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Tuesday
Jan262010

Setting up traffic source bounce rate in Yahoo Web Analytics 

This post is inspired by an article my friend Adam Greco recently posted explaining how to set this up in Omniture, a report that allows you to track traffic sources with the bounce rate metric.

As Adam describes this is a right royal pain in the a** to setup using Omniture’s Site Catalyst product because traffic sources, particularly campaigns use the eVar database table which don’t include ‘simple’ traffic metrics such as visits, time spent, entries, single access etc. Adam’s solution - which works very well - is to replicate campaign data (including unpaid traffic) into an sProp that replicates the eVar meta data to enable the Bounce Rate calculated metric to be created.

Now for those of you that use Google Analytics you’ll all be saying - ‘ha ha’ - as you know you get this report ‘out of the box’ in the ‘medium’ report. Interesting for me to see how certain tools address simple analysis questions, and others make it possible through a fairly substantial ‘hack’, as Adam has well demonstrated.

Since I’m digging Yahoo Web Analytics at the moment (because it’s got more grunt than the standard Omniture Site Catalyst ‘out of the box’, but that’s a different story..) I thought I’d share with you how simple this is to create in Yahoo with (a) no additional tagging and (b) no tool customisation required. Rather than me describe it, which is probably very boring, here’s a screencast of how to create the custom report from which you can then analyse your campaign performance - note that this entire process too less than 4 minutes (would have been less if I wasn’t moving my mouse around to show you things!).


[embedded YouTube video showing custom report creation process]

An interesting analysis that comes out of such a report is to present post click performance to the media agency managing your campaigns. While your agency will typically present adserver or sem data they’ll probably only highlight the positive data: clicks and conversions. However with this report (with further customisation) you can highlight things like: 

  • Campaign Name / Category / Media Owner bounce rate
  • Campaign response by market (were you targeting Asia but reaching the US?)
  • Opportunities to create / change landing pages and develop tests based on campaign performance (for example do you have ad group specific landing pages for your search campaigns? Are they too broad, by high bounce?)

Once the basic report is created in YWA (and bookmarked!) it can be further refined to address your analysis questions. Here’s what it looks like:

Good luck with your campaign / traffic source analyses…

Thanks again to Adam for inspiring me to prepare this article.

Wednesday
Jan132010

Enhanced Campaign Tracking and Analysis in Yahoo Web Analytics using Bulk Upload Worksheet

Background

This document is intended for Yahoo Web Analytics power users who want to be able to create rich drill down analysis capabilities for campaigns. It assumes you understand the concepts of relational data, and the importance of creating hierarchical data sets. It would also help if you were familiar with Omniture SAINT functionality, which this document is showing you how to replicate in Yahoo Web Analytics, though this is not essential.

I wrote this document because I wanted to replicate the campaign classification and hierarchy approach that Omniture have done such a great job with through their SAINT engine. This document is based on the approaches we have developed for our clients as a YWA partner.

In this document you’ll learn how to create a rich campaign hierarchy based on campaign metadata, which will allow you to easily analyse your campaigns with a powerful drilldown capability.

*This document is pretty long (so apologies for this) - I’ve saved a version of this for download from Slideshare.

Some basics around campaigns in YWA

The out-of-the-box campaign setup (for every form of media except paid search) process for Yahoo Web Analytics is quite tedious for anyone who wants to launch agency-size campaigns and to have the ability to analyse a campaign and drilldown into various properties of a campaign (for example by placement).

The way that Yahoo allow you to create campaigns is based on three different criteria:

  • Properties – basic name / description / dates / visibility and cost type
  • Categories – up to ten different categories are available for each campaign (but each campaign cannot have multiple categories)
  • Settings – criteria for detecting the campaign through landing pages or url parameters (noting that only one campaign code is permitted per campaign)

These criteria become rather limiting when you want to analyse large campaigns, or components of campaigns. For example, a typical campaign in the Yahoo language would be something like “Banner Campaign – January – Facebook” whereas in reality a typical media buy is going to involve a number of sites, placements and ads in rotation – from my experience in working agency side we might have 5-10 sites, maybe 2-3 placements per site and perhaps 3 ads in rotation. Using this simple example a ‘typical’ campaign might have 90 or so combinations of sites / placements / ads all under the same campaign umbrella.

