Terrible metrics, How NOT to bang your head against walls !

Terrible metrics, How NOT to bang your head against walls !

Sometimes your are confronted to situations where you look at your pretty dashboard of the week and everything stops, it’s not so pretty anymore, red doesn’t suit you… WHY so much decrease and red ! What’s wrong with my website, why is this “metric-that-I-will-not-mention” so damned high…

Literally, you want to go back to sleep (at least I do) or slap someone with your dashboard – true story, I am quoting someone who actually told me that !

So, before you hit the PANIC button and scare the hell out of you HIPPO (Highest Paid Person in the Office or Boss or Client) ; take those 3 advices into consideration.

  1. Take 2 or 3 steps back : Be reminded of your objectives
  2. Business Objective is your compass – either macro business objectives or micro page-level objectives! Like when you are cooking, one ingredient is not sufficient on his own, well when evaluating your performance 1 metric on its own is not sufficient. This metric has to be put against your objectives and some context. If for instance you look at Time Spent on Page ; the gap of performance between 2 pages can be puzzling at first ; though against the page main objective you’ll not evaluate the results in the same way. If Page A is an article you wrote with a video for instance while your Page B is a form subscription ; you’ll know that Page A type of page objectives in engagement hence the longer the time spent the better and you may look at content velocity to cross check that it is effectively good while Page B type of page is conversion hence a long time spent on page will not be a metric you care about except when it’s a sign that your users are having issue to convert and in that case you’ll be looking at form completion rate to cross check the performance. I believe that each metric that you measure must have a real connection to your business objectives and tactics to achieve them, and has to be mapped out to a measurement logic where business objectives come first and are turned into KPI which are measured by some metrics for which you have set targets against. The granularity doesn’t have to be the page level each time but it’s by defining methodically your objectives, how to measure them etc… that you will know what each metric you have in your dashboard is for. With this logic applied to real business objectives, you’ll know why you need to dig further, panic or wait and see.


  3. Reduce the noise: Segmentation is Queen!
  4. Segmentation is your magnifying glass: Precision matters to be able to remove all possible of data misinterpretation, data analysis can’t really be done in mass – you need to segment your results. Performance can be looked at through many angles:

    • by channel driver (e.g. new OLA campaign)
    • by user type (e.g. new versus recurring)
    • by contextual information (e.g. new layout, seasonality…)
    • by devices, technology

    If we take the example of the channel drivers performance, one channel cannot be compared to the other without considering the users journey & your sector. Each channel contribute to a different moment of your user journey hence each channel may not perform the same for your general key metrics but each channel will have specific goals and metrics attached to it.
    This example below illustrates in France for the Retail industry the user path to purchase and where which channel driver assist :
    Another example related to your user journey would be to segment by user type. Your company may use Personae to define user type, those personae can be considered as segment in your analytics tool. If we take the example of a travel website ; the same objectives, metrics and targets will not apply to Paulo, Frequent Traveler than Linda, First Time Buyer or Louis, a New visitor.


  5. Open your mind: Benchmark your results
  6. compareBenchmarking is the process of comparing one’s business processes and performance metrics to industry bests or best practices from other industries“. From my usage in a digital analytics context, there are 3 types of benchmark : historical data (looking at your trend), Target data (looking at your objectives) or Competitive data (when industry benchmark are available). Benchmark data are also here to give you some perspective !

If all of this is not enough to understand this ugly dashboard you have… that’s when the fun begin ! Being an Data Scientist Wear your McGyver, Holmes + Lara Croft outfit (be precise, methodical & aim for something)

If you like this post, please share the data love…

Develop your analytics skills ! 2014 and beyond challenges…

Develop your analytics skills ! 2014 and beyond challenges…

Happy New Year everyone!

I wish you all the best for 2014, may all your dreams come true ! Days were slipping before the end of this month and the end of the new year wishing window although where I live today I do have an extension as Chinese New Year is coming pretty soon ; so this note will be short but still, I can’t start this year without this.

