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Friday, January 21, 2011

Web Analytics: An Hour A Day

I just finished reading an awesome book. It is Web Analytics: An Hour a Day written by Avinash Kaushik. I must say I have become a fan of Avinash he has not only mentioned the calendar wise training in the book but most importantly focused on conveying the message that no two organizations are alike and hence putting some thought before buy, implementing, analyzing and acting is always a must!

Another thing commendable about the author is that Avniash has decided to give all the proceeds from this book to a charity.

I created a cheatsheet, but I think that if you are a newbie to web analytics you will be better off by reading the book and not only getting the information on what questions should be asked but also knowing what is the thought process you have to develop. All the credit for notes goes to the author, I have merely created a gist for myself so that I can refer to my reading in future without having to read the book.

The URL to the cheatsheet is:
Web Analytics:An Hour A Day Cheatsheet

Here are the questions that I gathered about the website I analyze, after reading this book:

Fundamental Web Analytics:What are the top exit pages on your website? Does your business model mean that exit pages are bad?
Fundamental Web Analytics:What is the Website Engagement (sessions/unique visitors)? Does having multiple sessions per unique visitors mean that your website is good or means its bad?
Fundamental Web Analytics:What does Gartner or Forrester report say on the screen resolution trends for websites in your vertical?
Fundamental Web Analytics:Where are the visitors clicking on your website? (Find out using Site Overlay or the Click Map in your tool) Fundamental Web Analytics:Where are the various visitor segments clicking on? (Find out using Site Overlay or Click Map in your tool)
Fundamental Web Analytics:Survey: Ask your visitors what is their purpose behind visiting your website?
Fundamental Web Analytics:What are the success rates for different tasks? (Do you have an explicit way to record this or you are just using page views? Use Site Catalyst custom event)
Fundamental Web Analytics:To find conversion events related to your website ask the question why does your website exist?
Fundamental Web Analytics:Web Logs are the only data capture mechanism that will capture and store the visits and behavior of search enginge robots on your website
Fundamental Web Analytics:To measure page on first and last page can you write a function that calculates time on-load event rather than exit?
Fundamental Web Analytics:Do you have any Prizm Database paratmeters?
Fundamental Web Analytics:Are you using Panel Based (ComScore), ISP Based (hitwise) or Search engine based data to enhance your competitive intellegence?
Fundamental Web Analytics:What does Google Trend and Microsoft AdLab data tell you about the keywords?
Fundamental Web Analytics:Was a usuablity test performed on your new launch? If yes, get in touch with the Usability Engineer and find more on objectives and questions.
Fundamental Web Analytics:Did you check for the American Customer Satisfaction Index for your vertical? also check iperception benchmarks
Fundamental Web Analytics:To find basic KPI for your website ask the questions How is the website doing in terms of delivering for the customers?
Fundamental Web Analytics:Do you have web link validator? You can find that on Run this projgram weekly and report to web dev about pages missing links
Fundamental Web Analytics:Which Pages are missing page tags?
Core Web Analytics Concepts For determining the cookie and domains related ask the question what is the identity of your website?
Core Web Analytics Concepts:What can URL tell you about your Site Structure? If nothing then Can you pass custom variable to differentiate in the Site Sections?
Core Web Analytics Concepts:What are all the query string parameters possible on your website?
Core Web Analytics Concepts:What do each of the query string parameters on your website convey?
Core Web Analytics Concepts:What are the various possibilities for each of the query string parameters on your website?
Core Web Analytics Concepts:Which Query string parameters make the page a unique page?
Core Web Analytics Concepts:What cookies are being set by your websites/webservers? And What is the information stored in the cookies?
Core Web Analytics Concepts:What is the cookie churn (deletion rate)? Or simply how many visitors have persistent cookie enabled?
Fundamental Metrics:How many Unique Visitors do you have? (Or simply put, cookies)
Fundamental Metrics:How many Daily Visitors, Weekly Visitors and Monthly Visitors do you have?
Fundamental Metrics:What was the avg time on site or session duration? (you may further slice and dice according to visitor segments)
Fundamental Metrics:What is the distribution of visits where session duration is 0 seconds? (Can you slice this data to filter single access visits from it?)
Fundamental Metrics:What is Average Session Duration for visitors coming from different search engines?
Fundamental Metrics:What are the number of daily page views?
Standard Reports:How is the bounce rate caluclated in your web analytics package?
Standard Reports:What is the bounce rate for various campaigns that you have? (conveys if the effective campaign sent across quality traffic)
Standard Reports:What is the bounce rate for the different entry pages?
Standard Reports:Where to visitors with high bounce rate come from?
Standard Reports:What are the refferring sites and URLs to your website?
Standard Reports:What are the search key phrases that people are using to get to your website?
Standard Reports:What are the search key phrases by search engine?
Standard Reports:What are visitors (visits), % visitors, total page views, page views per visit, avgerage time on site, bounce rates for search key phrases?
Content Quality and Navigation:What are the top Entry pages?
Content Quality and Navigation:What are top viewed pages?
Content Quality and Navigation:Do you have content density or click map tool installed and configured?
Content Quality and Navigation:What types of path analysis reports are your running?
Content Quality and Navigation:How visitors behave on the top pages of your website, and whether content on these pages is working (especiqally links)
e-Commerce Foundational Reports:What are the Revenue, Purchase Units and Average Selling Price for the different product categories?
e-Commerce Foundational Reports:What is the week over week trend for the Revenue, Purchase Units and Averahe Selling Price for product categories?
e-Commerce Foundational Reports:What do changing trend have to say about the promotions that your company is running? Is the promotion working?