The objective of this document is to show you how to successfully replicate the content of your media plan, to create campaigns with multiple categories and to create formulas in Excel to help create a structured process for ongoing campaign management. As with any instructions in this field, we would encourage you to adapt this process for your own needs – making sure you document the process for your clients / agencies etc.

Exclusions

This setup does not include setup for paid search and integration with paid search engines. The YWA user guide contains in-depth instructions on this. 

This document only shows how to setup a rich campaign tracking environment within the YWA data centre, it does not show you how to analyse the data!

Introducing the process

Through trial and error we have created a six step process to enable rich campaign tracking and multi-dimensional analysis

Step 1: Setting up campaign categories

The first thing we need to do is setup your campaign categories from the ten that YWA makes available. You will need to use at least 2 of these categories to enable the correct relationship between campaign and properties, and all other categories can be used to describe your campaign in more detail:

In the example above we have shown an example using all 10 categories – the 2 you absolutely must setup are #2 Campaign Name (used to create a central container for campaigns in the system) and #10 Unique Identifier (a helper field used in the excel workbook to create tracking codes). Please review the example categories set here to give you a feel for how you might be able to setup categories.

Step 2: Download the bulk upload template

Next step is to download the template that YWA provides for offline campaign management. Access this file by going to ‘Campaign management’ and clicking on ‘Enter bulk campaign management’.

From the next screen download the bulk campaign management template by clicking on the ‘Download campaign settings (xls)’ link.

This will download the YWA campaign template in Excel format to your desktop. From here, open up the file and take note to review the document by reviewing the notes in Row 7. If you have already setup campaigns in your account, these will be included as rows in the spreadsheet – they will have an ID in column A and a checksum in column W created automatically by Yahoo – do NOT edit these columns for existing campaigns!

You’ll notice from column R you can see the campaign categories you have created.

Step 3: Setup some unique id formulas

The first thing we are going to do inside your workbook is add some simple formulas that will help automate the process of creating unique campaign names (column B) and tracking codes (column K).

If you weren’t following this guide, you would be able to setup new campaigns by filling out the various columns, making sure that you use the dash – character for any empty columns before uploading to YWA., if you recall what we described earlier this way would give you one row per campaign.

In our ‘advanced’ approach we will be using a unique campaign name in column B and using the new campaign name (created as a category) to allow ‘friendly naming’ of campaigns.

In column B you will need to add a formula to create a unique campaign identifier:

=LOWER(CONCATENATE(IF(C9="","ERROR",IF(C9="Paid Search","sem",IF(C9="Affiliate Program","aff",IF(C9="Email Campaigns","eml",IF(C9="Banner Campaigns","ban","oth"))))),".",LEFT(R9,3),".",LEFT(S9,3),".",TODAY(),".",Z9))

What this is doing is using a bit of simple string manipulation and concatenation to populate a string constructed as follows:

[campaignType].[first3charsofCampaignName].[first3charsofMediaOwner].[todaysDateasSerial].[uniqueIDfromCategory]

Which when built looks something like:

ban.jan.yah.40191.016

The second formula we’ll be using will simply take this campaign identifier and use it to populate the campaign code key for the querystring (this string is what you’ll need to use with your adserver to correctly track the campaign from click). This is a much simpler formula and will be added to column K, so in row 8 (assuming you have an empty spreadsheet) add:

=CONCATENATE("?cid=",B8)

You’ll then drag both of these formulas into all rows you’re populating in your spreadsheet. At this stage you might see some strange things – because you haven’t yet populated your metadata (descriptions) for your campaign.

Step 4: Populate your metadata

Now that the formulas are in place we’ll want to fill out the columns of the spreadsheet, I won’t run through everything in depth, but will show you how to ensure the querystring tracking is setup correctly:

A few things you’ll need to bear in mind:

  • There are a number of undocumented combinations of costs that cannot be entered – for example an Affiliate Program cannot have a FIXED cost setup, and must be setup as cpa/cpc
  • Column M for cost must be formatted as text (yes this is weird, but if you don’t do this you’ll get an error)
  • Same for Column P for quantity – format as text
  • For the date columns you’ll need to enter the date using a text entry format prefixing with an apostrophe, otherwise YWA will throw an error with the incorrect date format – so instead of 01-13-10 (or 13-01-10 for my American readers) you’ll enter ‘2010-01-13     

Step 5: Upload and note for errors

Next step is to review your workbook, making sure that the cell formats are correct (see above) and that any empty cells contain an apostrophe ‘ to indicate they are empty. Save the file and go back to YWA and try to upload it.