Who says New Year says New challenges and New opportunities, at least that’s what I want to hear. Last year, I had my Analytics roadmap for 2013 with 6 items :segmentation with personae, cross-platform analytics, analysis exchange, attribution modelling, site search and Tim’s Ash book to finish) , well as you can expect I didn’t cross all 6 items but some of them. I had the chance to participate to one project with Analysis Exchange for WWF Vietnam ; I read Tim’s Ash book about Landing page optimization, even though I still owe you a second post about the 2nd part and work on some pretty exciting analytics projects about campaign performance, site optimization, reporting enhancement among others subjects.

This year I’ll keep the same spirit : develop my analytical skills is my one and only focus and have fun doing it.
So 2014, here we are ! Where to start: 3 things that I am already excited about :

1. Kick starting today a new Analysis Exchange project

I am very happy to mentor this new project, hopefully I’ll share more with you in a few weeks.
Few words about Analysis Exchange :

2. Acquiring a new skill : “The Power to Predict”

I know this another 2014 buzzword word as many others, but I had the chance to participate to a “Data Analysis” course last year online via Coursera and touch-based a little bit about statistics, predictive modelling, R programming: how to organize a data analysis, the structure of files in a data analysis, how to get data, and the basics of how to clean data… This arouse my curiosity hence my challenge will be to firstly understand the basics of Data Analysis with a tool as R then using R to predict.

3. Working in Asia.

The last release of APAC DIGITAL MARKETING PERFORMANCE DASHBOARD – which look into the advancement of digital marketing across the Asia Pacific region – stated that 41% of the world’s Internet population resides in Asia, 78% of Asia Internet population in under 45, 69% of APAC marketers are measuring and testing digital campaigns and more importantly:

“In India, 28 percent of marketers rate their ability to measure the value and return on
digital marketing as excellent or very good, and Australia and Singapore also rank highly at 21% each. However, in comparison, Korea (3 percent), China (7 percent), Hong Kong (9 percent) and the rest of APAC (12 percent) are not yet as confident in their ability to demonstrate return on investment”

That is in my opinion a mine of gold from a learning, knowledge-sharing and skill improvement point of view. How exciting !

Hopefully, I’ll have new challenges and opportunities coming on the way ! You never know.

What about you ? What are your analytics challenges coming ahead? How would you develop your skills?

If you liked this article, please spread the data-love…

Looking for Website Conversion Optimization guidance ? A must-read book to help you out!

Looking for Website Conversion Optimization guidance ? A must-read book to help you out!

Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing & Tuning for Conversions. 2nd Edition. by Tim Ash, Maura Ginty and Rich Page.

Though I haven’t finish the book yet, I’ll nevertheless share a glimpse if what I read so far. Out of five part, I just finish the 2nd and there is already a lot to remind. This book is a must-read guide to help you understand how to improve your website, why you should do it and how you should measure it.

Let me rewind quickly: When I first bought this book I was expecting to read about landing page optimization as the book title stand what was my suprise when i realized that I’ll learn far more in this book. To be fair, it’s totally possible that my definition of landing page was far too restrictive.

Let’s first define landing page!

According to Tim Ash book, “a landing page is any webpage on which an internet visitor first arrives on their way to an important action that you want them to take on your site”.
According to me in light of this book and my work experiences, a landing page is in a digital marketing context any page of your owned online presence where a user will land regardless of the fact that he was searching for it or that you pushed the content to him. Hence this will regroup your site homepage commonly, your top entries page for organic searches, paid searches, online advertising… but also your standalone paid search landing pages, your Facebook page… Well this almost every page online 🙂 yes and no, it’s great to think that every page deserve your attention and need to be optimized but just stating the obvious you kind of need to focus your attention on what matters which is what’s driving your business and what is bringing money as when we speak about landing page optimization at the end of the day we speak about bringing value for your customers and $$ for your business to grow. In other words: optimizing your site conversion.

