Aquent/AMA: "Eric T. Peterson & Web Analytics Demystified"

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Information about Aquent/AMA: "Eric T. Peterson & Web Analytics Demystified"

Published on July 9, 2007

Author: aquent



Aquent/AMA webcast featuring web analytics expert, Eric T. Peterson

AMA Marketing Effectiveness Online Seminar Series Marla Chupack - Moderator American Marketing Association March 6, 2007 by Eric T. Peterson

Commonly Asked Questions 1. Will I be able to get copies of the slides after the event? 2. Will this webcast be archived for future “on demand” viewing? by Eric T. Peterson

Commonly Asked Questions 1. Will I be able to get copies of the slides after the event? Yes 2. Will this webcast be archived for future “on demand” viewing? Yes by Eric T. Peterson

American Marketing Association A wealth of information is available for marketing professionals at: The #1 marketing site on the web for: Best Practices White Papers Professional Development Opportunities Online and Offline Events Archived Webcasts by Eric T. Peterson

Today’s Speaker: Eric T. Peterson Author: – Web Analytics Demystified – Web Site Measurement Hacks – The Big Book of Key Performance Indicators Blogger: Founder: The Web Analytics Forum at Yahoo! Groups Presenter: Numerous conferences and webcasts Former: Senior Analyst for JupiterResearch Current: V.P., Strategic Services, Visual Sciences Contact: by Eric T. Peterson

Today’s Sponsor: Aquent Global leader in marketing, creative, and technical staffing – including all aspects of business, marketing, and web analytics • Freelance, contract, try-before-you-hire, or direct hire talent • 20 years of experience with 70+ offices in 17 countries • Online @ or toll-free @ 877.227.8368 by Eric T. Peterson

Web Analytics Demystified: Ten Simple Strategies for Using Web Analytics to Improve Your Online Marketing Efforts Eric T. Peterson March 6, 2007 Generously sponsored by Aquent ( by Eric T. Peterson

Agenda I. Three Fundamental Truths II. Ten Steps to Success a. Description b. Explanation c. ACTION! III. Questions and Answers by Eric T. Peterson

Three Fundamental Truths  Being successful with web analytics is relatively easy  You need to recognize three fundamental truths 1. Web analytics applications are not easy for everyone to use 2. Web data is not easily interpreted by everyone 3. Web analytics is a process by Eric T. Peterson

Ten Steps to Success  Ten strategies that experts widely agree upon  Likely you’re doing some of these today: Pre-Execution Execution 1. Define your Business Objectives 6. Allocate the Resources 2. Translate Objectives to Activities 7. Define the Reports 3. Understand the Technology 8. Perform the Analysis 4. Learn the Terminology 9. Run the Experiments 5. Plan the Implementation 10. Adhere to the Process by Eric T. Peterson

Define your Business Objectives  You have a web site for a reason – To sell products … – To support products … – To generate leads … – To support existing customers … – To deliver ad impressions … – To generate clicks … – To create brand awareness … – To generate “buzz” …  Often, business objectives are poorly defined and vague by Eric T. Peterson

Business Objectives Provide Structure  Business objectives are a framework  Provide a basis for justification  Instead of: – “We’re starting a campaign to bring more visitors to the web site, and our measure of success is an increase in visitor traffic.”  You say: – “We’re starting a campaign designed to generate additional sales on the site, and our measure of success is a campaign conversion rate at least twice our site-wide average.” by Eric T. Peterson

ACTION: Business Objectives  The process for defining business objectives: 1. Gather senior stakeholders in a room 2. Pass out yellow stickies 3. Ask each to document why they believe the site exists 4. Put the notes on the wall 5. Look for groups and consistent themes 6. Find consensus around two or three objectives if possible 7. Document these business objectives 8. Share with the larger team or entire company  Most companies are surprised at what they learn by Eric T. Peterson

Translate Objectives to Activities  Business objectives are “big picture”  But web analytics is “tiny details”  Defining specific activities bridges the gap – For any business objective there are many activities – These activities are the specific actions visitors take – Things like “Add Product to Cart” and “Click Checkout Button”  Each business objective can have “n” activities  Depends on the objective and the web site by Eric T. Peterson

Activities: An Example  For the business objective “Sell Products” – View products – Search for products – Read product reviews – View product images – Add product to shopping cart – Start checkout process – Complete checkout process – Write a product review – Email product info to a friend by Eric T. Peterson

ACTION: Activities  List the things visitors can do to satisfy the objective  Be as specific as possible when documenting activities  Capture click-stream images of the activity Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4  Think broadly, both on and off the web site by Eric T. Peterson

Understand the Technology  Web analytics technologies measure specific things: – Referrers – Clicks – Page Views – Visits – Visitors  Knowing what your particular platform is capable of measuring is critical! by Eric T. Peterson

