Hear – Listen – Communicate


May 17, 2011, 1:08 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

2011 – The year #measure will start to adopt ETL tools.
First, for the non data warehousing junkies, ETL stands for Extract, Transform and Load. The three things you as an analyst loathe the most.
Extract – This is the act of obtaining the data in it’s raw format to be played with in Excel, Google Spreadsheets or your tool de jur.
Transform – oh if only the data were ready to be used! Transforming is when you clean up URL’s, create calculated metrics like ROAS, or simply group pages or events together.
Load – While officially this is loading the data back into the analysis tool, for the sake of our roles I am going to stretch this into the final presentation of data. We will say loading the data into the HiPPO.

Now from a show of Retweets… how many of you do this on a daily basis! This is why I feel the ETL process will see the greatest change in 2010. The fundamentals are there and are beyond testing.
1)For the last few years we have seen open access via REST API’s from several vendors, none more utilized than Google Analytics.
2) The GA API has been so popular, and is such a good representation of obtaining raw data, that it has resurrected old-school data extraction tools such as NextAnalytics (formerly…), Analyst Canvas (formerly DataMartist), and even newer “spreadsheet” tools such as Blime.
This speaks to the power to having quick access to raw data. The analyst community must give a hand to all the developers contributing to making this job easier for all of us. However, the challenge has only just begun. If all we are getting is raw data quickly, that certainly won’t help us transform and then load it into the HiPPOs brain.
The Transform and Loading process is where these companies need our assistance. While many companies have been stuck in rut normalizing things such as customer lists, market territories or regional sales cycles…we have a whole new challenge. Completely unstructured, non-understood, at times ambiguous datasets. We all know the “transformation” this data takes to become actionable (or loadable).



All In One Stats (part of Your Analytics Site) 2010 March Madness Tourny tweeters
March 2, 2010, 3:12 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

All In One Stats (part of Your Analytics Site) 2010 March Madness Tourny tweeters

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Measure your Intranet – Measure your Organization
November 11, 2009, 10:25 pm
Filed under: Enterprise web analytics adoption, Intranets, Measuring Performance

The Intranet is the center of your organization.  It defines the corporate culture, allows for collaborative learning as well as allows for unlimited workflow efficiencies.

Not much different from a normal site, however, your audience is COMPELTELY DIFFERENT, thus, the objectives you track will be different as well.

You sit on the segmented clickmap of your organizations workflow. Embrace it. Who is really engaging in that sales info.  Is there a need to translate content. is the corporate balanced scorecard seen by all organizations? Is everyone pulling out of their 401K plan?  Do you see excessive downloads coming from a “relocated” department?

While normally the CEO is trying to set this pace, you as an analyst have the power to do more!

WHY YOU SHOULD TRACK YOUR INTRANET.

Reason #1 – You are spending time, effort, money, ideas on it. Why not!

Understood, depending upon the size of your company this may or may not be true. Let’s say it is true. Intranet’s cost a lot of money. Expand this idea to your extranet and then you are talking true budget greenbacks, none of that internal IT money.
You purchase and worry about Intranet search, the help content, your HR information/collaboration, sales information. Now wouldn’t it be nice to offer the same analytics on that content as you do on the product page of your website? Do bounce rates, newsletter tracking (you get corporate newsletters, don’t lie), search terms not found reports ring a bell?

Reason #2 – Remember when there was low hanging fruit?

That might be gone. Analytics is hard work now. Unless you just launched your site you are now looking into behavior targeting, A/B testing, customer segmentation by now. Make those same changes on your Intranet (remember the improvement margins!!), and you will have a solid work plan for IT for quite some time. (think people will mind being busy in 2010 … think again!)

Reason #3 – Did I mention our how big my rack is?

Let’s face it. We love our large rackspace. No matter who you are, you know you get excited when Google announces another Gig of email space, even though you have only used 27% of what you have. Samething is happening across your Intranet servers.

“The Intranet must be up” and so each service has redundancy, a load balancer, and tons of space. Employees are saving everything on the Intranet to share. Several times over. Content is ALL OVER THE PLACE but only used twice and trashing search results. Depending upon your organization, a pretty large savings in a time where a penny saved is a penny earned.

