Archive for 2011

Aug 04
2011

Back in August 2008, I wrote a post on how to optimize form length with input analysis with Google Analytics. This is still a very relevant topic, as forms are still essential to collecting data from visitors.  I still cringe when I see a form that has a ton of fields, and I know many of you do as well.  This post will show you how to take action to shorten your forms and remove unneeded fields, which usually results in higher conversion rates for your forms.

The old post referenced the traditional/syncronous version of the Google Analytics tracking code. This new post features the newest release by Google, which is the asynchronous code execution.

Please note that I am not going to re-do the entire post, just the code portion.

So here is the code update:

Traditional Snippet (Synchronous):

function validate()
{
isEntered(document.getElementById('name'),'name');
isEntered(document.getElementById('email'),'email');
isEntered(document.getElementById('phone'),'phone');
isEntered(document.getElementById('company'),'company');
isEntered(document.getElementById('comments'),'comments');

frm.action='/thankyou.aspx?src=contact_us.htm';
} 

function isEntered(el, field_name)
{
     if((el.value=="") || (el.value==null))
     {
     pageTracker._trackPageview('/contact_us.htm/empty/'+field_name);
     }

     else
     {
     return false;
     }
}

Asynchronous Snippet (NEW):

function validate()
{
isEntered(document.getElementById('name'),'name');
isEntered(document.getElementById('email'),'email');
isEntered(document.getElementById('phone'),'phone');
isEntered(document.getElementById('company'),'company');
isEntered(document.getElementById('comments'),'comments');

frm.action='/thankyou.aspx?src=contact_us.htm';
} 

function isEntered(el, field_name)
{
     if((el.value=="") || (el.value==null))
     {
	 _gaq.push(['_trackPageview', '/contact_us.htm/empty/'+field_name]);
     }

     else
     {
     return false;
     }
}

 

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Jul 29
2011

Back in January 2009, I wrote a post on how to track traffic from Press Releases in Google Analytics. That posts referenced the old synchronous version of the Google Analytics tracking code and needed a code update with the most recent tracking code release by Google, featuring asynchronous code execution.

Please note that I am not going to re-do the entire post, just the code portion.

So here is the code update:

Traditional Snippet (Synchronous):

<script type="text/javascript">
var srcPage = getDomain (document.referrer);
var parameter = get_parameter('id');

function get_parameter(name)
{
  name = name.replace(/[\[]/,"\\\[").replace(/[\]]/,"\\\]");
  var regexS = "[\\?&#]"+name+"=([^&#]*)";
  var regex = new RegExp(regexS);
  var results = regex.exec(window.location.href);
    if( results == null )
      return "";
    else
      return results[1];
}

function getDomain (thestring) {
  var urlpattern = new RegExp("(http|ftp|https)://(.*?)/.*$");
  var parsedurl = thestring.match(urlpattern);
      if( parsedurl == null )
      	return "";
      else
        return parsedurl[2];
}

if (parameter == '1')
{
    window.location.hash = "utm_source="+srcPage+"&utm_medium=press_release&utm_campaign=hurricane_katrina";
}
</script>

<script type="text/javascript">
var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www.");
document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E"));
</script>

<script type="text/javascript">
try {
var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-XXXXXXX-X");
pageTracker._setAllowAnchor(true);
pageTracker._trackPageview();
} catch(err) {}
</script>

Asynchronous Snippet (NEW):

<script type="text/javascript">
var srcPage = getDomain (document.referrer);
var parameter = get_parameter('id');

function get_parameter(name)
{
  name = name.replace(/[\[]/,"\\\[").replace(/[\]]/,"\\\]");
  var regexS = "[\\?&#]"+name+"=([^&#]*)";
  var regex = new RegExp(regexS);
  var results = regex.exec(window.location.href);
    if( results == null )
      return "";
    else
      return results[1];
}

function getDomain (thestring) {
  var urlpattern = new RegExp("(http|ftp|https)://(.*?)/.*$");
  var parsedurl = thestring.match(urlpattern);
      if( parsedurl == null )
      	return "";
      else
        return parsedurl[2];
}

if (parameter == '1')
{
    window.location.hash = "utm_source="+srcPage+"&utm_medium=press_release&utm_campaign=hurricane_katrina";
}
</script>

