Join MaassMedia at the DAA Philadelphia Symposium October 18th!

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MaassMedia again has the honor of being a sponsor for the second annual Digital Analytics Association (DAA) Philadelphia Symposium on Thursday, October 18, and we would like to extend an invitation for you to attend this exciting event.

DAA members may register to attend at the discounted price of $10, while non-members can register for $50. Click here to sign up as an attendee.

The half-day seminar will be held at the Ritz Carlton and includes presentations and networking opportunities with the country’s top digital analytics practitioners.

Learn the latest developments in emerging technologies and non-traditional digital measurement solutions, tips on developing digital analytics talent, and world-class measurement and optimization techniques.

Hear from industry leaders:

  • Gary Angel, President and CTO, Semphonic
  • Peter Fader, Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative Co-Director and Professor of Marketing
  • Steve Meyer, Sr. Director of Data Science, Comcast
  • JJ Oliver, Business Intelligence Analyst, Comcast Converged Products
  • Len O’Neal, Director, Digital Product & Audience Development, Philly.com
  • Brian Cosgrove, Vice President, Web Analytics & Engineering, TPG Direct
  • Jim Davis, Director, Web & Customer Analytics, Urban Outfitters
  • Heather Aeder, Group Director of Analytics, TrueAction
  • Daniel Laws, President and CEO, DaBrian Marketing Group
  • Alex Gochtovtt, Principal, Marketing Management & Analysis, Cognizant
  • Rebecca Campany, Director of Online Communications, Office of Communications, Brookings Institution
  • Learn more about the DAA Philadelphia Symposium, join the association, or register to attend.

    We hope to see you there!

    Please vote for MaassMedia’s SXSW panel

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    We need your help!

    South by Southwest (SXSW) is an annual festival in Austin, TX, and our managing director, Aaron Maass, is in the running to speak. The more votes we get, the better our chances of being selected.

    Please take a minute to register your free account with SXSW, and cast your vote to help us secure our spot.

    Aaron’s presentation will answer questions about online privacy and digital marketing, including:

  • What data are marketers legally allowed to collect about you, both online and offline?
  • How are digital marketers using the data they collect about you?
  • How can you keep digital information private?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of keeping your digital information public or private?
  • What information do Internet privacy regulations govern, and what might the future hold for online privacy?
  • For more information about our panel, read the overview at SXSW.com.

    5 Digital Analytics Metrics That Should Influence Your Site Redesign

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    Redesigning a website isn’t only about giving it a fresh look and feel. A redesigned website should deliver a better overall experience to your visitor, and that goes much deeper than aesthetics. Your digital analytics can help you understand what your visitors are doing on your website, while also distinguishing content that works well from content that doesn’t.

    Before looking at your data in Google Analytics, Adobe SiteCatalyst, or whichever analytics platform you use, take a moment to review the goals you’d like your website to accomplish. For example, a content-heavy website like the Huffington Post or The Onion might want to keep visitors engaged with interesting articles, in which case, a goal for pageviews and time on site/page would be relevant. A new brand or budding startup company might be interested in gaining more recognition through social media, so they might create goals around social elements like share widgets. An e-commerce site like Amazon or Zappos aims to make sales, and for them, conversion is the ultimate goal.

    Your website is an extension of your organization and should work toward achieving your business objectives, just as a store or spokesperson should accomplish this offline.

    Here are a few metrics to consider before redesigning your website:

    Internal search

    What is it?

    If your website has a search box, visitors can use it to find specific content within your website.

    How can it influence website redesign?

    You might think you know what your visitors want, but checking your internal search keywords is a good way to know for sure if your website is lacking content or products that are in high demand, or if that content or product is difficult to find on your site. At MaassMedia, we tipped off one of our clients when we discovered a large number of internal searches for thumb drives. The client did not sell thumb drives, but added the product to their inventory when they realized their visitors were looking for them.

    Clickmap

    What is it?

    A clickmap is a visual outline of a page within a website that displays the percent and/or number of clicks to each link on the page.

    How can it influence website redesign?

    Clickmaps allow you to identify the links that are performing best and worst, which can help you evaluate the effectiveness of your call-to-actions. Some platforms offer more advanced clickmaps that can follow mouse movement and scrolling in addition to clicks. There is even an emerging technology that can follow a visitor’s eye movement on a page. Knowing which parts of a page draw the most attention can help you identify the most appropriate spots to place content on a page, as well as spots that don’t perform as well.

    Screen resolution

    What is it?

    Screen resolution refers to the size of a visitor’s screen in pixels. Screen resolution can be modified on most computers, and it differs from the screen resolution on a tablet or mobile device, which is significantly smaller and often has different proportions.