There are several challenges though-

1) Start with the basics, you will make more friends.  You are no longer working neck to neck with the marketing guy on raising SEO conversions.  YOu are trying to convince sales departmerns or content editors to listen to insights from the intranet data.  Very different conversation!

2) get ready to use hits again, and log files- and then defend their valued use.  Remember, intranets thrive on file dls, video, and untagged areas.

3) you have the holy grail (100% registered users), and will notice the tools aren’t built for this.  Warehouse is the way to go.  Translate Visitors, Pages, etc with your corp. taxonomy

4) you have no baseline. No alexa, no ad metrics, no googleanalytics. When data gets strange, you better know the tool.

 

Quick wins

Now, while there are a few challenges, luckily there will be some easy quick wins.  Remember the first time you reviewed yoru analytics, and the insights you were able to collect?  The good times are back.

1) Hook up the Unique Vistors to your corporate database. Start to segment by role, discipline, etc.

2)  improve search / purge ‘inactive areas’.  This is probably some fairly dull (if not dead) content out there. If u want to improve your internal search (and trust me, everyone hates the corporate search engine), get rid of this content

3) define app usage – chances are hr, finance, facilities all have apps online now. See if they should be promoting it more or going back to paper.

4)  influence the intranet homepage – chances are once u connect the data u have the best idea on the key areas.

5) Don’t – ab test, or beat on path analysis, and influence seo.  The intranet folks don’t want to hear that yet.  Don’t be an internal clog :)

No cookies, 99% accurate visitor counts, easy data integration.  This is your dream! Chase it.

Full disclosure:

1) I manage an analytics service primarily for Intranet websites

2) My primarily client is Microsoft, we have a couple of collaborate products you might of heard of

3) I have not always worked on the IT / Intranet side of the fence. But enough to talk about it beyond the last year.

4) I like WebTrends. A lot.

 

CREDITS: to two people who work at the WAA Genius Bar. Jim Sterne and Angie Brown. Jim, thanks for giving me the inspiration during Xchange to keep going on this niche Intranet tracking ‘thang. Angie, thanks for writing a great article on Intranet Analytics … that I disagree with (see her blog comments). That drives passion!

Angie’s article, If you pay your visitors’ salaries, then it pays to optimize, was dead on. She makes another dead on statement. Organizations are luckly if someone “slapped a tag on it” referring of course to the Intranet site.

WHY YOU SHOULD TRACK YOUR INTRANET.

Reason #1 – You are spending time, effort, money, ideas on it. Why not!

Understood, depending upon the size of your company this may or may not be true. Let’s say it is true. Intranet’s cost a lot of money. Expand this idea to your extranet and then you are talking true budget greenbacks, none of that internal IT money.
You purchase and worry about Intranet search, the help content, your HR information/collaboration, sales information. Now wouldn’t it be nice to offer the same analytics on that content as you do on the product page of your website? Do bounce rates, newsletter tracking (you get corporate newsletters, don’t lie), search terms not found reports ring a bell?

Reason #2 – Remember when there was low hanging fruit?

That might be gone. Analytics is hard work now. Unless you just launched your site you are now looking into behavior targeting, A/B testing, customer segmentation by now. Make those same changes on your Intranet (remember the improvement margins!!), and you will have a solid work plan for IT for quite some time. (think people will mind being busy in 2010 … think again!)

Reason #3 – Did I mention our how big my rack is?

Let’s face it. We love our large rackspace. No matter who you are, you know you get excited when Google announces another Gig of email space, even though you have only used 27% of what you have. Samething is happening across your Intranet servers.

“The Intranet must be up” and so each service has redundancy, a load balancer, and tons of space. Employees are saving everything on the Intranet to share. Several times over. Content is ALL OVER THE PLACE but only used twice and trashing search results. Depending upon your organization, a pretty large savings in a time where a penny saved is a penny earned.



