Monday, December 29, 2008

5 Best Practices for any Campaign

Burger King recently launched a TV ad that directed visitors to I learned about this on which wote:

“What if you don't remember the exact Web address and Google it? You still better remember the domain name. While ranks first in Google for "whopper virgins," it's invisible when you omit the plural. “

AdAge writes further:

”This is a major missed opportunity. Google Trends shows that recently, the volume of searches for the singular and plural versions have been nearly equal. "Whopper virgin" searchers must either go to an intermediary site or refine their search. Why can't consumers 'have it their way' and get to Burger King's site even if they're off by a letter? This multimillion-dollar branding campaign could have covered all its bases with a $10,000 search marketing investment. As it stands now, Burger King risks frustrating consumers instead of serving up one whopper of a video.”

AdAge listed following three areas of neglect:

  • The domain: is a parked domain filled with ads for Burger King store listings, Virgin Mobile gifts, Virgin Atlantic flights, Virgin Islands vacations and Virgin Mary checks.

  • Search engine optimization: The microsite doesn't appear on the first three pages of Google results for "whopper virgin" searches.

  • Paid search: While reviewing Google's listings over several days, there hasn't been a search ad running on "whopper virgin" queries.

In addition to above another area which was partially neglected by Burger King was Web Analytics. I found two main issues with the web analytics

  1. Web Analytics Tool Implementation - This site did not have any web analytics code implemented on the landing page. However the video does start as soon as user lands on the site which then fires WebTrends code. With this implementation I am not sure if they are getting an referring site or search engine information.

  2. Data Analysis - Clearly Burger King is using web analytics tool. I am sure they were passing the web analytics reports around but I am assume that they were not doing any meaningful analysis. If they were doing any analysis at all they would have uncovered the SEO/SEM issues listed by AdAge.

  3. Simple keyword analysis using their web analytics tool would have helped them uncover these issues. (Lesson: If you are spending millions of dollars on the campaign you should also keep aside few thousands for deeper analysis. Just passing the reports around is not enough).
    It is very common to report on top 10 -20 keywords but these keywords alone don’t tell the whole story. Yes they can be good ego boosters but you have to look beyond top keywords and analyze the keyword that are either in the long tail or are not driving any traffic at all. Doing some basic analysis on search engine keywords would have shown them that they were not getting any traffic (or are getting very little traffic) from “Whopper Virgin” or “Burger King Virgin” keywords (I am sure there are more variations).

I hope Burger King learned its lesson and will be smarter next time they run campaign. (Note: All campaigns, offline or online end up having an impact on the site, search engines and online media)

Below are the 5 lessons that all marketers can learn from Burger King Campaign and apply to their own campaigns in the future:

  1. Search Engine Optimization - Make SEO an Integral Part of your any micro-sites and campaigns (offline or online).

  2. Paid Search - Plan to spend few thousand dollars from your campaign budget to SEM to augment or fill any gaps in SEO.

  3. Web Analytics Tool Implementation - Plan to spend few thousand dollars from your campaign on Web analytics tools (which they did). Make sure the tool is properly configured to capture the accurate data. As I mentioned above, it appeared that the site did not have any code on the landing page, which means they were missing a lot of data and hence not getting the whole picture. Conduct an accuracy audit of the tool implementation; it can potentially save you millions of dollars by providing you data beyond click-throughs.

  4. Data AnalysisAnalysis is different from reporting. Web Analytics tools and SEM reports just provide you a view into the data. You have to conduct a full analysis to understand what the data means and what actions to take to generate a higher ROI from your campaigns. Plan to conduct an analysis on all the data you collect from various tools. Learn from this analysis, it will tell you where you are wasting your money and what’s working for you. Use the insights gained from the analysis and take appropriate actions to improve your campaigns.

  5. Online Reputation Monitoring - Monitor news sites, Social Media (conversations/actions that happen away from your site) etc., look at what people are talking about your campaign and your brand. Learn from it and take appropriate actions. A simple tool like Google Alert can provide this to you this for free. I believe Burger King did pay attention to what was being talked about and as a result now you can see Burger King’s Paid Search campaign for “Whopper Virgin” and “Burger King Virgin” keywords.

Comments? Questions?

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Latest Position: Director, Analytics at Resource Interactive (Columbus, OH)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Are Consumers Paying Attention to your Ads?

eMartker reports the results of 2 surveys which show that users are multi-tasking when using the internet.

Few things to think about:

  1. Are consumers watching your video ads when they are already watching TV?

  2. Are consumers reading all the text in your ads when they are already reading bunch of other stuff?

  3. Are consumer paying attention to TV and Print ads when they are surfing web as well?

Are consumers really watching any of your ads?

Marketers have to really work hard to cut though all the noise and make their ads stand out to grab consumers attention.

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Latest Position: Director, Analytics at Resource Interactive (Columbus, OH)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My View on Twitter

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users' updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length.

I heard about Twitter from few friends of mine who could not stop raving about it. After initial skepticism about how useful it would be, I joined the bandwagon and started twittering (Micro blogging on Twitter is called Twittering). I post about 1 tweet (post) per day on Twitter. There are some people who tweet all day long (I’m not sure if they do anything else).

From my experience so far I can tell you that it is a pretty good tool to learn things you normally would miss, things that you care about.

There are a number of people in the Web Analytics, Online Marketing and Advertising space that I follow and I’m always adding more people to follow. Following someone can provide you insight into what they are up to, what are the cool things they read or have come across, and what business challenges they are facing and trying to resolve. You can even learn how they solve these business issues.

Occasionally you will see people who tweet about their daily life. Their tweets looks like “I am sipping a cup of Starbucks mocha”, “I am walking into my apartment”, etc. But if you ignore such noise (unless you find it informative) you will find lots of useful information too.

