Live from the Omniture Summit – Post #3 or 4 if you are keeping score at home

Wireless access at the conference was flaky, so didn’t get this out yesterday.

Some of the highlights from the breakout sessions –

Went to the Campaign Attribution session hosted by Mikel Chertudi. This session made me feel good as I realize I am not the only with troubles in attribution, its a huge problem in the industry.  There were some great tips in this session such as creating one version of the truth which I struggle with consistently. Your company likely has multiple agencies and multiple systems tracking revenue and conversions and nothing ever matches up. The key here was to make either your CRM system or Omniture to point of truth. I can’t agree more as all the other systems look at things in a vacuum. If you are doing reporting from DART for example, it only sees what is happening with banner ads. It has no idea that the conversions are actually occuring thru Paid Search or an Affiliate. Using something like Omniture ties them all together. 

I liked the best practice of setting the View Throughs for Post Impression to 7 days, as ours are set to 30 days now. The idea that people won’t remember an ad longer than a few days is probably a valid one and I think I might change our settings.

One of the things mentioned that we struggle with is whether to look at linear, last click, or first click as far as determining success. He accurately stated they are all valid, but every company needs to decide what is the way they want to evaluate success.  One thing I am not certain on is linear.  I didn’t have time to ask after the session, but Chertudi mentioned that linear brings in all campaigns.  So if you had 5 tactics that lead to a sell, the revenue would be split amongst the 5.  I don’t think that is actually the case in Sitecatalyst as I’ve found it only takes the last 2 and splits the revenue.  Now if the tactics all occured on the same visit, then yes it will show all 5 and split, in fact that happens with pages.  But with multiple campaign tracking codes over multiple visits I think it only takes the last 2.  Since I know Omniture reads this from time to time, if there is any clarification on this one, I’d love to hear it. My understanding is this is why the Campaign Stacking plugin was created because of the limitations with linear attribution.

A great tip on deciding between last and original is to measure them both and look at them side by side to see what the baseline is between them.  If they are roughly the same, just choose one. 

Another fantastic tip is to treat marketing tactics separately. Meaning treat internal promotions, remarketing, and external tactics as separate variables when tracking. We do that with Internal Promotions and External Promotions, but haven’t done that with remarketing.  I shall change.  The idea is that the remarketing would overwrite the credit to what got the visitors to the site to begin with before the remarketing.  The remarketing in some sense is similar to an internal promotion in some respects, just done outside of the site. 

The last session I went to was ‘What would you do with a couple of extra hours a day?’ which was energizing and inspiring.  The reason it was inspiring was Randall (didn’t catch the last name) from Electronic Arts presented on how he manages all the reporting and analytics across all of EA’s sites with really just 4 people.  I think everyone can relate to the problem of lacking resources.  In fact, I meant tons of other analysts in the same boat at lots of great companies some bigger than us. When I saw what he was doing with essentially nothing it gave me hope that I can get us farther along than where we are without having any new people (in fact we’ve lost people).  I think the elements that make him successful is the rigorous upfront planning he used to make sure the coding was the right way to help him measure the business.  Without a solid foundation all the automation in the world won’t matter.  I recently signed on to use Omniture consulting in an effort to help me clean up the implementation I did 3 years ago.  As I readily admit, I am not a coder, and I did a lot of it quickly and have likely made some mistakes along the way.  When I did this, best practices really didn’t exist.  So I am excited about the opportunity to clean this up and get my ship in order.  We struggle with creating a reporting structure that can reflect our global business and the hierarchy EA is using gave me some great ideas on how to reorganize our data and measure a global business. He’s set up quite a few a s.props and eVars to use for content categorization and use that to define his page naming schema.  I’ve left our page names in Omniture as the same names as they show up in the browser, by using the META title.  Unfortunately, Omniture has character limits and readability limitations in reports with longer page titles.  I think I can steal some of his naming taxonomy to make our page names shorter and more relevant.  Additionally, they’d become more stable instead of changing whenever the web team decides to change a page or we do something to help SEO.  Just seeing someone dealing with the same issues and organizing it in a better fashion gave me hope I can do the same thing.  Through in automation through Excel plugins and other things I have, I think I can realistically support all of constiuents without having headcount.  So I’m glad I saw that as the last session.


Twitter API into Omniture

Something really cool that I learned today is that there is a Twitter API that can be connected to Omniture’s SiteCatalyst giving you a way to feed all the Tweets about your brand, competitors,  industry, etc into an Omniture report suite. With some classification and filtering you could essentially build a database to mine all the Tweets and have it automated. The icing on the cake is you could set up a filter and then an alert on certain keywords or phrases and have it sent to people in your company that can take some sort of action. This is the beginning of creating an automated brand monitor using SiteCatalyst and the new open API architecture. Cool stuff.  And I just joined Twitter as well, so I can start posting one-liners.