How YourAnalyticsSite can help
September 14, 2009, 8:10 am
Filed under: Personal, Taking action

How YourAnalyticsSite can help

Analytics Framework Workshop

The Your Analytics Site workshop consists of a three day on site consulting session that is designed to construct a framework that goes beyond identifying your goals and objectives but drives into the measure used and actions taken your organization.

Goals and Objectives:  On the first day, we will work with your stakeholders to articulate your corporate goals into ones that encompass work performed by your online and offline departments.  Goals have actions behind them (or at least they better!), and that is what we will be tracking.  This is the first stage.

Goal: Increase engagement of website leading towards a higher registration conversion

Activities: Develop personalized newsletter program, utilize social channels, optimize registration process, develop more leading content

The second day we review those goals and activities and decide What are we trying to accomplish through all these activities.  Different from the goal, this is what the landing page designer tells you the new page will do.  The last part of the day will be quantifing these statements to define which KPI’s will be used to signal success\failure\or needs work status.

What are we trying to accomplish: Increase repeat traffic and multiple page views, Interaction through social channels, higher conversion rate

How can we measure that: Increase # of visitors that visit 2-4 times a month (or more) and view 3 or more pages, increase in mentions and conversation with key “friends”, increase in overall cost per lead.

The last day we define the ownership of work:  who is in charge of making sure things get done in the time frame required.  Being on the same page and knowing who owns each task is crucial to success. We help identify the key players in this daily process so your organization knows who is responsible for making the necessary changes/adjustments to your web analytics strategy in order to yield improved results.  We also help out by suggesting signals and patterns to look for to trigger these actions.

Reporting Solution Development

If you are savvy enough to already have the above framework in place, but lack the in-house resources to bring those reports to life we can help.  Through a consulting workshop together we can take yourthe above report definitions and customize your analytics environment to meet those needs.  We believe that the data is more valuable outside the tools than inside, so, we always work through the solution to meet the preexisting delivery methods in place in your organization.

Your Analytics Site offers the experience of developing adopted solutions for many organizations over the years.  Our preexisting technology solutions arm organizations with the tools necessary for what we call “efficient active listening.”  When big things happen, good or bad, companies who listen actively will be in a position to react immediately and make decisions in the best interest of their organization.

Examples:

  • Combining ad server data with site data
  • Integrating SalesForce Visitor information with online registration data
  • Evaluating Social Media Influence to traffic and organization

Dashboard and Scorecard Automation

Your data sources don’t just come from WebTrends or Google Analytics.  That said, our dashboards and balanced scorecards combine data sets from many areas in order to paint the complete picture of your performance

YourAnalyticsSite will design a custom dashboard that fits the business data needs.  The Dashboard acts as a data template, accepting data from subsequent time periods and allowing the user to slice and dice the data from multiple sources and time periods.

We have developed best practice dashboard templates that can cost-efficiently be customized to meet your needs.  We have developed dashboard solutions for Microsoft, 2006 Winter Olympics, Kimberly-Clark and more.  Let us help you as well.

Automated Data extraction, formatting and preparation

A business’s web data can be a valuable commodity.  However, as described in this WhitePaper, this can be a daunting task, taking away your time to provide actionable insights from data.

We help map out a custom data structure that will accept your raw online data.  This data structure will act as a template that is populated periodically and allows users to easily view trends and changes in data.

Only the experts in your organization know how to best interpret the data.  YouAnalyticsSite provides the blue print for data reporting and user friendly tools that will allow the business users to interpret the data and make the necessary decisions.



Break through the numbers into Action
September 14, 2009, 8:10 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Break through the numbers into Action

The obstacles above can be overcome.  With a little bit of planning and a some more flexibility your team can be off to a running start.

Solution #1:  Build an Enterprise Analytics Framework

While you can acquire all the reporting tools you want, none of them will tell you how you are performing against your business goals.  In order to adopt analytics across your organizations you must adhere to the company’s corporate goals and objectives.  Then, they can be translated into the activities your company plans on performing.

What are your goals?

What are you trying to do to achieve them?

What do you want to prove/disprove/do? Reach More Visitors, Decrease Call Center Costs, Increase Advertising Income, Sell more products, Increase Visitor Retention

What do you need to track?

