Archive for the ‘Web Analytics’ Category

What CMOs Need to Know That Will Keep CEOs and CFOs Happy

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

This guest post from Kirsten Chapman was originally published on LinkedIn.

Modern marketing and business are defined by one thing: The Web.

It’s safe to say that CMOs, CEOs and CFOs are keenly aware of the huge hole when it comes to measuring the business value of web marketing. When they want to know if all the time and money they’re pouring into web marketing is working, they’re handed reports generated by campaign management systems—Hubspot, Marketo, Vocus, and even Salesforce come to mind. Invariably, the next question is: so where are the KPIs?

Good question. And the answer lies in how the Web is viewed.

Not truly understanding the dynamics of the Web is what leaves executives making strategic decisions using tactical information. Intuitively they know this is wrong, but they can’t quite put their finger on what to measure.

The Web is extraordinary. Never before have we seen anything quite like it—it’s a business, it’s a market, and it’s channel all rolled up into one enormous and complex package. And that’s what makes it a struggle to measure and manage.

The goal here is to lay out an argument—for the first time—that the Web is an economic market. It’s more than just a channel for generating leads and engaging people, it’s genuinely a market with competitive forces.

Why is this important? Because it finally opens up new ways to measure the Web’s strategic value using a standard set of web marketing key performance indicators (KPIs).

The Web is a Market

Don’t be scared off—this isn’t a treatise on microeconomics. The Web as a market isn’t a complicated concept. However, it’s an extremely powerful one for those who understand its strategic import and who want to be able to quantify the business value of web marketing beyond only lead generation and engagement.

The best way to demonstrate that the Web is a market is to analyze three key elements of a market—structure, competition, and information exchange—then examine whether or not the Web exhibits these elements.

  1. Structure: A market is a place where buyers and sellers come together for the purchase and sale of products and services.

>>Yes, the Web is a marketplace.

  1. Competition: A market has a competitive structure. There are several types of market structures, each defined by the number of buyers and sellers, barriers to entry and exit, product differentiation, and pricing power.

>>Yes, the Web has competitive forces.

  1. Information Flow: A market allows products and services to be evaluated and priced.

>>Yes, the Web facilitates decisions on product offerings and their prices.

The conclusion? The Web is truly a market—of the economic sort.

So, why isn’t the Web a market in the sense that it represents potential customers? Because it’s a thing (network of content), it has both buyers and sellers, and it’s not a person or group of persons to be studied, segmented and targeted.

But wait, what about web lead generation? Isn’t that about studying, segmenting and targeting people on the Web? Yes it is, which is why the Web is also a channel. But it is not a target market, which is distinguished from an economic market.

Web Marketing Performance Measurement

By viewing the Web as a market, it presents the opportunity for a much-needed standard set of KPIs that can measure market-level web performance.

There are two types of web marketing measurements:

  1. Channel-level metrics that measure campaigns
  2. Market-level KPIs that measure brand web presence

Nearly all web marketing performance is measured at the channel level—degree of engagement and number of leads are two that come to mind. But the purpose here isn’t to weigh in on channel-level measurement, so let’s get to the meat.

—Fundamental Assumption—

The web is a network of content, so web presence is the unit to be measured.

To be considered a KPI, it must:

  1. Measure market-level brand web presence, and
  2. Produce a trend that acts as a leading indicator of possible future business success.

There are three categories of web marketing indicators—Brand, Competitiveness, and Website—each category has two KPIs.

To illustrate, we’ll explore one of the KPIs in more detail: Competitive Webshare™—an indicator of a brand’s market competitiveness.

Competitive Webshare is the percentage of paid, owned, and earned web presence that a brand holds vis-à-vis a defined set of competitors. It’s a bit like market share but focuses on comparing a brand’s web footprint to its most important competitors. By isolating the competitive set, executives are able to focus on developing competitive strategies that are most impactful to the business.