If it works, congratulations! You’ll get a green success message telling you how many new campaigns you’ve uploaded (remember we have a campaign name category so we haven’t ‘actually’ uploaded this many campaigns).

If it fails, I’m sorry! You’ll get a rather cryptic error message that doesn’t really make sense. My experience shows me the errors you’ll typically receive are because of incorrect cell formats or because you’ve go invalid cost / quantity combinations setup. Ideally YWA would have good error messages here, at this time you’ll have to experiment I’m afraid.

Step 6: Review your setup with Custom Reporting

If you’ve successfully uploaded, the immediate benefit is that all of your campaign metadata will be available for review (even without any click or conversion data). This is quite cool – especially for debugging purposes.

If you go to the ‘Marketing > Campaigns > Campaign summary’ report you’ll be able to drilldown into your data, per your category setup – this will allow you to simulate the relationships between the data and allow you to start planning for custom reports and segmentation exercises.

Word of warning: with 10 categories setup your campaign summary report is going to be pretty messy (see below) so I’d recommend using custom reporting to set this up in a way that is a little more legible and easier to make sense of:

Conclusion

With your campaign setup process in place, you’ll now have a campaign analysis tool that is getting as close to the depth you can provide with Omniture Site Catalyst (Omniture allows much deeper classification but without the drilldown analysis capabilities) and more flexible than you could achieve with the long querystrings required by Google Analytics (although setting up in Google might be much easier for many organisations).

Additional Thoughts

If you’re using Atlas as your adserver, getting into this level of setup is quite easy with the ability to upload traffic sheets, if however you’re using DFA then you’ll probably not want to get into this kind of depth. An alternative for businesses on the DFA platform would be to use the DFA api to pull placement data and upload into YWA through the upload api. As Yahoo are currently updating the api’s this is not something we’re exploring at this time. 

 

Wednesday
Jan132010

Year of the Tiger - Gong Xi Fa Cai!

In advance of Chinese New Year coming up next month, Insightr Consulting would like to wish all of our clients, friends, partners and readers Gong Xi Fa Cai (learn more about Chinese New Year on Wikipedia)


Image licensed under Creative Commons: Thank you to Jimmie Home School Mom

This is a special one for me, as I was born under the Tiger, some would say a lot of the personality traits of a Tiger rubbed off on me?!

Tuesday
Jan122010

Simple way to deal with workplace and stakeholder negativity

To your colleague / client, rather than getting upset / angry - turn the negative into a positive:

you will continue to be a thorn in my side are a real joy to work with as you find ways to undermine everything I do to push this project forward bring forward a new and fresh perspective.

Brilliant. Thanks to Kiran from the Omniture Blog who I quote for this entry, for more depth please read his full article “Dear Negative Stakeholder”.

Thursday
Dec312009

10 Steps to develop your Social Media strategy

I’ve seen a lot of social media guides recently, so in many ways this article is perhaps just jumping on the bandwagon, but one of the common themes I’ve encountered in a lot of these presentation is the lack of broad strategic thinking behind why and how to engage your customers with social media. They have tended to focus very heavily on the tactics - let’s use Twitter, here’s a great Facebook fan page rather than focusing on objective driven goals.

The first thing that strikes me in preparing this is that social media actually isn’t media, and while definitions are not clear and you’ll see as many different descriptions of what it is as you’ll meet people to discuss their opinions. I’ve worked with clients in the US, Europe and Asia on what we call social media (note: earlier than 2006 we just called it web2.0, and before 2004 we called it emerging media). Essentially social media is a true reflection of the 2-way media that the internet promised since it became commercial - and we’ve seen this in the earliest bulletin boards and web forums for the last ten years so it’s not really that new..

..the point is that the social part of the internet has always been around, the fact that new platforms and technologies have made it easier to share our thoughts (blogger etc), show our lives (flickr etc) and describe our activities (facebook etc) have led to this explosion in social media for the masses. 

There is however a temptation for social media experts to rely too much on their own personal experiences - I’ve encountered many more self proclaimed experts than genuine thought leaders, most of whom relate to their having a Facebook and Twitter account and thinking this is the start and end of the conversation. That’s not to say this isn’t important, but without experimentation and customer research and listening posts chances are you’ll be not making the most of the opportunities.

