At the very end of my first week on the job at E-Nor, I sat down with Feras to make sure we had covered all the steps in the on-boarding process for new consultants. With my head spinning from the barrage of new processes, clients, and projects, I was feeling just a little overwhelmed. Thinking about how much more I had to learn before traveling back to the Portland, Oregon office, Feras began describing what he expected from the expert consultants at E-Nor. As my confidence was already reeling from the week’s introductions to some entirely new concepts and to new depths of familiar ones, he explained that I didn’t have to know everything about everything.
T-Shaped: Depth meets Breadth
“I like to say that a good consultant is T-shaped,” said Feras. As any good analytical communicator would, he grabbed the marker from the tray on the whiteboard behind him. He drew a horizontal line and then a long vertical line extending below the first line’s midpoint.
Tapping the horizontal line, he said, “You should be familiar with all of the concepts that affect our business, but you should explore the area that most interests you to develop a level of expertise,” as he dragged the marker along the vertical line.
He went on to explain that the experts at E-Nor weren’t experts in all the same areas. Feras talked about the range and variety among the individuals on the team.
So now that I’ve been on the job for a few months, I have first-hand experience on what Feras was talking about. Each of these unique, but overlapping skillsets equals way more than the sum of their parts. It’s clear to me that if the letter “T” describes an expert, it also stands for Team.
Last week, Forrester released their Web Analytics Q2 2014 Wave on: “the Six Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up”. The Wave report evaluates Web Analytics platforms against a number of criteria.
It was a busy week last week, so I didn’t get a chance to read the report till this weekend, then read some colorful reviews including this one and this one .
My first reaction when reading the report was “Whoa!” and “Are you serious?!”
Why was this my reaction? From our own experience, some of the conclusions reached in the report just don’t add up. For example, we clearly find that organizations are consistently leaving many of the platforms that this report considers “leaders” for the tool that this report considers just a “strong performer” (not to mention any names).
Now, it might be assumed that we have a biased towards Google Analytics/Google Analytics Premium (not to mention any names ), but in fact we are vendor-agnostic, working with Adobe SiteCatalyst and other analytics platforms. Yet what we see and hear from clients day-in and day-out, from the trenches, just don’t match this report.
Here are a couple of concerns with the report:
The Blackberry of the Web Analytics Industry
(Again, not to mention names) but one of the “leaders” of this report in our view is on it’s way to becoming the “Blackberry” of the web analytics industry. (When was the last time you saw someone check their Blackberry?) We are seeing a mass exodus from this one vendor.
And this is based on a good sample size of clients we’ve worked with – people are leaving [insert name of tool ] due to a combination of high pricing, poor support and slow pace of innovation. Maybe this vendor will turn around in the future, but for now I’m not sure how they still even made it to the list, let alone a “leader”.
Not only have we seen this trend in the private sector, but also in government. And, speaking with other consultants in the industry, they share the same experience.
So, not sure how to reconcile what we experience to be true with this report’s classification of “leaders”. Maybe “client retention” wasn’t in the criteria (speaking with ex-clients probably would be a good idea to consider for the next report).
User Friendliness –> Adoption By the Broader Audience
Some of the vendors in the “leader” category leave much to be desired when it comes to their user interface. I think the report underestimates the impact of this aspect on organizations’ adoption of web analytics.
We’ve seen it first hand with customers – most people won’t adopt a clunky interface, not matter how powerful and feature-rich the product is. On the contrary, provide a user-friendly interface and your adoption goes through the roof, as evident in the reach and deployment of Google Analytics/Google Analytics Premium and the growth this product has experienced over the last few years.
A good chunk of the internet – large brands, successful businesses, and organizations with a lot of really smart people – have adopted Google Analytics. Forrester seems to be excluding the “vote” of people who are actually using tools to make day-to-day business decisions in order to increase profit. You’d think their opinions would be a top priority when when electing analytic platform “leaders”.
