SLC Adobe Summit 2014, analytics review.

SLC Adobe Summit 2014, analytics review.

The Adobe Summit in Salt Lake City is just over, although I wasn’t there the wonderful magic of internet & video allow me to pick up on what I missed and share with you the analytics pieces ! You can find all the 23 sessions of Adobe Summit recorded here as well.

I had to make a choice so 2 sessions really picked my curiosity and get to the point of having me writing those lines for whoever don’t want to listen to 2 hours of video.
The first session

“Best-in-class Analytics: How to move your practice up the maturity curve”

was led by Jeff Allen, Adobe and Mihai Anghel, ThinkGeek. I found this one quite interesting as it’s an everyday challenge: moving from the left side of this chart to the right side.
Capture d’écran 2014-03-29 à 14.35.50

It gets really frustrating to spend that much time of the left side if it, but it has to be done perfectly so that you are trusted when delivering insights, prediction and segmentation pattern based on those left side figures. Those insights are what makes your work valuable and finally help driving the business.

My Analytics Maturity Assessment results The main point of this session was to present Adobe Analytics Maturity assessment tool ; which is a pretty nice online questionnaire that helps you and your team have a decent idea of where you are at for each of those analytics dimension above: Descriptive (collecting data, reporting, dashboard…), Diagnosis (Analysis & Pattern Discovery)…, Advanced Diagnostic (Segmentation…), Predictive, Prescriptive. This tool aim to map your organization analytics maturity and leave you a path of improvement to follow and it’s shareable, you can have a team looking at it and have goals…
My opinion is that this is certainly a nice to have or at least a good starting point ; it’s always nice to be able to assess where you’re at, spot your gaps and benchmark yourself against industry. So sure, why not ! You can see for instance on my left example, that I do have room for improvement – when filling this I refer to a real life example where I am today reaching to Advanced Diagnosis and the rest of the report delivered by the tool point out where those gaps are , not how to fill them but that something you most definitively know already. For instance, you don’t use segmentation or you don’t import your CRM data in your analytics tool ? This will be point out and you’ll decide of the priority of this task and how to best integrate it in your roadmap for Best in class analytics. And I do love roadmap, it’s organized and you can cross when your task is over, you can measure your progress…

The second session was about Attribution:

“Fun with algorithms: Attribution and media mix-modeling”

. I understand this seems hardly fun but it’s a really hot topic from which organization can gain for, I still believe that it’s fancy and maybe too fancy when some organization are missing the basics but each things has its time and attribution fall into the high level of maturity in analytics practice. Especially knowing that the user journey is across devices, platforms, media… the equation is more and more complex cutomer-journey-1024x375 at some point we need clarity to understand what is influencing what, which media goes first in the path to purchase, correlation and causality, which media drives awareness, consideration, engagement or conversion… To go beyond the last click model as stated before attribution role is to uncover this mix.
The focus of this session was to go through Models available for attribution and as expected pointing the one that should be THE ONE.
Attribution modelsLet’s review first the models available that are well-known:
Last click… don’t be shy, you most certainly use this model as 90% of us
First click : not very popular anymore
Equal : when every touch point get the same
Custom: when you decide what you consider should be done
Less to More: when the first touch gets 10 the last one gets 50 for instance.

The rest of the presentation went through the Top Down Attribution model of Shapley, which is a statistically based on historical data model for attribution. One of the hint of it was that you’ll have to calculate your marketing channels elasticities – i.e. the relative effectiveness of a media channel to drive sales on a given point of time. And especially as this formula will be relying on YOUR historical data, you better have a statistician with you !
Top Down Attribution
It’s highly mathematical with words like regression line, variance, formula, equation… and so on ; so I leave it to you to watch the video if you are a statistical person. For other people like me, my interest was more into practical examples, the case study was according to me a little bit disappointing as the only output you see during the session is : “Thanks to this model, if you spend 18% in Email, you’ll have 30% sales” ; which is good insight for media planning don’t get me wrong. My disappointment came from the fact that I was missing step and by step or how-to guideline, proofs and multiple case studies instead of one.

