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How to Measure Online Engagements

November 23, 2009 Leave a comment

You’re tracking engagements on your website, but are your analytics giving you the insights you need?

Avinash Kaushik has some interesting thoughts on measuring Engagement in his latest book, Web Analytics 2.0.  Here are the highlights:

Do ‘time on site’ and ‘repeat visits’ really measure engagement?
Fact is, measuring engagement with only quantitative data (web analytics) is a challenge.  Your web analytics tell you the “what”, but not the “why”. 

For instance, your site visitor spent 15 minutes on your site, but your analytics won’t tell you whether or not your visitor spent happy or frustrating minutes with your site.   Also, your analytics won’t tell you whether or not your visitor ran off to fix a sandwich for 10 minutes, meaning, he really just looked at your site for 5 minutes.  Further, your visitor came back 2 mores times (which your tool will count as a returning visitor) , but was he returning for updates or trying to find your contact information for the third time?  Unless he closed a sale (which assumes a happy experience), you really don’t know if your customer had a positive or negative engagement with your site.  You get the point…

Avinash notes that web analytics is “limited in that it can measure the degree of engagement, but not the kind of engagement.”

Based on this definition, recency and frequency of site visits really reveal just the degree of engagement.  So, five visits in a one-week period (the degree of engagement) doesn’t tell you if the visits were negative or positive, which Avinash refers to as the “kind of engagement”. 

In summary –

Degree of Engagement
– Web analytics measure the degree of engagement.
– It’s important to measure the degree of engagement along with outcomes.  Outcomes will tell you how successful the engagement was.  For instance, did the customer end up buying from you (outcome), as a result of coming back to your site a few times?

Kind of Engagement
– Surveys and  primary research measure the kind of engagement someone had on your site.
– Most likely someone who is making repeat purchases from you is happy with your products and service.  They keep coming back for more.

In order to measure engagement on your site, you should look at both – degree and kind of engagement – web analytics and qualitative data.

What are your thoughts on this and how are you measuring online engagement?

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How to assess the maturity of your digital marketing

November 16, 2009 Leave a comment

It can be quite challenging to get your management’s buy-in on measurement strategy, analytics resources, and the need for optimization.  Though it’s almost 2010, we still have Avinash Kaushik evangelizing web analytics and Bryan Eisenberg advocating for the need to test and optimize (and rightfully so!), not to mention the many analytics and optimization sessions offered at Marketing Conferences. 

Fact is, a lot of companies need desperate help, don’t get it yet, or don’t realize the missed opportunity.   And here you are, trying to sell them on everything you believe in…  So, how do you get your management on board?  There are obviously several ways to get them on board (e.g. “Stragegies for Embarrassing your Organization”, Avinash Kaushik, Web Analytics 2.0, p. 429), but another way to get their attention quickly may be to give them a reality check on where your organization stands. 

x+1 digital marketing maturity modelUse the [x+1] Digital Marketing Maturity Model to assess the maturity level of your organization.   The [x+1] Digital Marketing Maturity Model defines the capabilities required to convert prospects to customers through an integrated marketing experience.

 Pillars of Digital Performance-Based Marketing consist of
• Target Market
• Offer
• Creative
• Analytics
• Marketing Integration
• People / Skills

Are you a broadcast marketer or a value validator?   Do you know any organizations that are channel champions?  I can tell you that when I worked at AOL back in 2003, we were between value validators and channel champions.  Pretty impressive, given that it was 2003!  But, aside from smart marketers, we also had management support.

Another source to help you assess your digital marketing maturity would be Webtrends’ Digital Marketing Maturity Model (DM3).

Webtrends DM3The DM3 (beta) provides a framework for assessing and building digital marketing maturity over time in six core areas:
• Measurement strategy
• Analytics resources and domain expertise
• Data integration and visualization
• Data analysis and insight
• Adoption and governance
• Ongoing optimization

So, how mature is your digital marketing?  And, what are you going to do to take your organization to the next level?

And to Quote Avinash Kaushik…

November 14, 2009 Leave a comment

“Testing is the biggest no-brainer, and the killer of most stupid ideas… Testing is great because you can get the most important person’s opinion: The Customer’s.” –Avinash Kaushik, Occam’s Razor

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There Is No One-Size-Fits-All Conversion Rate | FutureNow’s GrokDotCom / Marketing Optimization Blog

November 13, 2009 Leave a comment

There Is No One-Size-Fits-All Conversion Rate | FutureNow’s GrokDotCom / Marketing Optimization Blog.
Amen! I’ve always been saying that there are no one-size-fits all average conversion rates. Your goal should be to increase your current rates and do so by optimizing your efforts. And you need to take a look at your rates individually (traffic source, etc.) versus in aggregate.

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Site Optimization: No More Guesses

November 13, 2009 Leave a comment

Site Optimization: No More Guesses – ClickZ.

Oldie (January 2009), but goodie.   Obviously… I’m a big advocate for testing and optimization.   I don’t get why companies, in this day and age are still basing decisions and changes on someone’s gut-feel, opinion or guess (especially when you have free options available like Google Website Optimizer).   That someone may guess wrong and lead your performance to decline instead of improve.  So, why are companies gambling with potential success and missing out on improvement opportunities?   And, if you’re not optimizing, what is your excuse?

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What’s the Best Way to Improve Conversions?

November 5, 2009 Leave a comment

What’s the Best Way to Improve Conversions? eMarketer, October 29, 2009

I can’t say it any better than eMarketer — it’s through testing and analysis.  

According to an Econsultancy study, companies considered “A/B testing as the most valuable way to improve conversion, with more than one-half of companies saying it was highly valuable and another 42% saying it was quite valuable”, while agency-side respondents considered cart abandonment analysis as the  most valuable way to increase conversions. 

I agree with both.  While you can probably drive your biggest, immediate impact by determining why shoppers are abandoning your shopping cart (assuming you make immediate fixes), you should also test. 

Where do they drop off?  And why?  Are they surprised at the shipping costs, which aren’t revealed until the second page in the cart?  Is it a legal disclaimer that’s causing folks to abandon your cart?  Do you have too many steps in the process? 

You won’t know until you investigate.  And you won’t know what (and which change) works best, unless you test it.   Look at your web analytics to determine where the highest drop off points are.  Launch a shopping cart abandonment survey to get more insights (real customer feedback).  And if you’re making changes, test them to determine what will get you the highest conversion rate. 

I’ve run shopping cart abandonment surveys in the past, which uncovered issues we didn’t know existed (thanks to shoppers).   We also provided the “abandonner” with the option to be contacted by our customer service team, which was then able to reach out, provide immediate support (while the site issue was being addressed) and close the sale over the phone.   Of course we also ran tests to determine which changes would yield highest conversion rates.

And to quote Bryan Eisenberg in Always Be Testing:
“It verges on insanity to look at the success of a company such as and still hold out hope that avoiding testing will produce the results that are well within your grasp… Through testing, you empower customers to collectively decide what works best for them… Intelligent testing removes opinion, guesswork, and faulty assumption from the marketing equation. It gives you truly meaningful results upon which you can act.”

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