Personally, here is how I have used Twitter so far:

  1. Find new articles/blog posts : There are so many articles published every day and it is hard to keep track of everything. However, people I follow on Twitter bring that information directly to me via their tweets

  2. Ideas for Blog Posts: Other people’s tweets have provided me with ideas for my own blog

  3. Get Answers: I have asked questions and have gotten answers from people who follow me on twitter

  4. Find new people to follow: I have found new thought leaders to follow, which in turn helps me with number 1 and 2

What does it mean to follow someone on Twitter?
Following: Following someone simply means receiving their Twitter updates.
Followers: Your followers are those who have elected to receive your tweets.

Someone mentioned awhile back about how to measure the success of your twittering. In his opinion the KPI for measuring the success of twittering is the number of followers/number of people you follow. The higher this number, the higher your success is on Twitter. What he was basically saying is that you should write great stuff so that people want to follow you but you should not follow anyone else because your KPI will drop. I don’t agree with this point of view, in my opinion, the KPIs for twittering success are :

  1. The increase in number of followers

  2. Number of Re-tweets/Tweet. Re-tweet is when someone takes your tweet and tweets it again so that his/her followers can read it too

  3. New things you learn (hard to quantify but you know when you learn something new)

Other KPIs could be

  1. Increase in your brand awareness (both personal and corporate)

  2. Increase in any site side conversion (you will be driving users to your site/blogs etc.)

Who should you follow?

It really depends on your interest. I started with few people in the web analytics field and my coworkers. Now, I also look at the original tweeters of the re-teewts that come my way and if the person meets my interests, I start following them. I also follow people who are following me if they tweet about the stuff that interests me.

If at any point you don’t like what a person is tweeting about then you can just stop following them, it take one click to stop following them.

Here are some Web Analytics and Online Marketers that you might start following:

I got this list from the Web Analytics Yahoo Group. Please let me know if I missed your name. If you would like your name to be added to this list then please leave your name and twitter username as a comment and I will update this list.

If you are already on Twitter I would like to hear your opinion about twitter. Do you think it has helped you personally or in business or is it a distraction?

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Latest Position: Director, Analytics at Resource Interactive (Columbus, OH)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Director, Analytics, Resource Interactive (Columbus, Ohio)

Resource Interactive is looking for a Director of Analytics.
Resource Interactive is an Adweek Top Twenty independent interactive agency that helps the world’s leading companies including: Wal-Mart, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, L.L.Bean, Apple, Victoria’s Secret and Hewlett-Packard to plan, create, build, assess and optimize the digital experience of their customers. Selected by The Wall Street Journal in 2008 as one of the top 15 small workplaces in the country, we are committed to being an employer of choice and to recruiting, developing and maintaining a staff of outstanding associates. (

The Director of Analytics is responsible for establishing and managing a digital marketing analytics practice focused on programs for national and international brands. The Director of Analytics will lead a multidisciplinary team to develop an integrated and scalable program to: understand, communicate and evangelize analytics requirements, ensure accurate capture of data for analysis, develop and manage analytics tool set, and conduct data analysis to measure the impact of interactive marketing initiatives.

The Director of Analytics will work closely with the RI Account Strategy team and directly with clients to understand and establish key business objectives in order to structure the appropriate measurement, reporting and information delivery strategies and mechanisms. The Director of Analytics must be able to adjust to varying timelines and budgets to maximize the impact of these insights and tools on clients business. The Director of Analytics must also be able to partner with clients to create efficiencies in process and delivery and show commitment to continual program process improvement and evolution.

Required Qualifications

• A degree in Statistics, Computer Science, Mathematics, Market Research, Economics, Psychology/Sociology, Physics, Operations Research, or other discipline involving experimental design, statistical modeling and quantitative analysis of data
• 8 or more years experience with responsibility for reporting and analyzing data in fast-paced business environment
• Ability to define project objectives, develop shared goals and manage others
• Broad knowledge of reporting and query tools and practices, including proficiency with web metrics reporting packages (e.g. Coremetrics, Omniture, WebTrends, Google Analytics, etc.)
• Strong communication skills with the ability to present information in spoken, written or visual form to a variety of audiences, from internal team to client executives
• Exceptional capacity and tenacity to solve problems with the ability to be both rigorously analytical, as well as intuitively attentive
• Ability to create/design and adapt data capture and reporting processes
• Ability to learn quickly and adjust to new technology and business requirements
• Proficiency in MS Excel and business productivity tools
• 25% travel

Preferred Qualifications

• An MBA or Master’s degree in other related fields
• Both agency and client side experience
• Proficiency with MS Access, SQL and
• Hands-on experience with web site optimization, including site structure, page construction, content, keyword research, search marketing principles, and SEO principles
Apply by

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Social Networking Sites and Advertising

Social Networking sites are used by millions of people around the work and thousands of new users are jumping on social networking sites every day. Almost all of these social networking sites and new entrants are dependent on the advertising to generate the revenue to keep them going. However, a study by BurstMedia shows that consumers have a very low tolerance for online ads.

52.6% of those surveyed accepted that advertising will appear on a web page but they had very low tolerance for more than 2 advertising units per web page. 29.9% of survey respondents said that they will leave the site immediately if they perceived it cluttered. Women are more likely than men to abandon the site. (Have lots of ads on the site and can’t figure out why people are abandoning, this might be a reason, time to do some testing)

It is not only the publishers who are negatively affected by the ad clutter but also are the advertiser’s products and services. 52.4% respondents has a less favorable opinion of an advertiser when their advertising appears on a web page they perceive as cluttered.

A study by IDC shows that the users are less tolerant of Social Networking Services (SNS) advertising than other forms of online advertising. Ads on SNS have lower click-through rates than traditional online ads (on the Web at large, 79% of all users clicked on at least one ad in the past year, whereas only 57% of SNS users did), and they also lead to fewer purchases (Web: 23%; SNS 11%).

Lack of ad effectiveness and slowing economy is making marketers cut their spending on Social Networking sites.