Like market share, Competitive Webshare is a critical trend to track. If a brand’s percentage goes up over time, it’s a leading indicator that the prospect for sustained business growth is promising. On the other hand, if the percentage is deteriorating, the business outlook isn’t rosy.

Having a set of indicators that work together to track and measure important aspects of how a brand is faring on the Web is paramount. It helps executives understand whether their investments in web marketing are creating conditions that can help put and keep the business on a path for future success.

Conclusion

Much of today’s confusion about how to measure web marketing performance is attributable to not fully understanding that the Web is not just a channel for generating leads and engaging audiences but is also a market in its own right. Viewing the Web as a market with competitive forces introduces new ways to measure its strategic value.

Through the use of market-level web marketing KPIs in the areas of Brand, Competitiveness and Website, CMOs, CEOs, and CFOs are finally able to gauge how effectively their investment in the Web is paying off.

Kirsten Chapman is a 30-year veteran of technology b2b marketing and PR, co-founder of MeasureMyBrand—where she pioneered the development of four of the industry’s first standard web marketing KPIs—and principle of b2b marketing and PR agency KC Associates.

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Seven Expert Google Analytics Guides

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

You’ve likely at some point come across the contention that humans only use 10% of our brains’ capacity (which is a myth,  though a popular one). The science fiction thriller Lucy delves into one writer’s imagining of what human beings may be capable of if we were somehow able to use 20%, or 50%, or more of that capability.

Expert guides to Google Analytics

Image credit: iMedia Connection

It’s almost certainly less of a myth that most companies use 10% (or less) of the website visitor data available to them. Google Analytics (GA) is the most popular tool for tracking web visits, used by more than half of all companies, including two-thirds of the Fortune 500.

But, as with (perhaps) our brains, most businesses don’t utilize all of the capabilities of GA. What if they did use 20%, or 50%, or more of what the tool can provide?

It wouldn’t be as exciting as a Scarlett Johansson action movie, but it may help a lot of firms get more out of their web marketing efforts. To help you use more than 10% of your website analytics, here are seven expert guides to GA.

Why you can’t ignore Google’s new Universal Analytics by iMedia Connection

Brandt DainowWhile Universal Analytics is no longer quite “new,” this article from Brandt Dainow is still a worthwhile read. He reviews what Universal Analytics is, how it works with existing GA accounts, and astutely details the strengths (“Universal Analytics can track anything, in pretty much any fashion you want. All you need do is get a signal to an internet-connected device. Hence Universal Analytics could, for example, track RFID tag movement around a trade show or light switches being turned on or off”) and weaknesses of Universal Analytics.

How to Quickly (and Correctly) Track Google Analytics Across Multiple Domains by Moz

Tom CapperWriting that “Out of the box, Google Analytics handles being deployed across multiple domains or subdomains extremely poorly. This is easily the most common critical problem in Google Analytics, despite its being relatively easy to fix,” Tom Capper provides a helpful table showing how to set up Google Analytics for different situations (e.g., multiple subdomains on a single domain which are treated as a single site) as well detailed instructions for properly setting up separate tracking IDs, ignoring self-referrals, prepending hostname to request URIs and more.

How to Setup Google Analytics: 5 Quick Videos That Make it Easy by Orbit Media Studios

Andy CrestodinaDon’t let the title fool you–while some of what’s here is Google Analytics 101, there are also more advanced tips (i.e., how to create dashboards and alerts) because, as Andy Crestodina points out, “Even expert marketers and big blogs often haven’t finished setting up Analytics. It’s very common.”

4 shortcomings of Google’s attribution modeling tool by iMedia Connection

Phil GrossWhile acknowledging it’s “great that Google has recognized that its current conversion tracking is antiquated, and its expanded attribution capabilities can help some advertisers better optimize search spend,” Phil Gross exposes several shortcomings of the tool, such as that it only looks at search (it “It’s great that Google has recognized that its current conversion tracking is antiquated, and its expanded attribution capabilities can help some advertisers better optimize search spend”) and doesn’t even look at all search activity.

