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Measuring Success in a 2.0 world

Day 2 of Search Engine Strategies – I am so ready to sponge!!! We had a nice dinner last night at Original Joe’s and I had a decent night’s sleep. The city traffic and train is interesting, though…I like my semi-quiet Orange County.


Jim Sterne, Web Analytics Assoc
Matthew Bailey, SiteLogic
Avinash Kaushik, Google
Marshall Sponder,

I’m so excited for this session, we want to learn how to better track leads and traffic for our clients. The more we track and know, the better we can convert and copy successful strategies!!! Are you ready?

Avinash was up first, he pitched his book Web Analytics: An hour a day, which will help you better understand analytics and use them to increase your online profits.

He discussed why Web 2.0 is such a challenge when it comes to tracking.

Success used to be measured with 3C’s: Content creation – content distribution – content consumption. It was very controlled and linear.

But now there are crazy bloggers and all these people you don’t know out there, or sites like zillow that grab information and group it somewhere without you always knowing. Web traffic comes from all over the place!!! Its not really a straight line model anymore, it’s more like a firecracker burst – Arrrgh! But is that really so bad???

Its different, but ultimately, its better.

Chew on some NEW ideas for this new world:

  1. Multiplicity – don’t just use Google analytics. Use MANY tools to get a true grasp for your impact on the world. He suggested measure map, feedburner, technorati, unica, clearspring, yay I love Google blogger suggestions!!! Avinash used the metaphor…You wouldn’t build a house with one tool, would you? Gotta pull out the whole toolbox people!
  2. Track Creatively – use Feedburner, that is your base of people who WANT you to push them info! THINK of unique measure tools like this, and also ponder what truly measures your success, like……………

    If you are not currently subscribed to this blog go ahead and press the little version of this button in your browser, and enter into RSS land 🙂 This is what bloggers live for!!

3. Unique Data Collection – don’t listen to fake page views for websites and videos. Use an event logging model instead.

Because Web 2.0 ultimately gives customers what they want, so its here to stay!! Now we all need to learn how to embrace it!!

Next up we had Jim Sterne with the Web Analytics Association. Jim mentioned that we are in web 2.0, version 1.0, lol. We have a unique visibility that we’ve never had before, and now there are hundreds of way to track and view things. But what metrics should we be looking at?

Web Metrics evolutionary path of growth:

Reporting —> Benchmarking —> Analysis —> Dynamic promos —> and into our hearts and minds

Let’s talk about the economy. People want to trim, and that is what is causing the 2.0 / 1.0 issue. People have to see that the money they are spending is not just bringing them rankings, but bringing them profits. The evolution of the customer want is:

Rank —> traffic —> pageviews —> loyalty —> sales —> PROFITS

Customers have evolved with questions like:
Which keywords sell the highest margin items?
Which keywords give us repeat business?
What keywords bring us PROFITS?

Matt Bailey, one of my SES favorites was up next. He discussed (you guess it) analytics and Star Trek. Analytics CAN go into 2.0 and beyond.

He used a “sexist” analytics metaphor for Captain Kirk looking for the green woman online. You trekkies are crazy. Anyway,

  • 1.0 analytics are just charts and graphs. Matt advised to Stop mindlessly tracking stupid data and making pointless graphs.
  • 2.0 analytics are Questions – How? Why? What if? QUESTIONS are the great beyond in analytics. You can use excel in a positive way as long as you are asking questions.

Going even further, here are more breakdowns to consider:

  1. Context – segment what is happening on your site. Tell the story of what specific segments are doing on the website. What did they look for? Did they find it? How can you help them find it easier?
  2. Comparison – what happens to YOURSELF, not your competition
  3. Contrast – segment the segment. Keep breaking things down. Understand the factors contributing to a higher conversion rate. Look at the events that lead to a specific outcome. Make logical decisions and predictions based off of that info. Dig into that data!!!

People are not cows in a heard, they come to your website for drastically different reasons. They do not “graze” in a group from one side of your website to the other. Look at people’s motivations and the context of the conversion, of lack there of.

Ask Questions. Then take action. Don’t expect your analytics to tell you what to do, be the Captain of your success ship!!

Next up Marshall Sponder with Monster Worldwide. He fell into analytics and he told the analytics story from an artist’s perspective. SWEET, gotta love a fellow artist!!