e-Commerce Foundational Reports:What are your monthly conversion rates segmented by acquisition strategies? (email campaign, SEM/PPC, Ambient Traffic, Overall)
e-Commerce Foundational Reports:What are the periodic goals for your website business and how did you rank against the forecast? (month conversions, unique visitors etc)
e-Commerce Foundational Reports:How do you measure the upsell or cross sell activity?
e-Commerce Foundational Reports:What is the trending for the upsell or cross sell activity over time? Is it still as effective when you started? What is the Life Time Value of your customer?
support site Foundational Reports:What options are your visitors using on your support site (internal search engine, top FAQ pages, product downloads, links from forums etc)
support site Foundational Reports:What is the percent of clicks on links below the threshold (and are any of these links important)?
support site Foundational Reports:Survey: Problem resoultion rate: What percent of survey respondents were able to resolve the problem they had?
support site Foundational Reports:Survey: Timeliness: What percent were satisfied with the time it took them to resolve their problem?
support site Foundational Reports:Survey: Likelihood to recommend: What percent are so satisfied that they are likely to recommend your support website to others?
support Site Foundational Reports:Are you using page level surveys? Who is accountable for the action on the feedback received on the surveys?
Search Optimization:What are your top external search keywords?
Search Optimization:What are your top internal search keywords?
Search Optimization:What are your top successful internal search keywords?
Search Optimization:What are your top failed internal search keywords?
Search Optimization:What is the Internal Search usage trend
Search Optimization:What does the Site Overlay for Internal Search Keywords look like?
Search Optimization:What is exit rate from the search result page?
Search Engine Optimization:What are the various types of links that your website links to?
Search Engine Optimization:What Press Release sites and Social Media sites do you link to?
Search Engine Optimization:Do all of your pages have relevant page titles?
Search Engine Optimization:Do all your images use Alt tags?
Search Engine Optimization:Does your website have a site map to facilitate the crawling?
Search Engine Optimization:Does each page of your website have a site map url?
Search Engine Optimization:What is the inclusion ratio for your website?
Search Engine Optimization:How many inbound links does your website have?
Search Engine Optimization:What is your ranking for your top search keywords?
Search Engine Optimization:Are you getting more Organic traffic? Is it good traffic?
Search Engine Optimization:What is the conversion rate for the organic referral traffic? How does it compare with PPC?
PPC:What are the trends for campaign, keyword group and keywords level? (evaluated metrics such as impressions, average pos, ctr, cpc, campaign cost)
email marketing fundamental:What are your business objectives and how email fits into the stratgey?
email marketing fundamental:What is the core criteria for email?
email marketing fundamental:What are the number emails sents?
email marketing fundamental:What were the number of bounce?
email marketing fundamental:How many emails were opened?
email marketing fundamental:How many users unsubscribed?
email marketing fundamental:What does the conversion funnel for email look like?
email marketing fundamental:What were the outcomes (conversions)?
email marketing fundamental:What was the revenue and average order value for each campaign?
email marketing fundamental:What was revenue per email? (total order value/emails delivered)
email marketing advanced:What is the campaign site bounce rate?
email marketing advanced:How many visits to purchase did you get?
Multi-channel marketing:Can you pass the cookie information to call center? If yes then you can tie your call data to web analytics data
Multi-channel marketing:Do you have vanity URLs?
Multi-channel marketing:Do you track conversions with coupon codes?
Testing:What are the most important pages on your website and who owns those pages?
Testing:What are the global elements you can test? (e.g. what kind of headers work on your site)
Testing:What are the various call to action you could test?
Testing:Do your call to actions create urgency?
Testing:Does your website has landing pages for most important key phrases?
Testing:Can you test for the quantity of copy on your pages (more words or fewer words)?
Testing:Can you test for the formatting of your copy (short or long pages or paragraphs etc)?
Testing:Did you run a test for People images vs product box shots?
Testing:Did you run a test with lots of white space on the site vs a heavy image drive site?
Testing:Did you run a test with new compleltely flash/ajax drive site vs. a text oriented site?
Testing:Did you run a test with Logos vs. no logos?
Testing:Did you run a test with endorsing brands vs not endorsing them?
Testing:Did you define the hypothesis before defining the scenarios?
Testing:What is the business problem or challenge this is solving for?
Testing:What is the hypothesis?
Testing:Who is going to be in test?
Testing:What percent of traffic?
Testing:What groups of people who come from Google?
Testing:What behavior on the site will trigger test?
Testing:What are the key metrics that will indicate success?
Testing:What are the current numbers for those metrics?
Testing:What are the goals for this test for each metric? By hom much should the metrics improve for us to declare victory?
Testing:What changes will be implemented if the test is a success?
Testing:Who needs to be notified?
Testing:What might be other next steps based on test findings?
General:What are competitors doing and what can we learn from the?
Dashboard:How a change in metric will improve the company's botton line? Keep only those metrics and related data on the dashboard
Competitive Intelligence:How many visits did your competitors have? (Use ComScore Hitwise to find this)
Competitive Intelligence:Get data from Alexa about your website and competitors website
Competitive Intelligence:Get the ad center forecast for your company and competitors (
Rich Experiences:What is the reason for RIA's existence?
Rich Experiences:What problem are we solving for the customer?
Rich Experiences:What are the actions that a customer will typically take?
Rich Experiences:What are success metrics?
Path Analysis:Before using the path analysis tools ask the question if the path is a structured path?
PPC:Are you getting traffic that you could get for free?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sources for getting data on market research and competitive intelligence

