Webanalytics general

Measuring and Reporting Key Events Of Websites

Having looked at many analytics tools and dashboards, I was always impressed what vendors came up with to show some value of their tools. The latest trend, that especially SEO Tools like Searchmetrics, Sistrix Toolbox and SEOlytics came up with, was a so-called"Visibility Index", which aims to tell the visibility of a website in the search engines.

Visibility is something extremely tough to measure and unless you run an entire proxy server farm in several continents, you'll probably have an issue getting really valuable data.

On top of that we are in the days where social media can drive more traffic than a search engine and visilibity in the organic rankings might be interesting, but the really valuable traffic might come from a Youtube video, which a visitors placed on Facebook and promoted through Twitter.

That said...I saw an intresting graph over at Marshall's blog: the 6-month performance an key events report (see below). What a beautiful graph to show how a website is doing! I hope one of the vendors pick up the idea and generate a dashboard report, which not only displays the webanalytics data and 3rd party products (via API), but also allows the user to include key events such as "Database crash" or "New SEO tool added".

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    How To Find The Right Web Analytics Solution

    If you have $2795 in your budget and no idea about web analytics tools, then go ahead and buy the Web Analytics 2009 CMS report.

    If you have $0 in your budget in order to figure out which analytics solution is the best for you, then just head over to my free web analytics guide.

    It's not perfect certainly not up-to-date and it doesn't come close to what CMS Watch 2009 delivers, but it has all the info that you need in order to make the right decision.

    A few more tips:

    1. 99% of what a company can make out of a web analytics tool, depends on the person using it.

    2. Yahoo Analytics is free and recognized as the best free enterprise analytics solutions

    3. Omniture is clearly leading the field in the enterprise market. The tool starts with 20k+/year

    4. Google Analytics is the most adopted web analytics solution, followed by Sitemeter and others. They are all great tools and easy to use.

    Keynote System Interview Part II

    Derek Vaughan, reporting for Webanalyticsbook.com recently interviewed Vik Chaudhary, Vice President of Product Management and Corporate Development at Keynote Systems to determine what this successful anaytics company has been up to lately in website and mobile analytics. Below is Part II of Derek's interview. Interview part I can be read here.

    Derek Vaughan: When I used to work at The Walt Disney Company, we used Keynote products to monitor website performance. That gave me the impression that Keynote products are for very large corporations versus smaller web sites. Is this the case?

    Vik Chaudhary: Glad to hear that you have some experience with using us. However, we have a variety of products and services which are well suited for everyone, from a huge enterprise like Disney to a developer who is designing his first application for the iPhone.

    Keynote has over 2,800 customers, from companies that spend as little as $50 per month for Keynote to monitor the availability of their web site, to companies that spend many times more than that. Performance is imperative to everyone, so we do our best to offer products that meet every need at every price point – even free!

    Derek: Who is the ideal customer for Keynote?

    Vik: The ideal customer for Keynote is any person or company that is committed to offering a superior Web experience. As I mentioned, we offer a variety of products and services that serve different audiences, whether a huge company or a single person developing a new application.

    For example, a large retailer with a lot of resources gearing up for the holiday shopping would benefit from a combination of services like LoadPro, Application Perspective and Transaction Perspective.

    A developer, however, with a single site or application could leverage a free service such as KITE (the Keynote Internet Test Environment) and have a clear picture of exactly how his offering is performing from any cloud, anywhere in the world as well as the ability to drill down into each element so he can perfect the performance. If they decide to use Keynote’s ongoing site monitoring service they can easily move their KITE scripts to the ‘for pay’ Transaction Perspective and Application Perspective services that allow for measurements from more geographies and Internet backbones and allow for a deeper dive into diagnosing performance problems when they do occur (as well as sophisticated alerting so you are notified asap when site problems are occurring).

    Derek: What new products or services can we expect to see from Keynote in the near future?

    Vik: In recent years, Keynote has expanded its products from testing and measuring Web sites and applications to other media – such as online video, live streaming events, voice-enabled (VoIP) applications, mobile content and applications, and wireless operator networks. We’re concentrating on enhancing our current offerings with new functionality and features. Of course, we’re always expanding and perfecting our measurement network as well.

