Marketers looking to bring greater efficacy to their e-mail campaigns should take a close look at recent developments in paid search, the darling of online advertising. There, companies are increasingly turning to sophisticated analytics to improve ROI. In other words, they're trying to find out what happens after the click.

The reason is easy to understand. In 2006, marketers will spend $5 billion on search, a number that's expected to double over the next four years. Meanwhile, research shows 96 percent of search clicks lead nowhere, and very few marketers know the true efficacy of an online media buy.

What are smart companies doing to solve the problem? Market leader Google has invested in software that allows marketers to conduct online analysis of visitor behavior. Google understands its advertisers want to know how their search buys increase revenue and provide ROI. Using analytics, they can get in-depth information about their users' behavior and adjust their campaigns to maximize results.

As marketers, we should take these best practices from Web analytics and apply them to e-mail marketing. To do this, we must realize traditional measures of success, such as the CTR, aren't enough. Instead, we must apply sophisticated metrics to gain useful information.

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