The Marketing Perspective  You may say: – “I don’t have time to learn the details of the technology … I just need the answers to my questions!”  But measurement technologies have various limitations that directly impact answers given: – Failure to properly identify campaigns … – Changing page names … – Failure to remove robots and spiders … – Caching issues … by Eric T. Peterson

ACTION: Technology  Ask your vendor to provide a training on the fundamental elements in their data schema – Focus on elements that directly impact your business objectives – Have them provide an overview of the technology’s limitations – Make sure that your core marketing team understands this information – Work to have open lines of communication between marketing and IT  Every stakeholder needs to understand the core web analytics processes by Eric T. Peterson

Learn the Terminology  Web analytics isn’t taught in college *  The lingo is largely new and often abused  For example: – “The site generated 50,000 hits in the first few days online …” – Hits? Or page views?! Or visits?!? Or visitors?!!?  When people don’t understand the terminology, confusion leads to frustration leads to ignoring the data by Eric T. Peterson

Using the Terminology  You must learn the terminology  Then, instead of saying: – “We had 5,000,000 hits on our web site from campaign X.”  You will be able to say: – “Campaign X brought 20,000 new visitors to the site. Those visitors generated 50,000 page views and returned an average of 3.0 times in the following month. Furthermore, those 20,000 visitors had a conversion rate twice our site-wide average.” by Eric T. Peterson

ACTION: Terminology  Take your vendor’s documentation and translate it  Make sure to communicate the real meaning of: – Referrer – Click and Click-through – Page view – Visit (also called “Session”) – Visitor (also called “Unique Visitor”) – New and repeat visitor  Do not assume that everyone knows these terms! by Eric T. Peterson

Plan the Implementation  Most baseline analytics implementations aren’t enough  There are often many types of custom/external data: – Customer information – Impression data – Product data – Cost data  Companies need to work with their vendors to ensure that measurement systems gather the right data by Eric T. Peterson

“Advanced” Implementations  Many vendors offer advanced implementation services  Usually for-fee, often worth considering – Expert guides know the questions to ask – They bridge the gap between the business and the infrastructure – Can dramatically improve the quality of implementation  Make sure you communicate your business objectives and activities to external implementation support! by Eric T. Peterson

ACTION: Implementation  Your business objectives and activities provide the implementation framework 1. List each business objective and activity 2. Next to each, identify which data are required 3. Identify the sources of each piece of data 4. Validate with your vendor the ability to leverage each source 5. Document the process for gathering data  Do not rely completely on internal resources unless they have repeatedly demonstrated competence by Eric T. Peterson

Allocate the Resources  Remember I said “not easy for everyone to use?”  Companies that identify/assign/hire the “right” person are dramatically more likely to benefit from web analytics – Companies with no dedicated resources are far more likely to treat web analytics as an ad hoc process – Companies with dedicated resources are far more likely to ensure that appropriate data is shared through the company  Keep in mind: The distribution of web analytic data is intrinsically tied to the data being used by Eric T. Peterson

Who Are the “Right” People?  The most successful web data analysts: – Are business minded, having experience with some aspect of online marketing – Are technically astute, or at least willing to learn the “nuts and bolts” – Are excellent presenters, unafraid to talk at length about minutia when required – Are relentless in their quest for answers and information – Have enough seniority and experience to earn the respect of both business and I.T. by Eric T. Peterson

ACTION: Find the Right People  Recognize it is a “buyer’s market” for experienced web analytics professionals (Aquent and others can help!) – Salaries are high – Experienced people are few and far-between – Smart web analysts are looking for company where they can make a difference  If possible, look internally for employees that fit the profile and who may be up to additional challenges  Remember: When you find them, work to keep them! by Eric T. Peterson

Define the Reports  Don’t assume default reports will answer your questions – Most default reports are lists or dashboards – The former are usually too detailed, the latter not enough so  Augment lists with key performance indicators, designed to report on specific activities and business objectives by Eric T. Peterson

Key Indicator Reports  Business- specific  Color-coded  In context  Easily shared  Automated  Annotated  Speak directly to core business objectives and activities by Eric T. Peterson

ACTION: Revisit Your Reports  Research and implement key performance indicators  The Big Book of Key Performance Indicators or information from your vendor  Think hierarchically: – Senior management: Few KPIs – Strategic resources: More KPIs; occasionally lists – Tactical resources: Even more KPIs; even more lists  Remember to annotate prior to widespread distribution! by Eric T. Peterson

Perform the Analysis  Analysis is the drilling-down into the data in an attempt to refute a reasonable hypothesis – Example hypothesis: “A substantial percentage of high-cost clicks from the Yahoo! Search network are fraudulent” – Clearly, the answer has profound business implications  The analysis step is where most companies fail – Far too many companies only do reporting – But the analysis is where the real business value resides by Eric T. Peterson