    How can it influence website redesign?

    Tech savvy readers may recall a time long before mobile and tablet browsing when 1024×768 pixels was the standard screen resolution. Prior to that, 800×600 pixels was the norm. Today, however, screens come in all shapes and sizes, and resolution can be customized to a number of dimensions. It is important that your website looks and functions its best on any device at any screen resolution.

    You can optimize your site for themost common resolution(s) and redirect visitors to a version of your site fit to their screen, or you can implement a new technology called responsive design.

    A website with responsive design changes to fit your browser width. Content can move around or be hidden completely, and fonts and images can resize accordingly. Not only does responsive design work on various screen resolutions and devices, but it also adjusts if a visitor simply resizes their browser window. The Boston Globe is an example of a website with responsive design. Test it out by visiting the site and resizing your browser window.

    Bounce rate

    What is it?

    Not to be confused with exit rate, which is simply the percent of visitors who leave a specific page, bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your site without visiting any other page. After landing on a page, the visitor either clicks offsite or closes his or her browser window.

    How can it influence website redesign?

    A high bounce rate isn’t necessarily a bad thing, depending on the purpose of the page. If a visitor is able to find everything s/he needs on a single page, that bounce is an indication that the visitor’s needs were met. Most websites, however, are structured in a way that the visitor must visit several pages before conversion.

    On an e-commerce site, for example, a visitor might click on a category of products, then a product detail page before adding the item to their shopping cart and, ultimately, making the purchase. In this case, it would be considered a loss if the visitor left the homepage without visiting any other pages. If you take a look at the pages on your site with the highest bounce rates, you can quickly identify pages that are underperforming and start thinking of solutions for improvement.

    Time on page

    What is it?

    This one is pretty self-explanatory: Time on page calculates how long visitors spend on a given page, on average.

    How can it influence website redesign?

    As with bounce rate, a page with a low average time on page is not always a downfall. If the page isn’t particularly content-heavy and quickly gets to the point, a visitor might only need to spend a few seconds on it before moving on.

    However, unusually low time on page can be a red flag that it needs some work. Visitors spending an average of 10 seconds on a page with your 5,000 word bio might be turned off by the number of words on the page, a lack of images, and/or your ego. On the flip side, visitors spending 10 minutes on a smaller page would be an indication that they cannot find what they are searching for.

    Are you considering a site redesign? Not only can MaassMedia make recommendations based on your digital analytics data, but we can also ensure that your newly redesigned website is tagged and tracking properly in your digital analytics platform. Contact us for more information.

    Has your organization used data from digital analytics to influence a site redesign? What metrics did you look at?

    Using Google Analytics Multi-Channel Functions: Part 1

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    If you use Google Analytics, you are probably familiar with the Conversions section (especially if you work for an ecommerce site dealing with monetary goals and revenue).  But are you familiar with the Multi-Channel Funnel report?

    The Multi-Channel Funnel Report is a great way to evaluate how your audience is interacting with your organization’s marketing across various channels like display advertising, retargeting, social media marketing, paid search, etc. With these reports, you can find valuable insights about which channels are most effective and which need more fine-tuning.

    In order to be able to utilize the Multi-Channel Funnel report, ecommerce tracking must be enabled.  This is also a requirement for goals and ecommerce reports, so if you’re already using either of those you are all set to view multi-channel functions. If not, you simply need to place another snippet of tracking code where you originally placed the base Google Analytics tracking code in your site”s source code.  Visit the Google Analytics support topic How to Set Up Ecommerce Tracking to see how this implementation is done.

    Once you have implemented your code, you are ready to dive into multi-channel reporting.

    While they may seem daunting at first with all their various colors and boxes, there’s no reason to feel intimidated. These reports can be extremely useful for companies running multiple types of campaigns from many different sources.

    Knowing which advanced segments and filters to apply makes it easy to visualize the effect certain channels have on any other channel. You can use this information to improve conversion rates or optimize advertising spend.  You can even discover which channels, campaigns, and sites drive the most conversions.

    Overview Report

    The first report you’ll see is the Overview, which simply shows a snapshot of the number of conversions over time accompanied by a Venn diagram of channel interaction. Mouse over the circles to display the percentage in each section of the diagram.

    You can check or uncheck channels in the Multi-Channel Conversion Visualizer to include more or fewer channels in the diagram, but choose wisely! There is a 4-channel limit.

    Below, you can see that display makes up 29.50% of the total conversions, and display and paid search together make up 5.61% of the total conversions.  This summarized report may be good enough for some, but there are more useful reports so let’s keep investigating.

