October 20, 2009

eMetrics: Accelerated Darwinism Online & the Evolution of Web Metrics

By Li Evans

I've gotten the opportunity to attend the eMetrics conference in the Washington, DC area this year and already the first two presentations have really impressed me.  The first was Jim Sterne's which I'll be blogging about a bit later over on Social Conversations, but the one I wanted to tell SMG readers about was the presentation given by Foresee Results.

It was all about the evolution of web metrics in comparison to what customers are doing online.  How did we really get here?  So much data, but yet so little true meaning for a lot of companies.  So little actionable data because of the data overload web managers are stuck under.

Larry Freed of ForSee Results gave a great presentation.  He started off with defining "Darwinism" and how its change over time that makes only the strong survive.  We see it in humans, we have seen it in animals and now we even see it with online businesses.

 With online shopping the evolution started with pre-technology, back when you had to travel to the store by foot or horse, or cart to purchase your wears. Retailers relied on manual ways of stocking, restocking and accounting for sales. Eventually technology came into play giving us real time inventory.  Then came the internet which allowed even the smallest mom and pop store to reach a global audience.  Now we have mobile where with a few touches of a screen and a minute amount of time you can have something you want delivered to your doorstep.

Along with this evolutionary cDSC_2891hange, there's another one going on it's one where we're moving from a push message to a pull message.  Where the customer is in control, rather than the business.  The internet has enable so many things, the cost of "Switching" has gone down, the barriers to entry have nearly gone to zero, and customer are now more informed than ever.

Only a few years ago our economy on the internet was basically "build it and they will come".  That no longer holds true with these new changes.  It's now becoming a lot more like the traditional business environment where only the strong will survive.  The results of this evolution is that we are now in one of the most ultra competitive environments, ever.

But how does this impact web metrics?

It makes us a lot more accountable for the changes that need to be made to improve and keep the business alive.  You cannot manage your company if you don't measure, and measuring is what you need to do if you want to improve the bottom line.

Customer satisfaction at the end of the day is a huge piece of the measuring puzzle but it's really tough to accurately measure.  Very few plans or measurement strategies that tie in measuring customer satisfaction tie that measurement to the bottom dollar.  The American Customer Satisfaction Index is likely the most reliable source to look at when looking to measure sanctification.

Metrics Must Have:  Accuracy & Precision, Validity, Sensitivity, Realiabitiy, & Credibility

DSC_2893 Freed goes on to explain the "Ecosystem of Metrics"

  • Measure What Happens - key performance indication - behavioral data (looking backwards) - clickstream, financial, tasks
  • Satisfaction - predicts what will happen
  • Observation - tells us how it happens
  • At the center is the customer

At the end of the day, it's the customer satisfaction that rules.  Satisfaction = What you get + What you Expect (what did you think they were going to do compared to what they really did).  If your customers aren't satisfied, then your business is not going to survive.

Freed leaves us with 10 tips:

  1. You cannot manage what you cannot measure
  2. What you measure will determine what you do
  3. Measure what matters most - your customers
  4. Knowledge is power - the customer is now in charge
  5. Turn data into information and information into intelligence
  6. Satisfaction will drive conversion, loyalty, retention and word of mouth
  7. It only takes two things to survice, satisfying your customers and be fiscally responsble
  8. Measurement is hard, don't fall for gimmicks
  9. Integration of web metrics magnifies the value
  10. You are in the fight of your life, if you satisfy your customers you'll be around to fight the fight!




September 01, 2009

Online Marketing Tips Video: Free Blogging Tools

By Li Evans

It's been a few weeks without a Tuesday's Tips in Online Marketing Video so I pulled one that I hadn't yet posted to SMG.  This week its all about tools, free tools for Bloggers and their blogs.  Google's got three really great tools that any blogger can integrate into their blog to take it to the next level.

In today's video we'll discuss Google's Feedburner, Google Analytics and Google Website Optimizer.  It's quick and to the point, and maybe it'll help you to decide to install one of these free tools to help improve your blog.


Free Blogging Tool Tips Video Transcript after the jump....





Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Free Blogging Tools" »

March 26, 2009

SEO: Where to Next? at SES NY

By Brian Cosgrove

On Day 1 of SES New York, the Where to Next panel was among the first in the track portion of the show. As you will read, the session was a conversation that migrated from topic to topic in fairly nonlinear path.

Speakers for this session were as follows:
Moderator:

  • Mike Grehan: SES Advisory Board, Global KDM Officer, Acronym Media

Speakers:

  • Marcus Tandler: CEO, Creativity in Action
  • Jill Whalen: CEO, High Rankings
  • Bill Hunt: CEO, Global Strategies Intl, Director, Global Search Strategy, Neo@Ogilvy
  • Duane Forrester: Senior Program Manager - SEO, Live Search, Microsoft
  • Chris Boggs: Director, SEO, Rosetta

The session begins with some best practices. Hunt suggests working on page focus for Title Tags, Headline Tags, and the First Paragraph. This is nothing new and as Whalen points out, at some point no more “on page” work will help. Boggs talks about being consistent with tying the story to the landing page.

