Build, Refine and Improve Your P.R.O.C.E.S.S. Management

By | Analytics, Career, Testing, Tips and Tricks | No Comments

The human brain is a complicated, information-processing system. It controls and coordinates actions and reactions with the information it ingests.

How you process information, and the process you create to follow up on what you do with information, separates each person from the next. A person who follows a “process” is considered more organized, effective, and knowledgeable than someone that does not.

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Natural Language Processing: How to Test, Evaluate, and Scale Your Approach

By | Analytics, Optimization, Testing | One Comment

How the Guardian Mobile Lab and MaassMedia efficiently analyzed qualitative data from thousands of survey responses with natural language processing.

In a recent article, “Analysis Without Benchmarks: An Approach for Measuring the Success of Mobile Innovation Projects,” we discussed how MaassMedia and the Guardian Mobile Innovation Lab worked together to develop survey questions that enabled the lab to analyze users’ reactions to new mobile news formats  (such as their experiment sending real-time updates on the 2016 US presidential election results to users’ lock screens). Here we’ll explain why we include open-ended questions in these feedback surveys, and how we developed a natural language processing algorithm to evaluate the sentiment of thousands of users’ free-form responses.

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Mobile Analytics – From Implementation to Analysis

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Intro to Mobile Analytics – how does it differ from the fixed web? Now that we are into 2014 I am sure all of you understand how important mobile is to your business. But just in case you have been in a cave or under a rock for the last 4 years, here are some pretty staggering statistics about the Mobile web.

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Get a Grasp on Guests with Hospitality Industry Marketing Analytics

By | Analytics, Optimization, Testing, Tips and Tricks | One Comment

Viraj Patel is working with MaassMedia as part of Cornell University’s externship program. He has worked predominantly in the hotel and retail furniture industries. In his free time he enjoys watching movies and following his favorite sports teams.

You cannot manage what you don’t measure, and that certainly applies to marketing. Measuring how well each marketing channel drives traffic to a website is imperative to any company’s success, and analytics allows you to do that. Because my background is predominantly in hospitality, I’d like to demonstrate how analytics can benefit the hotel industry.

55% of all leisure and business reservations are expected to be made online for 2013 (PhoCusWright), which means measuring and optimizing a hotel’s digital marketing is more important than ever before.

Although monitoring standard web metrics like visitors, page views, and average visit duration is useful, that information is just the tip of the iceberg. Truly Transformative Insights™ that change the way your organization manages its marketing spawn from pulling and correlating data, not only from web traffic, but also from a variety of marketing channels.

The average conversion rate for hotel websites is about 2%. In other words, approximately 98% of visitors to a hotel’s website leave without making a reservation. This suggests that the hotel industry could be doing significantly more to capitalize on visitors’ interest. It is imperative that hotels utilize the right data in the right way to paint a clearer picture of how their audience interacts with their marketing.

The key to understanding your audience is segmentation. We’re not necessarily referring to segmenting visitors by age, gender, or geographic location (although, depending on your business goals, those qualities might be important). At MaassMedia, we strive for more granular segmentation to understand each visitor’s intentions, then serve each visitor a unique digital experience optimized for conversion.

With analytics, you can measure where each visitor stands in the purchase consideration spectrum. Some visitors may have their minds made up about booking a room, while others might be on the fence. Defining the Key Website Actions on your hotel’s website and tracking visitors who complete these actions can reflect a visitor’s propensity to buy. Additionally, analytics tracks metrics like how recently or frequently a visitor views the website, which can help identify which visitors are ready to book a room and which are undecided. Using this information, hotel websites can then personalize the content that the visitor sees, raising their likelihood to book.

For example: Let’s say a prospective guest has visited the hotel’s site on numerous occasions in a short time span without making a reservation. We can establish that the guest is probably significantly interested in booking a room, but might need some added incentive to make the decision. Using analytics, the hotel could identify these visitors and display a time-sensitive offer only for those visitors who are on the fence.

Only visitors who need incentive to purchase are shown the time-sensitive offer

Data can also be collected from interactive content, like internal search terms and filters. If a visitor consistently books or views hotels costing over $500/night, the website could recommend more luxurious hotel rooms and properties. Not only would this increase the likelihood of a larger sale, but the purchasing experience for the guest also improves tremendously because they don’t have to filter through the hotels that don’t interest them.

Hotel franchisors can also capitalize on trends in their data. For example, if there is a substantial increase in searches for a particular destination, brands can recommend that their franchisees in that location raise their rates because of the spike in demand. This could substantially improve the revenue that the franchise’s website generates.