How to Use UTM Tracking Codes in Google Analytics by SEMrush Blog

Marvin RussellMarvin Russell explains that “UTM (Urchin Traffic Monitoring) tracking helps you not only identify the website your clicks and conversions are coming from, they also identify the specific ads or links that are responsible getting you those clicks and conversions. If used properly, UTM tracking codes will double, triple or even quadruple your clicks and conversions without spending another dollar,” then shows step-by-step how to implement and use these.

6 Reasons Why Search Clicks Are Undervalued by ClickZ

Kevin LeeTo make the case that “much of the value of search marketing – and search clicks – isn’t acknowledged at all by most marketers,” Kevin Lee details half a dozen examples of how search clicks can be undervalued, including under-reporting of phone and chat contact: “Even pure-play online businesses (retailers, B2B, lead gen, etc.) have phone numbers on their sites. Highly interested visitors may prefer to engage via phone or chat. Each marketer must decide whether or not to use unique numbers (or extensions) to track phone behavior at a granular level, or simply apply a ratio of phone to online conversions.”

3 Ways Merging Google AdWords & Analytics Can Improve PPC Results by Search Engine Watch

Lisa RaehslerLisa Raehsler steps through three techniques for combining Google AdWords and Analytics to improve the performance of paid search campaigns, such as using matched search queries: “combine query data with behavior, conversions, social, and more…Using Visitors data in the secondary dimension opens to the door to in-depth information including demographic like age, gender, and location. Advertisers can use this information, for example, to build personas or optimize targeting in AdWords.”

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6 Traits of Highly Effective Data Analysts

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Guest post by Robert Murphy, Managing Partner at Movéo.

In today’s world, technology and marketing conditions are dynamic, but clients still demand predictable results, minimized waste and accountability. In order to achieve these goals, marketers must master the ability to collect the right data and then glean insights to drive strategy and measure effectiveness. The smartest marketers not only understand this approach, but are leading the charge to take it mainstream.

What skills does a data analyst need?While the notion seems simple enough, the majority of marketers have not mastered the skills and processes needed to be successful in harnessing the power of data.

During upfront planning, it’s essential for marketers to use the right tools, analyze data, pull out meaningful insights and use that information to craft a strong strategy. On the back end, data allows marketers to measure the success of a campaign or program and optimize future plans based on those results.

This has changed the way we as marketers work. Jiani Zhang, Movéo’s Director Vice President of Data and Insights puts it best:

“We have easier access to more and more data in all kinds of areas to help us make decisions, build better and more engaging customer experiences, dig out insights and uncover opportunities, rather than thinking about everything with a gut feeling and guesswork,” says Zhang. “[Data] and the insights we gather from it helps us make more efficient, more accurate decisions.”

Along with the demand for data comes the demand for talented data analysts—marketing specialists who understand how to interpret 21st-century data and identify insights that will inform their clients’ strategies and ultimately help them achieve their business goals.

So what exactly are agencies and companies looking for in a data analyst? What characteristics do you need to succeed in today’s data-driven marketing world?

1. Creativity

Statistical analysis is only one part of the job. Data analysts need a creative spirit, one that pushes them to experiment, remain flexible and solve problems with a new, fresh perspective.  And though there’s plenty of solo work time, they have to be able to share knowledge and collaborate as a team member. “I spend about a third of my day in front of a white board, with my team brainstorming different ways we can solve a problem,” says Dean Malmgren, a Data Scientist and Partner at Datascope Analytics. “That’s a very collaborative thing.”

2. Curiosity

Top-notch data analysts look for the meaning—the “why”—behind the numbers. With an insatiable drive to discover actionable insights, they constantly ask questions and search for solutions. Curiosity fuels them and the possibility of failure doesn’t scare them.

