging WA
Joe Biden: No pagetagging WA

As important as the Web 2.0 tools (MySpace, YouTube, Second Life, etc.) and other Web tools (blogs, newsletters, etc.) that the candidates are using to gain voters, are their Web analytic tools in helping their ecampaign managers with converting site visitors into contributors and voters. Without a good Web analytics tool, campaigners can't tell why visitors are coming to their sites or what they're doing while they're there. Without a good analytics tool, it's also hard to identify the navigability of your site. If you can't see the paths that visitors are taking around your site, you can't analyze how they're using your site or even if they're using it the way you intended.

For example, if I were in McCain's camp, I'd think long and hard about adding an analytics tool, primarily because the site doesn't even display in a Google search for the search term John McCain. It's only ancillary to another site (www.straighttalkamerica.com) for McCain that comes up in the search. Fortunately for McCain, the straighttalkamerica site has an effective tag, and a not so effective referral to the main site, as it isn't an automatic referral. I'd be real interested in knowing if visitors were coming in through this door or by other means.

As for Romney, at first, I was a little surprised that his site employed as robust an analytics tool as Site Catalyst, given its use for sites that have large business transactions, ad trafficking, and channel tagging. But once I saw the positioning of the calls to action to contribute on the home page, I realized that the folks over there were very interested in learning which method was more effective. In a nutshell, that's the importance of using a Web analytics tool. And though most of the candidates have a program in place, those that haven't yet caught on to how important it is, might do well to work as hard on analyzing their site's data as they are at campaigning both online and offline.