Although opportunities to customize or modify the website may be limited for branded hotels (franchisors may not give complete freedom to alter or add content to their website), independent hotels and resorts have significant opportunities to use analytics to their advantage. Even if they can improve their conversion rate from 2% to 2.5%, that’s still a 25% increase in conversion rate.

Many independent hotels haven’t implemented any data analytics on their websites. Without even a basic implementation, hotel owners are missing out on important insights about their clientele. For example, most hotels offer some assortment of packages to their guests, but if hotels aren’t using analytics, they can’t know which packages are most and least popular with certain types of visitors. By tracking purchases only, they miss out on seeing how many guests viewed the package but chose not to purchase it.

Similarly, if the hotel offers services like banquet halls or catering, web analytics can shed light onto visitors’ level of interest and the best ways to market those services online. Are guests searching to sign up for loyalty membership? Do they want to book meetings or events in a particular city or region? Are they more or less price sensitive? Analytics enables hotel brands to gather data that can answer these questions. If utilized correctly, it can be a tremendous asset to improving a revenue management and building a customer relationship management (CRM) system.

Analytics in the hospitality industry provides a way to better understand guests’ purchasing and staying behavior, as well as audience engagement across a variety of marketing channels. MaassMedia works with a variety of clients in a range of industries. If you’d like to know more about how your organization can use marketing analytics to find Transformative Insights™ about your audience, contact us today.

Divide and Conquer: Segmenting Visitors and Optimizing Content to Increase Conversion

By | Analytics, Insight, Optimization, Testing, Tips and Tricks | No Comments

It might seem like measuring traffic from every visitor collectively will create a holistic view of audience behavior, but that’s not actually the case. Without segmenting your traffic into groups of visitors with similar traits, it’s impossible to find those data analytics that change the way you do business.

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Testing Platforms: Monetate vs. Test & Target

By | Analytics, Optimization, Product Review, Testing | No Comments

As testing and optimization become even more influential to a website’s success, it is important to choose the platform that is right for your business model. I specifically want to talk about the difference between Monetate and Test&Target.

Each platform has its own positives and negatives. Depending on how robust your testing program is or how focused you are in certain areas of your business, you may find that you’re using the wrong tool for your situation.

I am making the assumption that you have already implemented your tool and are just starting your testing program. For the purpose of comparing apples to apples, we will use the example that you are testing a new home page hero image. You have two challenger heroes that you are testing against the default. All the art is finalized and you are about to start the test setup phase.

In Test&Target, you do not need to upload the creative into the tool, and if you have the technical background you can code the challenger pages yourself using custom JavaScript. In Monetate, you will need to request that the “action” be developed on that particular section of the homepage. Once Monetate has finished the action development, the test setup requires no additional coding. After uploading your creative, the rest is pretty much just checkboxes and final approval.

Test&Target distinguishes itself with the ability to run a test that splits traffic evenly between the challenger pages and the default. In order to reach significance in the Monetate setup, each challenger page must have its own designated set of default traffic to use for comparison.

In our example, each challenger page receives 25% of total traffic, and each would be compared with a 25% portion of the traffic to the default. So, essentially, the default is getting 50% of total traffic. In Test&Target, you are able to have an even traffic split between all three experiences, which allows you to more quickly gain significance.

As for reporting, Test&Target has a clean reporting interface with the ability to set up multiple custom success metrics. If you are looking for in depth reporting with custom success metrics, Test&Target is most likely the tool for you. Monetate’s reporting interface is difficult to read and only allows five custom metrics per campaign; however, if you don’t have a dedicated developer with  JavaScript experience, and you don’t have additional custom metrics you want added to each campaign, Monetate is probably the better solution for you. Overall, Test&Target is more robust and easier to work with if you have a technical background and an interest in analytics.

(Monetate Reporting Interface – notice the scrolling you need to do if you have custom metrics)

(Test&Target Reporting Interface – Easy snapshots that can be graphed within the interface)

If targeting or segmentation is important to you, you may want to keep in mind that Monetate does not allow you to target at the offer/experience level. Let’s say you have two promotional offers: one for people in California and another for people in Pennsylvania. With Monetate, you would need to set up two separate campaigns for California and Pennsylvania because you can only target at the campaign level. Using Test&Target, however, you have the ability to target both regions in the same campaign at the offer level. Also, Monetate only allows for up 5,000 different zip codes per campaign, which is something to keep in mind if you have large zip code lists.

Overall, Monetate still has some work to do to provide a better user experience, while Test&Target has a lot of great features but requires a higher degree of technical competency in order run a robust testing program. While neither tool is necessarily “better” than the other, each has its pros and cons. Weighing these against the needs of your business will help you choose the better tool for testing and optimizing your company’s online experience.