Friday, December 28, 2007

A nice touch from the WAA

Just in time for Christmas, I received a small package with a Certificate of Recognition from the Web Analytics Association for my involvement in the field of web analytics. It's signed by the hand of His Honorable Mr. Jim Sterne himself, father or web marketing, founder and chairman of the Web Analytics Association and producer of eMetrics. A nice touch from an organization that is mostly run and energized by volunteers who get involved because they enjoy what they do and are fascinated by the field of web analytics.


By the way, did you know Jim Sterne will be in Montreal on February 6th?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Guy Kawasaki's web analytics prediction for 2008

First, I want to say I admire what Jeremiah Owyang is doing, great interviews, great insight. His latest piece is right from an ice ring, where he goes into a very open discussion with Guy Kawasaki. Jeremiah starts by asking "how is it going to be for marketers in 2008?". Kawasaki's answer is straight to the point:
"I think it's gon'a just be more and more pure stats and it's gon'a be like... really quantitative... people will really want to know. Especially with things going into a recession..."
Listen at least to the first minute or so of the interview. If Guy says that, we can be sure there's a huge crowd of marketers who will be looking at their stats much more seriously than before.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Web Analytics training: mix concepts and hands on

This morning, while taking my first coffee and making my daily round of blogs and emails, I noticed the Press Release from Omniture "More Than 5,000 Trained Through Omniture University As Demand for Online Marketing Skills Increases". There's this quote about me in it:
“Omniture University training goes way beyond Web Analytics 101,” said Stephane Hamel, a Canada-based Web analytics consultant and thought leader that recently attended Omniture University training in Montreal. “People who attended left the training armed with specific skills they could implement right away—from quick wins to longer-term, strategic areas that will lead to new revenue opportunities for their company.”
As a local web analytics enthusiast and events organizer, I helped Omniture set up this course in Montreal. We managed to get a full room of local Omniture clients and it really fostered communication and networking among participants. Feedback was absolutely great and people asked for more!

At the same time, I'm also tutoring the UBC Award of Achievement in Web Analytics. This 4 course curriculum is just amazing for anyone who wants to get broader knowledge about the concepts and expertise regardless of a specific product. In my opinion, what might be a perfect path to web analytics is to take the UBC courses and pursue and mix it with training specific to the tool you use. Attending events such as local web analytics get together or the upcoming breakfast and eMetrics is the cherry on top of the Sunday.

For 2008 I'm working on other types of local events that will address specific needs expressed by people who attended the "[WAM] Web Analytics in Montreal" and "[WAQ] Web Analytics in Quebec" events. I'll keep you posted!

P.S. If you would like to sponsor one of the future [WAM] or [WAQ], or are willing to present a business case, please contact me.

WAA & eMetrics Breakfast Series: Jim Sterne in Montreal

Those who came to the last "[WAM] Web Analytics in Montreal" were the first to hear about it: Jim Sterne will join us for breakfast in Montreal on February 6th, 7:30h-10:00h.

Jim Sterne: WAA & eMetrics

From the official WAA announcement:

"Jim Sterne will deliver insight into the current maturity of the web analytics industry sharing insight into the level of expertise among practitioners today; challenges faced; opportunities available; and the role web analytics practitioners, marketers and analysts play as companies adopt the continuous improvement method of marketing optimization and truly start listening, engaging and participating in a dialogue with customers."

If you are just slightly involved with Web Analytics or eMarketing and don't know Jim, let's just say that some people refer to him as "the father of web analytics". I met him for the first time at Internet World around 1996 and he was already speaking about eMarketing and measuring success. An amazing speaker, and THE industry thought leader.

Jonathan Levitt: iPerceptions

Following Jim, Jonathan Levitt of iPerceptions will showcase how the iPerceptions attitudinal analytic solutions captures and measures the perceptions and attitudes of actual web site visitors' online experience, allowing to predict the key drivers of customer satisfaction and loyalty; track trends; respond immediately and take action. iPerception has offices in New York and Montreal.

Stephane Hamel: immeria

The final case study will be presented by your own city host (yes, that's me). I will piggy back on Jim's presentation to present the realities facing our local market: our "distinctive" cultural environment, the scarcity of resources, and the scale factor of our web initiatives.