    Assisted Conversions Report

    The next report option is the Assisted Conversions report.  You can use this report to see which channels are driving the most conversions by both the raw number of assisted conversions and the monetary value attached to these conversions.

    There are several types of conversions defined by GA, but for the purpose of this blog, I will only focus on click and impression assisted types.

    A click assisted conversion takes place when a visitor clicks a certain type of campaign before landing on your site and converting.

    For example, someone may conduct a Google search for Company X that is currently running a paid search campaign. The first search result is an ad. When clicked, the ad brings the visitor to Company X’s website much like an organic search result would, but with an appended paid search campaign ID.  If that visitor converts during that visit, GA documents that as a click assisted conversion attributed to paid search.

    The table below shows each channel and the number of conversions it spawned. In other words, these are the number of conversions in which that channel was the most recent exposure, or “last touch.”

    An impression assisted conversion represents a visitor converting on your site after being exposed to a specific channel of advertising, but not necessarily clicking the ad. Impression assisted conversions can only be applied to display advertising because no other channel can measure the effect of viewing and subsequently converting without an actual click.

    Top Conversion Paths Report

    The third report option is called Top Conversion Paths.  This report breaks down the number of conversions and their value for each channel. Unlike the Assisted Conversions report, which only displays the last touch, Top Conversion Paths displays all previous touches in addition to the last touch.

    The default view has all conversion types selected, only path lengths of two or more touches, and all types of advertising media.  The box for “include impressions” is checked by default, which displays impression assisted conversions in the results.

    You can toggle the selected conversions by clicking the box and selecting or deselecting goals from the drop down menu.  To see conversions from channels with only one touch point, you can choose to include paths of all lengths, instead of the two or more default.

    If you use AdWords or DFA (DoubleClick for Advertisers), you can customize your data to only show those campaigns by clicking the AdWords and/or DFA buttons.

    By default, the line items show paths defined by the basic channel grouping, number of conversions and conversion value generated by each path. The highlighted path in the example below has two display touches and ends with a referral touch.  This means that these visitors viewed two display ads, then visited your site via a referring website and ultimately converted.  There were 1,489 conversions that followed this pattern.

    NOTE: Conversion value is not the revenue generated by a purchase. It is a specific goal value you can customize in the admin section.

    The eyeball icon in the display touch box means that this was a display impression, not a click.  Clicks will have a display touch without the icon, like this:

    If you only want to see click assisted display touches and filter out impression assisted display touches, simply un-check the “include impressions” box.  This can be useful to determine whether view-throughs and click-throughs differ at generating leads, and which is more effective.

    Stay tuned for Part Two, where I will cover the rest of the Multi-Channel Funnel reports.

    It All Adds Up! Measuring Success With Micro Conversions

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    In the world of digital analytics, a conversion is generally defined as the successful completion of a specific goal online.

    It is easiest to tie goals to an e-commerce transaction, but in reality only about 28% of websites offer the ability to buy.  So how can and do the remaining 72% of websites measure success without the ability to count revenue as a metric?

    If your site falls into the 72% and you can’t easily show how visitors to your site translate into sales, fear not as there are many other ways to measure success.

    With any web analytics tool, lead generation sites, content publishers and brand (or information only) sites can instead track successful conversions through other metrics like clicks, downloads and registrations.

    Historically, companies have focused on measuring and optimizing conversion rates by looking at only the end goal conversions, like the examples above.  These can be considered macro conversions.  Macro conversions are usually the final action a visitor takes during their session that draws in actual revenue or leads.

    However, by identifying additional micro conversions, which are any key website actions that visitors complete prior to the final conversion, companies can use metrics other than just revenue or number of leads to better measure success and increase ROI.

    In the image below, you will see some examples of micro conversions on the Comcast Business Class website:

    conversions

    Comcast Business Class does not sell directly online because it is a lead-generation website. Their ultimate goal is generating leads, so a visitor filling out the form to be contacted by a sales representative is considered a macro conversion. Clicking on promotions and offers or checking for service availability are micro conversions because they are common website actions taken before a visitor completes a macro conversion.

    The first step to taking advantage of differentiating macro and micro conversions is to identify all possible micro conversions that could be influential to completing a macro conversion.  A micro conversion could be anything from reading a blog post to viewing an image to downloading a pdf.

    To understand what micro conversions may be important to measure, start by capturing VOC from stakeholders in various departments and compile a comprehensive list of key website actions.  Some questions to ask might be:

    • What is your site’s primary purpose?
    • What is your target audience and who is your ideal customer?
    • What business questions about your website, user experience and marketing performance would you most like to answer?