    Derek: Are there any new products or services that have recently launched that you can point out for Webanalyticsbook.com readers?

    Vik:
    We’ve recently launched two new offerings that are great on-ramps to our test and measurement services that Webanalyticsbook.com readers would benefit from. Recently, we announced we are opening our cloud infrastructure, offering any Web team concerned with their end users’ experience free access to KITE (Keynote Interactive Testing Environment), Keynote’s product for testing and analyzing the performance of Web applications across the Internet cloud.

    KITE users can upload Web transaction scripts from the desktop to the Keynote global test and measurement network and receive free instant performance data from both their desktop as well as San Francisco, New York, London, Frankfurt and Hong Kong. And because the Keynote test and measurement network spans the globe, KITE users can upload the same scripts to 240 locations worldwide to continue monitoring and gathering performance data globally. The top five technical features of KITE include:

    • Test performance from both the desktop and the Internet cloud;

    • Performance analysis for multi-page Web transactions;

    • Native Internet Explorer integration allows for the easy analysis of AJAX, Flash and JavaScript;

    • JavaScript programmability for scripting actions based on DOM events (Document Object Model); and

    • Record Web application test scripts, playback in ‘burst mode,’ and share scripts across internal and external groups.

    In the mobile arena, we have MITE (Mobile Interactive testing Environment), which we launched in September. MITE is the industry’s first desktop testing tool that allows mobile developers to interactively test and validate mobile content over the Internet or live carrier networks, and across more than 1,000 mobile device profiles, in order to quickly understand the end user experience. With Keynote MITE, users can:

    • Test and validate mobile content quickly and easily across multiple device profiles;

    • Reduce cost and time to market while helping to deliver a better end user experience;

    • Emulate more than 1,600 device profiles from the continuously updated mobile device profile library;

    • Create new device and network profiles from the desktop for instantaneous feedback;

    • See download times for the entire page and all the redirections the browser took to download the mobile site;

    • Record and playback scripts with advanced scripting features such as conditioning coding;

    • Send and receive SMS messages to audit common short codes.

    Derek: How important are mobile products?

    Vik: Mobile test and measurement is extremely important, not only for our business, but also to hasten end users adoption of using their handsets to access the Internet and conduct transactions on them. As we see increasingly sophisticated handsets and applications being offered, it’s imperative to ensure that consumers are having the best possible experience when they go online. After a few poor experiences, it takes a while for them to try again, which equates to lost revenue for everyone, as well as consumer frustration with some major brands.

    Mobile is the way of the future, no one will argue that, but in order to make the transition seamless, we need to be diligent and ensure everything is performing the same we way we have come to expect it to perform from out desktops.

    With all of that in mind, we have built out the largest on demand test and measurement network. Keynote and our subsidiary Keynote SIGOS gives customers the ability to test mobile performance over 200 mobile networks across more than 70 countries. Keynote’s global network is comprised of real and emulated devices, user-provided SIMs and wireless modems, providing an unparalleled and customizable view into the performance of mobile content, applications and services.

    Derek: Is this the greatest growth area for Keynote?

    Vik: Mobile is actually the main driver of our revenue growth; it increased 61 percent in the fourth quarter alone and 63 percent in the year as a whole. Of course, we still have our strong base in the traditional Web site test and measurement space (as well as our Keynote Competitive Research offering, which is our industry analysis arm), but as more and more people are turning to the mobile Web, we’re seeing incredible opportunity.


    Derek Vaughan is a guestblogger here at Webanalyticsbook.com. The author would like to thank Vik Chaudhary, Nicole Colwell and Haroon Chohan for their contributions to this piece. Derek is an expert in website hosting services and is currently on the Advisory Board of HostingCon.com. If you want to be a guest blogger contact us.

