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).
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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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
(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)
It would look looking nothing like but contain data to the charm of:
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.