The next theme of conversation related to link building. Tandler states that people miss links they legitimately need for their business (while spending too much effort on ones they don’t). Forrestor suggests that the “cold call” approach of sending an email to the webmaster asking for a link still works. This is debated though since all webmasters receive a ton of these emails all the time. Boggs talks about the quality of these links mentioning that many of them include the anchor text of the brand name. For Hunt, these links should be linking to the most relevant internal page. Many link opportunities are sold short because they don’t send users to the right page.

Following this talk comes universal search. Forrester says that SEOs need to get the right mix within the results. It’s all part of a program, depending where your at in the results. Getting into Google News, for example, involves meeting a number of guidelines and applying to get in if you meet the criteria of a news source rather than a journalist who is blogging. Boggs tells us that universal results are very smart and it takes some care to get search traffic from your latest press release.

Since universal search changes the organization of the SERPs, Grehan asks the panel if rankings reports are dead. Tandler suggests scanning the results for the terms you’re targeting and noting which modules show up. Whalen notes that personalized and Geo-targeted results throw a wrench into the rankings report scenario; but Boggs follows that up by noting that they’re still illustrative of overall rankings trends and movement. Further, they can indicate certain categories, etc…. that are moving up. Forrestor says he only uses them internally and one panelist claimed that they aren’t a KPI (this stands for Key Performance Indicator. I am not in agreement with where he was going here. I think rankings can certainly be predictive/indicative of progress toward getting terms which don’t drive traffic closer to a place where they will, at least in aggregate. That being said, a ranking number is not a KPI but KPIs can certainly be derived from rankings, even if there is no traffic, yet, to be seen).

Next up is analytics. Whalen expresses her affinity for Google Analytics. Forrestor encourages the audience to set up conversion, set a goal for that conversion, put a number on it, and beat that number. Boggs offers that the full purchase cycle needs to be considered with analytics since there are often multiple touch points for customers. He mentions creating an attribution model. To this Grehan asks “Why does search get credit for everything?” Hunt quickly replies that it’s the only thing you can measure and people are too lazy to click on organic (this didn’t make much sense to me either but I believe he meant it’s more straight forward for tracking than some other online marketing tactics, or that clients don’t have tracking configured for other methods).

Grehan mentions term “engagement mapping” and Whalen offers that it takes multiple touch points to market effectively (that is, they are complementary, not competitive with each other). Tandler follows this up with a statement that users should not take anything for granted when it comes to looking at their numbers. As he asks, “Who said 2% is great?” He mentions that in the context of that particular situation, they may be able to get it up to 10%. Always Be Testing (incidentally, this is the name of Bryan Eisenberg’s book on Google Website Optimizer). He mentions to get the most out of a landing page (a theme that has been growing momentum as of late).

Forrestor offers the term “claiming the cookie” to describe his attribution. He offers a term (2 day theoretical?) to explain that people should be asking themselves, “How much is the customer worth to me when they are with me?” He says that every month, he feels he gets closer to understanding what is attributable to search.

Grehan talks about Digital Asset Optimization and calls analytics the new SEO. This speaks to the concept of universal search encompassing many forms of digital content that together form the clients assets for online marketing. For analytics to be the new SEO, he may mean that it is the optimization of this whole system, through analyzing each one’s particular value, that will lead companies to success.

At this point, we move into slides for each speaker. I’ll list some of the ones that stuck with me:

  • Incompetent SEOs must stop wasting the time of companies
  • Big brands have the upper hand which means that there definitely is not a level playing field.
  • Developers need to bake in SEO
  • Don’t just be satisfied with #1 rankings, get the most out of Social media
  • Optimize your conversions
  • Don’t buy links, buy whole sites (Tandler alluded to fake review sites which sounds like bad news to me).
  • Create a deeper “real” integration between paid and organic search
  • Flash, Flex, Ajax need to be search engine friendly
  • Optimize your digital assets
  • Match the right page with the intent of the searcher
  • Speak the language of your audience (including from a business perspective
  • “Be a webmaster” and look at search holistically, take on all the various roles to some extent
  • Embrace in-house+agency SEO relationships
  • Make organic entry pages unique to go with the keywords

On the topic of things not being level, Boggs offered that money means time and bigger brands have money so they can afford to put more time into SEO. Another person asked of auto-completion or auto-correction where decreasing the amount of long-tail terms that are searched but someone mentioned that those tools are not always accurate. Someone asked about Woopra and some other tools that are good for looking at your traffic but I don’t recall much of a response.