Market research firm eMarketer has cut Social Network ad spending estimate for 2009 to $1.3 billion down from $1.8 billion it projected earlier. It has also lowered 2008 estimated from $1.2 billion from $1.4 billion.

"As consumer usage of social networking sites continues to flourish, advertising has not kept pace," a release from eMarketer explained. "In 2008 and 2009, the recession will affect all forms of online ad spending, but experimental formats, such as the ones available on social networks, which cannot always demonstrate a proven return on investment, will be hit particularly hard."

So what should Social Networking sites do? Charge customers for the using the site? Nope, that is not going to work either. A recent AdAge study showed that no matter how much consumers hate advertising but they are not even going to pay for their favorite sites.

According to IDC Lower-than-average ad effectiveness on SNS will continue to contribute to slow ad sales unless publishers get users to do something beyond just communicating with others. If the major services succeed in doing so, they will become more like portals, such as Yahoo! or MSN, and they will come closer to the audience reach of the top services. If that happened, publishers would be better able to monetize their SNS.

Side Note:

eMarketer has also cut its overall online ad spending estimates

It reduced 2008 to $23.6 billion from its August estimate of $24.9 billion. The online ad growth is still increasing and is expected to be 11.3 percent higher than 2007. In 2009 this increase will be 8.9 percent over 2008.
Hardest hit is the display advertising, for which the growth rate estimate was cut from 16.9 percent to 3.9 percent. Search ads are expected to grow at 21.4 percent in 2008, its lowest level so far. Next year the search-ad growth rate should be at 14.9 percent, the company predicted, dropping to 10.4 percent in 2013.




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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Consumers Don’t Like Ads but Won’t Pay for Ad-Free Sites

A survey by Ad Age asked consumers if they would be willing to pay $39.99/year or $29.99/year to make their favorite sites ad-free. 69% of them responded with a NO. 82% were unlikely to pay even $29.99/year. Yes, consumers are not willing to pay even $2.50 per month for using their favorite sites.

It was not clear how many respondents were for this survey.

It is possible that two price point, $39.99 and $29.99/year offered in this survey might be high. It is possible that there is price that consumer are willing to pay to use your site ad-free. You should do you own surveys and test if and what your customers are willing to pay for the subscription.

Will you be willing to pay $1.00 per month to make your favorite site Ad-Free? Take a poll on the right side panel of this blog.

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Monday, December 01, 2008

WAA Webinar - 5 Do’s and Don’ts for Behavioral Segmentation, Targeting, & Interactive Marketing

I invite you to a Web Analytics Association's webinar on Behavioral Segmentation, Targeting and Interactive Marketing that I am doing on December 4th.

I will be joined by two very intelligent and highly respected personalities in web analytics and interactive marketing space, Gary Angel of Sephonic and Akin Arikan of Unica.

Gary Angles co-founded Semphonic and is president and chief technology officer. He’s responsible for leading Semphonic’s development of Web analytics and SEM decision making tools for web marketing professionals. Read Gary's blog at

Akin Arikan is the author of Multichannel Marketing: Metrics and Methods for On and Offline Success. He is also a Director of Product Marketing and Strategy at Unica Corporation, responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction with Unica's web analytics and Internet marketing solutions. Read Akin's blog at

Here is a brief description of the presentation

" 5 Do’s and Don’ts for Behavioral Segmentation, Targeting, & Interactive Marketing"
The saw to a carpenter is as vital as segmentation is to a web analyst. Without segmentation, reporting can hardly be called analytics. Behavioral segmentation lays the groundwork for behavioral targeting which automates the process of turning insights into action. Using both behavioral segmentation and automated targeting, the online marketer can truly begin to be interactive - driving a timely dialog between the customer and company which build on the individuals past and current online behaviors.
Please join me, Gary and Akin on December 4th at 12:00 Noon EST.

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Technical Consultant for Internet Marketing and Web Analytics at Unica (Waltham, MA)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Facebook lost my Email Notification settings

I got an email this morning from Facebook that they have lost my email notification settings. I did not believe that email, I thought it was a phishing email. I checked the url in the email and it seemed valid but for some reason I still could not believe it. “How can Facebook lose my email notifications? Not possible” I thought.

I logged into Facebook and found the same message on the home page. So, the email was legit and Facebook had indeed lost my email preferences.

It is very concerning to me. How can a company like Facebook lose data? Millions of people put a lot of data on Facebook and how can Facebook not keep proper safeguard to make sure data does not get lost and proper backups to restore the data. It is not clear if a programming error or human error cleared all the data or did somebody break into the database/file system and cleared it out. I am not sure if it was just me or others got affected as well?

Did you receive similar message from Facebook?

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Technical Consultant for Internet Marketing and Web Analytics at Unica (Waltham, MA)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Motrin Ad Controversy - Who Gained from it?

Last week there was a lot of uproar in the social media space about a Motrin Ad that caused Motrin to pull the ad within 2 days of launching it and post an apology on their site. Judging by this and the negative press it got, it seemed like a failure. However, in my last post I outlined few key measures to see if the ad was a success or a failure.

As I expected, Motrin site saw a huge increase in traffic on its site. According to Compete Pro Motrin’s site saw a 10X increase in its Daily Reach on the Web, jumping from .002% to .02% in one day. That is a huge. An ad without a controversy would have not generated that kind of traffic. Motrin should send a big thank you and some motrins to #motrinmoms , a twitter group that started this whole controversy.

Source: Compete Pro

Note: 15th evening is when the ad went live and by 17th evening they pulled the ad and posted an apology.

#motrinmoms, you were successful too because you got the ad pulled out and got an apology. Now go take some motrin to ease the pain caused by this ad, don’t forget to print a coupon at Motrin.

Comments? Questions?

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Technical Consultant for Internet Marketing and Web Analytics at Unica (Waltham, MA)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Was Motrin’s Baby Wearing Ad a Failure?

