Analytics 2.0

Much more than just tagging

Analytics 2.0 - Much more than just tagging

The US ICT Market optimistic about Analytics and BI investments

According to a report by Forrester Research the total Total U.S. ICT market in 2011 was $962B with the majority being generated from software sales ($208B) followed by Telecom Services ($199B) and IT Consulting and Systems Integration Services ($188B). The following graphic show the U.S. ICT market for 2011.

Information platform used

Forrester forecast for analytics and BI are more optimistic.  When customer experience and engagement is taken into account, the forecast seems high. Salesforce knows how to translate trial users into customers. The question is can they do this fast enough in 2012 throughout the enterprise and mid-tier accounts to keep up their sales growth on track while reducing churn and increasing profitability.
Investment in Analytics
Smart Computing is defined by Forrester as platform technologies including specialized analytics, BI, service-oriented architecture (SOA) infrastructure, virtualization software, rules engines, and awareness-based technologies. Forrester is very optimistic about this area with a growth rate second only to cloud computing. Its index of the market is based on Informatica, Pegasystems, and Tibco Software.

The Web Analytics Association voting period is open!!!

The voting period for the WAA Board of Directors election is finally open. All voting members should have received a email from the Vote Administrator, username and password to the online ballot. If you have not received yours, please contact Lindsay De Santis for the details. The vote closes April 10, 2009.

Whether I get elected or not I will keep working for the industry and the Web Analytics Association in particular but if I get that position the posibilities are infitite. So please think very carefull how are you gonna vote for.

and off course, good luck to…

- Anil Batra, Chief Analytics Officer, Ascentium, USA

- Daniel Waisberg, Head of Web Analytics, EasyNet Search Marketing, Israel

- David Millrod, Managing Partner, Technology Leaders, USA

- Khalid Saleh, President, Invesp Consulting, USA

- Olivier Silvestre, Co-founder, Tealium, Inc., USA

- René Dechamps Otamendi, Founder, Ox2/LBi, Brussels

- Sergio Maldonado, Director, MV Consultoria, Spain

- Stéphane Hamel, Web Analytics Advocate, Immeria Consulting Services, Canada

- Ed Wu, Senior Analyst, Global Consumer Online, Dell, Inc., USA

- Greg Asman, Director of Web Analytics, Aspen Marketing Services, USA

- Peter Sanborn, Group Manager, Web Analytics, Microsoft, USA

- Rachel Scotto, Metrics Manager, Sony Pictures Entertainment, USA

- Ray Sibulkin, Executive Director, Business and Marketing Analysis,, USA

- Alex Yoder, Chief Executive Officer, WebTrends, USA

- Arie Abecassis, President, MindFireInc, USA

- Claudia Woods, Director of Strategic Development, Predicta, Brazil

- Jonathan Levitt, Vice President of Marketing, iPerceptions, Inc., USA

- Kimberly Weller, Product Manager, SAAS Institute, USA

- Mark Wachen, Managing Director, Interwoven/Optimost, USA

- Matthew Langie, Senior Director, Product Marketing, Omniture, USA

- Nicolas Babin, Chief Operating Officer, AT Internet (XiTi), France

Google Code – All you need to know about Google Analytics

Google Code Google has launched a site focused on providing support to those needing measuring their sites in a more sofisiticated way. Google Code Screenshot What can you find in Google Code? Lot of information about how to implement custom Analytics Installation on your site like “Change the longevity of your marketing campaigns“, “add a new search engine” to the list of those Analytics recognizes and “configuring tracking to use both Google Analytics and Urchin Software from Google“.If you are a Beta tester you can also find an entire section dedicated to Beta-testing event tracking. You can also find an E-commerce overview and E-commerce API reference. The sections “tracking code execution” and “how Analytics uses cookies” are just great.Great to hear that Google Analytics is getting smarter :-) 

Export GA reports into Google docs with just one click

Reading the Blog Spanish Gringo (great name) from Micheal Freeman I fount a very interesting tip for Google Analytics. With your current Google Analytics version if you want to export a report to Excel you have to click on “export –> CSV”. If you do so, you will probably face a problem trying to import the CSV to Excel (you can, but it looks weird). So Micheal got the answer on “Greasemonkey” and now you can export your report into a spreadsheet directly to Google Docs with just one click. Sounds great uh, I guess it is.