More info:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

immeria: small but highly experienced

"Small but highly experienced", that's what Forrester's Megan Burns says in the executive summary of "Where to get help with web analytics".

Firms looking to improve their use of Web analytics data to boost Web site performance should assign dedicated staff to the effort, then hire an
experienced professional services firm to jump-start the learning process and
establish a strong foundation on which to build a robust Web measurement
platform.

Small but highly experienced.

immeria might be a "company of 1", but with 20 years of field experience, the last 13 on the Web, I think I can bring breadth: having worked with numerous employers on countless projects of various size and industries, and depth: from the nitty gritty of web development and business intelligence up to ebusiness strategies.

What Forrester doesn't mention is the level of "coopetition" going on between those small firms. I spoke or met in person with most of the Canadian companies mentioned in the study and there's a general agreement that while we compete in some ways, we have much more opportunities and leverage if we help each other. Plus, it's even better value for our clients!

More focused on business than technology

While most people focus on the marketing aspect of web analytics, I'm much more interested in what happen once they get on the site. Here, my technological background and analytical skills helps me get the most out of the technology in order to support the business strategy, and even recommend actions to achieve the business objectives in a more efficient way.

Hiring web analytics consultants to jump start the efforts

Burns concludes that "Companies should use Web analytics consultants to help new Web analytics managers define roles, responsibilities, and requirements for the collection and use of Web data in their organizations." I can't agree more! What I have also seen are companies striving "to implement Web analytics platforms so they provide reliable, high-value data". Things that I especially like doing is coaching and helping out staff employees develop a process and a methodology to address the business needs by themselves: ad hoc requests, defining KPIs, doing analysis, communicating results, etc. I guess it's my UBC Award of Achievement in Web Analytics and conference speaker that transpire into my consulting practice!

A word about immeria

The company name stems from "an immersion in web analytics" and offers ebusiness strategy and web analytics consulting services, education & conferencing as well as some R&D with the Web Analytics Solution Profiler:
  • Web analytics needs assessment
  • Web measurement strategy
  • Web analytics vendor selection
  • Implementation planning
  • Platform customization/development
  • Dashboard & report design and creation
  • Data analysis & recommendations
  • eBusiness strategy
  • Web analytics education & conference speaking
If you would like to know more, don't hesitate to contact me!

Monday, December 17, 2007

eMetrics call for speaker

Relayed from the Yahoo! Web Analytics forum.

We're looking for presentations on the nitty gritty of measuring website success for the Spring eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summits in Toronto and San Francisco.

Measuring website success now includes a much broader range of methods. Optimizing your website now leads to optimizing all of your marketing.

We're looking for seriously Advanced sessions for those who have been at this for years. Search analytics, online campaign optimization, econometrics, email marketing, and more and more and more.

Submit your presentation before January 4 for consideration...

The following topics are merely suggestions. What do you find fascinating about measuring online marketing success?
  • Web Analytics (of course)
  • Affiliate Measurement
  • Behavioral Targeting
  • Brand Metrics
  • Business Intelligence
  • Buzz/Blog/Reputation Management
  • Campaign Measurement
  • Click Fraud Detection
  • Consumer Generated Content
  • Customer Loyalty
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Email Marketing
  • Internet Size & Behavior Metrics
  • Landing Page Optimization
  • Marketing Performance Dashboards
  • Predictive Analytics
  • Search Marketing Measurement
  • Usability Testing
  • Web Apps Performance Monitoring
  • And More
Just look over the agenda from the October DC show to see how diverse our industry has become.

Rules:

Vendors are only permitted to present at specific times in conjunction with a sponsorship. If you are a vendor, you are encouraged to recommend a client as a speaker. If you have a client who will sing your praises while telling their story - congratulations! Send them to the links below - right now.

Choose the Summit to submit a speaker:

eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit Toronto
Summit: March 31 - April 2, 2008
Submission Deadline: January 4, 2008

eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit San Francisco
Summit: May 4-7, 2008
Submission Deadline: January 4, 2008

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Blog modification: DisqUS comments/forum

I have discovered DISQUS, from a startup offering better comments tracking and integrated forums into blogs. I will give it a try but the concept looks promising and enhance the basic commenting system offered by Blogger. In the coming weeks (and with the Holiday season coming up!) I will work on revamping my blog and offering new features for the Web Analytics community.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Web Analytics market analytics

WASP was primarily created to ease quality assurance of web analytics solutions tagging. But as often the case with innovations, the primary idea leads to a bunch of other possibilities. I also listened to your suggestions and 20% of the 120 respondents to my little poll about future WASP features said they would like to get market stats.

