Thursday, December 14, 2006

Omniture makes the right move With Omniture Genesis

Omniture has partnered with various companies in the industry to take web analytics to next level. These partnerships will allow Omniture’s customers to easily integrate different marketing applications and truly help them move toward actionable web analytics. Visit to download whitepapers.
One of the short coming of Web Analytics tools (and various marketing applications) is their inability to provide a complete view of all their marketing efforts and provide a way to take actions on their visitor’s behavioral data and help optimize user’s experience. To get a 360 view of your visitors you had to do a lot plumbing and even that did not provide you the full view as each system provided different numbers for same data points. This plug-and-play interface promises that marketers will be able to easily integrate between marketing applications.

I expect to see other web analytics tool providers either getting into similar partnerships or making some acquisition. This is the future of Web Analytics. Web Analytics is not complete if you can’t fully understand various factors that drive traffic, understand what visitors do when they arrive on the site, segment these users based on their behaviors, demographics etc and then take action i.e. provide content, products and experience that is relevant for your segments. These partnerships will allow marketers to get closer to 1:1 marketing.

This is a good start, now we will have to wait and see how Omniture delivers on this promise. I would love to hear your views and experiences.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Identifying & Solving Client Pains

On Tuesday Manoj Jasra ( started a multi part series in which expert Web Analytics Analysts from the industry explain the "pains" they hear from their clients or have encountered. The expert Analysts also talk about strategies to deal with these pains. I think this is a great effort by Manoj to bring different perspective on client pain points.

Contributing to this series are:
- Eric Peterson
- Marshall Sponder
- Gary Angel
- Avinash Kaushik
- Anil Batra (me)
- Justin Cutroni
- Jason Van Orden
- Robbin Steif
- Akin Arikan
- Manoj Jasra

Yesterday he featured Avinash and I, you can read the full article at

The two most important pain points that I have encountered over and over are:

1. Accuracy of the Data - The tools are purchased and set up without understanding the goals of the business. Since the goals of the business/site are not properly understood clients start measuring and reporting on whatever out of the box reports the tool can provide. In most of the cases tool is capturing information that should not be captured and skipping information that should be captured (improper tagging and other issues). To avoid this issue our approach is to start with understanding the business goals and then make recommendation for the tool and configuration of the tool.

2. Acting on the findings - One of the major issues is acting on the finding. Once we make recommendations many customers can’t take any actions on them. Why? Because of organizational structure. IT, who is responsible for making the changes to pages, reports elsewhere. Marketing can ask for changes but won't get them because IT has other priorities.

How should this be fixed:
1. Change in organizational structure
2. Help the whole organization know the impact of these changes, show the impact these changes will have on the bottom line.

These are not the only pain points but are the most common that come up almost all of the time. In future I will write about all of the different issues (pain points) that I have come across, so stay tuned.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Measuring Real Conversion Rate

I recently read Avinash Kaushik’s post Excellent Analytics Tip #8: Measure the Real Conversion Rate & “Opportunity Pie”. I like the approach in general but I have a differing view on point #1 and point # 3 in this article. In my opinion almost every real visitor who lands on your site provides an opportunity for conversion.

Point #1, Avinash states that we should disregard those users who view only a page or stays on the site for less than 10 seconds when calculating the real conversion rate opportunities. In my opinion not everybody who bounces (views 1 page or views the site for less than 10 seconds) can be discounted. These users do present a fair change of conversion. Let me show you why I think that’s the case.
Let’s take an example of a visitor who searches on a keyword on a search engine and lands on the site, three things can happen before leading to the bounce.

1. User spends 5 mins reading the page and then leaves the site. (Assume this is a content site and we are collecting email addresses) Maybe the user will come back maybe he/she won’t.

2. User is so lost when he/she land on the site that she leaves (site is so disorganized or the landing page content or value proposition does not matches with the keyword he/she searched – even though site might very well have that content or product somewhere else)

3. User lands on the site which is not worth his/her time and leaves.– Wrong Site.

In the above 3 scenarios your can only discount number 3 but not number 1 and 2, 1 and 2 provide an opportunity to convert. (Note: Scenario No 3 is also worth looking at; not from conversion point of view but why and how did users land on your site when it was a wrong site for him/her).

Number 1 shows you that user was indeed interested in the site and can possibly sign up for email newsletters had your page provided him proper links or path to conversions. Discounting this user is a big mistake, considering how deeply linked sites are these days and users have lot of information on their finger tips. Users generally won’t spend time to find a path to get converted unless you can convince them, but these user provide an opportunity. This is especially true for lead generation sites, where visitors come to read something specific and they might read only one page in their visit but are valid conversion opportunity.

Number 2 shows that your site’s landing page was not well optimized to lead user to a conversion, you can’t discount the users and ignore this fact. This will be huge opportunity lost.

Note: Time spent on the site is calculated by time lapsed between 2 page views, so when a user views only one page they are automatically excluded from this calculations (not sure if there are tools that can calculate actual time spent even when a user views one page). So don’t discount users with one page views, think about why they only viewed one page what you could have done better to convert them

Regarding customer intent (Point # 3) Avinash says that “One of the biggest mistakes business make is thinking that every visitor to the website is fair game, conversion fodder”. Again, in my view there is always an opportunity to convert visitors to customers. In brick and mortar case I have seen my dad (who owned a retail store in India) converting those people who stopped by in front of his shop for 10 seconds or less or just stopped by to say hello or talk about a product they bought earlier or even to complain about a product they bought in past. If he had taken this approach of deciding that it was not worth his time to pursue those people with no intent of buying then he would have lost a lot of revenue and long term customers. For site which sells lot of retail items this is very true. For example a user comes to the site to gain some information about a product he/she bought in past, say information on how to setup up email on the cell phone, with no intention of buying a new cell phone or an accessory, this visitor can still be converted if the value proposition is there or site does a good job of selling. You can’t discount this fact.

Another thing that should be looked at, in calculating real conversion opportunity, is the effect of cookie deletion on visitor conversion. Cookie deletion inflates the number of visitors and hence your conversion potential. For example, a user comes to the site every day views few pages at the end of the each day deletes the cookies. This user will appear as 30 unique users when you look at the whole month but as you know this is only user. So you only have one conversion opportunity when you use visitor as your denominator.

You don’t have to agree with everything I said but let me know what you think.