Reporting versus Analysis Reporting Advantages : Analysis Advantages:  Automatically generated  Identifies clear actions  Moderately tactical  Extremely tactical Reporting Disadvantages: Analysis Disadvantages:  Highly dependent on the  Impossible to automate! reader for interpretation  May require data analysis tools  Rarely suggest action except to that exceed current platform very knowledgeable readers capabilities by Eric T. Peterson

ACTION: Produce Analysis  Analysis is theoretically easy to do: 1. Hire/allocate bright people to conduct the analysis 2. Examine existing reports, looking for obvious problems 3. Evaluate obvious problems against business objectives 4. Identify “high potential” areas for correction 5. Develop and test robust hypotheses 6. Clearly document the results of the analysis 7. Make and share succinct recommendations  Clear, succinct recommendations are what most companies and agencies are prepared to act upon by Eric T. Peterson

Run the Experiments  Often, analysis will suggest multiple possible changes  Multiple possibilities necessitate testing, referred to as controlled experimentation – Also called “A/B testing” and “multivariate testing” – Used to statistically sample multiple alternatives  Ideally, controlled experiments can be run against all existing reports and key performance indicators by Eric T. Peterson

About Experimentation  Many schools of thought … simple A/B, Taguchi, etc.  Fundamentally: – Segment visitors based on pre-determined criteria – Show test segments alternative content or functionality – Track segments over time – Watch for differentiated behavior based on pre-established metrics (e.g., “conversion rate”)  Controlled experimentation is a critical component of web analytics but is rarely used for a variety of reasons by Eric T. Peterson

ACTION: Run Experiments  Start by choosing a platform to experiment on: – Offermatica, Optimost, … – FREE Google Site Optimizer (in BETA), … – Also found in some web analytics applications …  Adopt a methodology  Aggressively test, but be open to failure  Use experimentation to calculate ROI from your investment in web analytics by Eric T. Peterson

Adhere to the Process  A fundamental truth: web analytics is a process  Some companies are successful despite process – There are often low-hanging fruit … – Everyone likes the idea of “easy wins” …  But establishing process around web analytics is critical to long-term, repeatable successes by Eric T. Peterson

Several Fundamental Processes Management Processes Operational Processes  Defining business objectives  Mapping activities to click-stream data  Documenting activities  Collecting and integrating data  Assigning ownership of analytics  Validating data  Establishing goals  Providing internal training  Hiring and allocating resources  Generating and distributing reports  Defining change management processes  Conducting and presenting analysis  Tracking web analytics ROI  Making and measuring changes  Selecting technology partners  “Tweaking” data collection  Researching new directions  Each process has easily defined inputs and outputs  Learn more at by Eric T. Peterson

ACTION: Incorporate Process  Document where measurement has broken down  Think about the last three times you failed to: – Incorporate measurement into a new campaign … – Incorporate measurement into a new site or project … – Incorporate measurement into a new application …  Consider which questions you were unable to answer  Document the broken process with measurement, reporting, and analysis as an integrated component by Eric T. Peterson

Bonus Strategy: “Web 2.0”  Many marketers are intensely focused on “Web 2.0”  The emergence of: – Distributed content, podcasts, vidcasts, … – Social media, blogger influence, blog comments, … – AJAX, RIA, RSS, XML, …  Much of what’s out there is difficult to measure using traditional analytics applications  But that doesn’t mean you should give up hope! by Eric T. Peterson

ACTION: Measure “Web 2.0”  Some vendors already support Web 2.0 measurement – All that is typically required is careful adherence to process  Ideally all aspects of visitor/customer contact are integrated into a single measurement environment – RSS feeds bring visitors to the site to comment on blogs, interact with AJAX RIAs, view pages, bookmark on, and ultimately make a purchase  Talk to your vendor! by Eric T. Peterson

Summary  The onus is on every site owner to UNDERSTAND the metrics that are critical to their business success – Rely on the metrics team for analysis, not numbers – Remember: Analysis is the highest-value activity!  Site managers need to INCORPORATE MEASUREMENT into design and marketing efforts – Use checklists, requirements, diagrams, documentation, … – Remember: You don’t know what you don’t know by Eric T. Peterson

Question & Answer by Eric T. Peterson

What Next? Reference Guides 1. Web Analytics Demystified 2. Web Site Measurement Hacks 3. The Big Book of Key Performance Indicators Online Resources 1. 2. 3. PDF Copy of Presentation James Gardner Archived Webcast (available in 24 hours) Questions for AMA Marla Chupack by Eric T. Peterson

Web Analytics Demystified: Ten Simple Strategies for Using Web Analytics to Improve Your Online Marketing Efforts Eric T. Peterson March 6, 2007 Generously sponsored by Aquent ( by Eric T. Peterson

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