Last week, Johnson & Johnson’s video ad for Motrin caused a lot of uproar in the media. There were a few moms, dads and media upset with this ad and voiced their opinions on blogs, twitter and other social media. But there were also many who voiced their opinion on the social media and said they did not see any issue with the ad. It was amazing to see how the negative voice of few people carried such a huge weight (as it does most of the time) that Motrin was forced to remove the ad and post an apology on the home page of

So should we say that this ad was a failure? It sure does seem like it, doesn’t it?
However, in my opinion, there are several ways to look at it. Let’s look at various KPIs and see if the Motrin ad was a success or failure.

  1. Number of Video Views – I think this was huge, way more than Motrin or their agency ever imagined. If Motrin calculates the percentage increase in actual v/s anticipated video views of this Ad then I am pretty sure they will find it that this ad was a huge success. (Related Post, Video Analytics)

  2. Buzz created – Huge. A lot of buzz was created. The blogosphere, Twitter, Social Media, TV, Newspapers - everybody was talking about it. Honestly, I never even considered Motrin when I was looking for pain killers, but now I know it is another option made by Johnson and Johnson. Also, some people have told me why Motrin might be better than the other pain killers I have been taking.

  3. Buzz Sentiment – Yes, there was a lot of negative press about this ad that forced the ad out (there were a lot of positive sentiments as well) . I am not sure if opinions about an ad from Motrin would really impact Motrin’s brand image that much. A lot of people I talked to did not view this ad negatively, but also did not voice their opinion in any social media so their sentiments were not taken into account. Yes, all sentiment measures will show an issue, but is there really an issue with the product or was the issue just with an ad? If you just look at the buzz sentiment in isolation then this ad appears as a failure.

  4. Brand Awareness – A lot of people, like me, who never even considered the Motrin brand before, became aware of it. I think this is a huge positive.

  5. Change in visits to the site from pre-video launch- I am sure it was a great success. I am sure a lot of people went to the site to see what all the fuss was about and to read the apology by Motrin. The apology got the blogosphere and social media world buzzing again driving even more traffic to Motrin’s site.

  6. Change in Motrin Sales – This will really tell us if the ad and this backlash had any negative (or positive) impact in Motrin or not. As I asked above, was the backlash against Motrin, or just against the ad? If it was the ad then they apologized and took the ad away. The product “Motrin” did not have any negatives attached to it. As mentioned above, a lot of people might have to gone to the site. If you look on Motrin’s site there is a link on the top called “Special Offers”. You click on that link and get a coupon with the option to forward the page to a friend. I am sure that this increase in traffic would have resulted in an increase in coupons being printed and forwarded to a friend. This in return will possibly drive more sales. This seems like a success for Motrin.

In the future when Motrin comes up with a new ad they’re automatically going to get some additional coverage. I think that also makes the Baby Wearing ad a success. Free publicity; what more can you ask for?

So what do you think was it a success or a failure?

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Market and Optimize Responsibly

We, the people in the business of marketing and optimization, know (I hope) that certain images, text, ad copy etc. work better than others in driving user to convert on our sites. We continuously test (A/B and Mult-variate) to see what works and what does not work for our visitors/customer on our sites and then optimize our sites/banners/emails etc. accordingly. In order to make users click we test headlines, text, testimonials etc. making certain claims about our services, and products in those headlines, ad copies, emails etc.

In making those claims we need to think responsibly. We need to make sure that we do not go over broad and make false claims, promises or exaggerate the results. Yes, those claims might give you higher click through rates and higher conversions but there is one more KPI that you need to keep in mind i.e. the KPI that measures responsibility (both ethical and legal). We need to all think ethically and legally about all the claims we make. Think about how we will feel if another company made such claims and we fall for it, will we feel cheated or not? Think about the potential of lawsuits. is being sued for allegedly making false claims in their email. According to Media Post

“The plaintiff, Anthony Michaels of San Diego county, alleges that he signed up for a free membership to the site last Christmas Eve, but then upgraded to a paid one after receiving e-mail ads stating that other schoolmates were trying to contact him. Those statements turned out to be false, according to the lawsuit.
Michaels' lawyer, Brian Kabateck, said his client had no way of verifying whether his former schoolmates were actually seeking to contact him on the site, short of signing up for a one-year membership.
"The e-mail said: 'So and so's trying to find you, and in order to hook up with him you have to join and become a gold member,'"

Media Post further reports that also faces a lawsuit by members complaining about the site's marketing efforts. In that case, filed in federal district court in San Francisco, the members allege that sent e-mails that appeared to have come from specific friends, but were actually sent by the site.

We might (or might now) find out if the claims by classmates were false or not. Either way this lawsuit provides a great lesson for the marketers - Market and Optimize Responsibly.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Google Analytics: Creating Advanced Segments and an Issue

Last month Google Analytics released Advanced Segmentation functionality. I am very impressed with it so far, however this functionality is still in beta, which means it could potentially have some issues. In this post I will show you how to create an advanced segment and one issue that I found with it.

Business Problem: I want to see all the data for visits that originate from Google.

Solution: Create an Advanced Segment that will have all the visits that has the source as google.

Let’s see how to create such a segment. (Not this is a very simple segment but the same steps can be used to create more complex segments).

Creating an "Advanced Segment"

  1. Click on the "Advanced Segments" link on the left navigation bar under the “Settings” section.

  2. In the next screen you will see all the "Advanced Segments". In this screen you manage all the advanced segments. Google Analytics has predefined some of the segments and they are grouped under "Default Segments". The segments that you create will be listed under "Custom Segments". To create a new segment, click on the “Create new custom segment” link on the top right hand corner.

  3. The next screen is where you create the segment. The segments can be created by using one or more dimensions and metrics. On the left hand side you have 2 sections "Dimensions" and "Metrics". I chose a dimension of "Source" listed under "Traffic Source" as I wanted to see all the visits which originated from Google (i.e. the source was Google). I chose "contains" as the condition as I wanted to get all the visits that originated from anything that contained Google in the source. Finally I entered the word "google" in the value.