Don’t Get Tunnel Vision on Technology
Just at it’s core, a report from a respectable firm like Forrester may lead you to choose the “tool” or “technology” perceived to be a “leader”. However, when choosing a tool, technology should only be A factor, not THE deciding factor.
Although the industry has matured significantly over the last few years (we’ve even changed the name of our associations from web analytics to digital analytics!), we still see an over-emphasis on technology and hardly any substantial investment in process and people.
Having a lightning fast race car without someone who knows how to drive it (or without a team that knows how to maintain it, change it’s tires, oil it up) is a useless piece of expensive machinery.
My advice to those in the market for an enterprise web analytics solution is to define your requirements thoroughly and have a vendor selection phase (prior to implementation). And in that process ensure that you have the right talent that will do wonders with the technology.
PS. I noticed that Forrester is running both Google Analytics and Adobe/SiteCatalyst on their site. Two “leading” choices in my book!
Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!
Jokes aside, Feras is very passionate about analytics and is active in the industry, speaking at various conferences, educating and mentoring fellow analysts and marketers. In 2003, he founded E-Nor, a Google Analytics Certified Partner and Google Analytics Premium Reseller. Vote for Feras to grow the DAA and to provide more career and professional development for members.
If you’re a DAA member, you’ll receive an email indicating how you can vote.
Feras Alhlou is the principal consultant and co-founder of E-Nor, Inc., a digital analytics and marketing optimization firm serving some of the world’s most recognized brands and data-driven governmental agencies. E-Nor’s vendor-agnostic time-tested analytics framework, combined with senior consulting expertise, enables organizations to adopt a more data-driven culture. Under Feras’ leadership, the firm achieved multiple qualifications including Google Analytics Premium Authorized Reseller, Google Analytics Certified Partner (GACP), Flurry Analytics Certified Partner, MixPlanel Analytics Certified Partner, Marketo Channel Partner and Tableau Alliance Partner. Feras is a blogger, speaker, and writer, and has been published in WebProNews, Wall Street Journal/Smart Money, Web Marketing Today, Independent Retailer, Practical eCommerce, and the official Google Analytics blog, among others. Feras speaks frequently at industry and global events including eMetrics, Tableau, Google Analytics User Conferences, Search Engine Strategies (SES) and Search Marketing Expo (SMX). He is a member of the Digital Analytics Association (DAA), a Certified Web Analyst, and Co-Chair of the San Francisco Bay Area DAA Chapter. Feras clearly demonstrates his proactive dedication and commitment to the success of the DAA locally in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Alhlou is an ideal candidate to serve on the DAA board. Since 2006 Feras & E-Nor have been blogging on all things digital marketing and analytics and are more committed than ever to publish and share more thought leadership and relevant content. Feras has traveled the globe educating businesses and marketing consultants on the subjects of marketing optimization and digital analytics. Alhlou has a long history of visionary leadership using creative and forward thinking to drive success. He was the Vice President of Professional Services for Syndeo Corporation, a next generation telecom application provider. Feras was the Director of Custom Solutions for Vicorp, overseeing global solution deployment. Alhlou received a Master of Engineering Management from the University of South Florida and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tulsa. Feras has served on WSI’s International Advisory Council mentoring marketing consultants globally and is on the board of a number of non-profits including the American Red Cross (Northern California). Feras is married and has three children and enjoys volunteering, reading, skiing and Aikido. An active member of the San Francisco Bay Area, Feras and E-Nor choose to forgo holiday gifts to make a significant contribution to a number of non-profit organizations. We are humbled to share that in 2013 E-Nor has donated over 1% of its revenue and over 750 hour of pro-bono work for non-profits and other causes.
What major contribution will you bring to DAA and its membership?