<script type="text/javascript">

  var _gaq = _gaq || [];
  _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-XXXXXXX-X']);
  _gaq.push(['_setAllowAnchor', true]);
  _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']);

  (function() {
    var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true;
    ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js';
    var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);
  })();

</script>

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Jun 22
2011

If you are serious about turning data into insight, there is no better place to be (and so many bright and nice people to see) than eMetrics, the Marketing Optimization Summit. I’ll be speaking at eMetrics New York, October 17-21, and I hope to see you all there.

Samantha Bedford of Location 3, Thomas Bosilevac of Mashable Metrics, and I will be cover the “A Few of My Favorite Tools” session on Friday October 21, 2011 from 1:10-2:00pm.

As our dear friend Jim Sterne said: “Consultants are tool agnostic” and “they certainly have their favorites and they know how to use them.”  Come join us to learn about some of the coolest analytics, integration, and visualization tools out there.

Early Bird Registration ends September 2nd, so register now and take advantage of the early bird special. Oh, and you can even save more, by using this 10% Promotional Speaker Discount code: EMOSSPEAK.

Don’t miss out!  Join us and the eMetrics folks to “celebrate 10 years of turning data into insight” If there is a specific tool you would like reviewed, please reply in the comment section below or email me directly, feras @ e-nor dot com.

Thanks
Feras

May 04
2011

I just attended this webinar hosted by HubSpot, called, How to Benefit from Facebook 2011 Updates. They began by introducing the new features that were added on Facebook in 2011, then went straight into question and answer session. Advertising on Facebook has been around for sometime now but people are finally starting to figure out how it works and how to put it to good use to help benefit their businesses.

What’s New on Facebook

  • Send Button – it’s a selective Like button. It counts in the Like total on your page as well, and can be delivered as a Facebook Message or on a group wall.
  • Deals is still in test mode and is only available in 5 cities. But the point is that it will get groups of friends to discover the business by sending out deals with no upfront costs.

What benefits can I get from using iFrames on my page?

iFrames are frames that allow a visual HTML Browser window to be split into segments. Ultimately by introducing iFrames into Facebook pages, companies are now able to brand their pages.

  • Now you can use styles on Facebook as you use it on your website, this is great for branding your company.
  • You can also track page views using Google Analytics
  • Google Website Optimizer – is now available to be used on the tab pages.
  • Links can open within the iFrame as if you are on your website. For example, you can have a whole cart process within an iFrame and NOT leave Facebook at ALL.
  • If you want to know how to set up an iFrame on your Facebook check out Hubspot’s blog post on “How to Set up a Facebook Custom iFrame Landing Page Application.” You can also download for FREE “The Facebook Marketing Update – Spring 2011” E-Book which includes a step by step process of setting up iFrames for your custom facebook pages.

Can you use photos and videos as marketing?

  • Photos and videos are much more visible on the news feed because they take up space, so this would be a smart technique to attract attention from your fans.
  • Also, keep in mind that videos are much more engaging than pictures because fans will more likely click play and tune in than Like an image.
  • Tip: Turn images into Call to Actions to see what kind of interaction you may receive.
  • And now with Google Website Optimizer, you can test videos and photos to see what interests people more.

What to do about Negative comments?

  • Don’t ignore negative comments, that will only make things worse.
  • Address the comment and take it offline.
  • Suggestion: Have a customer care person who is not the same person updating the facebook page to address negative feedback to try to assess and fix the issue.

When is the best time to post?

  • It depends on your audience, no one set rule for everyone, it just depends on the kind of site you have. Keep in mind, if they are across the world, they won’t necessarily see the post because of the time difference. By the time people get to the post it may be buried, so if your target base is in another country across the world, make sure to post in their waking hours.
  • Keep involved but don’t over do it.