Live from the Omniture Summit – Post #2

Apologies to the avid Diary readers, I wasn’t able to do a second post yesterday as I ran out of battery and ran out of time after the Maroon 5 concert/After Party.  Anywho…here are some highlights from the day that I didn’t go over in the earlier post:

1 – Matt Belkin went over the new Recommendations tool and I was pretty impressed.  I hope that we can somehow utilize it on our site. Recommendations is basically a slick algorithm that can be used to change offers on the site based on previous behavior.  The demo was based on a scenario where someone bought a dress on a clothing site on a previous visit and how the ads on the homepage on subsequent visits were dynamically served based on other people that had also purchased that dress in order to do some upsell/cross-sell.  Some features that are interesting is that the Recommendations algorithm can also be configured based on different rules such as Topseller,  People who viewed this product but bought this other product,  People who bought this product also bought this other product,  Product Affinities, etc.  It also has controls for inventory,  price controls,  time frames, and placement.  Cool stuff if you want Amazonize your site, and who doesn’t want to do that?

2 – Belkin also showed how the tools are starting to get more integrated with each other. The demo showed linkages between Test & Target and SearchCenter to do keyowrd landing page tests.  I wish we used Test & Target, but we don’t.  I wonder if the same thing can be done with the Optimost Genesis integration.

3 – I went to the High Tech breakout and there was an interesting tip that I hadn’t thought of for some reason where you’d take your Internal Search keyword and pass an s.prop or eVar as null:search term for those search terms that yield no results.  For unknown reasons that never dawned on me.  So if someone typed ‘Hamster’ on then the s.prop would be s.prop5=”null:Hamster”.  I honestly have no idea why I chose the word ‘Hamster’, its just how I roll.  By doing this you can then obviously look at those results and see if you need to figure out suitable pages for these words without a home.  Additionally, by capturing that way you can enable pathing to see what users end up doing when confronted with no results in search.  Also, a good strategy that was discussed is to look at your Natural Search Keyword, Paid Search Keywords, and Internal Search terms against each other to see where you have opportunities. 

4 – Went to a breakout session on APIs hosted by Chris Wareham.  Sidenote – Chris, sorry I didn’t stop by to say hi, I had to run to the next session.  Recently, Omniture opened up its data platform to developers to take advantage of all the data captured in SiteCatalyst, Discover, and the other applications and set up automated feeds of that data into other applications and vice versa from 3rd party data sources back into Omniture.  I want to spend some more time looking over how to take advantage of this functionality and I’m in the process of familarizing myself in XML and Web Services to actually code this stuff.  I want to start linking together data sources that today don’t talk and do it in an automated way to take myself out of the equation.

5 – Went to the SEO analytics session. This was pretty helpful as we’ve been getting a lot more focused on driving more traffic via SEO (as is everyone else with declining marketing budgets) but dont really have the right metrics to understand how we’ll we are doing this.  Some of the KPIs discussed were Revenue per search (by keyword), Entry page conversion rate (based on keyword), Conversions, Bounce Rate, Avg Time on Site, and Page Views per Search.  The advanced stuff is where I got really interested.  I’ve talked in the past about the Unified Sources DB VISTA rule (catchy name) which when implemented treats SEO as if it was a campaign so that it has the  same attribution and shows up alongside of your other Campaigns.  One of the drawbacks with this VISTA rule though is the tracking code for SEO is assigned on the backend which is unlike normal campaigns that use a parameter and a tracking code.  The reason that is important is when you use the Campaign Stacking plugin it wouldn’t add SEO to the stack because it was missing a tracking code in the url query string (as it was being assigned on the backend of Omniture).  Well, to my amazement there is a brand new plugin that solves it. Let me introduce you to the Channel Manager Plugin.

The Channel Manager Plugin actually creates a tracking code using the Natural Search keyword within the s_code.js.  Because of that, you can now use it in the Campaign Stacking and have SEO keywords show up in the stack. Thank you Omniture.  Now you just need a tool to actually visualize this data and classify it easier.

After implementing the Channel Mgr Plugin, you also get access to a few more reports that weren’t available before and help with measuring SEO.  For one, you can now create a Natural Search Entry page report to look at clickthroughs, bounces, and success events based on a natural keyword and what happened by Entry point. This knowledge allows you to evaluate these pages to see if they are serving the needs of these folks and look at whether these are kinds of pages you want visitors to go to for certain keywords. 