    Web Analytics Poem

    What to do when your hosted web analytics solution is down? Write a poem. Here's what happend to Michael after his web analytics solution went down for a while:

    "So sad was the day, 

    when webtrends went away. 
    But thanx to Michael, 
    all ended well 
    the backlog in reporting we have now 
    we'll have to deal with somehow 
    but today let's just say cheerio! 
    for Mister Notté, our her-e-o! 
    (this priceless masterpiece of poetry was reproduced with the permission of the author. Thanks)

    Doing More With Less

    Apologies for the slow postings lately, but I just don't have any time during the day since I am working crazy to get some great new product going. :) So another canned post:

    Atomic Labs is offering a Web Analytics Webinar on "Doing More with Less".
    If you are interested, make some time on 11/24 or 12/08 at 11am Eastern, 4pm GMT.

    You can signup here for free.

    Guy Kawasaki On Website Metrics

    I was asked to be a guest blogger here at Webanalyticsbook.com and figured that I would follow on Sebastian's post regarding Guy Kawasaki's Alltop directory featuring Webanalyticsbook.com.

    Although I had already heard of Guy Kawasaki and even read some magazine articles of his, I still didn't know (really) who he was a couple of years ago when we were both speakers at PubCon. Okay, he was the 'keynote' speaker and I was a 'regular' speaker. Anyway, I sat pretty close and watched him deliver a really great presentation: down to earth, but with personality and humor that carried a truly uplifting message. So then I start to understand that Guy is a total legend of Internet entrepreneurship. I became a fan (bought his book) and now on to the meat of this post: What does Guy think about analytics? I sent him over a few VERY insightful and probing questions to get his thoughts - below are the unedited answers.

    Derek Vaughan: How important is it to carefully track and analyze what's happening on your website (or mobile app, or other media). In brief how important are analytics?

    Guy Kawasaki: Honestly, I try to not track things too much. I find that when Alltop has a busy day I get elated, but when it has a slow day, I get depressed. Bottom line: the stats make me crazy so now I just do the best I can and don't obsess about it.

    I hope we'll "tip" someday and then life will be good. Until then, I just grind it out more or less in blissful ignorance. I depend on my partner to tell me when we had a great day and not say anything when we had a slow day.

    Derek: What's the most important metric for you ­ that you focus on in your online business? Unique visits, time spent on site, where the visitor goes, something else? (and why?)

    Guy: The most important metric for me is the one that shows the most improvement from the previous day. I tell Web 2.0 entrepreneurs that the most important metric is the one that is going up the fastest. Like I said, metrics drive me crazy. Rationally, the most important metric is page views because that's how we will sell ads.

    What drives me crazy is that other than Google Analytics, I think most metrics are almost random. There are so many ways to be deceived or to deceive others with metrics that I don't know why anyone believes any metrics at all.

    Whenever I hear someone's public numbers, I divide by ten because I know most of the time they are referring to server logs and who knows how they are counting spiders, if the entire page is loaded, etc. If you really want to know someone's numbers, you should ask for a copy of their daily Google Analytics report.

    Derek: We all know that the Mac and the iPhone will rule the world ­ When will that happen exactly?

    Guy: That's a set up. Will Macintosh ever have 95% market share? I doubt it. Iphone--depends on what you mean by rule the world. It will dominate smart phones but all phones in general? That's tougher.

    Let me put it this way: with Apple, things are never as good or as bad as they seem.

    Derek: What's the most interesting thing you've seen lately that has changed your view of how a modern business can thrive?

    Guy: What kind of question is that? That's the kind of question a tv producer puts up on a teleprompter for a clueless reporter to ask. :-)

    Ouch! Okay Guy - I get the point. So here's one other item that I think tells us something about Guy. At the bottom of his email reply was the following message:

    ''Not sent from an iPhone.''

    This content was written by Derek Vaughan exclusively for Webanalyticsbook.com. Derek is working for several companies including 34sp.com. If you are interested being a guest blogger on webanalyticsbook.com, feel free to get in touch with me

    Web Analytics Digg Frontpage Spam

    I usually don't care much about Digg.com, but it's funny to see that even big websites don't hesitate to spam Digg with their nonsense. This time it's the "Complete Guide to Google Analytics" , which received 434 Diggs and was published on Techradar.

    I highly doubt that Brett Crosby, a well-respected web analyst and the (possible) author of this post is behind this. It looks more like someone from Techradar hired a "Digg influencer".
    I wonder if Brett is so happy about it. He certainly doesn't need this kind of attention.

