Category Archives: Web Analytics

Measuring PR part 2 – The Wrath of Khan

I just updated the Capstrat blog with the 2nd post in an ongoing series/journey on how to measure public relations. If interested, please click over to the blog : Evaluating PR’s Return on Investment – Part 2

The new post outlines some potential measurements and approaches on how to determine effect of PR. If you have any suggestions please feel free to write me. Or if I am delusional, I’d love to know that as well.

The next post waiting in the hopper will explore web analytics techniques specific to the measurement of PR and will probably bleed into Social Media, though I really don’t want to. The last few posts in that series will explore some hypothetical situations which have occurred in real-life and how to go about measuring it. In all likelihood those posts are going to take me a little bit of time to piece together in a somewhat coherent manner, almost like choose-your-own-adventure stories.

As soon as I am done with that series I’ll return to more of a hodge-podge collection.

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Measuring PR

Since I am now writing in 2 places, I am testing which spot gets the most traffic and how many folks cross over to the Capstrat blog. I am wondering if my little blog generates more traffic than the Capstrat blog based on the same topic. So thanks for being part of my experiment. For those that haven’t bookmarked the Capstrat blog, here is the link to my latest post: Evaluating PR’s Return on Investment – Part 1

This particular post is part of a series I am working on that hopes to give some insight in how to go about measuring public relations efforts while also incorporating some of the tricks I’ve learned over the years of doing web analytics followed up with some potential case studies. If you have any suggestions please feel free to write.

Adobe’s acquisition of Omniture

Still not sure what I am doing with having 2 blogs, but I just posted my thoughts on the Adobe acquisition of Omniture on the Capstrat blog. Timely I know, as it happened like 2 months ago but better late than never. Actually just working thru my queue of topics that I hadn’t completed based on my transition and writer’s block/laziness.

I think I have 2 more posts lined up for next week, and hopefully get into a cadence of every 4 or 5 days.  So all 5 of you keep on reading!

Impressions on the Internet Summit 2009

OK, avid Diary readers, I am experimenting with moving my posts on web analytics to the capstrat blog. My latest article on the Internet Summit can be found here

My new gig and other assorted items of interest

Greetings to all my loyal readers (all 3 of you)…

Its been a while and for that I apologize. Lot of things going on…

1) I switched jobs recently. I am now working at a fantastic advertising/pr/communications/interactive agency in Raleigh called Capstrat. Yes, I made the plunge to the agency world. Its definitely an adjustment (billable hours) but one I think we will offer me a different set of challenges and a chance to do some interesting things in web marketing/analytics. Really, really excited. Being around people paid to be creative and the unique workplace has been energizing in a way that I needed at this point in my life. That being said, it was tough to leave a lot of my colleagues that I worked with at Lenovo. I’ve been at IBM/Lenovo for almost 10 years and largely its all I know professionally and with it all the relationships that were built up over that time. I will always miss the people there, but needed a different path.

So what am I doing at Capstrat? Basically I am here to set up a worldclass analytics program to not only help Capstrat measure and optimize campaigns and sites that we create but also work with clients in helping them measure their business. In addition to offering guidance into what needs to be measured, we’ll also have the capacity to help deploy tools (Omniture, Google Analytics, etc) as well as maintain (or improve) them. I’ve met a lot of companies over the years that already have web analytics solutions in place but either have it set up wrong or don’t know how to use it. I plan on helping those companies.  On top of that, a majority of companies lack internal staff with expertise in web analytics and we can help by acting as a virtual team member to help with reporting, analysis, and optimization. If your company needs help in these areas, please feel free to contact me or go to capstrat.com. OK, sales pitch over. 🙂

2) As part of #1, I am immersing myself in what Google Analytics has to offer as a lot of our clients are using it, so I figured it might be a good idea for me to become really good at it. As a result, I took the certification test last week and passed…so now I am certifiable. I have a post in the works about my impressions of using GA after years of Omniture experience. There are definitely good things and trade-offs as well. Hope to post more within a week on that. I also plan of taking a lot of time learning some tools I haven’t dealt with in the past such as Yahoo Analytics, Unica, and Webtrends to see what they have to offer.

3) Been reading Avinash Kaushik‘s excellent 2nd book, Web Analytics 2.0. Its been refreshing to read especially during the transitional period I am in now. I’ve been reading it almost as it was a playbook on how to approach new clients where I don’t know too much about the business. It offers step by step instructions on the process of analytics which is helpful even for people that have been doing it as long as I have. Additionally, I think Avinash has great views on campaign attribution as well as the big topic of the day, social media measurement. Its a must read for anyone wanting to get into web analytics or marketing in general in 21st century and because Avinash is about as passionate (and humorous) as anyone in this space. As a side-note whenever I mention Avinash’s name, traffic spikes on this blog (from 3 to 6), coincidence?

4) Finally, but not leastly (is that a word?)…I’m going to be a father again in late November. Super excited, but also not mentally prepared for the sleeplessness! As a result of the late nights, maybe I’ll write more?

So there ya go…you have a quick synopsis of what I am doing. Once I get my head on straight I hope to right a lot more than I have.

