Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mobile Analytics: Omniture and Bango

Earlier this year I predicted a few developments in Web Analytics and Behavioral Targeting Space. One of them was the rise of Mobile Analytics.
Here is what I predicted:

Mobile Analytics – Mobile sites and mobile advertisings gain momentum. Mobile Analytics will be become a requirement to understand how the sites and advertising are performing. Currently you can either use log files, WAP gateway logs if you are one of the mobile carriers (this is what I did back in 2001 -2002) or services from Amethon. This year we will see more players in mobile Analytics. The reporting will become better than what has been offered to date.

Two recent press releases are proving that I was right in my prediction, one is from Bango and another from Omniture.

According to destinationCRM, a research has found that between 20 percent and 30 percent of overall Internet traffic is generated by mobile devices. In this article Matthew Langie, Omniture's senior director of product marketing said that the need for a mobile-analytics solution was clear: Clients were requesting this capability, and research alone has shown that consumers are readily using mobile phones, with subscriptions at 3.9 billion in 2008 and predicted to reach 5.6 billion by 2013. (Individuals, it's worth noting, may have multiple subscriptions.) A recent study by market research firm IDC predicted that 164.7 million smartphones will be shipped worldwide this year -- a figure expected to reach 363.2 million in 2012. Moreover, while 2007 saw 27 million phones with Wi-Fi capabilities, the service will reach 400 million by 2012.

According to a research by Bango, the most important feature requested by mobile site owners was “The daily/weekly/monthly number of unique visitors count”

However, capturing an accurate number of unique visitors is not easy in Mobile sites as not all of the mobile phones accept cookies and users share the same IP address (network address) and this IP also changes as users roam. The new offerings from both these providers claim to provide an accurate count of unique visitors. It remains to be seen how accurate they are. It is interesting that both of these providers announced their offering on the same day.


Bango unveiled new mobile site analysis capability to help website owners measure the value of mobile sites by accurately counting unique visitors browsing their site. This new capability in Bango Analytics, v3.0, complements existing campaign analysis functionality .
Bango uses a privacy protected Bango User ID to count and track unique visitors. The Bang User ID is compiled through sophisticated WAP gateway profiling, data from browser analysis, session information and network interactions. This unique user ID enables Bango to distinguish between new and repeat users and therefore precisely quantify the number of unique visitors.
Source : MarketWatch


Omniture announced availability of Mobile Analytics in Site Catalyst version 14.1. According to an article on destinationCRM Omniture's effort to address the most common problems marketers face when tackling the mobile arena includes the following four features:

  • In a partnership with mobile Internet advocate group dotMobi and its DeviceAtlas database, SiteCatalyst communicates with an extensive library of device profiles to accurately identify the mobile device accessing a Web page. This determines what video, audio, and text can be displayed, thereby giving marketers insight into what customers are using most frequently. Moreover, carrier identification gives marketers the ability to partner with carriers to set up other campaigns.

  • Through the use of visitor identification technology such as cookies, subscriber identification, or header information, SiteCatalyst can identify a new visitor or a repeat visitor to deliver an experience akin to the traditional Internet.

  • The solution aims to capture the right data from a variety of devices to garner insight about the page. Omniture's server places on each Web page a very small file that occupies a single pixel, allowing marketers to track the activity of the mobile device: where the user is clicking, what content is being downloaded, what video is being watched, etc.

  • A geolocation component that recognizes where the site is being accessed from, thereby enabling Web publishers to deliver advertisements applicable to that location.

As I predicted earlier this year, Mobile Analytics will gain more momentum in the coming months and I will be writing more on this subject.

Thank you Sarah Dawson for helping me with this post.
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Goal Attribution to Organic Keywords - Google Analytics Tips and Tricks

In April I wrote a blog post to show you why some of your keywords show 0 Visits and 0 page views in your Google Analytics Report. In this post I am going to show the attribution of goal to the search engine keywords, when a user searches multiple keywords on the search engines to visit your site (all within the same session) and converts from one of the keywords.

Note: The past post and this one are both based on the Organics keywords searches and clicks.

