Archive for 2008

Dec 19
2008

Urchin 6.5 was just released and we recommend you upgrade to take advantage of these new features:

  • The best new feature: a Pay-per-Click (PPC) data manager lets you create PPC sources that automatically import cost data from Google Adwords.
    • These PPC sources can then be applied to profiles as easily as you would apply log sources and filters!
    • Currently, this feature does not work with the autotagging feature of Google Adwords.
  • Urchin has been updated to show Chrome as a browser and Android as an operating system.
  • The installer has been improved to make for a more seamless installation or upgrade.
  • The Urchin configuration management utility has had its functionality extended.
  • The geo database has been updated to December 2008 data.
  • Some localization issues have been fixed.
  • Urchin help topics (both internal to the application and in the online Urchin Help Center) have been updated.

Feel free to contact us for all your Urchin consulting needs.
You can also download Urchin from our Urchin software page.

Dec 12
2008

In September of this year, Yahoo! announced the formation of a Digital Advisory Council to drive discussions with advertisers. Our agency was invited and we welcomed the invitation to listen to what Yahoo had to say and provide some feedback. Our office being literally less than ten minutes away made the decision a little bit easier!

During the meeting we were told that we are under an NDA so I won’t go into the specifics.  But here are some comments and thoughts:

  • We applaud Yahoo’s efforts to be open, reach out to their clients (advertisers and agencies), and solicit their input. That spirit was felt throughout the council meeting, from the Senior VP that hosted the event to managers and other Yahoo staff.  They really wanted to be transparent and sought input from us.  Good job, Yahoo!
  • Despite the poor picture that might have been portrayed in the news about Yahoo and search, we were reminded that Yahoo! is still a profitable company and has some very high traffic sites, including Yahoo! Sports (we were told it has more traffic than ESPN) and Yahoo! News (gets more traffic than CNN).  I didn’t know that and I would say it is pretty impressive!
  • Various folks from Yahoo! presented about new features and innovations (sorry, can’t blog about it yet :( ) but expect to hear from Yahoo! on areas they are strong in, including Display (banner) Advertisement.
  • There was a talk about Traffic Quality and the favorite discussion topic of click fraud.  Without spilling their beans, we got a better picture of how Yahoo! handles click fraud and also learned that you can get reports from within your Yahoo! Search marketing account about credits your accounts is getting for false clicks.
  • Lunch was really good too, including the Israeli Couscous which was very tasty!  To be fair, I have to say that the food in Mountain View during the GAAC Summit was really good too.

So in summary, I am really glad to see Yahoo! opening up and creating additional forums to communicate with advertisers and agencies.

While we are on the subject of Yahoo! Search Marketing, there is another topic that we have been wanting to blog about but didn’t get to until now.  Yahoo! has a mechanism of optimizing your accounts and campaigns on their own! Yes, that means without your
knowledge.  Maybe this is not so recent but many clients I speak with are still not aware of this mechanism, so it is important that we share it. The following was drafted by a couple of folks in the office:


We hope you are aware of Yahoo’s decision to optimize PPC accounts by creating optimized campaigns on their own and running them without checking with the client. As strange as this may sound, it is very true! For a regular advertiser who doesn’t tag his campaigns and review them in any analytics tool, this may not be that bad. For those who do tag their campaigns and review all of their traffic sources and conversions via an analytics tool, this could be trouble.

Yahoo does the whole nine yards when it comes to campaign creation (naming convention, ad group, keywords, ad copy) but they miss a very crucial step. They don’t tag the campaign at all with tracking parameters so a web analytics tool can recognize it as PPC traffic. This means traffic from this new campaign will be recorded as organic traffic and will dilute the quality of your data. The number of visits attributed to Yahoo cpc and Yahoo organic will be wrong, and conversion rates for these two sources will be subject to speculation.

There are two ways that you can deal with this issue:

  1. If you would like to try these optimized campaigns and see how they will perform while capturing the data properly in your analytics account, you need to go to your Ads under the AdGroup they created and make sure that you tag the destination URLs properly. If you are using Google Analytics, here is a good post from our friends at PPC Hero that will help you.
  2. Otherwise, once you see a new optimized campaign in your account, pause or delete it and make sure that you opt-out from this service. You can opt-out by submitting a request to Yahoo customer support.