How does it work?

WASP was downloaded about 30,000 times and the latest version includes it's own analytics tags. This means that I can collect anonymous and aggregate information about the tools implemented on the sites visited while WASP is active. So as you browse, you not only get info about the tags on a page, but you also contribute to a global view of the web analytics market. A bit what like Alexa does for site rating, but especially made for web analytics. Cool isn't it? (And yes, this is stated in the EULA and no personal information is collected).

Here are some base metrics:
  • 30,000 downloads since the first version of WASP released in Feb. 2007,
  • 8,000 installs of the latests in a month,
  • 200,000 pages analyzed in a month,
  • 10,000 sites analyzed in a month
I think we now have enough data to look at!

Web Analytics market shares

Out of 10,016 sites visited by about 8,000 users over the last month:
  • Google Analytics was found on 64% of them
  • Omniture SiteCatalyst on 16%
  • WebSideStory/VisualSciences HBX on 8%
  • WebTrends on 7%
  • Coremetrics on 2%
But, when looking at the volume of traffic, we find this:
  • Google Analytics was found on 34% of the page viewed
  • Omniture SiteCatalyst on 20%
  • WebSideStory/VisualSciences HBX on 15%
  • WebTrends, 9%
  • Coremetrics, 2%

Analysis of web analytics vendors market share

Despite Google Analytics taking the lion share of the market in terms of installation (64% of visited sites), Omniture SiteCatalyst move to purchase VisualSciences is very wise. Not only it will give it nearly 25% of the market, it will also put Omniture at par with Google in terms of reach (as shown by the 20%+15% combined page views of SiteCatalyst and HBX). Simply put, Google Analytics might be very widely used, it is implemented on web sites that receives, overall, less traffic than Omniture and VisualSciences.

With the recent tsunami of changes at WebTrends, it will be interesting to see if their market shares will erode in the future. Coremetrics getting out at 2% seems a bit low, especially considering Forrester's most recent positioning put them with the Leaders, with a stronger strategy than Omniture and show a similar market presence. But that being said, Forrester also shows WebTrends with an even stronger market presence in the same quadrant, which I find a bit odd.

I'm curious to hear you about this first analysis. Does it make sense? Considering WASP looks at actual sites being visited instead of information provided by each vendor, could it reveal a more accurate market picture or be somehow biased?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Researcher or practitioner?

I was going through my backlog of emails and blogs and noticed a very interesting article from Human Factors International about the difference between the researcher approach and the practitioner approach to problem solving. Here's what I found most interesting and readily applicable to web analytics.

Seek for solutions

Clients are looking for solutions. Simple. While the details are important, and knowledge of (and benefits of) various analysis methods are core skills or a web analyst, you should convey the findings - better yet, the solution - rather than the analysis leading to it.

Key skills of a web analytics practitioner

HFI cites a study where key skills of a UX practitioners (designers) were identified. I took the liberty to slightly modify them so they can be applied to the field of web analytics:
  • Effective practitioners need to be able to identify, diagnose and execute a correct solution quickly.
  • Practitioners need to know which methods and tools are out there and when to apply which, and just do it.
  • Practitioners should be able to articulate the tradeoffs for favoring a specific method based on the business perspective. This means balancing the quality of the data against constraints like:
    • How much will the various approaches cost to deploy?
    • Which is fastest given our current state?
    • Which is the most powerful but least expensive data we can get to make the case (e.g., quantitative, qualitative)
  • Practitioners need to provide concrete recommendations, not problems and findings. And the earlier the recommendations come, the better. Here, we want to highlight the notion of "continuous improvement".
  • Conversely, practitioners need to set up and provide metrics on how a process or interface fares over subsequent updates and releases. That is the core concept of testing.