Matt Webster, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Planning at Movéo believes curiosity is the “one crucial character trait” for those working with data. “At the end of the day, what you really want is someone who’s curious, who enjoys drilling into data and spending a lot of time with it, hours on end, and coming up with a big insight that fuels the development of a strategy,” says Webster.

3. A strategic perspective

While data analysts often have to dig deep and get lost in data, those who are most effective also have the ability to think beyond a tactical level. With a “big picture” outlook, they keep both the client’s goals and the end customers in mind. Countless tools and theories exist, but these analysts have the wisdom to know which are most relevant to the current project and how to apply them appropriately.

4. Effective communication skills

Great data analysts understand how to transform meaningful data into digestible insights and how to communicate those insights to a wide range of audiences—everyone from clients to the creative team and the IT department. “Storytelling is a very important skill—to [be able to] translate the numbers, the metrics, into very clear and straightforward, actionable and engaging stories,” says Zhang.

By distilling the data into something simple, something people can believe in, data analysts have the ability to make people care. “People need to trust the results,” says Malmgren. “The only thing that makes a data-driven tool useful is whether or not you trust the [results] it puts in front of you. Developing that trust by making sure [the data is] communicated in an effective way is really important.”

5. Continuous learning

Data analysis goes far beyond number-crunching. New technology, tools and theories require the most talented data analysts to stay up-to-date by attending industry events, reading widely and making connections. These folks are proactive thinkers who thrive off of being challenged, day in and day out. As Zhang says, “Be hungry.”

6. Statistical and technical expertise

Of course, it’s impossible to be a stand-out data analyst without strong technical skills. Data interpretation at this level requires critical analysis without bias or expectation, as well as a deep understanding of tools, formulas and models that comes from hands-on experience.

As marketers continue to explore how to best use data to inform strategy and measure effectiveness, data analysts will play a larger role in proving the value of marketing dollars.

“Marketing has always been seen as an expense to [clients],” says Webster. “The marketing team wants to be viewed [as an investment] and have a seat at the table with the C-suite. If the CMO wants that seat, they have to manage against numbers the same way the CFO is doing it.”

Robert Murphy is a Managing Partner at Movéo.  For 27+ years Movéo has partnered with category leading brands to craft strategies and build tactics that engage audiences and drive business growth.  At Movéo, Murphy manages the Data & Insights group, as well as the Strategy & Planning team. He has been named to BtoB Magazine’s list of “Who’s Who, Key Thought Leaders, Movers & Shakers” and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Japan America Society of Chicago.

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The 5-point plan: how to increase marketing ROI from call conversions

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Guest post by Luke Rees.

Every marketing executive wants to know when their efforts are getting through to consumers, and the online world is certainly making it easier to do so. Whilst there is still no way to track impressions from offline marketing (human interface programmes just aren’t that advanced yet…), the online world makes it possible to track real time results via impressions and clicks.

Increase ROI from call conversionsBut although online is great for understanding your customer base, it may not be the best platform for converting leads into customers. In fact, a recent study found that two thirds of people get frustrated when they can only interact with a company online. 

65% of businesses still consider the phone their strongest lead source, so how can marketers track when their online efforts are generating phone calls?

Here are five techniques marketers can use to better understand their customers; to streamline their experience with the contact centre; and to ultimately improve ROI.

Click-to-call tracking

Click-to-call tracking allows advertisers to identify and measure calls to their business after an ad click through occurs. Google recently announced they are offering this service free for their AdWords users.

How it works:

  1. a code is placed on the company’s website or mobile site;
  2. this code generates a unique forwarding number for each AdWords click;
  3. when a customer calls from a unique number you can link it back to a specific page on your website, as well as publisher sites within the display network, to see the types of calls that are being generated;
  4. with the help of Google Universal Analytics it is possible to track the keywords (i.e. search phrases) the customer used before clicking on your webpage. Your call centre staff are therefore already clued-in about the specific needs of the customer.