Once this is in place you can start to build the actual reporting around it.  Instead of just presenting data, you are proving or disproving activities.

Instead of the analyst running around performing one off requests they have a solid regime of reports.  In the fewer cases where that drill down reporting is needed the fact that it will be acted upon lights the fire.

Solution #2:  Define Accountability and Standardize data communication

Organizations that have a process in place on what happens under certain criteria (landing page bouce rate is low for a page with a high entry level) and who performs the change (Sally in design meets with Rich in Marketing) have a much greater chance of making changes that make the most impact.

Building out the framework further to include:

Who delivers the data?

How often is data delivered?

What signals a change request?

Who is responsible for improving the data?

Now, when the data comes in as planned, everyone knows what to do.  Those who simply use it as a sticker better start paying a little more attention to it.  The HIPPO now has a direct arrow to point fingers to.

Solution #3:  Automate report building and delivery

All this process without automatation just doesn’t make since.  Some of the key obstacles to automation in the past is the one off reporting and ill defined reporting led to a negative cost\benefit to automate the reporting.  It was much cheaper to buy your analyst lunch.

Define all your data sources and find out how to automate the data collection week over week or month over month.  (Beg them for a web service, ODBC, or easy extraction method, or switch to a provider that has one).

Sign-off on how the report will be displayed for everybody.  Decrease the report customizations across the organization and start formulating standard data views.



Obstacles to Preparing Data
September 14, 2009, 8:08 am
Filed under: Enterprise web analytics adoption, Measuring Performance, Taking action

Obstacle # 1 – Preparing Data to the People

From a management perspective we think we have it handled.  We have purchased all the tools needed to collect the data.  What is really happening is an increase in time spent manually reviewing this data in various products and constructing the “Monthly Dashboard”.

Cause #1 – Lots of data – in lots of places

Data comes from many sources; WebTrends, ExactTarget, Banner Ads, You Tube, Twitter, Blogs, Special Events, Tradeshows, Offline Marketing, and on and on.  Each one with their own ways of exporting data into our beloved tool:  Excel

Ask any “web analyst”, “online marketer”, “SEO specialist” what their largest frustration is and preparing the data will be top on the list.  Whether this is appeasing Sally in Marketing who is launching another campaign with different metrics or Jack the SEO who quite simply wants to understand the percentage of brand phrases used to find our content, trended for the last year.

Cause #2 – Data Formatting or Re-Formatting

Each source presents the data ever so slightly different.  That said, the data usually has to be massaged a bit (cleaning up URL’s, test data, Page Names).

While many applications have turned to great visual representation of data, this does not help when trying to consolidate into a single report.

Area Usage – Fantastic when in the board meeting discussing the page redesign.  Excellent when meticulously reviewing as your key landing page.  Useless when trying to understand the other pages on your site using the new ABC News Widget.

Trended Metrics – Vendors, we love these.  Keep using them and making them better.  But how about allowing us to choose the URLs presented?  Until then we are stuck with exporting the data on a weekly or monthly basis ourselves.

Same Dimension, different measures – In a dream world, data would be presented together in the same tools and then exported out.  This is not however the case.  I won’t name the vendor screenshots below, but I will say it is their brand-new UI.  If I wanted to understand each pages bounce rate:  I would need to go to 3 different reports.

Cause #3 – Combining and Correlating Data

If  you are lucky enough to have a good amount of raw data, you may be able to combine some of the rich social data with your own sales or marketing work.  A great practice, but again, timely.  If you are not lucky enough, you may try to kill yourself trying.

Combining your data with other baseline stats both validates and creates context for your data.  Whether that be comparing your search traffic to that of the total searches on Google to comparing your traffic to that of other sites and topics.

Now, after you feel you have enough data to prove your point, you have to tie it all together for the accountants.  Excel, PowerPoint and RedBull are in your future.

Even if a company has this system in place, the question then becomes how much time and resources do we spend each month preparing this data and could we be doing it more efficiently?  If it take your company days or weeks to finishing the preparation of this data who is keeping a watchful eye on what is currently going on with your web site and marketing campaigns?  For most companies the answer is obvious (nothing); we cannot look at current statics until last month’s data ready to report.



