Analyzing the Analytics

Everybody is aware of some simple facts in the Analytics landscape: An increase in Page Impressions is good. A high bounce rate is bad. Are you sure? Shouldn´t you educate yourself on additional synergies within those facts? It is too naïve to say that generating more Page Impressions than the day or the month before is a positive development in your digital channels. An important aspect of Key Performance Indicators for example is that they all should be set in comparison with a time interval to be able to judge the growth or decrease of the figures.

In many metrics this is a key aspect. So, again: is an increase of Server Calls good? Simple answer is: you do not know. If you want to find out – compare. Not only with your historical data (and then of course with the same time frame a short period ago: yesterday with the same day a week ago, instead of yesterday with the day before). You also have to compare your data with the market trend.

And I already see some of you readers have three arguments against this comparison:

  1. We are sooo unique. No, you are not – Full stop. There is competition.
  2. We do not have the market data – Valid point. Lots of industries have some public overview of market data available, for example media or finance, but yes, this is hard to find sometimes.
  3. We are not able to compare the data in our tool – Go select a professional solution. Not a tool.  The high-end vendors will very much be able to integrate market data via API into the system and have clear overview of the comparison between your company data and the market information.

Back to the metrics and to start with an easy one; an increase of server calls is good. We all agree to add additional aspects, see above. What if the Bounce Rate is rather high? I would say: perfect – well done (if we talk about a specific landing page with no further call to action). I would say, oh my god, if we talk about an eCommerce shop. The perspective makes the difference, as well as the website goals. Depending on content and goal a high bounce rate can theoretically be the ideal set up: if you own a company that is purely concentrating on services and you deliver all needed info on a specific page, then there is no need for the visitor to click further: he received all info he was searching for. Job done.

Another metric to be discussed is concerning Streaming Media content. Is it bad if a video was interrupted in between or has not been viewed until the end? You simply can not tell. It all depends on the placement of the content. If the relevant content has been seen (and was maybe included within the first minute), then the interruption of the video after this minute is less relevant and alerting because the main message was received. So, if the video is 5 minutes, the completion rate is only less than 20% but you do not care, because the main information has been covered.

How about long duration on a website? Good or bad? Again: it depends. If you have fascinating content on your website, lots of videos and detailed articles a long duration would seem to be more likely than on a news site. But the duration can also be high on a news site – because your editor is using the wrong words or too complex descriptions. If you are able to check the duration per article and check this with the number of words for example (again: good analytics solutions can combine different data sources and get you a more transparent overview) then you see if the complexity level per article has an impact on the duration.

At the end I would also want to touch a more detailed topic: picture galleries. Is it good or bad to add more pictures to the gallery? Does it depend on the area of the gallery, meaning the content or the page? Is there a limit of pictures to show without annoying people to click through too many pics? Try it out! Analytics is your friend also here.

With the given experience and testing on current clients we were able to get some results. Far from being representative official figures, but good to check for your own website. It was obvious to see that see completion rate was always around 45-55%, no matter how many pictures were included in the gallery. That means: the costs for stockphotos and the effort involved can pay out. You might have asked yourself is it worth putting more and more photos to that gallery.

The answer in short is: yes. If you include 40 pictures it is most likely the visitors will click around 20, so 50%. If you include 15 pictures it is most likely the visitors click up to appr. 7 picture, so roughly 50%. The quantity is less important. It is important to include your most important pictures or messages within the first half. See the descriptive screenshot below to see a range of galleries from 3 to 40.The completion rate is quite the same, as said. So, how long should a picture gallery be: as long as you want it to make sure you cover all your stuff within the first 50%. Is it relevant in which parts or channels of a website or in which interest group this is shown: no. They all have around 50% completion rate.


So, how long should a picture gallery be? As long as you want it to make sure you cover all your stuff within the first 50%. Is it relevant in which parts or channels of a website or in which interest group this is shown? No. They all have around 50% completion rate.

So what have we learned?

  1. We are not unique – there is competition
  2. Market data can be hard to find but it is very valuable
  3. You need to be able to compare your data
  4. Find answers to questions that have not been asked yet
  5. Go and start with something. But start!
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7 Ways You Should Have Advanced Your Digital Strategy in 2013

Wow, it’s January 2014 already! If you’re like me, 2013 was a fast-moving combination of wins, near-misses, regrets, accomplishments, failures and fun. Amongst it all, I hope you can look back and count 2013 as a pivotal year for your online strategy. Before we dive into 2014, I’m thinking of seven ways you could have, no make that should have, advanced your digital strategy.

