With the recent announcement from the SXSW Interactive Director to raise prices by 27% for early registration, I thought I would branch out a little bit from my usual posts and talk about what I thought about SXSW Interactive from a web analyst perspective. The reason that the Interactive Director gave for the price increase was the new price is competitive with other pure tech conferences. While SXSW also includes a music and film portions, the majority of the attendance is for the interactive portion and the price increases for music and film were not quite a steep. My personal thought for the price increase is to control the number of people that will attend the conference. There were rumors that SXSW was going to limit registration and while they did not limit registration, by raising the rates it has the same affect and if the same number of people attend as last year then SXSW will just make money. Now the question is, with the price increase or without the price increase, is it worth going to SXSW Interactive.
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In my Year in Review post I mentioned that I was not going to focus on certain tools and focus more on my experiences that could be applied to different tools. In this post, I am going to cover a little bit of each. I am going to focus more on a specific web analytics tool and how to merge data from different sources to get a more holistic view of the visitor. My experience of merging data from different sources comes mainly from a media site perspective and that is what I am going to focus on. As some of you may know, Omniture allows you to use Data Sources to import information from another source into Omniture. That is one way to get an overall view of the customer. However, I am going to focus on option from Omniture that is not as widely known called ‘Data Feed.’ The data feed is a great option if you want to export your Omniture data into another tool to do more analysis.
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In the last seven years that I have spent in web analytics one of the biggest challenges that I have had is getting adoption of web analytics in the company. This can be very challenging for a variety of reasons. Some of the people in the company might not know about, know how to use, or understand web analytics. Some people in the company might not think web analytics can help them. These are just a couple of the reasons why adoption of web analytics in a company might be challenging. This was not any different for the first company that I worked for when I first entered into web analytics. They are a multi-channel retailer and were primarily a catalog company. They are a small company and became very well known through the catalogue. They launched the website as an after-thought. In the beginning, they really did not have any type of tracking on the site. Of course this was way before Google Analytics came around. The only tracking they had were which products were purchased on the web site. I think they might have had something that told them how many visits the site received and the entry and exit pages. Though no one looked at it and all of the decisions about the site were made based on how many products were purchased through the catalogue. When I came on board, I was the second full time employee dedicated to the web site. My main responsibilities were marketing of the site and web analytics. After we picked a web analytics solution, one of the next things that I worked on was to get adoption of web analytics in our company.
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Year in Review

December 23, 2009

It was a year ago this week that I was traveling for the holidays and I made the decision to start this blog while sitting in a hotel room. I knew there were quite a few blogs about web analytics already with various opinions on different topics. When I decided to start this blog I wanted to focus on one thing, sharing my experience in web analytics both good and bad. The experiences that I have shared have been about recent topics and some as far back to when I first started my career in web analytics. I have had a great time writing this blog this past year sharing my experiences. I hope that I was to give you more information about a decision or give you an idea about some things to try. I look forward for the coming year and sharing more experiences with you. Though in the past year, I have focused on certain tools, in the coming year I am planning on sharing experiences about various tools and analysis. In the great time that I have had sharing my experiences, you may have come to my blog and not find the answer you were looking for. I compiled a list of the top search terms that brought users to my blog. I am going to try to give more information and/or links for each of the different search terms.
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And the survey says……(this reminded me of watching Family Feud when I was younger). A couple of weeks ago I read a blog post from iPerceptions about how they are going to integrate web analytics with behavioral and attitudinal data. As I kept reading the article, I kept thinking “WOW that is awesome.” Then I got to the Features and Benefits and I was really impressed with the crosstab capabilities of the survey and clickstream data and to look at your analytics and survey KPI’s in one dashboard. After reading the article, I started to think about my other co-presented breakout session at the Omniture 2009 Summit about surveys and VOC strategies. If you can combine clickstream and survey data, create segments based on those on a both sets of data would give you great insights about your customer. When you are thinking about putting a survey on your site you need to think about what type of questions you need to ask. Do you want to ask Idea questions (comments, feedback), Opinion questions (ratings, polls), or Effects questions (site changes, product variations). Before you create surveys, you need to understand your business goals: establish a voice within the community, build trust with your customer base, generate positive brand awareness, encourage loyalty, improve customer perception. There are many different types of surveys that you can put on your site that will help you get into your customers mindset.
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As I mentioned in my last post, Video Tracking, video is starting to become one of the more popular ways that sites are communicating and/or sharing information with their users. With the increased focus on videos, that begs the question, are the video plays hurting page views? This is a very interesting question. I am going to share some of the experiences that I have had of the last couple of years with the sites that I have worked since we have had more of a focus on video plays. The media sites that I work on also have tv channels that go along with the sites. Whenever possible, we publish full-episode videos to get users to come to the site to watch the episode that they missed on tv. Though there is also content about the show on the site, our theory that we had was that was that the video plays were hurting page views. Did this theory hold true?
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In the years that I have spent in web analytics, one of the main questions that I have been asked is how do I determine success for the sites that I have worked on. That is a very good question and obviously determining success will very from site to site. The first few years that I spent in web analytics was spent on e-commerce sites. Determining success for an e-commerce site is fairly straight forward. For an e-commerce site you are going to look at revenue to determine success. Though you can also look at number of items purchased, Average Order Value (AOV), or Average Order per Visit, which all of these metrics are ultimately based on revenue. Though I have not worked on an airline site or a hotel site, determine success for either one of these sites is also fairly straight forward. For an airline site or a hotel site you are going to look at revenue as well, though you can also look at number of bookings or the look-to-book ratio to determine success. Another way to determine success for an airline or hotel site is the number of sign-up for the frequent purchaser program. I have spent the last couple of years working on media sites and determining success for media sites is not quite as obvious or straight-forward. So that leads to the question, how do you determine success for a media site? Well, the answer to that question is it depends on the site. I have been fortunate enough to work on several different media sites the last couple of years in a couple of different categories and determine success for each of the sites were slightly different, even for two sites in the same category.
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Omniture Summit 2009