Business acumen

The HFI article concludes with this:
Practitioners need to sell in business terms. They suggest that practitioners (and training programs) should hone negotiation and audience monitoring skills, and the ability to recognize when there is a gap between what is being presented and what the audience is seeking. After all, the business wants answers: What do we do? How to do it? What is the projected business impact (ROI) of making such changes? They aren't always as interested in the method and data that lead up to that solution.
The complete HFI newsletter is available online, along with lots and lots of other insightful material.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Bubble-burst 2.0

According to John Gartner, we are or will be witnessing pretty soon the second burst of the Dot-com bubble.
It's ridiculous over inflation of Facebook's worth has gotten even the optimistic to say that the emperor has no clothes. Social networking and widgets are cool, but they aren't going to change the dynamics of commerce and advertising.
On this point, I totally agree with M.Gartner. From a financial perspective, the over inflation of some innovations, or in fact, not so innovations than better repackaging of existing inventions, is ridiculous. Facebook is, for the most part, a fancier version of the old closed BBS's environments. While Dot-com 1.0 was all about growing the largest client-base, even if totally unqualified; Dot-com 2.0 is about gaining as more attention as possible. And it appears the concept of "attention economy" is one of my favorite. Except here, the concept is screwed toward pure capitalism based on money and market, as M.Goldhaber flamed about in his post "The Wrong Book". Here's, in short, what Goldhaber says about the attention economy:
It is an economy in the sense that it involves allocating of what is most scarce and precious in the present period, namely the attention that can come to each of us from other human beings.
Could Web 2.0 be something else than rich media, social media, network as a platform, AJAX, consumer generated content and all those fancy ways of reaching the end goal: attention?

Gartner ends his post with:
Blame the ongoing war, the lead-tainted toys, the housing and mortgage collapse, and volatile days on Wall Street. Uncertainty across the board is about to investments Web 2.0 companies hard.
Again true, just like Bubble 1.0 economics, stretched Bubble 2.0 economics will be a thing of the past. What will remain are the concepts and the tools to help businesses, and ultimately people, be more efficient.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Yulbiz tonight, [WAM] tomorrow!

Yulbiz

Yulbiz is a gathering of business people interested in blogs and bloggers interested in business.
It's going on tonight at Café Melies in Montréal. The latest news says there will be somewhere around 50 people. Sadly I can't be there, but I attended the one in Québec city and I will try to attend the next one in Montréal.

WAM!

[WAM], and his friend [WAQ], are monthly meeting of the local Web Analytics community held in Montréal and Québec city. It's an happy gathering of practitioners in the field of web analytics and related interests: strategy, website optimization, SEO/SEM, design, and the Internet in general.
Tomorrow night (Wednesday, November 28th at 6:00pm) is also the last "[WAM] Web Analytics in Montreal" event, also at Café Melies! And it promises to be the largest ever, with 40 people confirmed and another 20 potential. This month the event is sponsored by Coremetrics, Digital Marketing Optimization and web analytics vendor and we will see lots of new people coming from web agencies, SEO/SEM freelance consultants, and of course, practitioners and web managers. We'll have the usual networking, but I will also present some industry news and Coremetrics will do a presentation on do's & don't of web analytics.

UC Irvine: Certificate in Web Intelligence

I first heard about this several months ago and found the idea very compelling. At a time when new people are flocking to web analytics like flies on a good sh*t pile (hmmm... maybe not a good example!), the best thing to ensure a descent level of quality is to get certified courses from renowned university degrees like the UBC and U of C.

From Jim Sterne's newsletter:
What do you get if you combine four WAA / University of British Columbia web analytics courses with four University of California, Irvine business intelligence courses? The Web Intelligence Certificate Program.
Of course, as a tutor of UBC's Intro to Business Process Analysis, Intro to Web Analytics and Web Analytics for Site Optimization, I might be a bit biased... But once I complete my eBusiness MBA, this is the next continuing education achievement I will undergo!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Practical analytics: incoming traffic quality

The initial inquiry was something like this: "In Site Catalyst how do i calculate bounce rate for referrers? I am trying to figure out the quality of referrers to the site using bounce rate by referrers".

Step 1: Define

The first analysis step is to define the improvement goal that is consistent with customer demand and business strategy.
We can rephrase that into something closer to a SMART objective: "During the month of October, which referrers brought people who engaged with our site beyond the initial page?". This might be good enough, but the initial statement was about "quality", which ultimately needs to relate back to the business primary objective (or one of the secondary ones). For an ecommmerce site, it could be: "During the month of October, which referrers brought customers?". We could even qualify it further by stating a minimal purchase amount, life time customer value, etc.