So there you have it: A collection of topics all covered in a one hour time slot that offer many thoughts and ideas about “What’s next in SEO?”

March 18, 2009

Online Marketing Tips Video: Social Media Metrics - Measuring Success & Failures Part 2

By Li Evans

This week's Tuesday's Tips in Online Marketing is the 2nd part in the two part series on Social Media Metrics.  We're covering measuring ratings, reviews, retweets and more.  Complete with screen captures this time so you can see what exactly we're talking about in the tips.




Full Social Media Metrics - Measuring Success & Failures Part 2 Video Transcript after the jump....

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Social Media Metrics - Measuring Success & Failures Part 2" »

March 10, 2009

Online Marketing Tips Video: Social Media Metrics - Defining & Measuring Goals Part 1

By Li Evans

This week's Tuesday's Tips video is part one of a two part series discussing social media metrics.  How do you define what is a success, have you defined your goals?  These tips discuss some areas you can look to and measure to gauge your success or failure with your social media strategy.



Full Social Media Metrics - Defining & Measuring Goals Video Transcript After The Jump....

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Social Media Metrics - Defining & Measuring Goals Part 1" »

March 09, 2009

Add Blog Subscribers: Find and Thank StumbleUpon Reviewers with Analytics!

By Alex Cohen

Stumbleupon-logo In the blogosphere, you have 4 basic audiences:
  1. Readers
  2. Commenters
  3. Subscribers
  4. Reviewers

Readers are vital, but they aren't very engaged until they become commenters or, more importantly, subscribers.  A subscriber is more likely to engage and spread your content which, in turn, gets you more subscribers.

So, How do You Get More Subscribers?

It's that last group, Reviewers, that are most likely to add subscribers to your blog.  Word-of-mouth is probably the best way to build your subscriber list.  We all trust our friends. 

That's one of the reason StumbleUpon is a great source of traffic.  StumbleUpon lets people find random sites by stumbling on them with their toolbar (learn more with their step-by-step guide).

People rate your site by giving it a thumbs up or down.  Some Stumblers will also review your site.  Reviews can have a huge impact on your traffic (I got a 10x increase in visits to my post on picking a blog platform after someone reviewed it).  They are also likely to get you more links, which also brings you traffic and helps your search engine optimization.

Say Thank You and Build a Relationship!

If someone goes to the trouble to review your site, it’s a great opportunity to cement their positive feelings and build a relationship.  Doing this builds your brand and may lead to more reviews and links (and subscribers!) in the future.

Here are step by step instructions to use web analytics data to find and thank your StumbleUpon reviewers.  I’m using Google Analytics in the instructions, but any web analytics package will have these data.

  1. Look in Referring Sites

    You may notice a large spike in your traffic.  Start by looking at All Traffic Sources.  Choose “Medium” from the dimension listed just below the graph to the left.  This will show you your major channels of traffic – Organic Search, Direct Traffic, Referring Sites, etc.

    Dimension-referring-sites  

    If you notice that Referring Sites is send much more traffic than usual, it may be due to a StumpleUpon review or another similar review site.  Open the Referring Sites report up and find which site is causing the spike.
  2. Filter by Landing Page

    Click on StumbleUpon.  This will drill down just to the activity from that referrer.  Next, change the Dimension to “Landing Page” to figure out which page was reviewed.  There it is, a giant spike in your traffic for a page that someone liked.

    Dimension-landing-page

  3. Install The StumbleUpon Plug-in

    The next trick requires you to have the StumbleUpon plug-in added to Firefox.  My guess is there are alternatives for IE, Safari and Chrome users (feel free to comment if you know of one).

    You can get the Firefox plug-in right here.
  4. Find the StumbleUpon Review

    Google the full URL of the page that was reviewed.  Your result will be at the top.  The StumbleUpon plug-in will display a rating and/or review bubble next to the listing that looks like this:


    Stumbleupon-review

    Click on the link and it will take you to the review. 
  5. Return The Favor

    Aha, now you know who’s been spreading the good word.  At the very least, you should send them a thank you for the review. You can join their network and friend them to stay in touch.  Most StumbleUpon reviewers list their site in their profile.  If you like it, return the favor with a short review.  

The Power of Relationships

Like most things social media, this takes time.  That’s exactly why it helps you stand out from the crowd.  If you show that you’re paying attention to your fans and are grateful.  
Now, if you like the article, I wouldn’t turn down a review :-)

Alex Cohen writes about optimizing your website at Digital Alex.  He’s also the Marketing Manager at ClickEquations – Pay Per Click Software.

