This blog has moved

December 18, 2006

Dear reader,

After this blog took off as I’ve never expected , I decided to run the blog on the originial URL.

Please visit www.webanalyticsbook.com to view the newest postings and feel free to update your RSS Feed.

Thanks again for your support! Thanks to all magazines that quoted this site within the last 5 months.

Advertisements

Wednesday, October 25th at 11:00 am PDT, Fireclick hosts a free webcast.  Greg Dowling will discuss customer findings
on what metrics retailers are using to drive their business and increase sales and conversions.REGISTER early, limited seats available:
https://fireclickevents.webex.com/fireclickevents/onstage

Greg was Senior Manager of Strategic Web Analysis for Scholastic Inc., where he managed the Web analytics group for Scholastic’s Internet division, e-Scholastic. He was responsible for staff development, infrastructure, strategy, best practices, and overall service delivery with respect to Web analytics. Prior to Scholastic, he was Director of Web Design & Production for Cendant Marketing Group, responsible for all aspects of Cendant’s Web presence including content management, Web design, usability, e-commerce, Web analytics, e-mail and search engine marketing. Previously, he was Regional Operations Manager for an online database service distributing digital maps and data to the environmental consulting industry.

Monitor your competitors!

August 29, 2006

Current webanalytics tools measure your own website or measure the entire web (Coremetrics, Metricsdirect, Hitwise, Alexa…). When evaluating this data webanalysts often forget to monitor competitor behaviour. Monitoring and analyzing your competitors is one of the key factors for  your success. Website-watcher is a nice tool, which allows you to watch your competition closely. It takes a minimum of time and completes the picture of other monitoring techniques.   website-watcher.jpg

Here the key features:

Monitor web pages
Monitor web pages with a minimum of time. Why waste hours surfing the web, when WebSite-Watcher can do this job for you within a few minutes. Supports all kind of pages with textual content (html, asp, php, …).
 

Monitor password protected pages
Logins to a password protected page can be recorded with the integrated Check-Macro feature. These macros are executed when WebSite-Watcher checks the bookmarks for updates.
 

Monitor forums
Efficient way to monitor forums for new topics and replies using forum templates. Works with all major forums including phpBB, SMF, vBulletin, IPB,

Monitor RSS-Feeds
Website-Watcher converts RSS/Atom feeds into a readable format using a template system. So you can use the full power of WebSite-Watcher to detect new or changed RSS postings within a single tool and also monitor password protected RSS feeds behind a login

Selecting the right webanalytics vendor takes a lot of efforts. But the implementation can be worse. Here are my top 10 tips for the implementation process:

1. Have a plan

First of all you need to make an efficient and detailed plan / business requirement document for the implementation process. This includes a time frame and a cost analysis as well as goals for your organization.

2. Choose the right person

The implementation of a webanalytics solution can be the most annoying thing for your development team. Choosing the right person within your organization is crucial to a successful implementation. Look for a person, who has good technical skills and shows interest in webanalytics.  If your development team has bad attitude you will be screwed and maybe should think about hiring a…

3. Webanalytics consultant

A skilled webanalytics consultant will be able to save your IT Team time (and costs for you). A consultant  will also be able to help your marketing team to find the right KPI’s. Often your marketing team will start day dreaming, which results in a complete wrong use of relevant business metrics.

4. Give your IT Team time  (and a bonus)

The implementation of a webanalytics tool takes time and needs upgrades or changes on a regular basis. Giving your IT team time to do it right is extremely important. From a developer point of view this can be a nightmare. A bonus for a good integration could a good thing to get them motivated.

5.  Bother your webanalytics vendor

Talking to the webanalytics implementation engineer is as important as finding the right person within your organisation. Try to schedule a daily or weekly phone conference with the vendor and your IT team. Be on the phone too if possible.

6. Test on a beta site

Before pushing your webanalytics tool live use your beta site. Test the system for at least a few days(!) and make sure all the metrics make sense. Before pushing it live also make sure that your companies internal traffic will be blocked (IP range block).

7.  Refine processes

Educate your team and refine processes & procedures to increase efficiency. 

8. Add applications to your webanalytics tool 

Adding your customer support management, Email marketing tools, PPC management software of rich Internet applications are necessary to take the most out of your webanalytics tool. Integrate them one by one for maximum results.  

9. Guide the strategic direction for the Web Analytics solution

A webanalytics tool needs a strategic planner, who is not only aware of new developments but also guides the IT and vendor team in the right direction. Do it yourself or choose the best employee for this important task.

10.  Be up-to-date

Follow trends and news of the webanalytics industry (blogs, forums, conventions…). Make sure your vendor is state-of-the-art and upgrades his tool all the time. If your webanalytics tool sucks don’t hesitate to switch the vendor.

Measuring offline advertising is a pain and a lot of people make major mistakes. Here my top 10 Do’s and Don’ts of measuring offline advertising

 1. Don’t setup a new domain

No. 1 fault of many webanalytics guys is to create a separate domain for their offline campaigns. A separate domain might give you great stats, but will confuse your users and also harm (duplicate content) or effect (no inbound links) your SEO efforts.

 2.  Don’t use www.widget.com/myoffer   or http://myoffer.widget.com

If you start using a subdomain or suffixes/prefixes on your site you might catch all the users. That is what the agency will tell you. The truth is that a lot of visitors don’t visit your suffixes/prefixes or subdomain page at all. If you see a TV ad for Mercedes Benz USA, do you visit www.mbusa.com/tv ? Maybe you as an internet savvy person, but not the average Mercedes driver.