Rather than try to list out my recommended process using text, I’m turning to a social channel, one that I use a lot for business because it provides a rich platform for sharing ideas to clients and prospect clients: Slideshare. By uploading presentations to Slideshare and sharing on their site and syndicated through Linkedin to my contact database and through this blog I’m able to share creative ideas to you the reader, which for me is far easier than writing dull text.

The ideas presented in this deck are intended to highlight the similarities between developing a digital strategy and developing a social media strategy - it’s all related and I encourage you to explore your existing processes to extend your use and leverage of the [social] digital platforms. The ideas are based on a framework that integrates a measurement planning process and is intended to help frame ideas under a research / observation based umbrella.

Note I don’t cover off everything here, notable exceptions include: stakeholder buy-in and budget allocation as well as deep insight into the various forms of communication and the platforms available: for this I encourage you to explore relevant channels for your business keeping the customer at the centre of your ideation process. Enjoy! I’d recommend viewing the deck in full screen to ensure all text / images can be seen.

It looks like this is a timely article as Google shows us that 2010 is the year of social media! Hope this helps you develop and crystallise ideas that are not only strategic, but also measurable. 

Thursday
Dec032009

Singapore's first Web Analytics Wednesday event - what a success!

Last night I helped run Singapore’s first Web Analytics Wednesday (WAW) event (maybe not the first as I heard that a few folks had tried organising in the past..) and I was amazed and delighted at the turnout.

I’ve been planning the WAW for around three months with Hugh Gage of Engage Digital and Vinoaj Vijeyakumaar of Google. We weren’t sure how big the web analytics industry is in Singapore, we know only a few agencies in Singapore have dedicated digital analytics teams and that analytics resource in client business is typically shared with a marketing resource. We knew that a number of new startups in Singapore were focussing on analytics (such as clickTRUE) and that educational events run by Google had been a success in the past.

So, as we recruited friends, colleagues through meetings, Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter we were hoping we might be able to get around 10 - 20 people interested, after all web analytics isn’t perhaps as interesting as say Social Media Breakfast. But over the last few weeks we’ve been watching more and more people sign up, in total across our various platforms we had around 130 people signing up, but we didn’t know if everyone would arrive.

Over 100 people turned up last night!

This is amazing! The Web Analytics Wednesday event is running in cities around the world, over 40 at current count - and based on Singapore’s interest this makes us one of the top 10 cities in the world for WAW events. Not bad for a little island!

I’d like to extend my thanks to the following people:

  • Derek and the marketing team at Google for sponsorship and event funding
  • Ali and the event team at All Events Group for organising the event logistics 
  • Gilbert Teo (@bertpix) for being our official photographer (more soon!)
  • Eric T Peterson for coming up with the event concept
  • Vinny and Hugh for helping organise
  • Everyone who turned up and showed support - you guys are the best!

A few of you asked to see the presentation that Hugh gave, so here you go:

We’ve got more sponsors lined up for future events, and we’re hoping to get some ‘analytics rockstars’ to present as we can find them… more soon!

If you want to get involved please let us know - we’re looking for sponsors, speakers and event organisers!

To finish, here’s some of the feedback from the Twitter backchannel:

Tuesday
Dec012009

How to create a measurement plan (..and why you need one)

By James Dutton

One of the biggest challenges of web analytics is the over reliance on manual processes to collect data, interpret data and to establish actions from analysis. Organisations find that their internal resources are overly absorbed in dealing with responses from marketing managers, sales managers, merchandising managers, support managers, campaign managers to provide continuous reporting support.

Some of these issues can be dealt with by the creation of an organisational measurement plan that identifies agreed business metrics for all stakeholders, to include suggested visualisation and presentation processes and drill down analyses recommended for establishing solutions to unexpected variations from targets. Many organisations still don’t have a measurement plan.

This article is jumping ahead considerably in the sophistication of standard web analytics to move into what ought to be an organisational vision of how web analytics can move from defensive reporting through to process automated analytics.

  • Defensive Reporting. No agreed measurement plan, no business owner metrics. Little assertion over what reports and analyses look like. Burden of analysts to prepare reports with little or no direction, and no response to report requestors questioning needs or requirements. It’s a cyclical system that drives little in the way of results and is reflected in senior management views that web data is inconclusive
  • Process Automated Analytics. With agreed measurement plan, management agreed reports are prepared and dsitributed, alerts are set to management when metrics underperform and analysts who are able to drilldown and deep-dive into data proactively. This process frees up time to invest in testing and algorithmic optimisation that is based on improving performance of agreed metrics.