I conducted two following two experiments
  1. Converted on the Last Keyword

    1. Searched “1 page no register seattleindian” on Google, arrived on , viewed one page and existed the site by typing in the browser address bar

    2. Searched “2 pages no register seattleindian” on Google, arrived on, viewed 2 pages and then exited the site by typing in the browser address bar

    3. Searched “4 pages register seattleindian” on Google, arrived on , registered on the site (converted, Goal 1), viewed total of 4 pages and then exited the site by closing the browser

    4. All of the above was done within 30 minutes and using the same browser session

    Visit and Page View Attribution

    As you can see my visit resulted in 3 keywords, total of 7 page views and 1 visit (visit time out is 30 mins and all of it was done in 30 minutes). As I showed you in the last post, 1 page view is shown and attributed to 1st keyword. The other keywords do not get visits or page views attribution (Figure 1). The total pages are accounted and counted in the keyword report even though 6 pages were not attributed to any particular keyword (Figure 2)

    Figure 1 (click on the image to enlarge it)

    Figure 2 (click on the image to enlarge it)

    Goal Attribution

    In this scenario, the Goal is attributed to overall search engine keywords but not to any particular keyword.

    Figure 3 (click on the image to enlarge it)

  2. Converted on the First Keyword

    1. Searched “SeattleIndian 4 pages register test 3” on Google, arrived on , viewed 4 pages, registered on the site (converted, Goal 1) and then exited the site by typing in in the browser address bar

    2. Searched “SeattleIndian 3 pages no register test 3” on Google, arrived on, viewed 3 pages and then exited the site by typing in the browser address bar

    3. Searched “SeattleIndian 1 pages no register test 3” on Google, arrived on , viewed 1 page and then existed the site by closing the browser

    4. All of the above was done within 30 minutes and using the same browser session

    Visit and Page View Attribution

    In this case I converted (Goal 1) when I arrived via the first keyword. When I look at the Site Usage of keywords, the first keywords is credited with 1 visit and 4 pages, the other two keywords did not get any credit of the visit or the pages that were viewed as a result of click on those keywords. So the 3 pages are not attributed to any keyword. This is what I showed in my last post.

    Figure 4 (click on the image to enlarge it)

    Figure 5 (click on the image to enlarge it)

    Goal Attribution

    In this scenario when the conversion happens from the first keyword, the goal is properly attributed to that keyword.


When a user searches multiple keywords to arrive to the site,
  1. The visit is attributed to the first keyword only

  2. The page views directly related to the first keyword are attributed to that keyword and other keywords show 0 visit and 0 page views

  3. Total page views from all the keywords are counted in the overall keyword report

  4. If the conversion happens as a result of the first keyword then it is attributed to that keyword

  5. If the conversion happens as a result of any of the keyword other than the first one, then the conversion is not attributed to any of the keywords

  6. The conversion from any keyword is counted in the overall keyword report

What’s next? I will be testing how attribution works when a user clicks both Organic (SEO) and Paid PPC (search result) within the same visit.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Web Analytics Buyer’s Guide, Assessing Vendors’ Competencies and Value

John Lovett from Jupiter Research released his new report titled Web Analytics Buyer’s Guide, Assessing Vendors’ Competencies and Value. In this report he analyzed the web analytics market and various vendors, and concluded:
The Web analytics feature race is largely over and we are left with Web Analytics providers competing on Price and Flexibility.

John provides great analysis and insights in this report but I do not fully agree with his conclusion that feature race is largely over. I believe that as new trends in web continue to emerge so is the need for new features. As Phil Kemelor, another great analyst, writes that audio and video are becoming an important part of the web, so there are clearly features needed to support their tracking. Other features currently missing are for Mobile Analytics. Mobile web is clearly gaining momentum and so is a need for Mobile Analytics. I am sure Product Managers of these tool providers are not ready to quit yet.

I do agree that most of the vendors are mostly competing on Price and Flexibility (post-data-capture segmentation, reporting on custom data elements etc.) at this time. (In my view, flexibility is also a feature though). However competing on price when there is still a lot of room for innovation and differentiation is a very myopic view by current web analytics vendor and will provide a way for someone to disrupt their business very quickly.

Satisfaction with the current tool

One of the surprising results in this report was that more than 69% of the web analytics clients have decided to stay with their current web analytics tool. This is a big change from the trend that we have seen in past. A lot of this has to do with education about web analytics tools, what they can do, how they operate and the fact that several most used features and reports are comparable in various tools.
72% of those 69% where completely satisfied with their current provider.
47% of the customer said that the biggest challenge they were trying to solve with Web Analytics tools was Vistor Segmentation. 47% also said that customer engagement was their biggest challenge.