October 28, 2008

The Elements of a Great Web Analytics Dashboard

By Alex Cohen

If you work in an agency or the client side, you know how important it is to communicate your project's results.  As a team lead for paid search, I'm always evaluating, presenting and defending data and reports.  As a web analyst, I've been through the pain of setting them up.  Here are a few of my tips for a great dashboard.

The Elements of a Great Dashboard

  • KpidashboardSummary - Put the most relevant KPIs at the top in the biggest font.  If you only had 1 minute to communicate to an executive, what would you say?  That should be the set of summary KPIs.
  • Summary Trend - A single data point rarely makes sense.  Instead, you have to couch it in context to help answer the key question "Is that good or bad?"  There's a few easy options:
    • Month over Month changes
    • Year over Year changes
    • Comparison vs. other channels or sites
  • KPI Trend - You probably can't, and shouldn't, stuff all of your KPIs into the summary area.  Instead, break out your data into meaningful chunks underneath the summary.  Use the same trending that makes sense in the summary at this segment level.
  • Granularity - Different audiences care about different things.  There is no one-size-fits-all dashboard.  Match the depth of your metrics to your audience, which generally goes something like this:
Dashboards

  • Graphs - In every presentation I've seen or done, the visuals always get the most attention.  We are visual people and well designed graphs can tell stories more quickly to a wider audience than raw data.  You'll likely have to shop around ideas and sell them.  Let the visuals help.
  • Analysis & Action - This one should really be a no brainer, but data without insight is pointless.  It's the interpretation *combined* with how I act on it that matters.  "What does that mean and what should I do about it?"  Connect the dots or it's just paper

So, what works for you?  For Search Marketing Gurus, this is Alex Cohen of Digital Alex.

October 24, 2008

Fun Friday Photos: Matt Williams & Amanda Watlington at eMetrics' Web Analytics Wednesdays Meeting

By Li Evans

This week's fun photo comes from this past week's conference, eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit in Washington DC.  I was glad to see a few of my search friends there, including the very charming Matt Williams of No Possum Consulting (you gotta see his business cards!) and the always fun Amanda Watlington of Searching for Profit.  Before I had to scurry off to another dinner with local friends I attended the Web Analytics Wednesday meeting at eMetrics and hung out with Matt & Amanda, they kindly obliged me with their smiles when I asked for pictures!

Matt Williams & Amanda Watlington at eMetrics' Web Analytics Wednesday Meeting

If you like this photo of Matt Williams & Amanda Watlington at eMetrics' Web Analytics Wednesday Meeting, feel free to comment and favorite it on Flickr, Sphinn or Fetch this photo as that's how we'll be judging the photos at the end of the year! Check out the rest of the fun at eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit 2008, there's over 140 photos for you all to check out.

emetrics: Web 2.0 Measurements in Today's B2B World

By Li Evans

Emetrics_web2.0_b2b_1 The last session in the Social Media track on the 3rd day of the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit was presented by Joshua Siler of Babcock & Jenkins.  Then session focused on Web 2.0 and how B2B business can utilize and measure the success.


Joshua starts of the session with a slide that says 75% of Fortune 1000 companies with websites will have some kind of online social networking initiative for marketing or customer relations purposes, 50% of those campaigns will be classified as failures.

Continue reading "emetrics: Web 2.0 Measurements in Today's B2B World" »

October 23, 2008

eMetrics: Key, Relevance Factors of Expanding Followers, Friends & Fans, In Your Online Community

By Li Evans

The last session of day 1 (technically it was day 2) here at the eMetrics Optimization Summit was the most engaging of all the social media tracks.  It had three different presenters and they all had some great information for the audience on how they use different social media to build their audience of fans, friends and followers and how that also affects other social media mediums they are in.  Each had very to the point, key, relevance factors of how you can utilize these social media tools.

Beth Kanter of Beth's Blog - How Non-Profits Can Use Social Media

Emetrics_beth_kanter First off, Beth is a ball of energy and enthusiasm about blogging and social media.  Seriously, her enthusiasm is contagious!  You could tell this the minute she stood up and greeted the audience.  What Beth is known for is using her blog to raise money for non-profit causes, such as sending kids to school in Cambodia.  Not only does she raise money through her blog, she also raises money through her Twitter account too.

At the Gnomedex Conference, Beth launched a fundraising campaign from the podium on Twitter.  Within 45 minutes she had raised over 2,500.00.  By the end of the day, she raised over 4,500.00.  This was also lived streamed over the TV on one of the cable networks.  

What is the ROI of Blogging?

Beth started of this segment of her presentation with "the sum of time and money saved plus money earned or donated plus benefits translated."  But in all honesty, although the numbers are what people judge campaign by, there are intangibles that can't be fully measured by numbers ..... it's more than just math.

Continue reading "eMetrics: Key, Relevance Factors of Expanding Followers, Friends & Fans, In Your Online Community" »

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