Posts Tagged ‘Web Analytics’
This is arguably among the most important real-world issues out there today (and has been, for some time now). It’s an issue in the offline world, as much as it is in the online world. Except that, online, there are a lot of efforts on to try and get an accurate gauge.
I recently came across readings on the topic, which I finally read this evening, after sufficient procrastination. First, the Forrester release on the topic*. And then, two Coremetrics documents, both by Eric Peterson of Web Analytics Demystified. Peterson’s first line is a great introduction
One of the best-kept secrets in online marketing is that most campaign attribution data is completely wrong and the models used to evaluate campaign performance are wholly inappropriate
John Lovett’s Point of View
The Forrester document discusses various issues, but the bottomline is really their model, which boils down to weighting three points of data, (1) frequency (2) recency (there is a time-period cutoff) and (3) time-on-site, which represents site engagement and interest. The image below, once you parse it, explains it all.
It’s an actionable idea, once you get the measurement in place. However, I’d love to see some testing behind the weightage method. Every minute spent on the website is equivalent to one exposure of the ad. How does one reach this conclusion? I agree that this is extremely hard to measure, but I’m sure there should be/can be research on the weightages.
A strong point that Lovett makes is that while most folks will agree that it’s important, there seems to be a paucity of strong case-studies out there. I also think it’ll be a strong source of competitive advantage, and would sympathise if someone who’s figured out the weightages already isn’t sharing them.
As Eric Peterson quotes Andy Fisher (Razorfish) in his white paper
“Coming up with a good weighting system is hard!”
Eric Peterson & Core Metrics
Eric Peterson wrote a white-paper (and a solution brief) on the topic, which was sponsored by Coremetrics. Half-way through the paper, I lost the thread somewhat, especially since I have never, and don’t, use Coremetrics. The paper starts with an intelligent analysis of the curent situation, which decries the absence of multi-touch attribution. Peterson calls it ‘Inappropriate Attribution’, strongly putting down all commonly used attribution systems. He then suggests the 3-touch view (something that Coremetrics does), which is where I started to lose the plot a bit. Perhaps when I get to fiddle around with Coremetrics tool, it might get clearer.
Peterson goes on to classifying each campaign as an acquisition, persuasion or conversion campaign, based on the the Appropriate Attribution Ratio (AAR). In other words, the performance of the campaign would define the kind of campaign that it is. This, I have a disconnect with. I advice clients to think about campaign objectives when planning them, not when reviewing the results. Because, campaign objectives would define the campaign copy, ad placement, and overall campaign design. Of course, this system can be used to see if the campaign met the desired objective or not. I’d also like to nitpick about the term ‘acquisition’. Peterson uses it to refer to acquisition of a lead, while a good part of the industry might refer to it as a sale. It’s a nitpick, but take note, or you might be confused when reading the paper.
Just before I was to post this, I figured out that this is part of Coremetrics’ overall masterplan to track individual users on the net. It has sparked off a debate between individual tracking and aggregate tracking. A subsequent post will parse that.
In all, an important topic, and it’s likely that there will be more posts on this as I explore.
*Note: I got the Forrester document from here, where you can download it if you offer pimp yourself as a datapoint for their database.
I intend to review a bunch of web analytics tools as I go along.
Today, a look at Crazy Egg, one of those really exciting tools which is no more free (but definitely worth it if you don’t mind shelling out $9 a month).
For a while, Crazy Egg was the closest you get to a free tool that can give the kind of insights that Omniture’s ClickMap gives. They’re not exactly the same tool, but are very useful when working with a designer to redesign or re-layout a page. The do both a heatmap and the click-overlay thing. However, if you’re using a free tool and not Omniture, the fee might be worth your while – at least for your more important pages since there are slabs by number of pages tracked. And the tool called Confetti works like a segmentation add-in.
Some of the strong features which it brings to the table include the ability to show where folks have clicked (even if they aren’t links). I haven’t tried it out on a live implementation yet, but the demos look interesting. I’m definitely going to keep this in mind for future implementations.
I’m continuing on this week’s big meme, the FREE debate, and looking at the obvious parallel that we have in the world of Web Analytics today: Google Analytics vs. Omniture/Webtrends and all the other tools.