  4. Click on “Test Segment” button to do a sanity check and see if the segment size is as expected. Once you are satisfied with the segment, give it a name in "New Segment" filed and click "Save Segment" to Save the segment.

  5. Once you the save the segment you will be taken back to "Mange Segments" where your new segment will appear. See below, a new segment called "Google Visits" show up. The new segment is now ready to be applied to various reports.

So far so good. However, I found one potential issue with the data.

The Issue

I applied this segment to one of the pages in my Content Report (see below) and chose the date as Nov 3rd.

As you can see my "Google Visit" segment is reporting 328 pageviews while my "All Segments" is reporting only 175 pageviews. That does not seem right. Similarly Unique Views is 112 for "All Visits" while 201 for "Google Visits". As you can also see from the graph, "Google Visits" are higher than "All Visits" on several dates not just November 3rd. Has anyone else seen something similar? Am I not reading these reports correctly?

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Technical Consultant for Internet Marketing and Web Analytics, Unica Corporation (Waltham, Massachusetts)

Technical Consultant for Internet Marketing and Web Analytics, Unica Corporation (Waltham, Massachusetts)
Unica Corporation is looking for an experienced Professional Services Consultant to install, configure, optimize and provide web marketing consulting services relative to our NetInsight Web analytics solutions on-site at our customers' facilities.

To be a successful Professional Services Consultant you must be a self-starter, capable of working with minimal guidance in a diverse set of environments. You must be a quick learner with strong analytical skills accompanied by a strong desire to learn new tools and techniques. You must be capable of communicating with both technical and non-technical audiences (administrators and end-users of our software), as well as with our internal sales representatives. The ability to build rapport and develop effective working relationships with clients is essential.

This position requires extensive travel and is based in our Waltham, Massachusetts headquarters.


• Install, configure and optimize our NetInsight Web analytics solution on-site at our customers' facilities
• Collaborate with customers and internal representatives to determine the scope of the professional services projects
• Document internal and customer deliverables in statements of work
• Advise customers on best practices and deliver supporting documentation
• Provide training to both technical and business users of our software
• Specify hardware/software configurations based on customer requirements/environment


• 3+ years of enterprise software consulting and implementation experience
• An extensive knowledge of relational databases, specifically: Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and DB2 databases
• A comprehensive knowledge of web servers, specifically: Apache, Microsoft IIS and iPlanet
• An extensive knowledge of major software platforms: specifically all flavors of Windows and UNIX
• A comprehensive knowledge of SQL querying for multiple databases
• A basic knowledge/exposure to business intelligence tools, specifically: Business Objects, Cognos and MicroStrategy a plus
• Functional experience in at least 3 scripting languages: Perl, Bash and VBScript preferred.
• A solid understanding of systems administration and network management
• A solid understanding of Microsoft Active Directory/LDAP/Web Server connectivity/security
• Outstanding problem solving, troubleshooting skills
• Experience in the Web analytics and/or business intelligence a plus
• Experience with Internet Marketing is a plus
• Strong organizational and time management skills
• Excellent written and oral communication skills
• Tenacity, persistence, and a winning attitude
• Bachelors degree preferred
• Outstanding PC skills (Excel, Access, Word, etc.) required

This position requires approximately 75% travel and is based in our Waltham, Massachusetts headquarters.
Apply by

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Should You be Freaking Out about your Analytics? Tracking the Spikes and Dips.

This Blog Post is written by Aaron Lovelace. Aaron is an Analytics and Optimization Analyst on my team and he will be guest blogging on this blog.
One of the challenges in web analytics is knowing whether a spike or dip in web metrics is something to be worried about. One common way that we deal with knowing whether to ‘freak out’ or not is to conduct a historical baseline analysis. Now, if you are a WebTrends customer, there is an easier and less time consuming way. But first, let me explain how we normally go about it so that you can fully appreciate the new development.

For any given site, our team typically maps out historical trends and create a set of standard metrics to measure against. We call this process a "baseline analysis." These baseline metrics can then be used to determine whether what we are seeing in our analytics is normal or not.

If you do this type of baseline analysis on your site and you notice that your metrics are abnormally good, you can turn whatever caused the spike into a best practice. If your metrics are unusually bad, try to avoid whatever caused the problem in the future. Easy enough, right? Well, sort of.

It is easy to see that conducting this type of research is a necessity if you are serious about success, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a time consuming and laborious process. If you hire a consultant to do a baseline analysis for you, it could get expensive.

So here is the good news— there is a now faster and more accurate way to track spikes and dips in WebTrends… and to know if you should freak out about them.

WebTrends recently announced a new service (through a partnership with Technology Leaders) called “Dynamic Alert.” Among other things, Dynamic Alert allows you to track spikes and dips that deviate from your website’s historical norms automatically.

It should be noted that SiteCatalyst has a feature called simply "Alerts" which allows you to be notified if your metrics exceed a pre-set metric that you specify. With Alerts, you still need to do a manual baseline analysis to figure out which number(s) to enter in the Alerts configuration.

This is what is so great about the new WebTrends tool—you don’t need to pick a number, it just does it for you by automatically analyzing your historical data. One feature I would like to see, however, is the ability to integrate with other analytics tools beyond WebTrends.

Keep an eye out for more information from WebTrends and Technology Leaders about this useful new tool. Although Dynamic Alerts was developed by a partner, if you sign-up through WebTrends, your bill for this service will just be added to your regular WebTrends bill.

Looking to fill your Web Analytics or Online Marketing position? Post your open jobs on WebAnalytics Job Board

New Position

Technical Consultant for Internet Marketing and Web Analyticsat Unica (Waltham, MA)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Relevancy Matters in Email Marketing

Let's begin with a profile of a customer who received an email from a large retailer.