Time Parting and my own lack of time

I thought once I graduated that I would have this ridiculous amount of free time to blog away, write a symphony or two, solve world hunger, etc. Sadly none of this has come to fruition, hence the lack of blogging. Not sure where all the hours in the day go anymore, though work has picked up and I have tried to spend more time with family and less time writing.  That and its possible I have somewhat of a writer’s block at the moment. Lately, I’ve been fighting fires instead of solving problems and that might be why I’ve been so quiet. When I’m challenged with a new problem is when I get energized and end up writing about it. So hopefully some of the fires will smolder out soon and I can get back to trying new things.

Anywho…one thing that I’ve spent some time looking over and about to implement with some help from the Omniture Engineering crew is introducing Time Parting into my SiteCatalyst implementation. What is Time Parting? Basically it allows you to capture more granular elements of time for usage in reporting. Have you ever wanted to see how many widgets you sell at different times of the day? What time do instances of eVars and sProps happen during the day? Well, Time Parting would allow you to do it as you can basically capture a time stamp and use classifications of it. So you’d capture the time and date of say: “July 24,2009:8:00pm” and classify with SAINT to show that today is a Monday and the hour is 8 PM, or that the hour range is 8 to 9 PM or any way you want to classify it. You then would have access to reports and say “I wanna look at the last 52 Mondays” or “What does a normal Monday look like with regards to traffic and other metrics at noon”.

Those are all nice things to have, but here is how I plan to use it. Segmentation. I wrote about this a while back but Discover has one big weakeness when it comes to creating segments and its a ‘time’ dimension. You can create a segment of visitors that did this behavior, then did this other behavior, went to these pages, etc but you have no way to spell out when any of those things happened. So say I have a page that I’ve recently made changes to and wanted to look at those visitors behavior after that time frame, I can’t do it. But with Time Parting I can do that as I could create a segment that says give me all visitors that went to this page on July 24th and did this thing and then study that behavior over the next week. Or look at differences in campaigns on different days, or different promotions. So if someone comes in on Paid Search term X, how long until they come back again on a different term or tactic. It really opens up some interesting possibilities.

Quite frankly I think this kind of stuff should already exist in the tool out of the box, but its a VISTA rule if you are interested. Another wishlist item is for Omniture to do a better job of publicizing all of these VISTA rules so that the wider community knows they exist as a lot of times I stumble across them via conversions I have with folks but never see them in Knowledgebase or elsewhere. Maybe a VISTA FIESTA on the Omniture blog is needed.

OK, cool…writer’s block averted. Stay tuned.

Backing out bad data in Omniture

Hello blog…I’ve missed you.  How are you these days? I see you’ve accumulated quite a lot of dust since last we spoke.

Oh right. 

Anywho…so my post today is actually a plea to blogistan. And to some extent Omniture. Since I know people occassionally read this, here is my dilema. I have some bad transactions in my data that I need removed. For reasons beyond my comprehension our website had $800,000 Thinkpads for sale and somehow someone bought one or two. Truth be told they were just pricing errors, but somehow those transactions went through and are now sitting in my data. Honestly, if we’d just sell 3 or 4 of these $800k computers we’d be having a fabulous quarter, so maybe we should figure out how to do more of them. But in reality this is just bad data. Unfortunately, bad data is not easy at all to remove from SiteCatalyst. 

If you ask Omniture, they’ll tell you to create a couple of new metrics and import via Data Sources so that you’d have a metric that says something like ‘Cancelled Revenue’, “Cancelled Units”, “Cancelled Orders”, etc and then create a calculated metric to net them out. Unfortunately, that would cause a ton of work to redo about a billion reports and cause a ton of user education to not use the metric called ‘revenue’ anymore. Shouldn’t we be able to just remove or alter the offending records if needed? I think so. Maybe I am crazy.

So, here is where I need your help. I know someone, somewhere has created a Data Source that has taken out bad records via using negative numbers. I’d love to hear how you’ve done it. I created a Data Source rule that had the real metrics like revenue, orders, units and then loaded in the bad order id and a negative number but nothing happened. I know the reason that this method is frowned upon as it has possibilites to corrupt the database and open up a wormhole in the fabric of the universe (saw Star Trek yesterday) but I don’t care, I want the bad data out. It looks ugly. I’m a big boy, I’ll take the risk. I just want to figure out how to do it.

The other route I’d love to see taken is for Omniture to create a way to do this via a GUI in SiteCatalyst. Almost treat Purchase IDs and data associated with it as a classification to some extent that can be altered. I know that the reason this doesn’t exist (or at least I think I do) is because all the data is pre-processed into OLAP cubes for speed of delivery and redoing that stuff would cause reprocessing and slow the whole cycle down. But there has got to be a way to do this. Because right now the only true solution is getting Omniture engineering to back that out for you and that isn’t remotely cheap, especially if it keeps happening all over the world.

To repeat myself…if you’ve cracked the code on how to do this, please post….and I’ll owe you a beer (or 10) at next years Summit.  Lets see the Wisdom of Crowds in action!