    Well...Techradar is probably just a content recycler. At least some of the Digg users recognized that there is something wrong:

    Ooyala Features Released

    Since Ooyala, the video analytics platform saw my post, they decided to send me more info about their platform.

    Really appreciate it when companies understand what web 2.0 is about...so..as a thankyou another post about their great service. Here are the key features:

    Geo-Reporting: Country-level viewership reports allow content owners
    to get a global overview of where their content is being watched.

    Domain Reporting: Domain-level and syndication partnership reports
    give publishers visibility into which partnerships are performing.

    Customized Dashboard
    : Personalized reporting dashboards bring the
    relevant reports and data to the forefront of the application.

    Engagement Metrics
    : Viewer engagement reporting shows content owners
    where people are losing interest in their content and/or advertising.

    Analytics API:
    Programmatic access to reports and data allow flexible
    integration into existing workflows and systems.

    Visitor Feeling

    Jason Burby over at ClickZ posted a great article about "Visitor feeling" and what problems come with it:

    "Let's take a few steps back to examine a prospect's negative
    experience. Let's assume this started with a visit to the vendor's Web
    site. A prospect spends time to research a few Web sites she may be
    interested in doing business with. She then decides she's interested in
    starting a dialogue with one or two companies, fills out the contact
    form, and waits for that call or e-mail.

    From a Web analytics standpoint, those are successful conversions
    and look great. Unfortunately, far too often the company won't get back
    to this person fast enough and will miss out on striking when the iron
    is hot (a topic for another time). In other cases, the company will
    follow up and form a successful business relationship. But that doesn't
    mean everyone leaves that process satisfied. And a negative experience
    like Decker's will greatly impact future conversion from a lead to a
    customer."

    Here the full article.


    Most Common Mistakes In Web Analytics

    Techcrunch UK has a funny post about "Web Analytics Faux Pas" from guest author Ed Freyfogle.

    Ed listed some common mistakes and two of them I've myself saw many times:

    1. Confusion between Hits, Pageviews, Views, Visitors, Uniques, Users

    2. Hyper-analytical environment.

    Also not to forget the oppposite:

    3. Companies that run Omniture or some other high-end analytics vendor, but don't really have someone to take care of it (or the person is not really interested since the company doesn't care about pageviews, but revenues)

    Anyways...great read. Love the picture too. Reminded me of my "higher mathematics" class back in the college days.

    Two-Thirds Of Current Analytics Customers Are Satisfied

    Jupiter published another interesting study which is called "Web Analytics Buyer's Guide: Assessing Vendors, Competencies and Value" The study shows that two-third of companies, which use a web analytics solution are satisfied with their current provider.

    It's a pretty high number and I am not sure who they asked to answer the questions, but new software products like Microsoft Analytics will have a hard time entering the market in the same speed as Google Analytics or Sitemeter did.

    BT And It's Secret Web Tracking Trial

    A while back I've posted about Austria's redneck web analytics "fight". Now it seems, that the British Telecom got in some kind of trouble for dropping Cookies to their clients. Here a part of what leaked from the trial:

    "The report praised the invisibility of the system, observing that “only 15-20 trialists (0.1% of the trial base) identified the presence of the system and had a negative reaction”, but said that future versions of the system would be “100% transparent” (meaning undetectable).

    While users can theoretically opt out of having their browsing tracked, the report noted that “the current [opt-out] method is cookie based to preserve the user’s anonymity. This will cause a user to be opted in again if they erase their cookies”. The report suggested that this feature be highlighted during the opt-out process."

    Here more info about BT's web tracking trial.

    How To Hire A Web Analyst (Or How To Make One Crazy)

    There are many great web analytics jobs out there and for companies and recruiters it became more and more difficult to find quality web analysts. Avinash Kaushik posted a while back about the "Top Ten Signs You Are a Great Analyst". The post made it's round and people all over the world left great comments like this one or this one or here. My approach of figuring out if you or someone is a good web analyst is very different,: I have described below my way of figuring out if someone is a good web analyst or not:

    1. Set up the web analyst with an Omniture, Google Analytics....account and let the web analyst get familiar with it.

    2. Let the web analyst know, that you need to know "ALL" the browsers and Operation System that hit the website within a given time frame.