73.6% Of All Statistics Are Made Up - Anonymous

I have read a couple of books and white papers on customer data analysis and all of them stress on how it is important to have a data driven organization and both qualitative and quantitative data are important for making decisions.

Obviously, no one here can afford performing research on every possible business factor. Also, some of the data may not be easily available, especially your competitors data. The last reason would be that there is good reason for a third party to rank you in your vertical.

Now that I have given a few good reason why to trust reports and white papers published by well known analysts, I thought it will be helpful to give you a list of sources who publish such analysis.

Not all of the research material is free. Subscriptions are required for most of them and I think they are totally worth it.

The list (in alphabetical order) is as follows:
1) Burton Group IT
2) Comscore
3) Consumer Electronic Association
4) Directions on Microsoft
5) eMarketer Market Research
6) Evans Data
7) Forrester Research
8) Frost and Sullivan
9) Future Image
10) Gartner
11) Gigaom
12) IDC
13) Informa Research Services
14) InfoTrend
15) Instat
16) Jon Peddie Research
17) Marketing Profs
18) NPD
19) Park Associates
20) Pew Research Center
21) Sirius Research
22) Strategy Analytics
23) The diffusion group
24) Wainhous Research

And a few more!
Aberdeen Group
Ambient Insight Research
Book industry study group
Byte Level
CMS Watch/Real Story group
Generator Research
Juniper Research
Light Reading
MWD Advisers
Natixis Securities
Online Banking Report
Patricia Seybold Group
The Conference Board
The Neilsen Company
Tower Group
Ward Group

The key thing to realize is that there is an ocean of research available and you will have to find friends with same interests and then keep an eye for interesting things to share.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Web Analytics Association: Key Metrics and KPIs

I am a few days away from posting the next cheat sheet for one of the newer books on web analytics.

But I wanted to post something which I found in the book. This is a document published by the Web Analytics Association and which states the Key Metrics and KPIs.

Web Analytics Association ket metrics and KPIs

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Call to Action

I just finished reading Call To Action secret formulas to improve online results written by Bryan Eisenberg and Jeffrey Eisenberg.

This is an excellent book that goes into aspects of usability and business together. Some of the chapters also talk about sales and marketing.

I have created another cheat sheet which is more from of a perspective of being a web analyst. All the work listed in the spreadsheet are the ideas from the book. I also wanted to mention that my cheat sheet is list of few useful questions and notes, but the book has lots of tips which I havent included in my cheat sheet because they would be more from a Usability engineer perspective or a person in a position who can make the business decision to make the change. So I highly recommend reading the book if you are a small medium business and can make changes to your website after discussions with a small group of business owners and developers.