It’s a debate that’s been done to death in the Web Analytics universe. A simple search throws up 452,000 results on the phrase ‘Google Analytics vs. Omniture’. I used Omniture because it’s arguably the biggest and most popular paid Web Analytics tool around right now. Some links to the salient points of the debate, in case you need to catch up: Web Expectations/Conversion Works, Jonny Longden, Eric Hansen, Four Digital, Bawaal…
As it stands now, ‘Paid’ and ‘Free’ coexist – both the Google Analytics free package as well as the host of paid-for products and services. And I don’t expect things to change drastically. While Google is free, delightfully simple to use, and easy to set-up, Omniture has some functions like segmentation, live support, etc. which are useful for a full-service online firm or website. Google itself provides additional services and support if you pay them for it, and then there’s the bunch of Google Authorized Analytics Consultants who can step in when things get hairy. This model works well because those who really need an indepth understanding of what’s happening on their website will probably be willing to pay for the solution (and Omniture provides a truckload of additional stuff in their costlier implementations). The rest will be happy with GA because it’s effective and functional. The market is currently in a well developed Freemium phase – and this is where I see a lot of services going. And as for coexistence, an increasing number of folks are putting both on their website. Check this out!
Coming back to the debate, this is where I see that Anderson predicts a Freemium for the newspaper industry, since that seems to be one of the focal points of the debate.
Mark Red and Dropit have put together a useful plugin that helps query Google Analytics using Microsoft Excel. Considering that these are among the more commonly used tools/apps, this is a welcome plugin. What’s more, it’s even Open-Source.
Excellent Analytics is a simple Excel plug in that lets you import web analytics data from Google Analytics in to an Excel spreadsheet.
- Build queries with all dimensions and metrics available in Google Analytics
- Apply filters to create advanced queries
- All queries are stored in the spreadsheet
Imported data is stored in the spreadsheet so you can sort, manipulate and distribute the data to anyone using Microsoft Excel.
Use Microsoft Excel to combine web analytics data from Google Analytics with offline data from any other source. Excellent Analytics makes this easy!
I’m yet to use it, because I don’t have any Google Analytics work going on at the moment, but will give it a spin when I can.
Update: From some discussions on mailing lists and forums, I think one has to fiddle with the date-format settings in Excel to make it work. Just in case any of you were having trouble.
I attended two sessions at Day 2 of ad:tech Singapore this year – thanks to the fact that no one else wanted to do those ones on the agency passes that we had.
I hate to say that I was mildly disappointed. There was a thin crowd, and the panel and talk weren’t close to being interesting for someone who works in analytics. They were targeted more to n00bs who have a very limited understanding of web analytics. I came back feeling silly for spending a couple of hours there during a busy week at work. Perhaps it was to do with me feeling excited about going to my first ad:tech. ad:tech needs to manage audience expectations better, next time. Or perhaps it’s just the nature of the audience in Singapore (quite likely).
The first one was a panel featuring Marc Gagne, APAC Director, Omniture who moderated Jayne Leung, Head of Sales New Media, DoubleClick, Anton Konikoff, Founder & CEO, Acronym, Nick Gundry, Manager Marketing Services, InterContinental Hotels Group, Asia Pacific and Jeff Zweig, Chief Guru, Web Guru Asia. I got the impression that they were doing this because they had to. The moderator even addressed Jeff as Joe or something (I forget). They spoke faux-passionately about how analytics is important and such. That Anton is probably a colourful character. One interesting point that came up is about InterContinental’s analytics team – 40 people strong! Wow. I’d like to meet that team and see what they do some time. It must be pretty exciting stuff.
The second one was called ‘Effective Measurement & Understanding Analytics’. It featured Jereme Wong, COO of Clicktrue, which, we were reminded quite a few times, is Singapore’s only Google Analytics Authorized Consultant. His presentation is here. And Will Hodgman, EVP of comScore. His presentation is here. I hate to say this, but both presentations felt like shills to me. Wong gave a generic and introductory talk about what GA can do for you. Which is fine really, but only for someone who doesn’t have a clue. I wish I’d known before I stepped in. Some part of his talk rehashed Avinash Kaushik’s 2007 book. I don’t blame Wong. Singapore’s one of those places where some people are doing cutting edge best-in-class web analytics, and the others are doing nothing. He went for the gallery. Fair enough.
Hodgman’s was about the upcoming Media Metrix 360, which is comScore’s upcoming platform for web-audience measurement (as they seem to call it). It promises to be a pretty useful tool, theoretically, and can add a whole new dimension to one’s multichannel analytics. Let’s see how it performs once it’s out. They also gave out three bottles of wine to folks who answered some silly questions of theirs. I don’t like that. I’d rather that folks drew in and engaged their audience with strong content, instead of strong hooch.