Name: John S
Gender: Male
Age Range: 40 -50
Relationship: Married
Location: Seattle, WA
Profession: Executive in an Interactive and Technology Company
Hobbies: Golf, Madden 09,
Shopping Habits: Shops at, mostly interested in shoes and have borught a lot of them from Also buys shirts, trousers and other male clothing items. Loyal customer at and Nordstrom for many years. Has an account online and login quite often when browsing.

From what it sounds like he is a perfect customer for any male clothing items that Nordstorm wants to sell. He will be very keen to look at Nordstrom promotions. He has opted-in for an email from Nordstrom.

Last week, John and I were talking about e-retailers, targeting (in particular Behavioral Targeting), personalization and product recommendations online. During our discussion he said “you have to see an email that I received from Nordstorm”. He forwarded me the email which is shown below:

Now my questions to Nordstrom or other etailers who are sending similar emails is, “Why would you do that?” You have so much information on your customers (John in this case) why not use that information to power your emails?

John was not annoyed with Nordstrom for this email(he is a huge fan of Nordstrom. Good for the brand.) but he was disappointed. He would probably have bought something if Nordstrom had sent something relevant to him in that email.

Here is a customer waiting to convert and you are disappointing him with irrelevant emails? Why?

Don't you want happy customers who are ready to open their wallet and give you money? Don’t waste your and his time with irrelevant emails send them relevant emails.

Here are few ways to create relevancy in emails
  1. Use his browsing history to look at what has been looking at but has not bought yet – Target the correct promotion
  2. Use his past email click-though behavior to determine what might interest him
  3. Use his checkout funnel abandonment history to determine what to send in an email
  4. Use his past purchase history and make proper recommendations
  5. Use the frequency and recency of his visits to the site to determine when to send him a coupon and type of promotion
  6. If you do feel you have to send something unrelated to persons interest (e.g. provide him an opportunity to see what else you sell maybe lure him into buying something he might not have considered) then send it along with something relevant to him. E.g. send discount on women apparel along with some discount for men stuff
  7. If you don’t have anything relevant to send then don’t send an email. Consumers are bombarded with irrelevant emails every day, you need to stand out and make your email count so don’t send anything irrelevant

Sending relevant emails is not rocket science. Most of the email tools/services have a way to send highly customized emails. You just have to explore them.

Do you have examples of irrelevant emails or relevant emails that you would like to share? Send them to me.

Comments? Questions?





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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Another Company with Giant Internet Footprint enters Behavioral Targeting

Akamai, a content delivery network with relationships with publishers, ad networks and advertisers across the internet, is getting in to behavioral targeting with the purchase of acerno. Akamai bought acerno for $95 million. Acerno uses shopping cart data to predict what the consumer is interested in buying next. Acerno network reaches nearly 100% of online shoppers in US.

The combined solution will use browsing data available from Akamai with the shopping data available from Acerno to deliver behaviorally targeted ads to the consumers. Like most of the other behavioral ad networks this system claims to be anonymous.

What makes Akamai Behavioral Targeting Different from others?

According to Mike Afergan, Akamai's CTO and senior vice president of Advertising Decision Solutions, the solution is ideal for larger campaigns since it doesn't require pixels, JavaScript, or beacons, which are time-consuming. "[Customers] are able to roll out bigger campaigns in a much quicker way. Conceptually that's the right way to think about what we do" he said.
I am sure Akamai will face the privacy concerns unless it is proactive and make it a truly opt-in system, as I proposed in my 5 Step Process to ease Privacy Concerns.

Due to stiff competition in behavioral targeting network space, recently few of the behavioral targeting networks have closed their doors. Akamai sure does have a better reach than a lot of Behavioral Targeting networks out there. Akamai’s new venture might further cause some other Behavioral Targeting networks to go under as well, provided it can ease the privacy concerns.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

eMetrics Washington DC 2008

I am heading off to D.C. tomorrow morning to attend eMetrics. eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit is the a premier conference for Online Marketers and Web Analysts. It is a great place to learn from and network with online professionals from around the world.

My Session on Behavioral Targeting

Behavioral Targeting is a topic that I cover extensively on this blog and have spoken on at past eMetrics. In this session I will talk about the benefits of BT to consumers, publishers (site owners) and advertisers. I will show what vendors are available to help with different types of BT and review various aspects of BT, from the available technologies to the tried and true techniques to the preponderance of privacy pains. I will also present 5 step process to successful Behavioral Targeting and is not just limited to online advertising but also how these techniques can be used for onsite advertising and content and product targeting as a part of onsite campaign and email marketing.

If you are going to attending eMetrics, I would love to meet with you. Look for me there or drop me an email (batraonline at with your phone number.

Here is a partial list of other presenters at this conference (I took it straight from Jim Sterne’s email)
Gray Angel, Tim Ash, Douglas Brooks, Jason Burby, Joseph Carrabis, Terry Cohen, Matt Cutler, Justin Cutroni, Bryan Eisenberg, Vanessa Fox, Bill Gassman, Andrew Goodman, Rob Graham, Ann Green, Mike Grehan, Stephane Hamel, Alex Langshur, Pat LaPointe, John Lovett, Neil Mason, Jodi McDermott, Liz Miller, David Millrod, Angel Morales, Jim Novo, Bob Page, Katie Delahaye Paine, Todd Parsons, Laura Patterson, Eric Peterson, Michael Stebbins, Robbin Steif, Pat Stroh, Jennifer Veesenmeyer.

See you guys in DC.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Direct Marketing Association's Behavioral Targeting Survey

Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is seeking marketers from companies with behavioral targeting programs to take a 10-minute survey on their companies’ experiences. The survey contains 24 questions and aims to answer:
  • How much companies are spending on behavioral targeting

  • How much revenue it’s producing

  • What are implementation issues

  • Which behaviors they are using

All respondents will receive a top line report of the results of the survey. I will also post the results on this blog. If you are currently engaged in Behavioral Targeting, this is a great way to contribute to a report that will clarify the state of behavioral marketing today.