I am very passionate about analytics, education and mentorship. As a Digital Analytics Association (DAA) board member, I will embrace the opportunity to share my experience and knowledge with the digital analytics community. I co-founded a consulting business, built it from the ground up and nurtured a very talented group of senior consultants, and I believe my years’ of dedication to the growth of the industry is beneficial to the DAA board of directors. I am prepared to commit the time and effort to support the DAA and its initiatives. As an active ambassador, I will generate more awareness, focus on the importance of career development in analytics, increase DAA membership and promote DAA programs.
Why should members vote for you?
I am committed and will deliver results! For more than 20 years, I have volunteered and served on local and national boards for non-profits and organizations within our industry. I am currently a DAA co-chair of the San Francisco Bay Area and was part of the team that successfully organized a local DAA Symposium in 2012 and 2013. For more than six years, I have served on the International Advisory Board for WSI (a franchisor with 1,100 plus worldwide marketing consultants). In this capacity, I played a vital role in establishing mentorship and coaching programs across the globe, and provided strategic input at various levels of the organization. I also serve as an advisor and board member of a national advocacy non-profit with 20 chapters across the country. In this role, I provide guidance on how best to develop the organization and establish successful PR campaigns, communication infrastructure and community development projects. I have a strong dedication to volunteering my time to programs that impact my industry and the community. I would enjoy the opportunity to make a difference as a DAA board member, and will commit the needed time to support the success of the DAA.
We are happy to announce that E-Nor has been nominated for the 2014 Digital Analytics Association (DAA) Awards for Excellence in not one, but TWO categories! The DAA is a global thought-leader within the analytics industry that strives to help organizations facing the challenges of data-acquisition and application. We’ve been a proud corporate member of the association for many years and have benefited greatly from their partnership, so it’s a great honor to be nominated.
Industry Rising Star Nomination
Our manager of Digital Analytics, Allaedin Ezzedin, has been nominated for the individual category of Digital Analytics Rising Star. Described as a “hero” of analytics, Allaedin is a senior digital marketing consultant and a Certified Web Analyst with more than 7 years of experience under his belt. He is a “powerhouse” when it comes to attacking data challenges, where each carefully planned solution he creates meticulously and comprehensively covers all angles of the issue. Allaedin very involved in the industry, writing several popular articles/blog posts, several creative ebooks, even founding the company CampaignAlyzer (an online tool for campaign tagging).
Most Influential Agency Nomination
The second nomination is in the group category of Most Influential Agency for E-Nor, Inc. A great and heartfelt thank you to all the customers, community and team members. Our teams collective consulting expertise has allowed recognized brands, from Fortune 25 to start ups, to become more data-driven. We have delivered strategies, implementations, consulting and training to help companies leverage their data for making insightful marketing decisions over the years. We’ve also contributed to the industry with blog posts and articles, providing the latest strategies and developments in the art and the science of digital analytics.
How to Vote
There actually is no external link or place on the website to vote. As a DAA member, you should have received an email with your personal link to the online voting, so check your inbox! Click or copy that unique voting link into your browser.
We are very pleased that our hard work and devotion has allowed us to reach thus far. If you are a DAA Member, please vote for us!
Update: Allaedin Ezzedin is a finalist! Contrats Allaedin!
This year, we’re proud to announce our Principal Partner, Bilal Saleh, will be conducting an Analytics Workshop as one of the sessions of WebCongress Miami!
What Marketers can learn from Network Engineers
With a background in mobile telecommunications, Bilal draws a parallel between digital marketing and network engineering, particularly decision making based on measurement and analysis with the ultimate goal of achieving the best results with minimum resources. Network engineers not only build systems based on objectives/outcomes, resources/constraints, and timelines – but they continuously monitor and measure their outcomes, then tweak and optimize till their goals are reached. These same practices can be applied to digital marketing strategies and practices to achieve highest ROI.