    You may also try putting yourself in the shoes of your “customers” by experiencing the site as they would.  Then ask yourself these questions:

    • What actions are most important to my site’s visitors?
    • What traffic sources, content, tools and behaviors on the site most frequently appear in the path to conversion?

    Next, audit the key website actions visitors can take to determine whether or not each action is properly tagged and tracked with web analytics.  Those that are properly tagged are immediately ready for analysis, while those with tagging issues must be investigated and resolved before any data can be analyzed.

    For a more comprehensive picture of conversion, consider including other factors of visitor engagement like the depth of someone’s visit, the amount of time spent on site and the number of days since the last visit.

    While measuring micro conversions alone will give you a good sense of how visitors engage or interact with your website, incorporating these additional metrics will provide more robust insight and a more holistic view of what constitutes a successful conversion.

    See Aaron Maass speak about this topic live at the Conversion Conference in Orlando Florida October 9th, 2012. Click the badge below to buy tickets, and save on your purchase!

    conversions

    What Distinguishes a Good Analyst from a Great Analyst?

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    What Distinguishes a Good Analyst from a Great Analyst?

    When I tell people my job title, Data Analyst, mouths fall agape and eyes glaze over.  I am also getting my master’s degree in Applied Statistics, but facial expressions upon hearing that gem are a whole other story.

    “So, what do you do?” they ask with a mixture of curiosity and fear.  I can see them silently begging me to spare them the technical details of what I actually do in exchange for a simple response.  Since I am naturally a concise and to-the-point person (I affectionately call this my “no BS” approach), I usually answer in one of two ways:

    1. “I analyze data.”

    While this is not a complete departure from the truth, analysis is only a small portion of the technical work that I do with data.  Much of my time is actually spent gathering data from various sources and appropriately formatting it into a uniform file before any real analysis takes place.  It is imperative that the data be thoroughly cleaned to make the transition into the analysis phase more efficient.  This part of my job requires the “left brain,” which is typically responsible for logic, organization, rationalization, and structure.

    2. “I make bar charts in Excel all day.”

    This statement is also partially true, but obviously an oversimplification of what I actually do, from a graphical standpoint.  I spend a lot of time creating and interpreting different visualizations in a wide variety of programs.  While Excel does have some advantages over other software (dual axis line graphs!), I frequently utilize tools with a high capability for statistical rigor but mechanical-looking output (Minitab, SAS) and others with less brain power but more aesthetically pleasing visualizations (Tableau).  This artistic portion of my job makes use of my “right brain,” which is classically attributed to creativity, imagination, demonstration, and intuition.

    A good analyst will utilize one brain hemisphere, usually the left, significantly more than the other.  However, the key to being a great analyst is to find a balance between the two.

    I like to think of data analysis as putting together a jigsaw puzzle. It takes technical skill (left brain) to interlock the correct pieces, but it also requires a certain amount of imagination (right brain) to envision each smaller piece as part of the bigger picture.  One needs to take into account both the shape and design of the piece to fit it in the right spot.  The same is true of data analysis.

    While actual number crunching and analysis take a considerable amount of time and effort, presenting the results in an actionable and visually useful way is often more important.  It is my job to not only deliver accurate analyses, but also please our clients by focusing on their specific objectives.  Sometimes this requires  judiciously deciding to exclude certain findings that may cause confusion and doubt instead of inspiration.  There is a famous book I once read called “How to Lie with Statistics” that, in my opinion, gives statisticians a bad reputation.  Statisticians are not liars, like the title implies.  Instead, we use facts to create a story.

    Take the jigsaw puzzle I mentioned before.  Say the puzzle is a graph of Apple’s share price over time (how fun!).

    From 2007 to 2012 the price moves with various ups and downs.  Overall, the price is increasing.  However, zoom in on a portion of April and May in 2012 and all we see is the price steadily dropping.

    The same image can have very different meanings depending on how you slice it.  An analyst could use either photo to support two opposing points, and both would be correct.

    It is this marriage of knowing the appropriate analyses to perform, deciding upon the most meaningful visual representation, and understanding the client’s needs that make a great analyst.  I strive to be a great analyst every day by continually reinforcing what I already know and always striving to learn more.

    Looking for data analysis for your organization? Contact us about working together.

    What qualities do you look for in a data analyst?

    Hitting the Bullseye With Retargeting

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    Hitting the Bullseye With RetargetingGoogle just sent out a product update today advising its user base to leverage “web insights to power remarketing and win more customers.”