Take the DMA’s Behavioral Targeting Survey

Looking to fill your Web Analytics or Online Marketing position? Post your open jobs on WebAnalytics Job Board

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Yahoo Web Analytics - Let's Get Started

IndexTools was bought by Yahoo earlier this year and yesterday they rebranded themselves as Yahoo! Web Analytics.
Dennis Mortensen, Director of Data Insights at Yahoo, writes:
The re-branding also includes the launch of a new website and changes to the analytics product itself. It also includes a few enhancements to the tool, beyond making it scalable and compliant with the Yahoo! stack. From a user perspective, the first most noticeable fact is that we are moving to a single sign-on provided by Yahoo! and your account will be tied into your overall Yahoo! account.
As part of this announcement, we are also opening up further access to the tool and are now actively supporting:
• Yahoo! Store
• Yahoo! Developers (Y!OS)
• Yahoo! Head Advertisers (Microsites)
And for these, this is not just random access as in handing out 15000 logins, but well thought through integration with the platforms themselves. If you e.g. are a Yahoo! store owner you can enable enterprise-class web analytics by simply ticking a box and we then automatically inflate the correct tracking script variables at runtime. You are of course allowed to turn this off and take control yourself if needed. If you are a developer you will probably not even notice that it is us, as we fully instrument on the fly and create reports through the YWA API. All very exciting stuff I will elaborate on in future posts.
As you can read, this is not a free-for-all-come-and-get-it launch, but a carefully planned controlled access launch, which will keep all of our functionality in place and even enhance it. There is no dumbing down of the tool in any of the engagements above - and we will be working hard to add to the list of customers who can get access. So expect the above list to grow rapidly over the course of 2008. Anywho; The official PR message is:
Yahoo! Web Analytics will be released in stages to various business units and eco-system partners!

Some blog posts and articles (e.g. Yahoo Web Analytics claims faster updates than Google Analytics) are comparing Yahoo! Web Analytics to Google Analytics. In my opinion this tool is a lot better than Google Analytics and there is no real comparison between Google Analytics and Yahoo! Web Analytics. Yahoo! Web Analytics (IndexTools) compares more to the likes of Omniture SiteCatalyst, WebTrends Analytics etc. There are a lot of Omniture, WebTrends, Coremetrics customers who do not use (or need) the full functionality of these tools and Yahoo! Web Analytics tool could be great fit for these companies.

But how do you get Yahoo! Web Analytics?

ZeroDash1 (now Ascentium) is Yahoo! Web Analytics partner and can get you started on this tool. If you are interested in learning how we might save you thousands of dollar on web analytics tool email me at batraonline at, make sure to put “Yahoo! Web Analytics” in your subject line.

(As I was writing this post I saw Eric Peterson’s blog post that you might want to check out Yahoo Web Analytics does not compete with Google Analytics)

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Mobile Analytics

According to Nielsen Mobile the adoption of the mobile web has reached a critical mass. Nielsen says that, as of May 2008, 15.6 percent of mobile subscribers in the US make regular use of the mobile Internet on their devices, totaling some 40 million subscribers. This is just a subset of the 95 million US mobile subscribers who pay for access to the mobile Internet (through data plans or some other setup) but don't use it quite so regularly.

Despite such a surge in mobile internet usage business are lacking in measuring the mobile traffic. A recent survey by Omniture found that 71% of businesses are not measuring mobile traffic to their sites. It also found that 50 percent of businesses do not even know how many unique users landing on their sites originate from a mobile device.
Measuring Mobile internet traffic, also called “Mobile Analytics” is not easy, we are still dealing with the accuracy issues with web analytics and now Mobile analytics provides its own set of unique challenges.

Judah Philips in his post on Metrics insider covers a comprehensive list of challenges that Mobile Analytics faces.

Some of the key challenges he lists are

  • Data Collection –JavaScript is the most common way of collecting data for web analytics, but not all the mobile browsers execute JavaScript.

  • Unique visitor identification - due to lack of cookie support and the changing of IP addresses it is a challenge to uniquely identify a user.

  • Traffic source detection - Determining the source of traffic, such as search, email, direct entry, RSS feeds, and marketing campaigns can be challenging in the mobile space.

  • Geographic identification - Where are the visitors viewing your site coming from? But not all devices enable geographic detection because the gateway’s IP address is used, not a GPS signal.

Mobile Analytics Solutions

A lot of Mobile Analytics solutions have sprung up in past year or so and more are coming up (See my prediction for 2008). Some of the established web analytics vendors are also now offering Mobile Analytics solutions. These solutions widely differ in their technology, process and capabilities. Which solution will work for you will depend on your needs (In future I might compare some of these vendors on this blog, but meanwhile if you would like help in evaluating a solution you can email me at batraonline at Below is the list of current mobile analytics vendors that I am aware of.

Other Resources you might be interested in

Did I miss any tool/solution? Email me at batraonline at

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Multichannel Marketing: Book Review

We live in a multi-channel world today. Customers are everywhere Online, Print, Mobile, Email, TV etc. Marketing efforts in one channel have an impact on the other channels. Customers interact with various channels before they take the final action i.e. to buy from you.

Mutli-channel customer behavior poses a problem for marketers who need to analyze impact of various marketing efforts and decide how to allocate their budget. It is one of the biggest challenges that face the marketers today. Akin Arikan provides a very practical approach to Multi-channel marketing measurement and optimization in his book Multichannel Marketing: Metrics and for On and Offline Success.

This book shows how to effectively measure and optimize the multi-channel marketing efforts using web analytics. Akin looks at multichannel measurement methods from web analysts, brand marketer and direct marketers point of view. He then takes these various methods to create cross channel analytics.

I highly recommend this book to all the marketers and web analysts. Great Job Akin!