Which brand is doing Facebook advertising best?

  • Audi – more engaging than Justin Bieber – they have 3.5 Million fans. This is because there is a lot of interaction and discussion. By answering comments and engaging users, they have gained a heavy fan base.
  • Mail Chimp also has a lot of interaction and comments. They have a human element by commenting, it’s not just a faceless brand.
  • Retail sites are hard to get engagements but Sephora does it well
    • Fans talk to each other about products and advice on which product works best.

The webinar was based off of the FREE HubSpot E-book, “The Facebook Marketing Update – Spring 2011

Follow @HubSpot‘s hashtag #FB2011 to see what others are tweeting about today’s webinar!

Related Posts

Apr 26
2011

I’m a big fan of our local farmers’ market. The market offers a huge variety of fresh locally grown produce, dairy products, flowers, fresh baked goods, honey and more.

While most of the products offered in the farmers’ market are available in grocery stores in a more presentable way and even at cheaper prices sometimes, people love to shop at the farmers’ market for the social aspect. My family and I love to go there to meet our community and to support our local farmers and vendors.

My kids go around and try every sample, my wife talks to different vendors about their products and recipes and I network with my friends and neighbors.

The farmers’ market provides a unique environment hardly found in grocery stores. (I’m not suggesting that either business model is more important; both serve consumers differently.)

The uniqueness of farmers’ markets in enhancing social interaction is similar to expanding social media sites, as compared to regular brand websites, in the online sphere.

Unfortunately, most businesses have not grasped the idea of social networking! Many still deal with social media as another advertisement platform rather than a unique interactive platform. Businesses/organizations treat social media pages as an extension to their main website rather a completely different platform of communication with clients.

Businesses need to know that by participating in social media that they are no longer the hosts but visitors; audiences are now leading the conversation. Businesses need to respect the evolving culture and ethics of social media and adapt to the language and habits of their audience. This shift in mindset might sound scary but I strongly encourage businesses to better engage their audience.

In the past, businesses were limited in online marketing by the number of visitors vising their sites. Today, the game has changed and the number of potential audiences can be multiplied if businesses adapt and follow the new rules of social media.

What internet users think of social media
First, we need to understand what internet users think of social media. According to a study done in 2011 by the IBM Institute for Business Value, 70 percent of consumers go to social media sites to “connect with network of friends and family” while only 23 percent noted that they go to social media sites to “interact with brands.”

What marketers should think of social media
In my humble opinion, online marketers should ask themselves: How can I make the 70% of consumers who go to social media sites to connect with their networks see the real value of my product/service and talk about it?

Achieving an effective social media presence:

Because there is no one solution, each company must apply the strategies that best optimize their business model. Here are some general best practices for how to go social and reach larger audiences:

  1. Strategy

  2. Create a concrete plan for going social. This includes:
    - Defining your business and social objectives
    - Defining your target audience
    - Deciding on the relevant social content [not just “offers”] and needs of the community
    - Defining the engagement elements
    - Deciding on the committed financial and human resources

  3. Selecting the right social media platform

  4. Once you successfully outline your social strategy and the value it will add to your potential target audience, select the most appropriate social media technology to help achieve your social goals.

    A big mistake many companies make in the selection process is starting their campaign via Facebook and/orTwitter. Remember, although very popular, these are not the only social platforms available on the web. Because of the huge success these two platforms for personal accounts, many businesses assume it will be just as successful for their business needs!

    Let us take the “Google Analytics” as a brand example and attempt to measure how people talk about the brand in the social media. While there may be thousands of Facebook users who use Google Analytics on their personal and corporate sites, it is less likely that these users discuss web analytics when logging into Facebook pages. Instead, LinkedIn might be the more appropriate platform for Google to invest their social media efforts in for this specific product.