And the Winner Is?

This report has a great 3 dimensional chart showing how different tool vendors rate in terms of business value, market suitability and breadth of company.
Omniture, Unica, and Coremetrics emerged as industry leaders for large enterprises while WebTrends, Google Analytics, IndexTools and Lyris HQ ClickTracks emerged as industry leader for small-to-midsize businesses along with the three listed for large enterprise customers.

It was surprising to see that WebTrends was not considered an enterprise tool anymore, though WebTrends was the only company to score 100% on availability of basic features. (Sidenote: A customer of ours is replacing Coremetrics and going with WebTrends).
Another surprising result was that Omniture was the overall winner even for small-to-midsize businesses.

You can get the complete report at

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Consumer Attitude towards Behavioral Targeting

A recent report titled Behavioral Targeting Attitudes:The Privacy Issue by eMarketer, explored consumers attitude towards online tracking and behavioral targeting. There was a similar study by TRUSTe in April. This report builds on that study and few other surveys and provides an analysis of the consumers attitude toward Behavioral Targeting.

The conclusion of this report was exactly what I have been advocating. According to the report
online marketers might do well to develop transparent methods of letting the audience know when and how their Web history data will be used, the benefits they can receive in exchange for allowing it to be used and a clear, easy opt-in mechanism for informed consent.

I shared similar views in my post titles 5 Step Process to Ease Privacy Concerns Regarding Behavioral Targeting.

The key question this report tackles are
  • What will encourage people to accept more ad targeting?

  • Are consumer privacy concerns a deal breaker for
    behavioral targeting?

  • How much transparency will marketers need to allay
    consumer concerns?

  • Are all methods of behavioral targeting data collection equal?

  • Will the government limit how online companies can use
    consumer data?

Some of the highlights of this report are
  1. Over 87% of the respondents to TRUSTe survey said that at least three quarter of the online ads are irrelevant

  2. 41% of the users are more willing to pay attention to personalized advertising

  3. 75% of internet users are interested in receiving personalized ads

  4. 59% of the respondents to Harris Interactive Poll responded that they are not comfortable with ads or content targeted to their personal interests based on their internet usage

The above findings create an interesting dilemma for marketers. Consumers want relevant ads but are not comfortable with being tracked. However, it also provides an opportunity for Behavioral Targeting companies to step up and innovate new ways to provide relevant ads while easing the concern about tracking.

Marketers and privacy officer’s need to keep in mind that the negative attitude towards tracking and targeting is not limited to Behavioral Ad networks such as Tacoda and Revenue Science etc but it also applies to content targeting and on-site targeting provided by tools such as Test&Target by Omniture, Optimost/Interwoven etc.

You can get the full report at


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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Privacy of Online Data – Debate Continues

Today a U.S. Senate committee summoned representatives of several internet companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and also NebuAd, and expressed its concerns about the user privacy resulting from online data collection and targeting. (Source: LATimes)

This committee was led by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D- North Dakota), who said "I don’t have the foggiest idea who's tracking it, how they’re tracking it, how they might use it, whether that company has some scruples and might be very careful about how it handles it, or whether it's somebody else who grabs a hold of it…. There are so many unanswered questions about information on how people navigate this Web."

NebuAd and ISP based Behavioral Targeting

NebuAd, which has been on the hot seat lately, defended its position by maintaining that it does not violate the privacy of the consumer as it strips out any personally identifiable information from the data it uses.
"NebuAd’s systems are designed so that no one, not even the government, can determine the identity of our users", Dykes, CEO of NebuAd said. "We do not collect or use personally identifiable information. … We do not store raw data linked to identifiable individuals. And we provide state-of-the-art security for the limited amount of information we do store."

But Leslie Harris, president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, said the increasingly detailed profiles NebuAd and other companies keep could be linked to specific people.

Senators Understand the Benefits of Online Advertising

Dorgan and other senators said that they understand the benefits of online advertising. Their worries are with the security of the data used to deliver those ads.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said "We're not against advertising on the Internet, but the issue is, as it becomes more sophisticated, do we have a role here to play in making sure that consumers' privacy is protected as companies develop more technology and are able to dig deeper into that information?"

And...debate continues….