In order to get to this stage you’ll need to get to grips with some of the key learning points and questions that will help justify the strategic (time) investment in measurement planning:

  • How do you respond to adhoc reporting requests?
  • How do you prioritise ongoing analysis?
  • Are your business owners getting reports / insights that relate to their roles?
  • Do you spend more than 35% of your time running reports?
  • Have you found it difficult to get exposure to A/B and multivariate testing?
  • Is your business meeting goals (or have those goals not been set yet)?

For our clients a measurement plan is like the marketing encyclopedia - it is a reference document that is used in campaign planning, quarterly reviews and appraisal of systems performance. Business owners will reference the measurement plan when engaging in conversations with analysts, and the analysts will use the plan for guidance in tool implementation, reporting preparation and analysis of data. The measurement plan can be shared with your engineers and developers so that all those JavaScript calls might make a little more sense!

Here’s how we prepare measurement plans:

Stage 1: Set your objectives and parameters

Start your measurement plan document by outlining a set of overall objectives and parameters. Here you’ll want to outline your goals, the target audience, the way the document should be read and the overall high level digital objectives.

Stage 2: Visualise your measurement scope

Spend a few minutes preparing an overview of the measurement world from where your plan needs to be prepared. Map out components to categorise key areas of concern that your business owners will need you to look at - spend time talking with business owners to appraise the situation. The output of this might be a funnel type diagram (as below) or a simpler sitemap. For enterprise sites this may encompass analysis of complex customer flows and dissemation into segment driven customer goals. 

The purpose is to set a framework from where your metrics will be prepared and for how different business functions in your digital landscape flow together.

Stage 3: Identify metrics and dimensions (including external data)

Now that we have a broad framework from which we plan on measuring the business, the process of identification of a set of metrics and dimensions will help us in the later stages of the measurement plan. When identifying metrics (think: columns of your reports) and dimensions (think: rows of your reports) we’re looking to encompass the scope of how we will develop reporting and analysis structures. 

For some projects and businesses this is a stage that can be skipped over, for some businesses - such as those leveraging a tool such as Omniture Insight - this will be a key data planning process. By referring to our broad framework we can use this stage to bucket related metrics and dimensions. For example in media (search, display) there will be common metrics and dimensions that will consistently apply such as

  • Impressions
  • Searches
  • Clicks
  • Custom Actions
  • Cost
  • Cost per Action
  • ROAS

Note - these are not our business metrics - otherwise we’d end up with reports such as top pages or top search keywords. 

Stage 4: Identify business and operational KPIs

Our business metrics will be identified and created by using two related processes. Firstly we will assume that you have spent time surveying and interviewing your business owners to learn what their objectives are and how the digital properties will relate to their jobs, secondly we assume you’ve also prepared the broad list of metrics and dimensions (think of these like your building blocks). Our strategic KPI’s will be led from the insights of the business owners, and will be related tactically to the content and applications by integration with our building blocks.

From our business owners we will have a lot of requirements, so something we would typically do is go through a de-duplication process (to ensure common requirements are mapped) and to create a tiered approach to metrics. This is important, because typically business owners will struggle with identifying key digital metrics and will revert to what they have been exposed to, things like our top keywords, top pages, browser types - such reports are a legacy and as part of your interview process you need to remove considerations of the channel. This way we can focus on strategic goals that the analyst can align to the framework.

With the framework in mind, we can then drill down into the layers and identify metrics (KPI’s) within each level. The key intention is to progressively get more granular at each step:

As we do this we can go back to the earlier stages of the document and refine the metrics and dimensions required to meet the needs of the business. Our key task is to remain focussed on the business and not on the tactics. 

Stage 5: Identify KPI analysis drilldowns

This is perhaps one of the most important parts of the measurement plan, it is where we provide guidelines for analyses of the KPI’s, and what considerations need to be addressed when analysing the data. Frequently overlooked by analysts who jump straight into the data collection process it’s worth spending time thinking about the meaning of the metrics that have been created. There are a couple of different ways to look at the metrics:

  1. Look at the measurement scope framework - have we mapped out the customer journey as a process? If so, then our drilldown analysis can focus on looking upsteam and downstream in the process to identify potential candidate metrics that influence the current metric.
  2. Look at the tiered metrics framework - have we created category metrics underneath marketing metrics? Have we identified micro-metrics that sub-relate to the high level category metrics?
  3. Look at the historic analyses your organisation has carried out, in your business or in previous roles - can you replicate common situations that have been addressed in the past? Does your organisation have seasonal trends (such as tax submission time for financial services clients or christmas for retail clients) that have historically meant different challenges at different times.