1) Implemented a Tag Management System
I’ll start with this one; it’s a no-brainer. If you don’t have a Tag Management System in place yet, forget the other six items on this list and immediately go sign up for Google Tag Manager. It’s free, and it will save you countless hours and headaches in the future. It’s not the only good solution out there, but it’s a good place to start for 95% of businesses or organizations.
For more on Tag Management, check out these great posts:

2) Planned a Migration to Universal Analytics
If you are using Google Analytics, you’ve undoubtedly heard about Google’s next generation framework dubbed Universal Analytics. It’s the first fundamental overhaul to the Google Analytics measurement model since Google purchased Urchin in 2005, and it will open the door for tons of great features in the future. Unfortunately, for many users, the value of Universal Analytics has not been made clear enough. While at the moment there are still some features missing that some GA users depend on (remarketing support, DFA integration, etc.), an upgrade already makes sense for many businesses. The simplified codebase, server-side options and ability to define and use custom metrics and dimensions make Universal Analytics appealing already.
Google has made transitioning to UA fairly easy, but there are still some coding changes required. If you’ve taken my advice on #1 and are utilizing a TMS, this shouldn’t be so bad. Go ahead and put a migration plan together for Q1 of 2013 and make it a priority to switch to UA. You’ll be able to quickly implement new features and functionality, including the oft-cited promise of tracking users across devices with the UserID override capabilities.

3) Executed a Smart PLA Strategy
It’s not much of a stretch to say that PLAs took over the SERPs in 2013. If you sell products online, but aren’t in the mix of Product Listing Ads, you missed the boat. PLAs offered merchants low CPCs and high conversion rates, but lately CPCs have been climbing fairly dramatically (53% increase since last year).

There is a difference, however, in having PLAs and having a smart PLA strategy. The default way of adding products to an AdWords account is actually very dumb, and it produces a lot of bad results for merchants. At this point, without a granular, product-specific PLA strategy, you may be underwhelmed with PLA performance. Smart merchants are using 3rd party tools and services to bid efficiently by inventory, category, profit margin and other key data points. Breaking out products efficiently into campaign and ad groups allows for greater control and precision bidding – just what SEMs are used to.

4) Advanced Your Remarketing Campaigns
You do have a remarketing program, right? OK, good. But how sophisticated is it? The best remarketing campaigns are built with highly dynamic designs, reach audiences across multiple platforms and are based on specific visitor behavior and time. If you are still throwing all visitors into one bucket called “All Audiences,” it’s time to take it to the next level.

5) Cursed Google for Taking Away Keyword Data
Ok, this won’t exactly “advance” your strategy, but it needs to be done, am I right? Moving on…

6) Developed a Custom Attribution Model
Attribution modeling used to be only for the elite: the 1-percenters. Not anymore. Many folks don’t even realize that there’s a pretty nifty Attribution Modeling Tool just waiting to be used in their own Google Analytics account! Yep, and it comes with seven built in models and the ability to create all kinds of exciting custom models. Further, in 2013 Google added the ability to integrate GDN display data to spice up those attribution models (see my earlier post about this here).
If you are still using Last Click, prepare to have coal in your stocking this year.

7) Invested in Conversion Rate Optimization
Acquiring traffic to a website has never been more difficult or expensive. On the SEO front, techniques that used to work don’t work as well anymore, and Google is methodically pushing organic results farther and farther down the page. On the paid side, CPC costs continue to rise and competition is fiercer than ever. As traffic acquisition becomes harder and harder, it’s surprising that more businesses aren’t focusing their attention to Conversion Rate Optimization. For most organizations, it is much more affordable to increase their conversion rate by 20% than it is to increase their total traffic by 20%. But did you know that for every $92 we spend on acquiring traffic, only $1 is spent helping that traffic convert to a lead or a sale?

Our clients are finding CRO drives tremendous value across all of their online channels, and at a fraction of the cost it would take to produce similar gains through acquisition alone. If you missed this opportunity in 2013, let next year be the year you start a Conversion Rate Optimization journey.

That’s my list, but you probably have others, right? Chime in below and let us know how you made out in 2013, and what’s on the list for this year!

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Digital Marketing Data Gift Guide for 2013

Digital Marketing Data



Gifts for the:

Digital Analyst | Content Marketer | CMO | CDO

With love and apologies to the fine writers of the New York Times Gift Guide 2013.


Marketing Data Gifts for the Digital Analyst

All good analysts know: What’s measured matters. Apply this general wisdom to gift-giving, and the results are deepened insight, increased mathematical rigor, and metrics to treasure.