At last, I still think that it’s hard to get started ; good thing is some tips are raising interesting question for me as “Get your data ready for attribution” ; I believe this is the main focus for now.

Other than those 2 sessions, some others tweets I went through or video sessions I scan briefly raised other nice stuff to follow, such as using R to access Adobe Analytics APIs or knowing that now Genesis is Free or Ben Gaines SiteCat Tips & Tricks session. I’ll may dig into that later and let you know !

Stay tuned and if you like this article, please don’t be shy… Share !

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…

When Analytics is the King, Segmentation & Targeting are Queens

When Analytics is the King, Segmentation & Targeting are Queens

Now officially, it’s been more than 1 year between Omniture and me, things are getting pretty serious! Since 5 years we’ve been turning around each other – it has to be said Omniture consultants are pretty tenacious – last year I finally gave up !

Time to take a look back…
Like in every relationship, at the beginning you cannot hold yourself to compare the new to your ex. My ex analytics companion was Google Analytics since a long time, so I compared every features available or not. No need to reinvent the wheel, there are already plenty of great posts blog which compare Google Analytics & Site Catalyst, please refer to them if you need a feature by feature comparison:
SiteCatalyst and Google Analytics comparison, conceptually speaking: Part 1 and Part 2.
From my point of view, I’ll just say that both have more or less the same basic metrics that you need but GA is much more easier to handle at first because GA is more user friendly and there is almost no set up when SiteCatalyst needs a lot configuration from the beginning which will ask for ressource in your team. Beyond the basic metrics on both tool, you’ll need time to customize it: eCommerce tracking, Campaign tracking, Social Media, Segmentation… all those features are not native in the tool and more or less easy to set up.
SiteCatalyst may be a pain in the ass to set up (excuse my French) but it’s more powerful, you can do a lot of things that you cannot in GA & it doesn’t come alone ! I’ll come back to that in a minute.
Finally, Google Analytics is FREE when SiteCatalyst is not.

However, I am here to talk about Adobe products : Site Catalyst, Discover & a little about Test & target, as to be honest I tend to use a lot more of Discover those days than Site Catalyst – essentially because it’s much more flexible to handle a large amount of data and I don’t need to call Adobe consultants to enable the functions that I need (as correlations, subrelations…).
Just a quick note to explain why I choose to speak only about Adobe products in this blog post – no bribe here – it’s just that lately I have been working exclusively with them and I get to know them and grew fond of some features. Plus, I passed my User certification & I am currently on a training for Implementation ! So why not use all this cool stuff I learned and put them into a post. 🙂

So let’s say that, as an analyst we want to Get useful data & Turn them into actionable insights to be able to Suggest, Recommend, Test in order to Optimize our website towards our Business Goals.

How specific features of Adobe products can help to do this in a upper level way?

My favorite first: SAINT Classification

SAINT Classification is useful to give sense to various unique items & allocate each item multiple categories. To be more specific, thinking about traffic channel driver performance, imagine that you are using a tracking code for each of your online advertising campaign, creative… such as on your landing url will look like www.monsite.com?cid=AA00112233 (‘cid’ being the default container for external campaign tracking) and your referring domain is wwww.referrer.com. Site Catalyst will be able to identify traffic coming from the referring domain and if you enabled it, Site Catalyst will be able to identify traffic from cid=AA00112233 (thanks to the GetQueryParam plugin), you could even breakdown Referring Domains by Tracking codes. However seeing metrics associated to AA00112233 is not really user-friendly for an analyst, except if you know by heart what creative, message and so on the code is referring to.
That’s when knowing about SAINT Classification become useful as you can import a reference file to Site Catalyst that will classify each of your tracking codes into comprehensive categories such as Campaign Name, Creative, Message and so on. You will be able to breakdown every category by every category thanks to Classification hierarchy. See below for classification examples:

Using SAINT Classification in this case, will help you to get useful data about your marketing effort performance : learn how a specific channel, campaign, placement, creative, message… is working and most of all leading your visitors to engage & convert on your website.