These drilldowns are not step by step instructions, but rather guidelines to set direction. As your organisation learns more I would recommend continuously adding to this section of your measurement plan. Think about ways that analyses have been carried out, what segments were key to diagnosis, what marketing channels have been influencers.

Stage 6: Map out your Data Sources

By adopting this approach you’ll be better prepared (by being product agnostic until this stage) to now identify sources for your data. By being more free thinking prior to this stage you will likely need to find alternative sources of data beyond the traditional comfort zone. Do you need adserver data? social media data? customer segment properties? email data? survey data? Think about your key metrics and how that data will be collected and presented. 

Being visual, I like to draw this (whiteboard if you can) and think about using a mind map technique to highlight relationships between data (will there be common keys?) and how sources will interact. Use Visio (or similar process tool) to finalise your vision and get this into your document.

As you go through this process you will likely get into situations where perhaps your current tool might not be able to support requirements. Do you need to bring in a vendor or external consultant to advise on ways to address your challenges?

Stage 7: Propose processes for target and goal setting

Target and goal setting can be a real challenge if the organisation hasn’t previously set clear objectives. Sometimes rather than trying to look at the micro-level first (feels easier, but isn’t) we need to take a step back and look at the macro-level. Who owns digital properties, has that person been set personal goals? Does your finance team have an expected ROI from web marketing? Has the organisation set expectations on how much business needs to come from digital channels over the next 12 months? Is there an expected (eg for telco) ARPU for offline customers that the web channel has to beat? 

If we can identify a couple of very high level goals, then it’s easier to work back against all of our metrics to model ‘what-if’ scenarios. For example looking at a simple customer journey from search click we might see a visitor land on entry page, view product information, explore a form, watch a video, register for webinar. At each of these simplistic stages there are key metrics that influence the journey. How does your bounce rate impact site engagement? What does a visitor segment who spends more than 3 mins on your site look like compared with less than 2 minutes? How does first time vs repeat visitor conversion compare? What if we need to have 5+ visits to reach peak conversion? 

As we investigate the relationships we can start to set benchmarks. Using ‘what-if’ scenarios along with drilldown analyses we can start to build a model of the relationship of metrics; what if your bounce rate is higher than 50% - can improvement of KPI X resolve that?

Stage 8: Identify business owners and visualisation / sharing process

By now you should have already had enough dialogue with your business owners to know what data they need to see to do their jobs, as well as having very clear direction on the overall view of the metrics. This will enable you to leverage combinations of existing dashboarding capabilities of the tools selected, as well as providing guidance on how multiple data sources will need to work together.

Being visual, I have found that sketching out reports / dashboards and presentation styles can save a huge amount of time when it comes to presentation of data when it comes to implementation later in the process - but the key objective of the measurement plan is about the documentation of reports, trends, compound metrics etc and to incorporate the insight that will be gleaned from this data. Remember the key objective is not to prepare reports, but to prepare the organisation for what the data means, what can be done with it and what are the extended opportunities that tools (such as clickstream recommendations, multivariate testing or targeting platforms) can offer to enhance metric performance

Stage 9: Distribute, gather feedback - then publish

By now your measurement plan should be complete, and you should be satisfied with a job well done.

To close the process you need to ensure the business is on board with the measurement plan, as you’ve been reviewing this with your business team through the process by sharing updates and through interviews your sharing for review should not come as a surprise to the organisational team. Look for candid feedback - have you missed key stakeholder feedback, are your objectives clear, are your targets within reach?

Once the organisation is agreed the document needs publishing to a location where the organisation can access it. For some businesses this is a measurement folder on a shared network drive, for others it’s through creating content on the intranet or by creating a measurement plan Wiki. Look to your organisation for processes that work, and then build on this. Now your measurement plan is agreed and in place you can move to delivering on the plan… and ultimately spending less time reporting!

Footnote

The measurement planning process does not happen overnight, depending on the size of your business your plan could be developed in a couple of days or over the course of 6 months.