    Google advocates remarketing with Google Analytics to produce, what we at MaassMedia call, Transformative Insights™ about website visitors who show an interest in your business” products and services. They recommend showing these visitors targeted ads across the that respond directly to their preferences.

    The new Google Analytics retargeting feature is only available to account administrators. You can start using it by clicking the Admin tab in the upper corner of Google Analytics, then clicking the tab for “Remarketing Lists.”

    Before diving into Google Analytics” new retargeting feature, it is important to learn the dos and don”ts of retargeting.

    Traditional advertising research says that at least three (but closer to eight) ad exposures are needed before the consumer becomes sufficiently aware of a product or company. But, unfortunately, not everyone responds positively to multiple exposures to the same ad.

    In 2010, ComScore conducted a study on retargeting, revealing its effectiveness at generating lift (i.e., a 1,000 percent lift in trademark search within 4 weeks of exposure). The study also pointed out that, “if marketers want to continue to enjoy the benefits of this highly effective strategy, they must also deploy it responsibly and in a manner with which consumers are comfortable.”

    As of 2012, that view has not changed. Consumers need to feel comfortable being retargeted. A recent Pew Survey (March 2012) among 2,000 consumers showed that 59% have noticed targeted advertising, and 68% have a negative opinion of them. However, 28% said they were “OK” with retargeting because, “I see ads and get information about things I”m really interested in.”

    While 28% is a promising number of people to retarget with ad campaigns, you don”t want to risk giving the rest of the population a negative impression of your brand.

    Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating retargeted ad campaigns:

    1. Frequency caps can be set by day, week and month. To avoid overwhelming a potential customer with too many ads, test different frequency caps for exposure.
    2. Don”t just focus on clicks. Often, a visitor will return to your site after viewing an ad without ever clicking on the ad. These are called view-throughs. Measuring view-throughs in addition to click-throughs will provide a better picture of a campaign”s effectiveness.
    3. Retarget with a variety of campaigns to keep your advertising fresh. Change up your imaging, offer, and messaging to avoid serving the same ads to the same people over and over.
    4. Monitor traffic sources, and tag each campaign to measure its effectiveness. If your campaigns are not properly tagged, it can be difficult to distinguish your retargeted campaign data from other campaign data.
    5. Take advantage of purchase history to target customers with products and services that might interest them. 

    Effective retargeting means walking a fine line, and you may not see success right away. Getting the results you want requires extensive testing and analysis. At MaassMedia, we have a secret sauce recipe for retargeting and can help you make the most of your campaigns. Get in touch with us to learn how we can help your organization develop an effective targeted advertising campaign.

    How do you avoid bombarding your audience with targeted ads? Share your tips in the comments.

    Take Your Digital Analysis Beyond a Hunch

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    A digital analysis that relies primarily on hunches rather than proven intelligence isn’t a reliable analysis at all. Analysts use data to make decisions. Going the extra mile to transform data into true marketing intelligence is key.

    Digital Analysis is split into three core phases: Reporting, Data Mining and Statistical Analysis. A mediocre analyst might consider his or her job finished after Phase One, but a skilled analyst knows that each phase is an important step toward developing transformative insights.

    Let’s take a closer look at each phase of a successful digital analysis:

    Phase One: Reporting

    In this step, an analyst uses a digital analytics platform such as Google Analytics or Adobe SiteCatalyst to find data trends, which are presented in a report to a specific audience. This information can be very important for an organization, but only if it answers the question “Why?”.  Let’s say I run a report on display ads for a client, and I notice a few campaigns perform significantly better than the others, so I advise the client to end the display ads that performed poorly. Even though there is supporting data, my suggestion is based on a hunch because I haven’t pinpointed the reason why certain campaigns are more effective than others.

    Phase Two: Data Mining

    Data mining helps uncover more information about why the effective ads performed well. Continuing with the same example, let’s say I take a closer look at the ads and use every type of data point possible in a data visualization tool like Tableau. With this program, I am able to drill down into the data, which shows that square ads with a call to action get more clicks than the others. This extra knowledge adds more validity to the suggested marketing decision because it pinpoints the campaign’s shape/size and message as reasons for success.

    Phase Three: Statistical Analysis

    Running data through statistical analysis software like SPSS or SAS not only ensures that your data is statistically significant, but can narrow down more specific insights. In the example of the the display ad campaigns, I used software to discover that the ad messaging is statically significant to success, while the size of the ad is not. This insight is sound in addition to being actionable, making it valuable marketing intelligence that can be used to tweak future campaigns.

    Looking for a deep-dive data analysis? MaassMedia can uncover transformative insights to help your organization produce better results. Contact us to find out how we can help.