    Here are some media platforms to consider: Blogs, Photo Sharing [Flicker, Picasa], Video Sharing [YouTube, Vimeo], Podcasts, Social Networking [Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn], Wikis.

  5. Give to get

  6. Social media is for social interaction and with that interaction, users expect to get something in return [new friends, news, knowledge, entertainment, reviews,..], just like my family and I hope to get at our local farmers’ market :)

    Companies need to think of different ways to add value to their audience’s experience by interacting with them through social media before expecting anything in return.

  7. Overcome your fears

  8. We all have a fear of being publicly criticized especially because social media provides a platform for unhappy customers to easily express their opinion. While to some extent I share this concern, we must realize that our brand lies in the hands of consumers as social media slowly takes control over information circulation.

    Businesses need to take an active role in shaping the image of their brands by carefully listening to and participating in the conversation about their brands. These conversations will help businesses improve their products and services and provide more relevant solutions to the world.

    One of the best recent examples of participatory branding is by Domino’s Pizza. The company dedicated an entire campaign to address their shortcomings by seeking customers feedback.

    The “Pizza Turnaround” campaign used social media, along with other means, to deliver a clear message to their customers: we’re listening to you. In response, consumers were very honest and didn’t hesitate to express their opinion about Domino’s Pizza (some blunt critiques included: “pizza crust to me is like cardboard”, “totally void of flavor” and “the sauce tastes like ketchup”)

    Domino’s has since been improving their recipes. Though I have never had a slice, and thus cannot confirm or deny their claim, I am impressed by their courageous and frank approach.

  9. Dedicate resources

  10. First you need executive buy-in; successful social media marketing requires integrating social media with the culture of the organization. Without the buy-in of the leadership of the organization, it is very hard for marketers to get the human and financial resources to truly go social.

    In the 2008 presidential race, we witnessed an unprecedented social media movement. Because of the clear vision and understanding of Obama and his team, the digital campaign team was empowered and well equipped to utilize social media tools and reach a large segment of society who would have been hard to reach otherwise.

    The Obama administration continues to pay attention to social media by dedicating valuable resources to social campaigns. This can be seen in their consistent communication with the public through weekly addresses on YouTube, administration updates on Twitter, events photos on Flicker and supporter recruitment on Facebook. Obama even formally announced his re-election in an online video!

    Ironically, while writing this post, I received a tweet reminding me about the live Facebook town hall with President Obama. (Yes, I was listening to Mr. President while writing this post :)

  11. Fan participation

  12. As businesses/organizations evolve their social media efforts and their social media fan base increases, businesses/organizations need to facilitate and encourage fan participation in marketing campaign creation. If fans feel they are trusted and given ownership of these social platforms, they can be very helpful in achieving the businesses’ social media goals.

    In July 2010, Old Spice came up with a very creative idea to market their new brand of shower gel. They created 180 personalized videos, released them over 3 days, in which they responded directly to fan and celebrity comments.

    Regardless of whether Old Spice sales increased, the “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign was the biggest social media buzz ever created for a brand. The company credits this success to audience participation and involvement. The graph below shows the rise in Google searches for “Old Spice” during and after the campaign, which confirms the success of the campaign in increasing interest around the brand.

Finally: Measure and optimize

Like any other campaign, you need to know how social media campaigns are helping in achieving your business goals. Number of fans, followers, and visitors don’t tell much, if any. You need a more robust mechanism to measure the involvement of targeted users with your brand, product or service.

Here are few Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) just to give you an idea in what to look for:

  • Volume of social media mentions
  • Visitor loyalty
  • Sales/conversion by social campaign
  • Improved search engine ranking
  • Number of advocates
  • Number of customer service issues solved by social interactions
  • Number of reviews and feedback

Go social!

Share with us your own best practices and thoughts by dropping a comment below or connecting with me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Related Posts:



Apr 22
2011

For Earth’s a Jolly Good Planet,
For Earth’s a Jolly Good Planet,
For Earth’s a Jolly Good Planet,
That nobody can deny!