Step 2: Measure

Here we have a very good example of the difference between reporting and analysis. Reporting would limit itself to each individual metrics such as Referrers and Visits and leave it to the reader's imagination to find a meaning to those numbers. Analysis aims to look at the correlation between various metrics and build up a good story around them.
In the second step, we want to look at the process and collect relevant data for comparison.
In this case, we have a couple of important elements we can look at:
  • Visit: "A visit is an interaction, by an individual, with a website consisting of one or more
    requests for an analyst-definable unit of content (i.e. “page view”)."
  • Page Views: "The number of times a page (an analyst-definable unit of content) was viewed."
  • Referrer: "The referrer is the page URL that originally generated the request for the current page view or object." In our case, we will want to look at the originating domain, not the whole URL. So we will talk about the "referring domain" for "external referrers".
  • Conversion: "A visitor completing a target action." Typically, it's easier to look at the referring domain that brings us the most conversions.
  • Entry Page: "The first page of a visit."
  • Page Views per Visit: "The number of page views in a reporting period divided by number of visits in the same reporting period."

Step 3: Analyze

We want to analyze the relationship and causality of various factors.
In order to analyze what is happening, we need to define two new metrics derived from the basic metrics commonly available in any web analytics solution:
  • Bounce Rate: The number of visits that resulted in a single page view and then left the site. It can be defined in Site Catalyst as a new calculated metric of Single Access/Entries.
  • Weighted Bounce Rate: Same as above, but gives more weight to pages that are viewed more often, thus pushing problematic pages to the top of the list. It is calculated from this formula: (Single Access/Entries) * (Page Views/Total Page Views).
In Site Catalyst, the only way to find out Bounce Rate by Referrers is to go under Paths/Pages/Most Popular Pages and select our newly defined Bounce Rate and Weighted Bounce Rate.

Then we can simply click on the correlate icon and select Finding Methods/Referring Domains.

Step 4: Improve

Optimize based upon the analysis and various design experiments.
Now we have all information at hands to make hypothesis and validate them. One could think we don't have much control over who links to our site. In this case, we found out some referrers were simply linking to a "deep" page while they should link to a page that comes up sooner in the process. Since those referrers were mostly partner sites, we could simply ask them to fix the links. They are actually sending us qualified traffic, but at the wrong step of an important conversion process! End result: frustrated customers, loss of revenue.

Step 5: Control

The last step is to control that our changes results in positive outcomes from a user perspective, but also from a business point of view. We can simply run A/B reports showing the months of October and November side by side.
We want to ensure that any variances can be explained. Set up audit at specific intervals to asses conformity and institute control/correction mechanisms.

Six Sigma

Here it is! Without knowing it, we've just went through a very simplified Six Sigma approach that can easily be applied to web analytics. Using the Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control process, it is easier to keep the business objectives in mind and stay focused on actionable data that brings tangible outcomes.

Monday, November 19, 2007

[WAM] Web Analytics in Montreal, November 28th

You are cordially invited to a meeting of Montreal's Web Analytics community at Café Melies on November 28th around 6:00 PM, sponsored by Coremetrics. The meeting will be a gathering of practitioners, consultants, web managers, eBusiness strategists in the field of web analytics or other related interest
(strategy, SEO, design, or the Internet in general).

Agenda:
  • Quick industry and Web Analytics Association news & announcements from your humble host (that's me!)
  • Short presentation from this month sponsor, Coremetrics,
  • Followed by drinks and networking!
When: Wednesday, November 28th, around 6:00pm
Where: Café Melies, 3540 boul. St-Laurent, Montréal

Please RSVP by sending me an email or on the [WAM] event on Facebook.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

An evolving definition of Web Analytics

It's a recurring topic: what is the definition of "web analytics"?

I first posted my views in March 2006 and again in September when I suggested we (or at least I) couldn't care less about the trend of putting a "2.0" or "3.0" after every buzzword, just like the "e" of the Web 1.0 era (sic) where we had to put the notion of "electronic" to qualify everything we did: ebusiness, emarketing, elearning, e-anything!

So let's try it again!

What is web analytics?

Web Analytics Association definition:
Web Analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of Internet data for the purposes of understanding and optimizing Web usage.