Data from this new free feature allows marketers to understand which keywords and ads are driving the most phone calls from your website, as well as where the most valuable calls are coming from.

Customer acquisition

Google’s call conversion tool allows marketers to optimise each page of their website by seeing the amount of engagement it’s getting, but there are also more sophisticated methods available for tracking where customers are coming from.

Here are two more techniques for tracking customer acquisition:

  1. IP and ISP (Subscriber Trunk Dialing) tracking software allows agents to see the exact geographical location where calls are coming in from;
  2. integrating call tracking with bid management software can allow marketers to see the keywords that lead to the most offline telephone conversions. Having this data means they can fine tune their PPC and SEO campaigns.

Companies who understand the needs of their clients and know how to target them are likely to significantly reduce their cost per lead. For one company who had their data reviewed this was as much as 50% reduction.

Conversion to call

Call tracking companies like ResponseTap provide software which allows marketers to track the entire customer journey, not just the initial call.

With the help of web analytics programmes it is possible to see:

  1. which keywords the customer used before calling;
  2. the publisher which drove the visitor to the website;
  3. the webpages they looked at before, during and after each call.

Integrating call tracking with analytics software like Google Adwords tracking, Adobe SiteCatalyst, or DC Storm can further improve customer understanding and increase the conversion to the right kind of call.

One company wanted to reduce information only calls to make capacity for Sales calls. By reorganising content for existing members and non-members differently they were able to increase the conversion to the right kind of call by 66%.

Conversion to sale

Wouldn’t it be great if your call centre staff new exactly the needs of the customer before they’ve even picked up the phone? These three strategies do just that, which significantly increases your chance of making a sale:

  1. Call screening alerts the agent about the campaign that has motivated their call. A phrase is read out to the agent before or after a call, telling them information like how the caller found your website, and what keyword they typed in;
  2. Dynamic call routing allows companies to route a call depending on to how a visitor have found their website. The call can then be directed to the best team, department or person within the business;
  3. SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) can be integrated into your call centre tactics. SIP is a signalling protocol that makes it possible to implement services like voice-enriched e-commerce, web page click-to-dial, or Instant Messaging depending on the preferences of the individual customer.

Using smarter and more sophisticated routing to get the calls to the right people will result in increased ROI. One of the businesses who had their data reviewed saw an uplift in sales of 15%.

Higher order value

Increasing the average order value (AOV) at the end of the customer journey is the final part of the customer journey which marketers can optimise through clever call tracking.

Two way to ensure customers spend bigger are:

  1. URL callbacks allow you to send data about the caller to an online system at the start or end of the call in real time. By storing this data in a database, you can integrate with other online solutions like web analytics or CRM solutions to better understand the customer experience and needs.
  2. CRM Integration: instead of using your CRM to just be a system that retains customer information based on manual entries, integrating your website and call tracking software brings in valuable customer information directly into your CRM. It also enables complete end-to-end reporting of lead to conversion through the call channel.

One company presented the call handler with the actual landing page the customer arrived at so that they had an immediate understanding about their intent. As a result they believe AOV went up 20%.

Conclusion

By taking each point of the customer’s journey in isolation, businesses will begin to notice real results.

Let’s take a look at the example company numbers for each metric, before and after they integrated four call tracking strategies.

So initially traffic acquisition went up 50%, then conversion to phone call improved by 66%, conversion to sale went up 15% and finally AOV increased by 20%:

Before 

  • 1,000,000 visitors
  • converting at 1% from visit to call
  • converting at 20% from call to sale
  • at an AOV of £1000

= £2,000,000 revenue

After (assuming some fairly typical conversion metrics, and the improvement percentages taken from each of the businesses above)

  • 2,000,000 visitors
  • converting at 1.66% to call
  • converting at 23%
  • at an AOV of £1200

= £9,163,200 revenue

The difference on these metrics is a 458% improvement. By implementing some clever software with a few smart tactics to connect online and offline efforts, it is possible to improve marketing ROI exponentially.