Go ahead and ridicule me :)   I know my little twist on that infamous song sucks, but I mean well so I’m willing to swallow my pride for Planet Earth’s sake.  I had asked a more musically inclined colleague of mine to come up with an Earth Day tune, but he chose to defer to his SLA defined response times, and I wasn’t able to produce something cooler for you. 

Happy Earth Day everyone!  Planet Earth, stand up and take a bow.  You’ve earned it!   earthdayYou’ve endured years and years of man’s heedlessness and exploitations.   Gandhi once said “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” 

To be honest, I’m not really a big fan of "special days" – The values being promoted on Earth Day are priorities we should have in mind in our day to day lives, not just one day out of the year.  Every day should be Earth Day!  That being said I certainly understand and appreciate the need for awareness and encouraging involvement for the cause.

I started thinking about what I could do as an individual and what E-Nor could do as a company to "do our share." I googled and googled, but all I found were these boring and mundane  tips and suggestions.  What to do?  That’s when it dawned on me… There’s something to be said for simplicity isn’t there?  We’re so caught up in a world full of 3D ultra thin uber-gadgets that we often have a tendency to over-think things.  Our contribution doesn’t have to be complicated – the simple things sometimes make the biggest difference.  If all of us did a few simple things, we would undoubtedly initiate and affect positive change. 

All of us care very deeply about this cause, so here’s a list of some things that E-Nor and our staff will be doing.  Some of these are Earth day activities, but we will make a sincere effort to make them ongoing.  I’ll report back next Earth day and let you know how we did.  :)

Here’s our list:

  • E-Nor will be matching (dollar for dollar) any donations made by our employees to their favorite "green causes"
  • Stop and smell the roses – try not to get stung by a bee :)
  • Grow vegetables & share the prolific fruit from the beautiful orchard remnants in the backyard
  • Carpool/bike/walk instead of driving
  • Recycle our electronics at recycling centers
  • Start using environmentally friendly cups/plates/utensils at the office
  • Read a book about living green
  • Eat fruits and vegetables for snacks
  • Wear a green shirt on Earth Day :)
  • Use the A/C less in the car (anyone who knows me knows this is a huge struggle for me!)
  • Use a clothesline to dry laundry instead of the dryer
  • Attempt to build/setup a composting process at home
  • Dim lights in the office and open window shades

As you can see, all the above are small contributions, but every little bit helps.  That’s our small contribution to Planet Earth.  What’s yours?  Share your tips in the commments.  Nothing like a little healthy competition :)

Apr 20
2011

vanilla coke facebook page screenshotMarketing on Facebook – Effectively Building and Using your Facebook Page
I recently attended a webinar put on by http://www.hubspot.com/ .  Have to say, they have some awesome webinars – very informative, particularly on social media marketing.  This webinar was called “How Marketers Succeed in a Social World“, speakers were Mike Volpe, VP of Marketing at Hubspot, and Victoria Ransom, Founder and CEO of Wildfire.  I want to focus on the specific tips Victoria gave for Facebook Fan Page marketing – she had great, tangible points.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that Facebook is the number one social network out to date.   1 in every 13 people on this earth has a Facebook profile.   Many credit its innovative ways of communication as an instrumental tool in galvanizing the recent international revolutions.   Of course, like anything else gaining extreme popularity, it has attracted the attention of businesses looking to use it as a marketing tool.

It is now as common (and as necessary) for businesses to have a Facebook page as it is to have a website.  In fact, it has the potential to become more common:

  • It’s free
  • It requires no web development knowledge
  • Similar to an email list, it keeps a steady connection between businesses and their “fans”
  • The beauty of social network is “in-bound marketing” – meaning your market comes to you.   This rapport is less invasive than traditional outbound marketing – for example, hoping your market will catch an ad or flyer you put out.

So to the nitty gritty! How can you use Facebook page to effectively help your marketing?