Bilal will be going through what you need to know in order to “engineer” a winning digital marketing strategy, including:
Proper KPI’s to measure
Ecommerce foundational and Advanced Analytics techniques
The power of segmentation vs. aggregation
Date: Friday, 8th November, 2013 Place: Venture Hive, 1010 NE 2nd Ave Miami, FL 33132 Contact:email@example.com Included: Presentation and Certificate
Who Should Attend
Marketing Managers & Business Owners
Search Marketing Managers
E-Commerce, B2B and Media/Content Site Owners
Web Strategists and Digital Marketing Consultants
WebCongress is an event covering attracting professionals and media from all over Europe, and Latin- America with one goal: teaching online marketing strategies by involving leading companies in the industry. Each year it’s organized in different cities in Spain and in the world such as San Francisco, Miami, Bogota and Amsterdam, with an average attendance of more than 10,000.
As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas. So as E-Nor gets “bigger,” it just so happens that we’re growing our analytics and digital optimization services for the Central U.S. with a new office based in the Dallas, Texas area. Local resident, Patricia Hinojos has been named Senior Consultant, and will manage client services for the location.
Patricia has more than 10 years of experience in the digital marketing realm, including consulting and implementation of digital strategies for various industries such as hospitality, health services, legal, technology, manufacturing as well as other consumer and business service industries. She has an in-depth knowledge of online user experience, digital analytics, SEO, SEM, social media and online brand management. Hinojos has a passion for leveraging digital marketing and providing intelligence for more effective customer engagement, operations and growth. She has held positions with Fortune 50 organizations, and works with strategic business development, training, marketing communications and international channel management.
“I am excited to work with E-Nor, after years of independent collaboration. The entire team here exhibits the highest level of passion for, and expertise in, measurement and optimization and they deliver on their promises. Plus, this is a fun team to work with. I’m happy to bring E-Nor a personal connection to Texas and the Central US.,” shares Patricia.
In addition to her love for digital marketing, Patricia is passionate about supporting youth organization in entrepreneurship and community service. She has supported the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) as a trainer and competition judge, and has also served at the local level in various philanthropic leadership positions within the National Charity League and Young Men’s Service League.
As part of E-Nor’s Central US expansion, Patricia will assist, advise and implement analytics solutions and help clients derive insights to impact the business. The new office will expand the organization’s presence in Texas and beyond, to continually offer leading edge digital analytics services, strategy, implementation, training and support, consulting, as well as Google Analytics Premium services.
Canada, oh Canada. We’ve extracted a handful of gems from you…Maple Syrup…Hockey…The Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies…even Justin Bieber. Apparently, you’re also #1 in the world in fruit juice drinking (real statistic), which is an amazing talent.
If you’re a frequent reader, you might be used to us posting advanced analytics topics, such as Google Analytics Premium, Integration with Tableau, Qualitative and Quantitative integration, Cohort analysis, etc. For analytics ninjas, this post might be a bit lite. However, when you’re stuck in the complex, you overlook and forget about the basics, which have their own value – so a refresher is always good.
The Challenge: Pageviews from Canada but No Leads?
While assessing one of our client’s content marketing strategies, we found they had an exceptional amount of pageviews from Ontario, Canada. They were concerned though. For some reason though, they haven’t gotten one sales lead from that region. Are they missing out on top Canadian dollars?!
We were hoping that their analytics data could give us some insights as to what was happening and why they weren’t getting leads from there. In this post, we’d like to demonstrate how we used Google Analytics in a simple/basic way to extract some insights into such questions.
A Closer Look For Patterns
When we looked at their data, we created an advanced filter that only showed visits from the region Ontario and we saw this:
Anything jump out at you? It seems that most of the urls in the top content from Ontario have “/blog” in it (the client has 2 sites connected to this domain – a main site and a blog).
Interesting. We were wondering if that pattern had any connection.
Validating the Theory
So we compared this to a region where they were getting a healthy amount of traffic and successfully generating leads – California. When we filtered traffic for California, at first glance, the pageviews looked fine. Thinking about the pattern from Ontario (“/blog”), we then filtered even further for only California blog traffic. There really didn’t seem to be anything unusual.