Install Greasemonkey and Firefox 2 or a later version (I have Firefox 3 and works great). Once you install Greasemonkey you will see the icon at the bottom right of your Firefox.

Greasemonkey icon

2- After than you will need to download and install the user script.
3- Then you need to login into your Google Analytics account and get a report (not the dashboard since is not possible to export it). Once you get the report you will have the export options with a new icon which will export the report, just by a mouse click, into a Google Docs spreadsheet. Is that simple and usefull (take into account that your browser may tend to block the pop up message, if so just click on “allow popups from
4- The Google Docs list opens automatically and you can select to open the one you have just created.
Export Google Analytics Reports into Google Docs Spreadsheets
After that you can use the information as you want.

It is important to note that even when this is a very usefull functionallity, it is just helpufull if you normally work exporting the information into excel files and working there, but if you integrate your information with other sources then this is not for you. I just can’t imagine an Analytics Department from a big corporation exporting excel files and integrating that information with the rest manually. If that is your case, this functionallity may be for you “good from far, but far from good”. The optimum functionally in that case is an API, but since is not yet available in Google Analytics, just export it into an CSV file and import it into your information database (SQL, MySQL, PostgreSQL, or even Access).

To wrapup, this is a great thing for Bloggers and SMB’s, so if that’s your case, what are you waiting to try it?

From ignorance to full control in only 7 steps

I am still laughing after writing this title, mainly because I don’t believe in “gurus” and their magic formulas. This post aims to give some tips that although they are generic and should always be contextualized, with these precautions can be very useful, indeed they are for me.

What do I mean with “from ignorance to full control in only 7 steps”?. I’m talking about the process that begins with a non-measured website to (and as Robert Kaplan said, if you can’t measure it you can’t manage it) and finishes with a full set of indicators that allows you to an efficient management of your online businesses.

Here we go with the following 6 steps (disbelieve in Gurus and magic formulas, including this one, are the first step to a successful project):

Entender el proyecto

1- Understand your project: This seems pretty simple however which usually happens is that we have the idea in mind and we think we have a deep understanding of the project, but until we don’t formalize it (in paper) we don’t have a complete sense of what the project it. What other times happen is that you have an awesome “plan”, so strategic, but nobody knows what to do on a daily basis.
So the first step is as simple as writing down a paper with information as “what is” our project, “who” will be benefited with it, and “how” we will guarantee its existence, which means what things must occur to guarantee its subsistence.

2- Perform User experience management: Whow, this is Guru’s like term, but since they doesn’t exist we will demystified this term. User experience management, refers to practices aimed to improve the experience of a user with the points of contacts of your site. Regarding the current content, it is focused on understanding those interactions, identify issues and perform improvements.
To understands the above mention interactions we should begin by identifying the points of contact between your company website and your users or clients (both the point of contact and the contact process itself) and identify who that interactions are being performed.

Lets do it even easier by following some simple steps (why not? It worked to Henry Ford ;-) ):

User Experience Management a. Which actions can a user performs in your website?. For Example: view products, compare products, make a comment, get prices, compare prices, view shipping costs, contact the technical support, etc.

b. How your users perform those actions? For example: Contacting the technical support require navigating three pages then the users lands in the contact form where the user has to fill “n” fields, which are X simple to the users. Once the user clicks on “send the form” he receive an email saying that he will receive an answer whiting 48hours, that answer will satisfy in X% his needs.
Probably now you are thinking “how can I know all that information”? The answer is very simple, just go an answer that to your clients…yes, perform a survey. Don’t be afraid of performing surveys, users and clients are normally pleased of answering surveys (even more in Latin America). Normally my clients have the idea that users hate to answer surveys, but nothing further from the truth. If you do it with a correct frequency your users will love to tell you about their experiences with your company.