Victoria Ransom had some great tips:

Her philosophy is built on 3 pillars…

  • Grow
  • Enagage
  • Monetize

GROWgrow facebook

Facebook Ads

  • Spend Ad Money. At the end of the day, a significant portion of fans come through Facebook ads.  Facebook ads are very targeted based on users’ interests (their ad system is growing and is slowly but surely gaining ground from Google Adwords).  Do set aside a portion of your budget for this – the fans you gain can potentially yield an easy return.
  • Give your prospect a reason to click your ad. Rather than simply putting information about your business – promotions, incentives, and contests will give you a better click through rate.
  • Don’t drive people out of Facebook (to an external site). You’ll increase your bounce rate.  They came to Facebook to be on Facebook.  Lead them to a customized landing tab on your Facebook page.  Get them to “like” – establish that connection so you can market to them later.
  • Advertise to friends of Fans. Facebook allows you to do this, and it builds credibility if their friends like your page.
  • A/B test your ads. It’s important to test ads and keep them fresh.  If users see the same ad consistently, they are more likely to ignore it.

Promotions/Contests/Giveaways

  • Pages that employ incentives have twice as many fans as pages that don’t.
  • Keep contests simple.  If fans have to join a thousand things, click here, go there, etc, the amount of energy it’s forcing them to spend will make them quit!
  • Make it social by offering a prize for referrals – have fans bring fans!
  • Keep your audience relevant by offering prizes related to your industry.  For example, offering an iPad will definitely get all types of participants, but may not be fans that are interested in your clothing store, for example.

ENGAGEfacebook avatar with loudspeaker

  • Engagement begets more engagement. Just because you post something to your wall doesn’t mean your 1000 fans will see it.  Facebook has an algorithm that decides if your post will be “fed”.  A big factor is engagement with that post, so it’s important your posts get interaction.
  • Actually explicitly ask fans/friends to engage – Post “Like this!!!” or “Share This!”
  • Pose open-ended questions to get fans to answer. “What are you going to do for Earth Day?”
  • The quality of your post is more important than quantity of posts.  Posting 100 times a day could saturate your wall.  Choose quality posts over quantity.
  • Build a calendar of posts around events.  For example – post Christmas related questions and promotions around Christmas.

MONETIZEmoney on top of facebook

  • Make your buying process social.  Not only include a cart in your store, but offer coupons/prizes to facebook fans.

Mar 30
2011

Supercharge MarketingYou just attended an informative digital marketing and analytics conference and you’re pumped to make it a banner year for your organization. Your analytics and marketing goals are set and now you are serious about making a difference and you want to:

  • Better understand your customers
  • Improve your site performance
  • Squeeze every bit of ROI from your marketing initiatives, and
  • Provide valuable insight/recommendations to the business

Lofty goals and they should be. But are they achievable? Yes! Supercharge your marketing by implementing the 6-step Analytics Framework outlined in this post (although, for those of us addicted to data, it seems as though we might benefit more from a 12-step program :) ).

Before I dive into the framework, and for the (hopefully small) minority that is still getting familiar with analytics, it’s time to get serious about measurement or risk falling behind. Here’s why everyone should jump on the analytics bandwagon:

  • Millions of sites, from start-ups to Fortune 25, use enterprise-class analytics solutions such as Google Analytics to improve their site performance.
  • Today, analytics literature is abundant. Do a quick search for “web analytics” on Amazon and you’ll get over 200 results.
  • Even in this day and age, it seems that only a few companies are serious about measurement and analysis. It’s time to move beyond the basics and treat data as a strategic asset. So if you’re looking for gold, it’s clear where you have to dig. Big companies like IBM can’t acquire analytics companies fast enough!

So we have established that there is more interest in data and more access to enterprise level analytics – but what is missing? We need smart people and commitment to a process. And as importantly, we need practical tips to guide us through the web of analytics. Assuming you have (or can get) smart people who care about the business and ask the right questions, here is a tried and tested framework guaranteed to take your marketing optimization to the next level.