Luke Rees is a digital marketing executive from London who writes extensively about technology and trends in the search market industry. You can contact him on LinkedIn and Google+

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Six Expert Guides to Dealing with Keyword (not provided)

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

In late 2011, Google began redirecting users who were signed into their Google accounts to the encrypted (https) version of the search engine, beginning the keyword (not provided) era. At the time, Matt Cutts assured everyone that the change would only affect single-digit percentages of all organic search traffic reporting.

Keyword (not provided) stormtrooper

Image credit: DealerFire

The reality was, of course, much different. Marketers, webmasters and SEO professionals quickly saw the share of (not provided) keywords rise to the 20%, 30%, even 40% ranges. Then, on September 23, 2013, Google dropped the hammer, encrypting all search traffic and thus hiding keyword referral data for all of its organic search traffic.

The initial response of digital marketing professionals was…panic. Even Rand Fishkin, while not quit declaring the death of search engine optimization, called keyword (not provided) the first existential threat to SEO.

Google’s move did not, of course, “kill” SEO, but it did force marketers to adopt a broader framework to optimize overall web presence. And it forced SEO and analytics professionals to get more creative in how they analyzed and assessed organic search keyword data. Here are half a dozen of the best guides to measuring organic search phrase results in a keyword (not provided) world.

12 Ways to Measure Content Effectiveness After Google’s “Not Provided” Decision by Content Marketing Institute
***** 5 STARS

Mike MurrayWhile many SEO writers offered tips on how to continue to get organic keyword insights after Google stopped providing referring keyword data last fall, this post is one of the best: Mike Murray steps through a dozen techniques for organic keyword analysis, from opening an AdWords account and using Bing/Yahoo data through tracking search rankings and analyzing organic search landing page data.

Search: Not Provided: What Remains, Keyword Data Options, the Future byh Occam’s Razor
***** 5 STARS

Avinash KaushikIn his typical thoroughly researched, profoundly well thought-out, incredibly detailed, and richly illustrated style, Avinash Kaushik examines the implications of the loss of organic keyword data; helpful metrics that remain available (such as Mutli-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics, organic landing page reports, and paid keyword data); alternatives for keyword data analysis; and possible future solutions (such as “page personality analysis”). It’s a great deal to absorb, but worth reading and bookmarking.

Google Webmaster Tools Search Query Data is Accurate (and Valuable) by Search Engine Watch

Ben GoodsellYes, Google Webmaster Tools (WMT) data has become more valuable in the wake of the universal (not provided) issue, but no, it certainly isn’t perfect. Ben Goodsell does an exemplary job here explaining the value of GMT data for SEO analytics, the limitations of the data, and a “secret” workaround to get a bit more detail out of WMT reports.

(Not Provided) Changes the SEO Landscape by iMedia Connection

Dave MurrowDave Murrow steps back and takes a broad view of the keyword (not provided) issue, speculating on why Google may have made the change and recommending that marketers embrace not just new analytics tactics to deal with the loss of organic keyword data, but also strategic changes to website optimization overall.

Not Provided Keywords – SEO Reporting Without Keyword Data by SEER Interactive

Michelle NoonanMichelle Noonan walks through six techniques to help compensate for the loss of Google organic keyword data, inlcuding both the usual sources—Google WMT data, YaBing visits, keyword rankings—and unique ideas like reporting on referral traffic and looking for “unique markers to track” based on each specific client’s objectives and situation.

Ideas for Keyword (Not Provided) by LunaMetrics

Reid BandremerReid Bandremer lists 15 ideas for dealing with Google’s “keyword not provided” issue—including Google Webmaster Tools data, aksing users, and using paid data sources—but concludes that “There’s simply no magic bullet and no single one-size-fits-all solution to solving 100% keyword (not provided). Instead, what we have currently is a very complicated set of many different methods to uncover little gaps in insights left by (not provided).”

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