c. What things do you users wanted to perform in your website that are not available at the moment? For example: Your users may find useful calculating the shipping cost without leaving the first page.
If you still don’t get the point, just remember your experience with you cell phone provider. Which contact points do you have with them? And How is the experience during those contacts?
3- Measurement system design: Once we know “why” does our website exists, which are the contact points and how should be performed the interaction between your clients (users) and your website, it is important to formalize the processes of each contact point.

Sistema de medicion

Lets try to explain it with the “technical support” example::


i. Page A, the user click on “Technical Support”.
ii. Page B, the user fill his Name, Client id, Title, and the question itself. Then the user accepts to send the email to the Technical Support.
iii. The user receives an email from your website saying that the “Technical Support” has received the question and it will be answered whiting 48 labor hours.

iv. The user receive (or not) the answer, which can (or not) satisfies the client information need.

v. If not, the client will (or wont) send another email to the “Technical Support” (online) or also contact the call center (which is another process).
After that the is recommendable to generates each process flowchart, because it shows in a very friendly way how the process are and makes easier to evaluate potential process improvements, or identify “restricted capacity resources”. Restricted capacity resources are persons or objects (computers, machines, phone systems, CRM systems, etc) that represent a constraint for the process flow.

4- Choose the Web Analytics Tool: Choosing the Web Analytics tool is a complex issue and should not be taken lightly. Here I propose a process that I found very useful to select the Web Analytics tool.

Elegir herramienta de web analytics

i. Determine the optimal technology: There are two main technologies on the market today, Logfile Analyzers and Page Tagging tools. None of those is better than the other itself, but depending on each project/company particular circumstances and needs.
1. Logfile analyzers: Should be installed in your own servers. It analyzes the log files generated by the server where the website is located. It requires an internal team for maintenance processes.
Even if we change the Analytics tool the information is always available in our servers and could be reprocessed once and over again.
It is really difficult to setup if we wanted to measure our website in a very detailed way.

2. Page tagging: This technology requires that you add a script (tag) in each page of your site. Those tags are very easy to customize making very simple to generate very detailed information and tailored information. This technology doesn’t require an ad-hoc team for maintenance processes. The measured information is hosted in the provider servers, so as soon as we change the provider we lose the past information and should start measuring the traffic from the beginning.

Based on the above, a bank may probably prefer a Log file Analyzer, even when they have to incur in a maintenance team cost, because adding the tag (from the page tagging tool) in some pages could represent a security issue.
On the other hand for an ecommerce website would be vital having as much information as they can, available for their users behavior understanding. It would be also undesirable charging their structure with a dedicated team for the Web Analytics tool maintenance that will for sure reduce its ROI (or ROCI). For the mentioned reason, an ecommerce site could prefer a Page Tagging solution (as a matter of fact, there are too many variables to be analyzed before understand which technology is the best for some particular Project, but I think it helps to understand the mental process for the decision making process).

ii. Web Analytics Tool sifting: DeIn this stage we must drop those tools that are not able to measure the above mentioned processes and identify the restricted capacity resources (Analytics 2.0 theory).

iii. Short list: From the remaining list we must identify those with the following profile.
1. Affordable cost, don’t forget the Avinash‘s 90/10 rule.

2. Good reputation: Long time providing a efficient service without interruptions (average uptime).

3. Trusted Technical Support: Proven technical support acceptable answer time, and available in your (or your team) language. Misunderstandings and/or misinterpretations with technical stuff could cause big information troubles.

4. Usability: From the remaining tools, I suggest to select the one that it is friendlier for your team. If you have a professional Analytics team, then they would welcome a very flexible one, which gives them freedom of analysis, while if you have a non professional team, they will prefer something simple even when it means less flexible.