    3. Now surf to the tracked website with the device below during the time frame:

    Interent fridge

    4. Use this built-in browser:

    Refridgerator

    5. If your analyst is able to figure out that you used a Samsung RH2777AT with built-in Samsung browser....than she/he is the right person to have in the office. If not..don't even think about it :)

    If you look for a senior web analyst use the Samsung refrigerator internet table to make the test a little harder.

    For a VP of Analytics position I'd recommend to add a few hits with this browser.

    The Average Termite Eats 24 Hrs A Day

    Stephen over at they Freakonomics blog of the NY Times found a great advertising in Southern California: "There is a TV ad running here in Southern California for a pest control company. It states that “the average termite eats 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” so your million dollar home is at risk."

    I guess the top termites are probably able to eat 25-27 hrs a day. :)

    Back to some seriousness:

    The "Averages" are quite an interesting metric and often completely misinterpreted.

    The ad above also reminds me of the famous "Average Revenue per Lead",

    which pretty much says nothing without having more metrics in context.

    Still a lot of people use  the Average Revenue per Lead way too often.

    Designing, Learning and Tracking viral applications

    Some of the notes of the 9.40 EST session with Jia Shen from Rock You! (Web 2.0 San Francisco). Apologies for any typos Design simple concepts Focus on virality and growth Accept the fact that channels Iterate Rapidly A/B/ Test Release Often. Rock you releases up to 20-30 new day There are no user experts Do user studies when you don't have web metrics Have a plan to maximize use of every channel

    Development process:

    Application types: Channel (Superwall, Huge Me) Content (Flixster) Dating (likeness, compare people) Games (Zombies, FluffFriends) Self Expression (Bumper Sticker)

    Audience: Teens 14019 are 58% Very young, femails What's the total size of market What Percentage penetrations is goal Whats possible virallity of market? Average number of friends (average number of friends on Facebook about 150 on Myspace 300) Myspace vs. Ning. Vs. Google.

    Messaging:

    Develop your concept around high vonerting calls to action Simplicity Universal Social persuasion Novelty (art)

    Viral Channels. How to grow your widget: News Feed Notifications Email Provile invites Non-user pages Profile action

    Channel Focus 1 to 1  channels Map out several different flows to test -install to invite to interacting - Install to interacting to invite Balance relevance to throughput -channel vs. content applications.

    Viral Loop Tune it - Superwall launched in 2 days tuned for 2 weeks, prview page, invite messaging, targeting Prmoote it You know the math works All about throughput to multiply Give it a boost Ad networks

    Engagement Phase Saturated social circles (audiences) Critical mass makes features more useful tune for experience Build new features and keep users happy

    Critical Mass You've achieved your gaol Pecentatge of Social Circle supernodes - 40% active 10% of that 4% of Market

    Channels: Focus on 1-to-Many to get People Engaged - News Feed -Profile - NOtifications -Non USer Pages

    Focus on 1-to-1 to re-engage current users - Email - Notifications

    Hypothetical Viral numbers

    Install flow x=5 (friends invited on average y=22% (acceptance rate for invites viral factor 5x0.22=1.1 VIRAL

    Engagement flow\ - repeat users can generated additional virality - Engagement flow x=3 ( y= 10% (acceptance for invites viral cactor 3x0.10 No,3

    Engagement Flow, notification channel x=6 y= 5% Viral factor 6x0.5%  Viral 0.3

    What to track Request sent 7 Request CTR Nootifications send & Notification CTR Feed events & Feed CTR Adds/Removes And everything else - platform tracking is not 100% reliable

    How to track Google Analytics Paid or home grown

    Using metrics to drive product devisions A/B test entire user flows A/B test calls to action Base decision on metrics Trending graphs

    Graph and compare acticity metrics ofver time and anlyze trends focus resorcues \on tuning the largest traffic dricvers all viral channels eventually decay So keep tunint to stay ahead of the curve

    Session ended / Q and A