The 6-step Analytics Framework

  1. Know Thy Channels
  2. Metrics: Less is More
  3. Segmentation: Give Me Context
  4. Intelligence at Your Service
  5. Reporting
  6. Automation

Let’s get started!!

1 – Know Thy Channels

Campaign Segmentation

Your traffic is skyrocketing and you don’t know why. Not a good thing. You deserve more visibility. And since you’re smart and up-to-date, you know you can’t measure every channel using old metrics and by using just one tool. Hello Multiplicity! The good old pageviews won’t cut it anymore. Because channels are constantly evolving (did you know of anyone measuring “tweets” three years ago? :) ), it’s crucial to understand the characteristics of each channel and identify meaningful metrics specific to that channel.

For example:

  • If you are a content site, and you are busy producing videos, you want to measure the success of this digital content. Look at user behavior and events (play, pause, forward etc) and understand where and when your audience is most engaged with your content.
  • If blogging is your forte, measure number of comments, average words per post and average words per comment. Successful blogging is comprised of an engaged audience. We use WordPress’ Blog Metrics.
  • If you’re one of the millions on FaceBook, listen to the conversation through comments, ‘likes’, shares, etc. Today, conversations happen outside of your own site.

Blog Analytics

Power tip: Identify all your channels and document what engagement and outcomes you expect and want to measure.

2 – Metrics: Less is More!

Are you drowning in rivers of data? To prevent sinking, critically examine your load. Just because you have access to large amounts of data and reports in Google Analytics (and the four other tools you have on your site), you don’t need it all. When sorting through data, remember: less is more. Just focus on what keeps your CEO awake at night (or jumping for joy :) ). Focus on key results, here are recommendations:

  • eCommerce: report on revenue, ROAS and compare to expected outcomes
  • B2B businesses: report on qualified leads and cost/lead
  • Report on conversion rates and what channels are best/worst performers
  • If you are just starting your analytics journey and you don’t have your analytics solution fully implemented, reporting on a “basic” yet powerful metric such as bounce rate will help you identify your worst offenders (campaigns and pages) and that’s something you can improve fairly quickly
  • If you’re really advanced, develop your own custom KPIs. For example, check out how philly.com has done it. This newspaper website is measuring engagement on a new (and slightly complex) level. They are asking very thoughtful questions to help them understand their user behavior.

Power tip: Identify and trend 2-3 metrics for each of your stakeholders (business, marketing, IT, product, support)

3 – Segmentation: Give Me Context

Last month, you had one million visitors to your site. Sounds good, but is it? Not if you had three million visits two months ago. So always give your data context, segmentation is key. With Google Analytics, you can apply advanced segmentation capabilities to slice and dice your data in almost every other way you need (e.g. paid vs. non paid searches, engaged vs. non-engaged, geography, visitor type, browser, time comparison, etc. you name it). If you are the deep-dive type, you should then zoom in on your segments for more meaningful data and whatever makes sense for your business.

  • If you have an eCommerce site, report on sales this month, planned sales, sales last month and sales during the same month last year

eCommerce Segmentation

Power tip: Review your current dashboard and assess where to add an additional dimension to each report

4 – Intelligence at Your Service
Let computers do all the number crunching. Make faster, smarter decisions with reports that automatically detect and surface significant changes in your key performance indicators. It’s your site and you’re responsible for it. So log into Google Analytics, set your preferences, and let intelligence do the work. As a result, you’ll have more time to analyze and properly present your data.

Google Analytics Intelligence

Power tip: Set Google Analytics custom alerts for each of the KPIs on your dashboard

5 – Reporting
It’s the end of the month again and reports are due and you know that your site is no longer the center of the universe. You have offline data sources, campaign cost data, mobile applications, surveys etc.) So you want to blend the data for a meaningful presentation, insight and actionability. For your Analytics dashboards, bring in data from different sources and organize it under one framework.