Second one, will be Processing rules, a bit nerdy but useful

This one is pretty handy as it happens that once your implementation is done, you realized that you have forget something and your IT guys are not available or it means waiting for too long
You have to be certified to use it as it’s kind of dangerous tool. So I did take the exam just because I love danger, ahahah… Anyway, let’s take a real life example: copy an eVar into a prop or vice versa. This one is very handy as if I want to know how many times someone is searching for a specific keywords and if this search turned into an order, I would use an s.prop5 to count the volume of searches and an eVar5 to know if this search converted. Imagine you forget to set up the s.prop, you can then use processing rules to tell Site Catalyst that eVar5 = s.prop5 for instance.

Segmentation

According to eMarketer, an obvious trend for 2013 is fragmentation : “The expansion in the number of media channels has fragmented audiences” and well obviously you will need to identify and understand how your various type of audience is interacting with your website. I strongly believe in segmentation for better understanding of your audience & marketing decision making. Segmentation to analyze your marketing effort and especially to understand your different type of visitor. I am not afraid to be redundant, but this is one of the key to optimization.
A first step will be to consider the “how”, how am I going to collect the data from my different channels – well the point above already answer to part of this in details & you shall know as well that Site Catalyst identify automatically some of your sources (regarding search you do need to enable it first in your report suite manager), if you want to have a more detailed view use s.campaign and finally use SAINT Classification to categorize your campaigns from a business owner point of view.
The magic about that and segmentation in Site Catalyst 15 is that as your data are captured and collected you can use any of these as a dimension to filter your report and create segment!
Site Catalyst already set some out of the box segment for you:
they are quite helpful but you can go even into deeper details such as : look into customer behavior for visits from natural branded searches, behavior for visits coming from a blue banner, behavior for visits coming from a specific referring domain, from a specific cross-channel campaign and so on… Possibilities are endless, the pitfall here is to know what are the segments you need to look at, do some exploration but too much granularity will make you loose the advantage of segmentation.

Test & Target

Test & Target is another tool from Adobe, not directly related to Site Catalyst except if you use the plugin to connect both, which I highly recommend. Why? Because as its name points out Test & Target is a tool to Target your content and well it make sense to me to rely on your segmentation strategy to target content to the right user.
Aside from the targeting feature, Test & Target allows you to do AB or MVT Testing on your content : every kind of content such as text, image, landing page… and the testing can be used in the same time as the targeting. For instance, you can send an eDM to your database, this email will have a call-to-action a specific landing page – you can decide to have various landing page depending on the audience: if it’s a fist time visitors display this content or this one (AB Testing) or if it’s a returning visit display this or that message…
Have a look below of how far you can segment, test and target:

Elephants and Analytics Blog – TnT Illustration

This will allow you to test, test and optimize your suggestions that came from your data observations or even your gut feeling.
As a stand alone tool, from what I experienced I was not really happy with the tool, however I was conscious that it was a powerful tool, a difficult setup and a lot of followup if you want your business owners to really get involved and use it. Practice is from my point of view the best ally of this tool but not every one have the time or the patience to it.

Last and not the least: Reading

For those who know me, I’m a compulsive reader… I read as much as I can, daily, some time work related and hopefully most of the time it’s not work related.
However here are work related best reading resources I read religiously :
Adobe Digital Marketing Blog
Web Analytics Demystified
– and the rest are on Twitter, some name you should follow: @usujason, @erictpeterson, @tim_ash, @johnlovett, @benjamingaines and so on…

I am just ending Day 4 of Site Catalyst Implementation training (hopefully I will be able soon to implement Site Catalyst by myself…), and there is so much more I could tell now (form analysis, cross-channel analysis, context data…) but let’s keep that for another article and after some practice first !