If you have too many campaigns in your own or your client’s accounts, the easiest way to spot the Yahoo optimized campaigns is by their naming convention. See the below snapshot for an example.


My request to Yahoo! is that they back out of this practice and allow user more control before they turn campaigns on and spend someone else’s money!

Dec 01
2008

Here at E-Nor, we recently completed a project for the The Learning Community (TLC), which happens to be a collection of links to informational websites, articles, and videos based on different subjects that affect child development.  Their mission – to provide that “children’s manual” parents never seem to receive with the baby!

The project initially started in December of 2007 as a conversion of their original pure HTML site to Dotnetnuke (open-source Content Management System), but ended up turning into a significant redesign and restructuring project.

The services we provided were:

  • Basic online marketing consultation
  • Creating a new, brighter aesthetic look.
  • Implementing a different site-structure based on our understanding of their users flow.  (We also took some tips from their more successful and professional competitors, such as the commercial magazine www.parenting.com)
  • Improving their SEO (Search Engine Optimization) by cleaning up their meta tags and recommending some content enhancements. Their site is now on the first page of Google for some keywords when previously it was nowhere to be found.
  • Helping promote their videos on Youtube.
  • Cleaning up their Google Analytics setup to properly track where visitors are coming from, which external sites they are going to, and which PDFs they are downloading.

Oh yah, I forgot to mention the project was done PRO BONO. We had a great working relationship with the client, in that any work we recommended, if they could find volunteers to implement, they did, which saved us time.  Any technical implementation we could throw in, we did, and they practically understood that since the work was pro bono, it would take priority accordingly with respect to our other projects.

E-Nor encourages our clients, partners, and blog readers to support non-profits.  Though altruism may already be inline with your corporate and personal values, a year’s worth of pro-bono work may scare even the most giving of companies and people.  However, here are some benefits you may not have considered (in no particular order):

  1. Necessity is the mother of innovation. The nature of non-profits is that their revenue is limited yet they provide great services to the community. Thus, they may require strong functions for their site. You’ll be forced to learn valuable work-arounds when their budget may not cover high end modules or spending, giving you great ideas for options when you need to close a sale with those paying clients who are a little tighter with their money.
  2. Practice makes perfect. Just like anything you do in life, the more you do it the better you will get. You can chalk this pro bono run as practice. For us, TLC being a year project, it strengthened and even expanded our research on techniques, functions, modules, etc, that we can now apply to all our sites!
  3. A non-profit “word-of-mouth” could still lead to profit. We know that as technology evolves, so does marketing. If Google has taught us anything, free services and products actually go a long way in branding and exposure, and could result in lucrative opportunities in the future. Non-profits do have friends that could end up being your paying clients with the right referral. And because your existing relationship had no financial motives, the trust and rapport has already been built.
  4. Had a bad day? They’ll pick you up. For all those clients who didn’t see the extra work you did for them and who complained instead of showing gratitude, you could expect the opposite for your non-profit pro bono clients. They can’t help but see the void you filled for them and be grateful for it.
  5. Testimonials. Along the same lines as the above, a testimonial will virtually be an everyday occurrence if you’re doing your job right.
  6. Pat yourself on the back.  You did a good deed! Because of the site you provided for a parenting non-profit or a domestic violence shelter, a lost parent now has a little bit of direction or a helpless victim is a little bit safer.
  7. Experimentation (with the permission of the client). Since your client doesn’t have dollars riding on this project, they are more likely to allow you to do light experimentation on it, within reason of course. Not only are they more comfortable since no hard earned grant money is at risk, but that also means there’s a more flexible timeline for you to play with the site. For example, if you see a new module you wanted to try or your organization is new to analytics and you need a site to try it on, especially if the end result could possibly benefit your client, non-profit free sites may in fact welcome experimentation. Don’t forget to back up, though!

