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)