Creating an analytics enterprise event model
February 27, 2009, 9:56 am
Filed under: Enterprise web analytics adoption, Measuring Performance

Per my previous post, I feel strongly that organizations, and the industry, have let go of the one metric that used to matter: Page Views.  While competition made the web-analytic vendor giants take the stance of “ease of development” rather than “slow and thoughtful planning” all those Web 2.0 events that were able to be measured are now lumped into two categories.  Pages and Events.  In many tools both Pages and Events are treated like page views. 

While this may seem obvious to those analytics guru’s out there who know to speculate and validate the data;
1) Betsy in HR sees the reports at face value.  When Betsy in HR sees her page loads skyrocket, she is just happy as can be and spreads the words.  However, the dev team just launched video tracking so every time someone hits Play, or Pause, or … it counts as a Page View. 
 
2) Anthony the Video Production Assistant wants to know whether we saw a lift after he split up the videos, but does not see any uptick at all.  Per Thomas’ direction the dev team tagged the events so that they appear in the Events profile, not the Pages one.
 
While we all try our best to communicate our data as clearly as possible, holes happen.  Before they do create your Enterprise Event Model.
 
What is the Enterprise event model?
In order to assure your Enterprise has data that can be segmented, cross-examined, aggregated, loaded into a DB, etc it must be “normalized” and “cleansed”.  When you deal with desperate pieces of data, which our “URLS/Events/track-able units” have become, you must categorize the data somehow so you can do something with it.  The Enterprise event model helps start the communication around the company as well as unifies your data into various categories.
Example Interactive Event Model

Example Interactive Event Model

 

Who needs an Enterprise event model?
Do you work for a multi-national, multi-branded, multi-productline, multi-service company?  You need one.    Do you have a presence on facebook, youtube, twitter, myspace?  You need one.  Do you have multiple games, experiences, mini-sites, blogs that you manage?  You need one.
 
With all these interactive pieces floating around, it is hard to see from a birds-eye view what is truely working.  We can look from a micro point of view to see how each individual campaign, or subsection, or funnel performs, but what about in comparison to other campaigns?  Beyond the CPA.
 
Why do I need an Enterprise event model?
All interactions on the web do not equal 1.  You know this, it is why we score things, it is why we get more excited when people convert than simply visit.  That said, neither do all those things you are starting to click.  However, this may be masked in the way you are looking at them.  Without a structure as to how to equally compare different interactive events, we can never truely see how it effects our bottom line. 
 
What does the Interactive Event Model include?
We have been segmenting our visitors like crazy lately:  Paid, Organic, New, Returning, Bounced, High Revenue, etc.  What about the content itself?
Simply put:  the Interactive Event Model (IEM, cause we need a new acronym) includes all things that can be tracked.  Perhaps you are not tracking them today, but eventually they will make it in your roadmap and you will need to go through these steps.  Get as far as you can now. 
 
This post is by no means meant to be a catch all solution.  The examples given here should be used more as a framework for your own company.  When working with clients I start here, but normally we think of more appropriate categorizations based upon their geographical, revenue, organizational, political and many other variables.  Who said this was easy?
  
Step 1) Identify your touch points
A. URLS - Now your site may have thousands even millions of “pages”.  What we are doing here is taking an inventory of assets.  You may have 10,000 knowledge base articles.  Knowledge Base articles are one asset.  That said, if your company has several brands, and each of those brands has a support site.  Then each brand should be listed individually.  Most likely you have also started one or a dozen micro-sites.  List those pages as well.  The Landing page, the about you page, the pitch page, the form page, the thank you page.   
 
B. Events – as stated, your online brand is much more than the pages on your website.  Before we get too crazy though, start with various actions users make on your site that do not spawn off a new “page”.  This may be downloading a PDF, hitting the play button on an embedded video, commenting on a blog, using dynamic navigation, clicking on the social media buttons (add to twitter, facebook, etc, etc).  This is best done with a whiteboard, projector, beer and pizza.
 