Nov 27
2008

In preparation for our upcoming Google Analytics training workshop, you can watch these YouTube videos.  The videos are part of a few different webinars that we have put together and feature our grand poobah, Feras Alhlou.  Topics include: understanding web analytics, introduction to Google Analytics, and maximizing your return on investment (ROI).  So if you want to feel a little less confused during the training workshop, we advice you to watch these videos:

  1. Understanding Web Analytics Webinar
  2. Intro to Google Analytics Webinar Part 1
  3. Intro to Google Analytics Webinar Part 2
  4. Maximize ROI Webinar Part 1
  5. Maximize ROI Webinar Part 2

Written by Mohamed Ghoneim.

Nov 17
2008
Back in November of 2006, our friends at GA Experts posted a method to get detailed PPC keyword data from Google Analytics. This method involved creating a seperate profile and using some intimidating but powerful filters. I really liked and referenced this method because it isolated the changes to a single profile and didn’t involve any updates to the GA tracking code. Obviously I would prefer if this feature came built-in to GA but at least now you could get to some very useful data with very little work. Lots of keywords!

As Google Analytics was updated over time, the way the filters were using Custom Field 1 was no longer possible and so the profile broke. The smart folks over at ROI Revolution came up with another way to get to the exact PPC keyword data using the User Defined field and adding 2 lines to the GA tracking code. This was a great solution and probably suitable for a lot of people. However, I preferred not having to update the tracking code (this can be very difficult on some client sites), saving the User Defined field for other uses, and also being able to isolate the keyword extraction and concatenation to one profile.

I still see some blogs referring to the original method that doesn’t work anymore so one day I tried playing with the original filters approach and after 2 months of observing the data, it appears to be working correctly. Please follow these screenshots & instructions to give it a try for yourself.

Filter 1 – look at only paid traffic data.

  1. From your account, click on Filter Manager.
  2. Click on Add Filter.
  3. Give it a name such as Data Filter – PPC.
  4. Filter type is custom filter.
  5. Select on the Include option.
  6. The filter field should be Campaign Medium.
  7. The filter pattern can be cpc|ppc
  8. Click on Save Changes.

PPC Keywords Filter 1

Filter 2 – extract the actual keyword that was typed and concatenate it to the paid keyword that was matched.

  1. Assuming you are still in the Filter Manager, click on Add Filter.
  2. Give it a name such as Data Filter – PPC Keywords.
  3. Filter type is custom filter.
  4. Select the Advanced option.
  5. Field A -> Extract A should be set to Referral and the value needs to be (\?|&)(q|p|query)=([^&]*)
  6. Field B -> Extract B should be set to Campaign Term and the value needs to be (.*)
  7. Output -> Constructor should be set to Campaign Term and the value needs to be $B1 – ($A3)
  8. Field A required, Field B required, and Override Output Field all need to be set to Yes.

Please click on the screenshot to view the full version.

PPC Keywords Filter 2

Finally create a new profile with a name such as PPC Keywords Data and all your usual settings (default page, search settings, goals, etc). Make sure you apply these two new filters to it.

This method seems to work for Google, Yahoo, and MSN paid traffic. Below is a screenshot with sample results. Let me know if it works for you!

Result of PPC Keywords filters

Nov 17
2008

We’re pretty happy to be included on Alltop.  You might be wondering what Alltop is.  Alltop is sort of like an online magazine rack or a blog of blogs.  You can use it as a starting point to explore groups or aggregates of topics.  It can save you the work of using an RSS aggregator if you are subscribed to a ton of RSS feeds and need the incoming information to organized and sorted.

Visit http://webanalytics.alltop.com/ for exciting web analytics news and visit http://www.alltop.com/ for top stories.

Nov 13
2008

Don’t forget, Google released enterprise-class features for all Google Analytics accounts on Monday November 10. Implement these enhanced features and improve your analytics!

  • Account Management Dashboard
  • Advanced Segmentation
  • Custom Reporting
  • Data Export API
  • Integrated Report with AdSense
  • Motion Charts

Read more about these features on our original post.

Interested in learning more about Google Analytics?  Attend our upcoming Google Analytics workshop in the San Francisco Bay Area.