  1. Multi-device, multi-browser analytics: One of the best gifts I ever got was access to Google’s Universal Analytics tool. Once it was assembled, I had access to cross-device, cross-browser behavior as well as a handy attribution model. The resulting insights spurred me into a happy analytics dance. Also available in Premium starting at MSRP $150K. Some assembly required.
  2. Freedom from pre-packaged reporting: If you thirst for a web analytics tool that lets you under the hood –  direct access to raw, structured data in an easy-to-query format – start with a demo of Snowplow Analytics. Snowplow Analytics is a powerful, open source platform from the UK. You can store data in your own AWS cloud. You can query it with any tool you want. In lieu of pre-packaged views, Snowplow gives you advanced analysis recipes that turn even average web analysts into marketing masterminds.
  3. Robust text analysis: Truly useful text analysis tools – as opposed to top lists and word clouds – are surprisingly hard to find. KNIME caters to a wide range of industries, and will support your enterprise, too. The suggested applications range from social media influencer analyses to recommendation engines. Whitepapers with repeatable workflows are useful, though training is required. Gift this to an analyst with a training budget – stateside training is rare and pricey.
  4. Meaningful engagement metrics in social media: Chaos and confusion continue to reign in the world of social media, as  marketers find themselves cornered between a rock and a hard place. On one hand there is too little time to authentically engage with customers; on the other, there are a slew of vanity metrics being touted with little business relevance. Fortunately there may be an out, as the more established social media networks continue to release increasingly compelling analytics tools. Here are some suggestions for diving deeper into your social media metrics.
    1. YouTube Analytics Groups: “Groups allow you to view aggregate data of the videos or channels in a group, which can help you analyze performance in an organized way. For example, you can create groups based on a common topic or type of video as well as by geography or the recency of the upload. You can see groups data for all the reports available in YouTube Analytics.” – YouTube
    2. Twitter Analytics: All statistics from Twitter, including follower characteristics, account growth and click-through rates on account tweets, can be accessed by setting up a $1 campaign (and then canceling it before a penny has been spent.) How-to guide is available from Econsultancy.

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Big Data Gifts for the Content Marketer

It’s a hot topic! It’s a marketing channel! It’s a digital consumer product! We offer data in three surprising categories. Thanks to net neutrality, these items come not just from the marketing industry but from organizations focused on academics, philanthropy, fitness and technology.

  1. “Big Data” as a hot topic: This hot topic has intrigue, unlimited potential, and a series of inherent challenges that marketers can discover as they devise their 2014 content plans. Thought leaders are jotting down their “big data” metaphors in tweets, blog posts and status updates in an attempt to feed the insatiable demand for big data content coming through Google search.
  2. “Big Data” as a marketing channel: It is now possible to gain access to hard-to reach IT Decision Makers through data itself. Host a contest on Kaggle (or if you are a non-profit, launch a project with DataKind) with a data set and a tantalizing problem statement. Participating data scientists who crave real-world data to develop and refine their techniques can then be recruited (with consent) if not simply incentivized to transform the way you think about your business.
  3. “Big Data” as a consumer product: “Big data” digital products, in a variety of shapes and sizes, connect to the internet as they capture and quantify consumer behavior in real life. The classic example is Nike+ Fuelband. Don’t underestimate the staying power of these products. With advanced analytics algorithms, consumers will be as overwhelmed and entranced by their quantified selves as content marketers are with campaign optimization.

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Big Data Gifts for the CMO

Big data does not have to cramp your style. Our selections add variety and velocity to the marketing dollar. Whether your marketing message is targeted towards B2B or B2C, these gifts speak the international language of ROI.

  1. Get results, fast! For a sped-up marketing campaign, combine real-time bidding with real-time analytics, to perk up both awareness and conversions.
  2. Pay for what you get: Put the kibosh on paying for bot clicks: a refreshing, band of marketers is moving to crack down on impression and click-fraud in advertising.
  3. The best thing in a tiny packages: As tailored messaging is created for niche audience segments, smaller campaigns are becoming favorites among data savvy marketers. This streamlined approach replaces spending beyond the point of diminishing returns by producing more campaigns with less spend on each

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Big Data Gifts for the CDO

In my office, filled as it is with go-getter entrepreneurs and millennials, revenue opportunities abound. We’re learning not to grow too attached to “my next million dollar…” ideas.The best of this year’s revenue opportunities are so lucrative, however, that I’m scheming to place them with the Chief Data Officer (CDO). It won’t be too long until we’ll need the money in the bank to fund the next big thing.

  1. Big data as a revenue stream: Sure you can sell products and services with differentiating features at competitive prices. But they’re not efficient if you need a lot of revenue in a hurry or want to supply a quickly growing demand. Consider instead monetizing your data. While more complicated than other potential offerings, monetized data captures a share of market currently up for grabs. In fact, in the first half of 2013, Twitter made $32 million in revenue from “data licensing.”

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