C. Offsite Events – Now let’s get crazy.  Where I will admit that I was ignorant at one time to say your website is your hub, that is no longer the case.  In fact, in some cases, it behooves you as a brand to branch out and start to own real estate on the various public (or social) properties out on the web.  While it may be a little difficult to embed the webtrends.js file into your facebook page, you know you are counting the number of friends, comments, etc you have.  In only a matter of time that data will be available into WebTrends, Omniture, Google Analytics.  If Google has it their way, you can feed this all into Google Analytics, just ask @anilbatra and use his **Google Analytics URL Tracking Tool**.
 
D.  Rest for now, but something tells me the list will grow.  Can you think of anything else?
 
Step 2) Identify your Taxonomies:
You must identify the various taxonomies for the dozens, hundreds, thousands of touch points your users utilize to interact with your brand.  That interaction, is what needs to be modeled.  Try to fit everything into 10 categories.  If this is too challenging, perhaps you need more than one taxonomy. 
While the topic of scoring has not come up in a while (WebTrends, time for some more PR!), it is becoming more and more important.  In order to start scoring though you must go through this normalization stage.  How do you normalize disperate Web Site Pages, Campaigns, Applets, Social Media Interactivity?  Build Taxonomies.
 
You can start here:
Content Taxonomy:  Some of the more popular web analytics applications out there allow you to create content groups.  Many people simply create groups equivalent to their top navigation.  Wrong approach.  Your navigation was built for users, tracking is for intent.  Your conent taxonomy should be broad based.  Think of this question: 
What content does this asset contribute to?
What organization controls this asset?
 
Intent Taxonomy:  Beyond the content taxonomy, each of your pages has an intent, otherwise known as the GOAL of the page.  Do not confuse this with what you want people to do FROM the page (that is probably an event) but what THAT page does.  While the goal of your product page is of course for them to engage or convert, the product page itself may still just be an interaction.  Events such as clicking on the zoom, comment, rate on the other hand may be engaging.  Starting to get why this is all importat?
Tip to get started, ask the closest sales guy to hand you their “sales process” PPT slide.  The one that starts at the initial contact, through engagement, into convincing, then conversion, then relationship building …. etc. 
 
This is a LOT of work, do I really need it?
Perhaps not now, but I know you will later.  Chances are you are already starting to face some of the issues mentioned in this post.  Many times these issues do not come up till the very last moment.  The issue is also hidden till the very last moment … “OK, I have all the campaign data, let’s see how they really measure up”.  Sure we can see which was more profitable, more conversions, more leads.  However, if you look at all the campaigns you launched last year.  Which was most “engaged”?  What is your avg bounce rate according to page intent?  Just like you segment visitors, it is time to segment content too.
 
Fake Real World Example:
Company:  IAC/InterActiveCorp
(Full Disclosure: I have nothing to do with them.  Mr. Diller, if you like this email me.  I am using this example because it is the most over-exagerated example I could think of.  I mean match.com to hotwire.com, that is brand diversity)
While I am sure the dow jones is a little higher on the scale, think about how Mr Diller’s staff calculates engagement across the portfolio.  Think of how difficult this can be with sites such as: Ask.com (Search/Content), evite.com (Social/Media/Lead Generation), match.com (Dating/Media/Lead Generation), shoebuy.com (ecommerce), zwinky (RIA/Media).

It would look looking nothing like but contain data to the charm of:

IAC properties from compete.com

IAC properties from compete.com

  • Looks like match gets the engagement award this year. 
  • I am fairly surprised that an engaging (or at least meant to be) kids game site only gets 5.7 pages. 
  • I would also be somewhat concerned that my ecommerce company is engaging (or possibly confusing) users more than evite.com. 

The point of that example was really not to tear apart the data, I am not close enough to the data to do so.  I wanted to bring to light how important the definition of “Pages” is on each of your sites.  I am sure IAC has done this.  (if not, call me)  Now my other guess is that compete.com measures Page Views in a manner that gives lots of credit to all those profile views in match.com (also validates how hard it is to find that love interest!) but only one page view upon launch of the zwinky app, losing all insight into each time I change hair color, bikini, or other attributes. This my friends, is the cornerstone of the event model.  




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