Avinash Kaushik definition:
1) The analysis of qualitative and quantitative data from your website and the competition 2) to drive a continual improvement of the online experience that your customers, and potential customers have, 3) which translates into your desired outcomes.
An evolving definition:
1) The analysis of qualitative and quantitative data from your website, the competition and business systems 2) to drive a continual improvement of the online experience that your customers, and potential customers have, 3) which translates into desired customer and business outcomes.
I'm adding what I think are two important concepts:
  1. business systems obviously store a commensurate amount of knowledge. A website doesn't float by itself on the web ocean, it's anchored to other business systems. Note that here, I'm considering the web is a business system part of "a set of interacting or interdependent entities, real or abstract, forming an integrated whole".
  2. customer and business outcomes highlights the difference between the web site user outcome and the business one. Pleasing the customer to a level where it wouldn't be business wise would eventually lead to the death of the business itself. However, forgetting to satisfy the customer wished outcome would also destroy the business. Thus, the notion of exchanging "something" for "something else" where both parties are satisfied and see a benefit.

Since I'm tutoring the Business Process Analysis course of the UBC Certificate in Business System Analysis, the importance of business process optimization on the web become obvious. My personal background isn't that much in marketing, but much more in the analysis of interrelated tasks organized to solve a business issue.

And lastly, I have a bad news and a good one for you: "web analytics" is dead, the good news is we can now talk about "business analytics". (Hey! I had to be provocative!)

Friday, November 16, 2007

[WAQ] Web Analytics Quebec, Wednesday, November 21

This month, the "Web Analytics in Québec city", or "WAQ" for short, join again with Yulbiz-Québec, organized by my friend and web analytics entrepreneur Stéphane Guérin.

Who: bloggers, entrepreneurs, strategists, designers, web analysts, VC, geeks :)
When: Wednesday, November 21th, around 7:00pm
Where: Taverne Urbaine chez Mo, 810 boul. Charest Est, Québec

Come join us for a chat, a drink and some tapas!

You might want to let me know or RSVP on the Yulbiz-Québec Facebook group if you come.

WASP 0.29: a week later

It's been a week since the release of WASP 0.29 and being in the field of web analytics, I couldn't resists reporting on some insight I got.

Numbers, numbers, numbers

  • Number of downloads of WASP in a week: 4,500
  • Total number of downloads since first launch: 24,000
  • Number of sites visited by WASP users in a week: 4,300
  • Number of pages analyzed by WASP in a week: 63,900
  • Current number of products detected by WASP: 55
I could release some market share numbers, but I don't feel it would be fair because the sampling is not large enough. Let's just say that in absolute number of sites tagged, Google Analytics largely dominate (twice as more as) Omniture SiteCatalyst (twice as more as) WebSideStory HBX, then WebTrends Live and Coremetrics.

I'm receiving great feedback about WASP. People like the new status bar indicator and I received a couple of requests to for additional products to detect, or small glitches here and there on specific sites (usually sites that have weird implementations!).

What you want to see in WASP?

Let me share my dilemna regarding an advanced version of WASP: aim for the mass or aim for the bucks?
  • Creating "WASP Google Analytics Edition" would probably be very popular, but SiteScan exists, is free, and is doing a good job. Furthermore, from a purely commercial perspective, why would people pay for a QA tool while Google Analytics is free?
  • Creating "WASP Omniture Edition" would probably be much more interesting, especially with the type of clients Omniture has and the recent industry shakeup.
Which brings the next question, below "Which features would you like to see added to WASP?".

But this inevitably brings another question...

Which model would fit?

So far, I have spent dozens of hours (I stopped counting!) working on WASP. Creating WASP is a great experience in itself and it's rewarding to see the interest picking up. Honestly, it's also bringing a fair amount of "attention" which translates in other opportunities. Being perceived as a thought leader, innovator and helping out the community is great, but in and by itself, WASP needs to bring some tangible outcomes.

It's interesting to see that most respondents to my little survey say a "donation model" appears to be, in their view, the most appropriate one. The WASP user interface clearly shows a "Make a Donation" button and the website as a clear call to action to make donations. Here's the results:
Since the first launch of WASP, there has been 2 donations, for a whopping total amount of 30$!
Am I complaining? No! I just thought I would share this info and seek your input. Please fill out the poll. Please send in your comments and if you are inclined to do so, let me know, honestly, how much would you pay to make sure your site is correctly tagged? (or email me privately)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Webcom-Montreal: optimization through web analytics

Yesterday, I had the pleasure to be on a panel at Webcom-Montreal with my friends Jacques Warren and Simon Rivard to talk about using web analytics for site optimization. Here's some highlights from this presentation.