So what was the issue then??? Well, keep in mind, we’re not only concerned with pageviews, we’re concerned about leads. In other words, conversions define as leads, which in this case, the client defined it as contact-form submissions. Both reports show a healthy amount of pageviews, however, one region is generating leads, one is not.
Looking at the conversion report for California, overall, it maintained a healthy look. But after again filtering for only blog conversions, then comparing it against Ontario, that’s when we uncovered the gem! Consistency in the theory!
Voila! When both regions are filtered for blog traffic, the percentage of conversion balances out (in this case, the visits were almost equal so the conversion being 1 is an equal percentage of conversion)! We can’t say definitely, but after drilling down the data, signs lead to the blog not necessarily generating leads the way the client wanted (and since most Ontario visits were blog visits, they don’t so much get Ontario leads).
That’s one way to get insights using some critical thinking and the tools in Google Analytics. Of course, there are infinite ways to torture the data and therefore infinite insights.
Real Analytics ninjas may also be thinking that form conversion shouldn’t be looked at in a vacuum – for the blog, there should always be micro conversion goals, such as email newsletter subscriptions, sharing, comments, does it refer to the main site, and generate interest or micro conversions there, etc.
The next next step is our analysis is understand the behavior of users across multiple sessions and answering questions like: are visitors who read the blog come back and convert in later sessions.
We promised to keep this blog post lite, so we will answer this question in a future post! Now it’s your turn, how do you use Google Analytics to derive actionable insights.
We’re excited to announce Feras Alhlou has been nominated for a seat on the 2013 Digital Analytics Association Board. The DAA is a non-profit, volunteer-powered organization consisting of big names in the analytics industry that, among other things, aims to unite and educate individuals who have a passion and aptitude for digital analytics.
If you’re a member of the DAA, and believe in Feras’s vision for the organization, vote for him! When asked by the DAA Election Committee where he would like to see the organization in two years, his response was:
“Looking ahead, I envision DAA as a leading organization in the broader analytics space. I would like to see membership go beyond web analytics to also include a larger spectrum of marketers and business analysts. As the industry tends to grow, so too should DAA, to embrace those who utilize various digital aspects in their day-to-day responsibilities.
“DAA should be seen as an educational resource throughout the communities in which the organization is established. By reaching out to existing businesses, colleges and universities, DAA can be seen as the go-? to organization for digital know-how. And in turn, grow and gain membership.”
Feras is the Principal Consultant of E-Nor, Inc. which he co-founded in 2003. He is passionate about improving his client’s ROI and has led his organization to implement and launch successful digital marketing and analytics strategies for E-Nor’s diversified client base. Under his leadership, E-Nor has worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies and organizations within the educational, government, retail, B2B, High-tech and non-profit sectors. The company has achieved qualifications as a Google Analytics Premium Authorized Reseller, Google Analytics Certified Partner (GACP), Google AdWords Certified Partner, Google Urchin Software Certified Partner and Google Website Optimizer Certified Partner.
Feras has an extensive background in digital marketing consulting, search marketing, web analytics, mobile and marketing optimization. He has traveled the globe educating businesses and marketing consultants on the subjects of search marketing, online marketing and digital analytics. He is a member of the Digital Analytics Association (DAA), co-chair of the San Francisco Bay Area DAA chapter, and serves on the DAA Examination Sub-Committee.
Feras is a blogger and writer, and has been published in WebProNews, Wall Street Journal/Smart Money, Web Marketing Today, Independent Retailer and the official Google Analytics blog, among others. He is also a speaker at various marketing and analytics industry conferences throughout the world.
Prior to E-Nor, Feras was the Vice President of Professional Services and Consulting for Syndeo Corporation, a telecom application provider. Feras received a Masters of Engineering Management from the University of South Florida and a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tulsa. Feras is married and has three children and enjoys volunteering, reading, skiing and Aikido.