Have you read this book? What do you think? Chime-in.

Here is a list of other books that web analysts recommend.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Behavioral Targeting Resources: Ask Anil Batra

A friend of mine and a regular reader of my blog asked me about the resources that are available for someone to learn about Behavioral Targeting. Since I get a lot of questions via emails, I thought that I should answer it via a blog post so that others, who might be interested in the same topic, can benefit from it as well.

With this post I am also officially starting a column called “Ask Anil Batra”. Please send me your question on Web Analytics and Behavioral Targeting and I will try to answer them in my blog posts.

Now back to answering the question. Here is a list of Behavioral Targeting Resources that I know of:

Behavioral Targeting vendors have a lot of information and whitepapers on their own sites. I will do repost in future with a list of vendors and any whitepapers that might be of value. If you are a Behavioral Targeting vendor and would like to be included in this list then please contact me.

If you know of a resource on Behavioral Targeting then please leave me a comment or email it to me and I will add it in my future post.

Got a question on Web Analytics, Optimization or Behavioral Targeting? Send it to me at batraonline (at)

Looking to fill your Web Analytics or Online Marketing position? Try WebAnalytics Job Board

New Position
(Web Sales) Conversion Marketing Manager at Hewlett Packard (American Fork, UT)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Online Data Tracking and Privacy

Online privacy is a hot button these days. Privacy advocates and lawmakers are putting a lot of pressure on several large internet companies such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to be transparent about how they intend to use users web surfing data (behavior). Mainly they are concerned with the companies that collect a huge amount of user data and then engage in Behavioral Targeting.

However online data tracking is not limited to companies who engage in Behavioral Targeting. Any companies which collects users’ web surfing data or user provided data needs to make sure do not compromise user privacy (actual or perceived). They need to clearly state how they are collecting data and how that data will be used.
Enterprise web analytics tools like Omniture, WebTrends, Coremetrics etc and free tools like Google Analytics and Yahoo IndexTools have made it very easy for website owners of any size to track users’ online behaviors. Most of the web analytics tools use a first party anonymous cookie to track users and their behaviors on any given site.

Side Note: The data is called anonymous because it mainly uses a cookie value to indentify a user (there are other ways which I am not covering in this post) without knowing who the actual user is. Say John Doe arrives on, a web analytics tool will drop a cookie with a random id say 123ASXBA12. This cookie id is not tied to any personally identifiable information (see below) of John Doe. So Web Analytics tools (in most cases) do not know who the person is, they just know that cookie id 123ASXBA12 came to the site. They use this id to track current and future site visits.

Even if the data is anonymous the potential of it being tied to personally identifiable information is there and that can cause privacy concerns. It is critical that every company that collects any sort of consumer data, anonymous or personal, needs to clearly state its data collection and usage policy in its site’s privacy policy.

Usually Web Analysts do not tackle this issue and it is left to the legal department. However, a lot of times the web analytics tracking and any kind of targeting is implemented without getting legal involved. As a result companies sometimes do not have proper privacy policy in place. This is a huge blunder, companies need to take privacy issues seriously and pay due attention to their privacy policy.

Do we need Privacy policy even though we use Third Party Web Analytics Tool and they collect the data.

It does not matter who is collecting the data. The data is collected on your site and is collected on your behalf so you are responsible for clearly stating how you are collecting and using the data.
Those who use Google Analytics, need to be aware that Google Analytics requires such disclosures. Here is what Google Analytics states in its Terms of Service
You will have and abide by an appropriate privacy policy and will comply with all applicable laws relating to the collection of information from visitors to Your websites. You must post a privacy policy and that policy must provide notice of your use of a cookie that collects anonymous traffic data.

Tracking Personally Identifiable Data

In simple terms Personally Identifiable Information (PII) can identify a particular user, example last name, first name, email address etc. Most of the commercial Web Analytics Tools have the capability to track Personally Identifiable Information. In other tools such as Omniture, Webtrends etc. you can pass the personally identifiable information either via JavaScript variables or via importing an outside file which ties the anonymous cookie with identifiable information.
If you collect or track PII data then it becomes even more important that you disclose what information you are collecting or tracking and how you intend to use that information. Before you start collecting PII information, think hard what information you need and why you need it. Once you have figure out the information then make sure to fully disclose it on your site’s privacy policy.
I am a big supporter of giving users an opt-in option before using PII data for tracking and targeting. If you do decide that opt-in is not the right for your business model then at least provide an easy way for users to opt-out from being tracked and targeted using PII information.

Note: Google Analytics does not allow any Personally Identifiable information to be tracked via Google Analytics, period. Here is what Google Analytics Terms of Service says:
You will not (and will not allow any third party to) use the Service to track or collect personally identifiable information of Internet users, nor will You (or will You allow any third party to) associate any data gathered from Your website(s) (or such third parties' website(s)) with any personally identifying information from any source as part of Your use (or such third parties' use) of the Service.

Google Analytics even considers IP address as PII. It uses IP address to populate Geo Report but will not show IP address in any report. Other tools such as Omniture, WebTrends etc. can display IP and other PII data.

Optimization and Privacy

Most of the Optimization (A/B and Multivariate Testing) tools allow you to segment users based on IP, cookie or user provided data. For examples if you want to test a page on Males, age 35-45 from Redmond, WA, then you need to collect data from users so that you can create the right segment to test. However this type of data crosses the line of PII data, even though there could be thousands of users in that segment it can be used to identify a particular user. So make sure you are clear in your privacy policy that you might be (or are) using the data to test the optimal layout of the page and provide a better experience etc.

Examples of good privacy policies
Smart Money

As marketers and web analysts lets do our part, let’s make sure to be clear and forthcoming in our privacy policies.

Also see Jim Stern’s view on giving users the control on privacy.

Questions? Comments?



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New Position

(Web Sales) Conversion Marketing Manager at Hewlett Packard (American Fork, UT)