Things to Bear in Mind:

This a very complete book hence I can just suggest you to read it.
Nevertheless, you’ll find below some tips that need to be remembered and hopefully will be helpful in your analyst/webmarketer every day life:

What is conversion? Persuading users to take the desired action(s).

To get there, you’ll need first to follow a simple 3 steps methodology:
1. Define your business goals – For instance if you are an e-commerce website, your main business goal is to increase your online revenue & profit.
2. Define the way to measure achievement / success and the associated metrics / KPI – For instance, you’ll want to measure your daily online revenue, you conversion rate (orders to visits), your AOV and your ROI.
3. List few digital initiatives to get there – For instance, you’ll want to increase the proportion of users who checkout or increase the average order value per consumers.

The inherent challenge here is to know to whom you are adressing these digital initiatives, the book identified them as the ‘Maybes’ : those who may take the desired action. In opposition to the Yesses, who will always take the desired actions or the Noes who will never take the desired actions. The maybes are gold and where lies a chance to increase your conversion.

Which conversion actions for which business models?

Landing Page Optimization : Extract "Which conversion actions for which Business Models"
Each of these conversion actions which are macro-conversions, needs to be split into micro-conversions & associated with their metrics.
For instance, here is a schema of the entire methodology to define your conversion optimization scope:

How could we influence the users actions?

Now that we know what we are trying to improve and which landing page to focus on: in our example, each step of the purchase funnel. We need to define the how-to.
In this step come out your old business school memories: AIDA…
AIDA is a marketing concept by E. St. Elmo Lewis that describes a common list of stages that may occur when a consumer engages with your brand or products.
In Tim Ash book, this concept is used as a framework to follow to get a better understanding of the user decision-making process and to put up a checklist of does and don’t in your optimization journey.

  • A for Awareness
    “Awareness is the stage where your visitor just arrived and is looking for reassurance, recognition and a clear path to follow”
  • I for Interest
    Interest is the stage when you need to capture the user attention and transform is scanning mode to a commited mode.
  • D for Desire
    Desire is the stage where your visitor is paying attention and is in a research mode, you’ll need to trigger the right buttons to increase his desire: make it easy for him to compare, read reviews…
  • A for Action
    Action is the stage where you want your visitors to complete the transaction.

The 2nd part of the book gives excellent tips about details area of your landing pages that commonly need to be optimized or so-called in the book ‘The Seven Deadly Sins of Landing Page Design’. This is an excellent starter kit checklist to begin with:

That’s where I will stop, I won’t spoil your pleasure to read the book and learn a lot of useful tips & tricks to improve your website, nor unveil all the secrets ingredients of the entire book here !

Stay tuned for the following part of the book summary and if you liked this article, please don’t be shy spread the love…

AdobeSummit 2013, as you were there even though we are not :)

AdobeSummit 2013, as you were there even though we are not :)

Despite not being there, I challenged myself to cover the event as much as I could. I’ll update this post daily with my findings, especially today and tomorrow which are the main seminars day (being in Hong-Kong, I have a bit of delay…).
I’ll cover Digital Analytics and Targeting & Optimization which are my topics of interest and more than enough to cover ! By cover, I mean, I’ll gather all useful information we could gain from going to the summit: videos, whitepapers, case studies, killing sentences, what’s new, best practices… anything that could help a digital analyst real daily life.

What’s all the noise about?

  1. Adobe Summit: Facts & Data first:
  2. Just looking at 2 hours on Twitter…

    but I could also be looking at Google Alerts, Facebook, Blogger… and I will.

  3. Adobe Summit: General Overview:
  4. What is the Adobe Summit ?
    The Adobe Summit is a digital marketing event hosted by Adobe in Salt Lake City and London every year. It’s a 2 day session with a lot of digital marketing oriented conferences, I guess that if you are not always researching on last trends, news… it may be a good though expensive way to stay tuned with a lot of digital stuff in one go. Give you enough food for thoughts for a year.