Some Funny Campaign Material! Help us by sharing!
on his way to deliver a Digital Marketing & Analytics workshop in Qatar, we took the liberty of coming up with these funny campaigns posters. Everything in them are 100% true and accurate and have not been embellished or edited in any way
Working in the Silicon Valley is an awesome ongoing adventure. The spirit of entrepreneurship, creativity, hard work, and fun is always there. Even large companies like Google have the “20 percent time” program, where Googlers are allowed to use 20 percent of their work week to pursue any special project they like, which Google claims many of their innovative products to have originate from.
Here at E-Nor, such innovative spirit is integrated in our culture and company’s DNA. We try to think about data and analytics beyond the 8 (official) working hours Such spirit can be found in a project of one of our lead analysts and long time blogger, Allaedin Ezzedin, in a little fairy tale called “Alice in Marketing Wonderland”.
For your digital marketing amusement, if you’re a child of Analytics ready for a wondrous journey through a world of marketing fantasy, watch the video below!
Update 07/15/2014: Google Analytics has changed “Profile” to “View”.
Previously, Google Analytics had only 2 roles (“Admin” and “User”), which are very limited. They announced today that they’ll be expanding the flexibility of access – which is good news for anyone that has multiple hands in their Google Analytics accoqunt cookie jar (you have multiple accounts/properties/views but want to give…
…different employees different access/security roles to specific properties/views.)
…particular clients/agencies view or admin access to specific properties/views, etc.)
Google Analytics Accounts – this is the general account you set up for analytics. It would be on an organization basis. Example, an analytics account for E-Nor, Sony, Proctor and Gamble, etc. This is the large bucket and you get an assigned ‘UA’ number.
Properties – Under the account, you can have multiple “properties” – website 1, website 2, mobile app, etc.
Views – Within each property, you can have multiple views. Maybe for your website, you want a view that only shows E-Commerce data. Another example, say you’ve filtered out all your company traffic from your view so you only see data from “visitors”, not your developers doing work on your site. You also have a backup view (always have an unfiltered control back up view!!!). Etc.
Users – In order to give someone access to a Google Analytics account/property/view, they must have a Google Account.
The “Old Ways” and its Limitations
As it works now, the user permissions are pretty limited. You can only have admin access at the account level (all properties/views under the sun). Nothing in between.
If you have multiple properties (say website and mobile app), and you want to give a specific user/client admin access to only a portion of that (say, yet you want say the website development team to only have access to the website property/views), this wasn’t possible.
User “View Only” Access per View
Also, you could only give users “view only” access per view. If you wanted to give users “view only” access to all views within a property, you’d have to manually select each view under that property and give them access.
Enhancements and Improvements
User Permissions at Every Level!
Analytics users have been requesting more granular user permissions. Today, we got the answer from the Google Analytics Blog. They’re expanding these options and will allow you to basically set access at every tier. Set users to have view/admin specific to properties, views, and/or the entire account. No more worrying about a user having too much admin access. No more having to manually select views per property – you can set access to whole properties.
We now have the ability to give different access specific to each tier.
For example, while a user can now have permission to say view the entire property, you can also limit their admin access within that property (per view). Example, give the website developers access to view the entire web property, but only edit the E-Commerce view.
The only trick is admin access inherits permissions from its parents. Meaning, if you have full account admin access, it wouldn’t make sense then to only have “view” access to specific properties/views under that account – you have full access.
New User-Role: Manage Users
We know that today Google Analytics has 2 roles of access – “admin” access (which gives users permission to edit Google Analytics accounts/properties/views) and “view only” access.
They’ve now added a third role called “Manage Users”, which allows that that user to add and delete other users as well as assign them permissions. This is different from “edit” and “view” permissions.
Pretty cool! Give certain employees/agencies specific access so they don’t mess up other views! (NOTE: Your account may not yet have this feature, but Google is working on migrating all accounts to have this within the upcoming weeks, so keep checking for it).