Reporting Framework

Power tip: Trend and report on those 2-3 KPIs you identified earlier

6 – Automation

Better manage your time by automating your reports. Manual reporting can take so long that we eventually neglect properly analyzing the information. Many tools are available to send data to your inbox (or dashboard). So once you have selected your key performance indicators, and to the extent possible, automate report generation. Why you might ask? Trust me, you’ll have much more time to act on the data. But, wait, there’s more!

Reporting Automation - Google Analytics to Excel

For example:

  • Say you run an eCommerce site and you are using Google Analytics, find your favorite tool in the Google Analytics Application Gallery and get that data out of GA and in to your favorite application. Check out the application from our good friends at ShufflePoint who leverage the Google Analytics API to export data into Excel and Powerpoint (we simply are very impressed by what they have done and do recommend their solution to our clients). Done are the copy and paste days. Voila! One click and your data is in Excel! You can then use simple trending/charting options, advanced pivots or more elaborate dashboards as you see in these snapshots. Analyzing the data requires smart people, but getting reports should be a piece of cake. Now, spend your time wisely on important things (like reading E-Nor blog posts :) ).

eCommerce Reporting Automation - Google Analytics to Excel


Concluding Notes

To summarize, marketing optimization is not a one time thing, or something that we “set and forget”. You want to “measure.. analyze… optimize” and start again. I encourage you to establish a weekly, monthly and quarterly set of activities to improve your measurement framework. The details will depend on your business and marketing activities but you definitely want to audit what you do to ensure you:

  • Stay updated on new marketing channels
  • Measure only what matters
  • Run reports efficiently
  • Dedicate time to analysis
  • Upgrade your team’s Excel/reporting/analysis/presentation skill-sets
  • Act on findings to positively impact the business and make sure the organization is aware of the impact!

So here it is. The 6-step framework to supercharge your marketing optimization effort! I hope you put it to use and I welcome your input, comments and feedback.

Related Posts

Mar 20
2011

Working in the Silicon Valley definitely has its advantages even though it sometimes takes a toll on you :) . Search Marketing and Analytics conferences take place right in our backyard and we need to be there (we really don’t have to, but we like to!).

In the last two weeks, we had back-to-back conferences and it was great to meet friends and learn and share experiences with the brightest minds in the industry. We participated in SMX West and had a one-day Google Analytics workshop in San Jose. We then participated in eMetrics (and the Web Analytics Association Gala dinner) and co-sponsored and spoke at the first Google Analytics User Conference GAUGE 2011 in San Francisco, (and somehow still managed to get client work done!).

I wan to specially thank the workshop attendees at both SMX West and GAUGE for their commitment and investment in learning Google Analytics and the great questions and discussions we had. I promised to provide a list with a number of useful posts and help topics, so here it is. Enjoy! :)

Thank you again for participation and attending the training sessions and I hope to see you soon!

Feras

Mar 17
2011

Great news for all of us Google Analytics geeks!  A new version of Google Analytics was just announced today at the Google Analytics User Conference in San Francisco.  The new version is currently in public beta and has been made available to a small group of users, and will be gradually deployed to everyone.  You’ll know you’ve been granted access when you see a link that reads “New Version” in the top right of the screen, right next to your login account. 

Per Google, the goal of the new version is to enhance the underlying platform for major new functionality in the future, as well as design enhancements to make it easier and faster to work with data.  We’ll have more specifics and a detailed walkthrough soon, but here’s a quick highlight of what was released in the new version.

  • Major upgrade to underlying platform
  • Design revamp
  • Ability to view multiple Advanced Segments, without having to include “All Visits”
  • Multiple dashboards including a revamped dashboard interface!!  (finally!!!) 

That’s just a quick list.  We’ll post more details soon.  To expedite getting access to the new version, pay a visit to the beta sign up page.  You can use both versions concurrently and that should help with the learning curve :)

Also, here’s a sneak peak at the new UI:

dashboard

 

reports

Enjoy :)