5- Implement: In order to achieve an efficient implementation its crucial being focused on the website processes and in correctly setting the Web Analytics tools to measure them in an effective way. After that its convenient perform QA into a testing environment (you can generate the action and finding out if the tool is measuring it correctly).

6- Identify the most relevant metrics: Once the Web Analytics tool is working properly, it is important to design the required dashboards. The dashboards provide each person within the organization with a set of metrics that help them make efficient decisions in a minimum time period.
For example, some person within the organization may be interested in a particular (from the above mentioned) process like “Customer Attention department” may wanted to know if their client online experience is good or bad, because the cost of an online client attention center is (in my experience) ten times lower than a regular call center.
I hope you find this information useful. Anyways, remember that each company it’s a completely particular world. Don’t try to adapt your company to the “best practices” but “best practices” to your company.

Relax – Microsoft Gatineau Demographic information is well protected

Finally Microsoft is officially providing information about how they track, process and manipulate Demographic data for the Microsoft Gatineau Demographics report (view white paper here). Thanks Ian for this information!

Demographic information at Gatineau

The process is as follows:

1- Once a new user register to Windows Live or MSN a LiveID and an ANID (Anonymous ID)are generated simultaneously.

2- The ANID is derived by applying a one-way cryptographic hash function to the LiveID. A one-way cryptographic hash function ensures that there is no practical way of deriving the original value from the resulting hash value—that is, the process cannot be reversed to obtain the original number..

3- Each time a registered user logs in, Microsoft’s system applies the hash function to the LiveID to generate an ANID, and each ID is put in a separate cookie on the computer.

4- The advantage of using a one-way cryptographic hash function is that although the same number is guaranteed to be generated each time it is applied to a given LiveID, it is virtually impossible to reverse the process. In other words, it is extremely difficult to use a given ANID (with or without knowing the hashing algorithm) to derive the original LiveID value. Because all personally and directly identifying information about a user is stored on servers in association with a LiveID rather than an ANID, there is no practical way to link data stored in association with an ANID back to any data on Microsoft servers that could personally and directly identify an individual user.

Brett Crosby announces new Google Analytics features

Brett Crosby, from Google Analytics, has announced today at eMetrics Summit in Washington, D.C. that the following Google Analytics features are close to be launched:

1- Event Tracking (beta test): By implementing a tracking module called ga.js (instead of urchin.js) you will be able to track how people use and interacts with Ajax, Flash and multimedia on your site without artificially increasing your pageview metrics.

Google Analytics

2- Google Analytics Site Search: Just enable “Site Search” at any of your profiles and you will be able to find out what is people searching in your site and where those searches are driving people.

You will be able to access to this feature in the content section of your Google Analytics reporting interface and supplies information about the keywords and search refinement keywords people use, the pages from which people begin and end their searches and how search on your site affects site usage, conversion rates, and e-commerce activity.

3- Outbound link tracking feature (Limited beta test): This is a very usefull feature that provides you information about the links visitors clicked on your site that direct them to another site.

On the other hand Google is launching the Google Limited Beta of Urchin Tracker. This analytics tool has an interface similar to the previews Google Analytics version and you can run it on your own server. More information click here.

Web analytics and the Online Based Applications

In web analytics we track, tabulate and analyze data from all what is displayed (and not) into an internet browser.

Today the most normal things we display in a web browser are websites, blogs, and so on. But the desktop applications are installed in every computer so today we have part of the information of what every person do with a computer.

Google SS

The trend in a short term future is the all the desktop applications are going to be online (thanks God), no more installing hundreds programs after formating or changing your PC.

But the thing is, does it became a web analytics task to analyze not only the websites but the applications? I mean at least the companies that provides those applications will need to understand how and when people use them. So my point is, if we are going to be more and more browser based its important to define the limit among private and public information.

Juan Damia – Web Analytics