To make this worse, some marketing guys will tell you to use javascript re-directs. Big no no. Just ask your SEO.

3. Never trust publisher / TV ratings numbers

Identifying effective marketing mediums is one of the most difficult things. Publishers love to give you circulation, subscriber or even printing numbers and tell you how highly effective your campaign will be. The truth is that circulation numbers won’t say anything. Printing numbers are also pretty useless and subscriber numbers I don’t even want to hear. Publisher numbers are the “offline Alexa”. Use them as an indicator, but don’t waste too much time with it. If you need numbers, you can look at the Audit bureau of circulations.

4. Try to use coupons if your business allows it

Coupons are great. Coupons rule! Join the billion $ coupon market. If your website supports coupons, use coupons. People somehow always want to get a deal and tracking coupons is an easy task.

5. Issue-By-Issue Magazine Measurement

Readership.com recently partnered with Comscore and formed a new print ratings service. Try it out if you have the money. If you don’t have the money try services like PrintAd.Info

6. Use special pricing 

Start giving your offline offers a special price might be a good idea to track success. With special pricing you easily can identify users. But make sure you label these users and only show them the special pricing. This method won’t be accurate, but will give you a good idea.

7. Track your phone lines

Incoming calls from offline advertising can be one of the best things you can do. With new VOIP services (not talking about skype!) you are able to track, record, redirect callers. The accuracy of phone calls can be much higher than Cookie or logfile tracking and can be a big boost for your profits.

8. Label/Tag your users AND merge your data

No matter what: Label or tag your visitors and merge this data with other data sources (phone calls / coupons…). Never use a single data set.

9. Don’t use Googles offline Print Ad (yet)

Many testers reported poor results. Wait till Google will find a more effective way. Give them some time.

10. Track and test, track and test

Always double check your numbers. Test again, track, test again ….

 Anything missing or wrong? Feel free to comment!

The average pageview per visit, the percentage of low recency visitors and the order conversion rate of campaign x may be something new for your CFO or CEO, but not for you.

Since Craigslist, Myspace, Friendster, Youtube, Coke(!) and all the other user generated content websites became a huge success it might be worth it too take a closer look at these sites from a webanalytics perspective. I think it is time to find new key performance indicators and measure the real value of user generated content websites.  One new KPI could be the…

Average user created content per visitor (AUCC)

The average user created content per visitor is the number of user generated pages devided by the total visitors. This KPI gives you an indicator of how fast a website grows in terms of new pages.

Example:   You have 1000 visitors on the site, who create 300 pages within a week. Your weekly AUCC is 0.3 ( 300/1000). 

This number should be in reality very small, but it is a great indicator to see if your website users “connect” to your website. Obviously one member could have created 300 pages and the other 999 didn’t create anything, but still it gives you some value of your sites growth rate.

What can you do with the AUCC?
My believe is that a great marketing team with a good webanalytics person will be able to take the right action if the AUCC drops or increases. Of course it depends on the strategy of the business, but generally speaking more content leads to more visitors and higher revenues. So if your AUCC drops it is maybe time to promote the content generating tools on your site. 

The AUCC is also a great performance indicator for your SEO team. From an SEO perspective user generated content is King!

Podcast tracking

July 25, 2006

Nielsen Analytics recently reported that more and more internet user are attracted to podcasts. According to the study, more than 9 million internet user in the United States downloaded podcasts to computers and mobile devices last month.

Ten percent of the study’s 1,700 respondents said they download eight or more podcasts a week. And of the podcast users, 38 percent said they listen to the radio less because they’re listening to podcasts. More than 75 percent of all podcast listeners are male.

Obviously podcasts became a huge market, but how to track them right? Here are some proposals:

1. Download tracking 

Many webanalytics vendors offer downoad tracking. But not all of them are able to track if your download only began, interrupted or even completed. If your vendor doesn’t offer an adequate solution you can have a look at your logfiles. In order to increase accuracy of your numbers you also should make sure that download managers like Getright , Gozilla and others are included in your statistic.

2. Tracking Streaming

Tracking streaming is another interesting part of tracking podcasts. Only the top 5 tools are able to identify the average / minimum / maximum audience size for a certain time period or completion rate.

3. Time spent listening (TSL)

The TSL is the amount of time the average listener surveyed spent listening to each radio/podcast station at one time, before changing the station/podcast or turning it off. Most if not all of the webanalytics vendors won’t be able to track the TSL.

In order to track the TSL of your podcast you probably have to work together with a radio audience research company like Arbitron. Arbitron uses a Portable People Meter (PPM(SM)) system, which can be used to track audiences who listen to podcasts.

The Portable People Meter is an audience measurement system that uses a passive “audience measurement device”, about the size of a small cell phone, to track consumer exposure to media and advertising. The PPM detects inaudible codes embedded in the audio portion of media content.

Carried throughout the day by randomly selected survey participants, the PPM device can track when and where they watch television, listen to radio as well as how they interact with other forms of media and entertainment. The PPM is equipped with a motion sensor, a patented quality control feature unique to the system, which allows Arbitron to confirm the compliance of the PPM survey participants every day. At the end of the day, the meter is placed in a docking station that extracts the codes and sends them to a central computer.

Sounds like a Nielsen system for your podcast