When following this process think about how your organisation works, and where you are currently - do you have a detailed Omniture BRD that can be used to enrich your measurement plan or are you starting from nothing. I’d advocate as much whiteboarding, doodling and process diagraming as possible to turn the complex into processes that are easy to digest and process.

Good luck - and as always Insightr Consulting is here to help. The development of an organisational measurement plan is one component of our Insite Measurement Planning process.

Wednesday
Nov252009

User Experience Analysis with ClickTale to Save your Business Money

When the economy is in trouble, businesses need to find ways that will allow budgets to be cut. Marketing activities usually are pressured into submission, but smart digital marketers can respond to economic problems by addressing opportunities to reduce operational costs by driving business processes to the web. In order to achieve this marketers and eBusiness managers can look to usability optimisation as a key tactic for eliminating unnecessary sales and service costs.

Data quoted from Forrester research shows that better Web site usability leads to:

  • Fewer calls about products. One of the primary drivers of calls to the Land’s End call center used to be questions about product sizing and fit. By adding essential content about these two factors to its site, the company was able to reduce its call volume by 20%.
  • Fewer calls about the site. While some users call the contact center with product questions, others call because of problems with the Web site itself. Companies can eliminate many of these calls by fixing the issues that drive them. For example, Wachovia reduced call center complaints by improving the reliability, speed, and performance of its Web site.
  • Shorter calls for complex issues. Some questions are so complicated that they can’t be answered entirely online. Firms may not be able to shift complex calls entirely, but many have reduced average call length by enabling customers to complete some portion of their goal on the site before picking up the phone for agent help.

Since data shows that optimising the User Experience (UX) then we need to find tools that will help us analyse visitor task completion on the web to ensure that the process works as smoothly as intended. Traditional UX methodologies and analysis techniques are before the fact and based on general best practice (such as user centered design or focus groups). While both of these approaches work well in the planning stages of web experiences, it’s only when content is deployed in the real world that nuances, issues and problems appear.

For such analysis we need a tool that tells us more than traditional web analytics (great for high level analyses against business goals and to assist with segment planning for optimisations and tests) and is more tactile than survey based qualitative research.

At Insightr Consulting we recommend using a tool such as ClickTale alongside your existing web analytics platform (such as Google Analytics or Yahoo Web Analytics) to help observations and analyses of the visitor experience.

Key observed benefits of using ClickTale are

  • Behavioural Insight
    - reveal the mystery of what visitors are doing inside your website pages >learn more
  • Easy Deployment Process
    - you can set up ClickTale in just a few minutes > learn more
  • Virtual Focus Groups
    - watch real-time movies of your visitor’s entire browsing sessions > learn more
  • Rich Form Analytics - optimize your online forms to maximize conversion and usability > learn more
  • Aggregate Click / Mouse based Heatmaps
    - see where visitors click, where they look and how far down they scroll > learn more
  • Link Analytics - understand all visitor interactions with your links, fields and buttons > learn more
  • Support - customer support availability 365 days / year > learn more

What does ClickTale look like?

The ClickTale user interface provides three main functional analysis capabilities - individual user playback, form analyses and heatmaps.

Individual User Playback

ClickTale records every action your visitors and potential customers take on your website, which provides a virtual focus group capability to your user experience analysis. Recording visitors’ every action as they browse your website, and then watch movies of their browsing sessions. Movies can be filtered based on the actions your visitors take, so for example you can observe visitor who access your forms but don’t complete them - by watching how visitors interact we can discover problems with the user experience and then provide recommendations on ways to test and optimise that experience - this level of insight is simply not possible by using a traditional web analytics tool, which will tell you what happened but provide little or no insight into why it happened.

Form Analyses

The form analysis capabilities of ClickTale provide considerably more useful information from which to make optimisations than is possible using traditional web analytics tools such as Google Analytics or Omniture, because we are able to learn how long visitors spend in each field, how many fields are left blank, which steps of the form result in abandonment. Examples of results achieved from using the form analysis tool include:

  • 345% bookings increase just 4 weeks after installing and analysing
  • 50% reduction in form abandonments
  • 44% increase in site conversion rate

Heatmaps

The ClickTale heatmaps provide a high level, aggregated view of the data collected through the individual visitor playback service. The heatmaps provide insight into how visitors respond, read and interact with content by providing data on mouse hovers, mouse movements and clicks to provide a really deep understanding. The ClickTale tool provides key advantages over traditional web analytics tool overlays, by providing the insight into the mouse movements and clicks on items that perhaps aren’t clickable on the site, like static images:

Clicktale Heatmap

What are you waiting for?