After doing Channel Mgr or the Unified Sources rule, you can now classify the SEO keywords into logical buckets using SAINT.  So you could create groupings just like you have for Paid Search and compare and contrast. By segmenting by Non-Brand vs Brand you look to see what opportunities are there. 

Another benefit is you can now create a Backlinks report that shows all the natural links pointing to your site and filters out all the paid traffic.  This gives you a sense of the kinds of sites that link to you which factor into link relevancy which ultimately helps your SEO rankings.

6 – Scott Olrich from Responsys presented how to use trigger and remarketing email based on the web analytics data.  One thing I learned this week that I didn’t know existed before is that email vendors can now send emails with dynamic elements that don’t even get populated until the email is opened.  For example, say you sent out an email that had like a 2 day sale in it and the customer opened the email after the 2 day.  You could actually replace that content with something else if the sale already ended.  Or you could do testing on the emails in real-time based on what users are doing and dynamically change the content in the email based on those behaviors to choose the right recipe for what drives the best results.  Crazy stuff.  Not sure how its done as I didn’t think you could execute javascript in the email to do that.  Additionally, you could create 1 on 1 unique emails with deals specific to that persons buying or browsing habits, wicked stuff.

7 – Martin Lindstrom, author of Buy-olgy, was highly entertaining and thought provoking…and I got a free book out of it.  The premise of Buy-ology is that people behave irrationally when making purchase decisions.  I have a lot of thoughts on this that might take me a while to get it all together in a cohesive post, also want to read the book.  One really provocative idea was around “Smash Your Brand”.  Can you take your logo off your website and would people still be able to identify your brand?  Have you created something that makes you unique that someone could pick you out even without you telling them? Think about that for a bit.

did this pretty fast, so if I wasn’t clear on something, please let me know.

Live from the Omniture Summit – Post #1

So…blogging live from the Omniture Summit in 2009. Hopefully, I will be able to keep up with maintaining a quasi-live blog during my 3 days but I also need to catch up on real work while I am here. Just got out of the General Session kickoff with Omntiture CEO Josh James. It is apparent that Omniture now views themselves as an Optimization platform rather than just a web analytics company. With the tough economic climate, being efficient and running your business intelligent is becoming increasingly important. Optimization is key to that. Most companies are spending less on marketing or investing less in resources (including people) so getting better results from the marketing you do and a better experience for the customer in all of your web entities is vital. During his speech about trends, James mentioned the growth of mobile which shouldn’t be a shock to anyone. The thing that is interesting is that growth really isn’t in the US, and only beginning with the iPhone . What I saw last summer in Japan was eye- opening in how people are using cellphones for everything including paying for meals, shopping online, reading the news, watch tv, and keeping up with social media. As I think of it, the way we (meaning Lenovo) are doing web marketing (and marketing in general) in countries like China, India, Russia, Brazil, and Japan is probably all wrong. We should have a mobile website, as increasingly that is the way these folks are shopping. By not having a mobile website we are seriously limiting our audience potential in those regions as its becoming the norm.

On the new product front, James alluded to a couple of new product offerings. There are a few that if done properly could have huge repercussions on helping companies. The first is an application called Omniture Recommendations which offers suggestions on your website based on customer behavior. Essentially its what Amazon does but for the masses that use Omniture. Obviously, this could improve your upsell, cross-sell by giving more relevant offers (or content) to visitors based on knowing something about the users patterns and people that do likewise actions. The second big one (and the one I would like to utilize) is a new app called ‘CMO Dashboard’. The premise is that a lot of companies have tons of agencies, tons of reports that reside in Omniture and outside, tons of excel spreadsheets, etc but no central location that a CMO or senior leaders can go to see a consolidated dashboard that ties all these disparate data sources. Allegedly this tool can do that. If this works it will make tons of people happy. The key to me is what is the cost. I am really hoping when officially announced that there isn’t an exorbitant charge like Discover so that the overall community can advantage of it and capture the value of using Omniture. The last important tool that isn’t quite ready to be launched is something call DigitalPulse which gives Omniture customers a way to audit page tagging and look for holes in their implementation. Because its crawling pages look at tagging and META data it can also be used in scoring for SEO work. Pretty cool stuff. Lots more to come…

Omniture Summit 2009

It all came together at the last moment, but I’ll be attending the Omniture Summit in Salt Lake City. If anyone wants to get in touch during the Summit and hear me ramble so more, please feel free to email me and we’ll make it happen!

Also, during the week I plan on blogging about the goings on, so stay tuned!