Here is the link to the cheat sheet:
Call To Action Cheat Sheet

Here are the questions that I have about the website I work on after reading this book:
Improving Conversion:Who are the owners of metrics and KPIs and what actions are they responsible for?
Improving Conversion:Did you survey the high abandonement but conversion hungry pages?
Improving Conversion:Did you consider rephrasing some of the content to drive urgency? "Limited Time Offer!"
Improving Conversion:Did you provide pointers to get complete information?
Improving Conversion:Do you present the information on your web-pages in a consistent fashion?
Improving Conversion:Whats most relevant to the customer?
Improving Conversion:What to do with the traffic once it lands on the website?
Improving Conversion:How to get the visitor to take the first action and click deeper?
Improving Conversion:How to induce visitors to click to the next step and the next?
Formulating Segment/Control Group:Who needs to be persuaded? When you know whom you need to persuade, you can create personas that allow you to design meaningful navigation scenarios.
Formulating Segment/Control Group:What actions this person need to take? Not all actions will be direct functions of your sales process;many will be actions your personas need to take to satisfy their buying decision process
Formulating Segment/Control Group:How will you most effectively persuade that person? Knowing "who" and "what" helps you create persuasive copy and content
Critical factor - knowledge:How difficult is it for pospective buyers to understand the nature of your product or service, or the procedures for buying? What do they need to know?
Critical factor - Need:How urgent is the need for your product or service? How fast are prospects likely to make their decisions to buy?
Critical factor - Need:Will the need be satisfied by one-time purchase or is the need on-going?
Critical factor - Risk:How risky, especially with respect to issues of finance, is the sale?
Critical factor - Con census:Just how many people do you have to pursuade? An inidvidual or a group?
Advertsing inkling:What will people perceive as valuable enough to pay for?
Advertsing inkling:Why can you provide it better than the competition?
For small phrases below google ads:Who are your customers?
For small phrases below google ads:What do they really need?
For small phrases below google ads:What benefits (no features) of your product or service satisfy the real needs of your customers?
For small phrases below google ads:What about your product or services is unique, and how can you answer the customers question: "Why should I buy from you?"
For small phrases below google ads:What other options does a customer have to buying your product or service (including doing nothing at all)? Are they better options or worse?
For small phrases below google ads:How does a s customer make a decision to buy products or services like yours?
For small phrases below google ads:What does your customer need to know before he or she will buy from you?
For small phrases below google ads:How does your customer perceive not only your product, but also your company compared to your competition?
For small phrases below google ads:What is the process a customer goes through before buying your products or services?
For small phrases below google ads:What is the value of your product or service to the client?
For small phrases below google ads:What would a customer say if a colleage asked him or her to recommed your product or service?
Improving Conversion:What is the Pop-up count on your website?
Improving Conversion:Do you display the contact center number and other self service help options prominently?
Page Design:Is the look and feel professional?
Page Design:Is the navigation obvious, simple and consistent through the website?
Page Design:Is your USP clearly stated and strong?
Page Design:Is your information architecture constructed from the visitor's point of view?
Page Design:Does your navigation anticipate and clearly support all resonable path choices?
Page Design:Does the layout reflect knowledge of eye-scanning patterns and "sweet spots"?
Page Design:Does the choice of page elements reflect knowledge of how visitors use text versus graphics online as opposed to in print?
Page Design:Are the graphics and the text appropriate and well-chosen/written?
Page Design:Does the page reflect principles of good usability?
Page Design:Does the page utilize expert sales principles that encourage a buying decision?
Page Design:Does the page utilize knowledge about consumer psychology and the different personality types?
Page Design:Does the page make use of knowledge about online buying behaviour?
Page Design:Does the page inspire trust and build rapport?
Page Design:Is your contact information easy to find?
Page Design:Is help available? Is it user centric?
Page Design:How many help channels do you provide?
Page Design:Are the smallest details, such as fonts and colors, chosen with an understanding and knowledge of what maximizes sales?
Page Design:Does the page delight visitors and inspire them to go deeper into the website? Does it actually guide them in doing so?
Page Design:Can your visitors resize pages and adjust their screen resolutions without distorting the content?
Page Design:They can chose how large or small text appears on their screen, is your content strutured to accommodate this?
Page Design:They can decide wheter or not they want to display pictures, is your content telling the complete story without pictures?
Page Design:They can choose wheter or not they want to see color, is your content optimized for monochrome?
Page Design:They can see your content on variety of devices, is your content optimized for that?
Page Design:How do you ask your visitors to read your content Skim or Scan?
Search Keywords Keywords equate directly to the customers need. Do you know what that need is and how does your product fulfill that need?
Email Campaign:What actions do prospective customers need to take that will lead to them buying decisions?
Email Campaign:Who has to be persuaded to take actions?
Email Campaign:How do we persuade them to take action?