    I do really hope that I never speak like that…

  5. Adobe Summit: What will I be covering?
  6. Well, I picked my topic for sure, here are the conferences, I’ll virtually sneak into :
    Digital Analytics
    – Solving the attribution dilemma: Five keys to cross-channel ROI measurement
    – Site Catalyst advanced: The time-saving tips you’re not using
    – New innovations for Mobile with the Adobe Marketing Cloud
    – Predictive Marketing: Unearthing hidden behaviors and data patterns
    Targeting & Optimization
    – Adobe Test&Target: Essentials for building relevant, high-converting entry page experiences
    – Adobe Test&Target: Closing the loop: A personalization blueprint for B2B & lead-gen marketers
    – Adobe Test&Target: 2013 Conversion ROI All-Stars: trues stories of optimization success.

    So please be my guest, stay tuned and I’ll share with you everything useful I’ll find from those conferences !

    #1 Update | Adobe Summit, who to follow on Twitter or who are the noisiest ?


    The good news is most of them are analytics people or at least digital people, no click waisted!

#2 Update | Adobe Summit, key takeaways are here!

2013 Digital Analytics Roadmap

2013 Digital Analytics Roadmap

Scroll down for a larger version
Analytics Roadmap
Happy New Year everyone!
Let’s kick off this year with a list of wishful thinking and future articles, I certainly hope I will be able to work deeply on all those subjects and more but I do realize that not everything will be achievable !
I am sharing this list as I intend to write about all those topics this year, so stay tuned if one those items – segmentation, landing page optimization, cross-platform analytics, campaign performance measurement, site search… – is a previous, present or future topic of interest.

  1. Segmentation based on Personae

    In a recent article, When Analytics is King, Segmentation and Targeting are Queens, I was giving my opinion on how important segmentation is to do a better analytics job. There is various ways of doing segmentation and one of the efficient one is to based your audience segmentation on personae. Personae concept goes beyond demographic segmentation, I will soon dive deeper into this subject in the meantime, this article helps to understand the usage of personae in digital marketing.

  2. Landing page optimization : almost there…

    This topic is very large, my objective here is to finish Tim Ash’ book: Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions, this book covers how to prepare all types of content for testing, how to interpret results, recognize the seven common design mistakes, and much more.(Amazon quote). I start reading it few weeks ago, it’s a highly valuable book, can’t wait to share with you a full review of it.

  3. Attribution Modeling & Testing : How to improve campaign allocation performance measurement ?

    Hopefully, performance improvement is a journey, not a destination. When it comes to digital marketing and campaign budget allocation, the equation gets more and more complex as the channels are numerous (Search, Display, Facebook etc.) and understanding each channel contribution to your performance (revenue, micro conversions, user experience…) is a tough job. Attribution models and testing is a step in this journey.

  4. SiteSearch Optimization

    This hilarious video of Google Analytics reminds me, how important site search is, I remember reading in a usability study that approx. 30% of your visitors will ignore your navigation, content links and hero images and use ONLY your internal search tool to look for what they are searching.

    Well, I do hate common views however this one worth taking the time to dig a little deeper and capture the main metrics to help your visitors find what they are looking for in your website in a efficient way.

  5. Cross-Platform Analytics

    A few articles this month claims : 2013 is the year of mobile analytics or 2013 is still not the year of mobile analytics, 2013 is the year of … Well, i don’t really care as the platform of today is certainly the old man of tomorrow’s platform. So I want 2013 to be the year of cross platform analytics : mobile, tablets, desktop, Tv… Whatever ! Where your clients/prospects are, you want to be looking at!
    About that, I wish to use and write about and compare those unified audience cross-platform audience measurement tools :
    Media Metrix® Multi-Platform from comScore
    Universal Analytics from Google Analytics

  6. Participate as much as possible to Analysis Exchange

    I joined the Analysis Exchange as a mentor last year, I didn’t have the chance to participate yet, well I hope that 2013 will be the year of my contribution. This exchange is a pretty exiting project run by Web Analytics Demystified to increase practice of web analytics by providing free web analytics consulting to non-profits and NGOs around the world.

Thanks for reading so far ! If you liked this article please spread the love…