March 17, 2009

Now that it has been a couple of weeks since the summit has ended, I wanted to give me thoughts and opinions about the summit this year. On the last day of the summit, during the ski party someone asked me how many summits that I had been to. When I told him that this is my third summit, he asked why I keep coming back to the summit. What do I get out of the summit any more? Those are very good questions. My reasons for going to the summit this year have obviously changed from the first summit that I went to three years ago. Here are some of the reasons why I went to the summit this year:
o See what new products that Omniture is going to be releasing
o Networking – meet other companies that are tackling the same problems we are
o Get to talk to the Product Managers in person
o Customer Advisory Board meeting
o See what other companies are doing with the Omniture products
o Skiing, of course
OK, skiing is the not really one of the primary reasons why I went the summit this year, but it always nice to blow off some steam after a long week of meetings and sessions. When I went to the summit, I a few things that I wanted to get accomplished. We were having some issues with SiteCatalyst and I wanted to talk to the Product Manager in person to help get my questions answered and bring to their attention how serious this one is we are having. I always like the network component, you can never enough contacts. I have always enjoyed the keynote presentations and this year was no exception. Typically, have been hit and miss. Though this year I thought the breakout sessions have the best in the three years that I been to the summit (and I am not saying that because I was a co-presenter). I listen to a couple of the presentations that I was not able to make and I thought they were both great. Though I did not listen to all of them, I did download a few more of the presentations in pdf and really enjoyed that information that I got from the slides, though I did not get the full benefit of the full presentation.
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Implementing Omniture Part II

February 12, 2009

When I wrote my first post on Implementing Omniture, I wanted to give a general overview of some of the techniques that I use to implement Omniture to help inform business decisions. I have had a better than expected response to the post. I want to follow up with more techniques, but I am going to cover a few more items. I am going to go over the differences between an eVar, a prop, and an event and how I choose which one I use. I am also going to cover the Omniture plug-ins that I use and why I use them. I was looking at some of my RSS reader and I saw a post by Adam Greco of Omniture that goes over some of the plug-in that Omniture offers. I know there are some people who are searching to find the Omniture Implementation manual for SiteCatalyst. As far as I am aware, the only way to get the Omniture Implementation Manual is having a login for SiteCatalyst. You will need to go to Knowledge Base section under Help and do a search for “full implementation manual.” That should get you the result where you can download the Implementation Manual. To understand if you should use a prop, an eVar, or an event, you need to know how each one of these items is used. Understanding these items, will ultimately help fill out the Omniture Tagging Strategy document.

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Now that the tagging plan has been completed, the code has been written, and the tags in place one of the tasks that is usually asked is for web analyst to be-bug the tags to make sure the tags are what you expected when you created the tagging plan. This is a task I am asked to do on a continuous basis. I de-bug tags, not just when a site is first tagged, but on an ongoing basis. There are several de-bugging tools that you can use; Fiddler Tool, Web Analytics Solutions Profiler (WASP), Charles Debugger, and Firebug. The tool that I use the most often is the Charles Debugger, followed by the Web Analytics Solutions Profiler. One of the things that I like about the Charles Debugger is I can view all of the pages that I have viewed or actions that I have taken on a site, though I use the Web Analytics Solution Profiler for a quick check of the tags on a page. When I de-bug new tags, I open the Tagging Strategy Worksheet that I created and then I open up the Charles Debugger. I look at the different pages and take the different actions to test each scenario in the tagging strategy worksheet. This gives me an opportunity to see if the tags being thrown match what I had envisioned for the tag. If the tags being thrown matches my vision in the tagging strategy worksheet, I then put an “x” in the Working column to let me know that I tested that information, so when I come back to review the worksheet to do additional testing I know which tags are working. Continue Reading!