E-Nor Workshop

Nov 10
2008

Don’t miss out! GAACs are in town and Google is sponsoring this Web Analytics Wednesday. If you haven’t signed up yet, it is not too late to sign up here

I am pretty sure you’ll have a lot of fun, network with your industry colleagues, and even an opportunity to get some of your GA questions answered :)

Date: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 at 7:00 PM
Venue: Gordon Biersch
Address: 640 Emerson Street, Palo Alto, CA

Nov 05
2008

Your website isn’t just a luxury anymore.  Save this data and improve your ROI!
Learn industry best practices for Google Analytics implementation and cutting edge techniques for marketing optimization!

Save the date and join us in our upcoming Google Analytics implementation and marketing optimization workshop. The training workshop will be held at the Westin, San Francisco Airport, from 9:00 to 4:30 and we will provide lunch.

We have some amazing feedback from our last workshop in the Bay Area (see testimonials at the end of the post) and we are doubling the dose this time around! Yes, two days of nothing than Google Analytics, from the ground up, from basics to advanced topics, including all the new and cool features recently announced by Google.

What are we planing to cover?  Day 1 is dedicated to implementation and setup, ensuring you have GA properly installed, filters, profiles, overview on reporting, the new user interface, and more.  In Day 2, not only we will cover more advanced implementation techniques such as advanced filters, event tracking, and custom segments, but we will also dive into marketing optimization, measuring and ROI, KPIs, dashboards, and much more. Please preview the detailed agenda.

Day 2 builds on the topics discussed on the first day so we recommend you attend both days to maximize your learning. If you have attended our previous Google Analytics workshop then you are ready for day 2 of this upcoming training.

You will have ample time to speak with our Google Analytics specialists and log into your account to show us issues that we can troubleshoot for you.  We will cover case studies in real time.

As an added incentive, register before Dec. 3 and receive a free copy of Web Analytics – An Hour a Day.

Web Analytics - An Hour a Day

Again, visit our site for more information and click here to register. We have a limited capacity so reserve your seat today!

Testimonials

Hello Feras,

I wanted to thank you for yesterday’s workshop.  I found it to be immensely valuable.  I’m sorry I did not have a chance to thank you in person, but I had to leave early to catch a train back to San Francisco. Thanks again.  Please keep me posted about the advanced training. Also, a colleague of mine may be interested in attending the intro class.

L. G., Internet Communications Coordinator


Hello Feras and Team E-Nor,

I just wanted to say thank you for the most excellent and helpful seminar on Google Analytics. I learned many useful tips and tricks that I would probably never have learned otherwise w/o digging deep into some forum or random blog posting. Please do keep me in the loop for future seminars, I’ll be first in line.

E. N., Online Marketing Specialist


Hi,

I want to tell you that I very much enjoyed the class and that I felt you did an excellent job.  I am less interested in the specifics of how to implement Google Analytics and more interested in what I must look for.  I want to tell you if I ever have the right client, I would recommend your firm and hope that is the case.  It was excellent all the way around and I look forward to reading the book and all the rich wealth of materials you provided.  Thank you sincerely.

R. S., Marketing Consultant


E-Nor team,

Very good, lots of good information that I didn’t know, even though I’ve been using GA for 1-1/2 years.

T. P.,  SEM Specialist

Oct 29
2008
If your site has dynamic URLs then you might have a hard time making sense out of your data in Google Analytics.

If for any reason you cannot convert your dynamic URLs to friendly URLs…search and replace filters are the answer!

The screenshot below demonstrates the nightmare some people might experience when they view content reports.

In order to make the URL readable, we have to identfy the parameters that we want to change. In our above example the URL contains three parameters: departmentID, CategoryID, and ProductID. We first create a “search and replace” filter for each department, category, and product. Then we replace each dynamic parameter with easy-to-read text.

  • Create the “Search & Replace” Filters

Filter# 1

Filter# 2

Filter# 3

  • Now apply all created filters to a test profile and verify data accuracy before applying to your regular profiles.

Your content reports will now look like this:

Note:

  • We do not advice using “Search & Replace” approach on e-commerce sites because you will have a very large number of filters.
  • The easiest way to never have to deal with dynamic URL addresses is by using friendly URLs at the development stage.
  • You can use tools such as Apache’s mod_rewrite to present clean URLs to both your visitors and your web analytics application.
  • Clean URLs will have additional benefits such as helping with your SEO campaign and improving conversion rates..