Clicktale offers low priced subscriptions to the service, which will provide a many times return on investment the first time that your site is optimised based on the data. A free, basic version of ClickTale with limited functionality is also available for basic testing of the tool before committing to the paid versions. Through our partnership with ClickTale Insightr Consulting are able to offer up to 40% discounts for annual subscriptions, starting from just US$59 per month.

Satisfaction & Money Back Guarantee

If you are not completely satisfied, you may cancel your plan within 30 days for a complete refund from ClickTale.

Sunday
Nov152009

Get RSS click data into Google Analytics via Feedburner

This is great news for anyone who uses RSS for their blogs, podcasts, news, press releases etc; Google has just announced that Feedburner data can now be integrated with Google Analytics.

Don’t get too excited though.

Google have only been able to develop a system that basically auto-tags the RSS feed links when someone subscribes through a Feedburner hosted RSS feed (such as this blog). Folks who subscribe directly to your RSS won’t be tracked. Additionally Google aren’t integrating data on feed subscriptions, you’ll still need to access that data via Feedburner.

This has taken a  r e a l l y   l  o  n  g   time to rollout, after all Google bought Feedburner for $100m back in June 2007! (via Techcrunch)

To make best use of this I would recommend making sure that all of your RSS feeds are passed through Feedburner, make sure your blog software can handle that before sending content to the browser. For this site I use Squarespace which allows all RSS feeds to be over-ridden with specific RSS domains. I’ve also used the Feedburner MyBrand service which ensures that the insightr.com domain is used for RSS hosting:

How to get Feedburner click data into Google Analytics

Step 1: Login to your Feedburner Account

You’ll need to go to the “Analyze” tab and then click on the Services button and make sure the “track clicks as a traffic source in Google Analytics” is selected.

Step 2: Modify the campaign parameters

Click on the “customize” button, this will launch an overlay window that will allow you to customise the Google Analytics campaign parameters that Feedburner uses to auto-tag your links. Google offers four dynamic variables to help extend the depth of data being collected, which can be positioned and managed as appropriate for your business, they are:

  • $(feedUrl) - this captures the URI of your feed
  • $(feedName) - this captures the full name of your feed as set in the Feedburner settings
  • $(distributionChannel) - this captures the channel in which your feed was clicked in (for example if you use the Feedburner email services this will show up in this variable as ‘email’)
  • $(distributionEndpoint) - this will capture the tool or service from which the click came from (for example google reader, friendfeed)

Step 3: Find the data in Google Analytics

Based on how you customised the feed you will be able to find the data within your campaign reports, so in the example below there is an example of what the source / medium data will look like. In this example a secondary dimension of ad content has been used to capture where the click came from.

 

What’s next?

I’m hoping the next evolution for this will:

  • be modified to capture RSS feed subscriptions directly in Google Analytics (or if Google are being nicely open source to allow api data to be sent to YWA, Omniture, Coremetrics etc.).  This is real problem for analysts at the moment who are limited to trying to track RSS feed subscriptions via clicks, a highly ineffective measure when RSS subscriptions are built directly into the latest browsers - clicks are never going to be an accurate measure of this.
  • allow tracking of campaign parameters for other analytics tools in Feedburner (eg populating a cid= variable for Omniture). This is a bit more open source than I suspect Google will offer, but would help Google “not be evil” :)
  • longer term I’m hoping Google will integrate Google Analytics and DFA with auto campaign tagging (this is a royal pain for anyone who uses DFA with Google Analytics because of the old school trafficking approach used by DFA). Who knows maybe if Google open up further this will allow third party data imports into GA (such as data from email service providers). This would then compete directly with Omniture Genesis. At which stage Omniture / Adobe will need to crank out some serious product innovation to keep customers paying for commodity driven analytics services.

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Thursday
Nov052009

Woopra Full Screen Map Visualisation


Woopra Full Screen Map, originally uploaded by James Dutton.

Wondering if anyone has examples where the full screen Woopra global map has been used as a corporate visualisation.

For example in the reception of your office you install a monitor that has this view of your web traffic for all to see. I'm sure this is certainly not an 'analytical' use of the data, but it's fun - especially for anyone who is interested in the real-time aspect of web data.

In my example it's on my primary monitor so it's certainly not like this all the time!