In his quest to paint a picture of social media, he drafted standards and built a social network to see if search drove to it. They found that search really didn’t, it was more the Digg community and other social networks.

Social network traffic comes a lot from social media influencers, not necessarily your traditional search.

He also mentioned ways they are addressing web 2.0. They believe its about empowering people to contribute, helping them collectively create intelligence,

One of his interesting findings was that social media traffic is MORE DIRECTED than search traffic. Message boards, twitter, communities of like minds who are all interested in the same thing.

Like an illustrator, Marshall tries to look for big patterns in the data, and then define littler patterns within those. What is the true client question behind that analytics report? Did the website answer the question?

Another note. Once we drive people to a site we don’t really define what we want them to do. What justifies this websites existence? Defining and designing that better will increase conversions!

Question Time:

Social Media Traffic – can it be segmented in the same way as a long tail keyword search? Yes, but segment the segment. Twitter is not the same as Digg, and its important to understand the context. Tell the story of “Here’s what they read before they clicked through to“, etc.

Are page views dead? What replaces them? They’re relevant for a little while, but they are flat. We are heading in a direction to find new ways to measure success. Measure interaction of the user, that’s a much better measure of success. Avinash thinks page views will be with us still for a little while, though. Its more important to find out who came and what they wanted to do, though. Track the customer experience!

How can we engage around the “what if” question? What tools can we use to test and predict? How much is toolset and how much is intellect? As soon as you’re asking “what if?” you’re off the charts and graphs trend. Sweet, we have job security Ang! This is good, though, because its event tracking and it helps you come up with creative methods to answer “what if”. Also think about changing things and moving forward without beating your old data to death. Don’t spend two weeks digging back into your analytics… just TEST your new idea and see if it converts. Watch what the traffic does. If you screw up, you’ll find out fast and just fix it. Don’t be scared to try and fail, because HEY you may try and succeed – QUICKER! Remember to read

If you keep the above book concepts in mind YOU WILL ALWAYS WIN. I can’t wait to dig into Eisenberg’s next book, when he signed it for me yesterday he said it’s the follow up to Call To Action. So excited, LOVE Bryan’s style – he cares about the end friend (no users in his world)!!!!

With all the different forms of data how can we bring them together and make a single story? Any tools to make it easier for us to bring it all together? All vendors are moving in the direction of finding all data in one place. Everything is still evolving and Crystal Xcelsius is a good tool to bring data together for now… they offer sexy dashboards 🙂 Also recommended was Clicktracks. To Shady SEOs: DON’T take the best numbers from all your different analytics and present those to the clients, lol, be consistent with one report.

What is a good dynamic bidding tool to measure the lift in sales? Um, good luck lol panelists advised him to find out and they would write the book on it, hehe. Also suggested was to look for the sweet spot and the long tail terms. Long tails are the most profitable anyway, so focus there so your head doesn’t spin with too much data. After all, do you want people who want to buy or want to browse?

How can I understand the why? Use online surveys, usability testing, just a few question survey, find out could clients complete the task they were on your website for? Why not? Try compile company they have an in page survey you can use.

What are 2.0 trends to track?

  • Behavior: what do they do when they’re on your website?
  • Attitude: how do they feel about it?
  • Outcome: did they buy? Did they register? Subscribe?
  • Competitive intelligence: how is what you are doing compare with others in your industry

Does Google integrate the spreadsheets into their tool like Microsoft does? Avinash suggested to customize your dashboards in analytics instead, so no. Still use excel to display comparison data from your analytics, and all major tools offer that download. When will Google get on board?

How do I deal with my crazy manager who looks at JUST the search traffic as a guage? I’m getting yelled at because search traffic is down but from my perspective people are now coming in directly…how do I convince management to “get it”? Use analytics to back you, don’t be scared to move up the food chain either. Also find 7 tips for creating a data driven boss Avinash wrote. Look at the visitor loyalty and recency report in Google analytics too. It shows the number of times people come back and the amount of time passed between their visits. Also use customers to prove it! Survey the motivators for their visit – most bosses will honor customer opinion and feedback 🙂 Remember analytics is all about proving your hypothesis right or wrong, and deriving new ones.

Ok, I’m ready to re-customize all my analytics again. This is why we come here, to always learn the shortest distance to success!!