What is web analytics?

Jacques suggested a definition, here's mine, which is slightly modified from the one proposed by Avinash Kaushik:
"Web Analytics is the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data from your website, the competition and business systems to drive a continual improvement of the online experience that your customers, and potential customers have, which translates into desired business outcomes (online and offline)".
I'm adding "business sytems" as an important source of information used for analysis.

Why use web analytics?

We were unanimous on that one! Through the use of web analytics, we aim to answer three simple questions. You might change the way those questions are formulated, but it's essentially:
  • Who is coming to the site?
  • Why are they coming? What's their goal?
  • Were they successful in accomplishing their goal?

What skills are required to do web analytics?

I proposed three key elements to be successful in web analytics:
  1. Business acumen: knowledge of the specific business area, the global strategy, and how this strategy is facilitated by the Internet. Understand the goals and the processes related to ebusiness and "speak the language of business".
  2. Technology savvy: general web and internet concepts and best practices (and sometimes deep understanding!). The architecture and how the site is constructed, structured and applications are conceived.
  3. Analytical mind: ability to analyze data of various nature. Correlate it to business objectives and provide recommendations. Communicate efficiently to all stakeholders.
Don't worry, I don't know anyone who can claim to be a specialist in all those three areas (if you know someone who claims that, be very suspicious!). That's why a multidisciplinary team is the best, or hire a consultant for areas where you don't have the skills internally.

How can we improve a site?

Once we have a better insight on the three essential questions, we can seek to improve the site. Simon suggested the following areas of improvement:
  • Spotting technical problems such as bugs, broken links or server errors
  • Understanding the level of interest (engagement) of visitors (where they come from, what's their interest, what they are doing on the site, etc.)
  • Better qualifying target audiences (especially in the context of marketing activities)
  • Improving usability and communication efficiency
And another one of my own:
  • Improving business processes
Simon noted that in his experience, any time there's a red error message on a page, you drop another 10% of your users.

What bounce rate or conversion ratios are ideals for...

We knew someone would ask! Simon joked: 0% bounce, 100% conversion!
  • For eCommerce, some studies mention conversion from visit to purchase of 4% as being a good objective, 8% is exceptional.
  • But each business strategy being different, and each expression of that strategy on the web being specific, bounce rates, ratios and conversion rates should never (well, maybe not never, but very rarely!) be compared from one company to the other.
It's really hard not to fall into anecdotal demonstration of such and such case where bounce rate was 50% or 2%, or conversion for a specific transaction was 98% (yes, I have seen that!) or checkout was improved by 400%. Again, each case is different!

Where can I find more info about web analytics?

You are here! It's already a good start :)
I hope that helps, please don't hesitate to send in your comments!

Friday, November 9, 2007

WASP 0.29 released!

What is WASP?

By now, most people in the Web Analytics sphere have heard about WASP. WASP is the free Web Analytics Solution Profiler, a Firefox extension aimed at web analytics implementation specialists, web analysts and savvy web surfers who wants to understand how their behavior is being analyzed.

By automatically detecting the tags on a page and displaying detailed information about the data being sent, WASP can significantly ease the tagging process and increase the quality of a web analytics implementation.

What's new?

It took a while to get this version out the door, but the folks at Mozilla are doing a great job ensuring Firefox extensions abide to quality standards and good practices! Some noticeable changes are:
  • Now detects 55 solutions!
  • WASP icon shown on the status bar
  • Enable/disable WASP from the status bar
  • Fixed most problems related to tab browsing
  • Even more optimization
  • WASP uses web analytics too! WASP has been instrumented to collect anonymous usage information. This will allow me to improve WASP and eventually provide market data. Of course, this feature can be turned off from the Options dialog.
Visit WebAnalyticsSolutionProfiler.com for full details or see the complete revision history and the FAQ.

Your feedback is important!

I've received a lot of feedback from the community and this helped shape this release of WASP, determine what should be improved and developed in the future. Your positive input is always appreciated, but constructive critics are also accepted!

Please take a few seconds to fill out my two quick polls:
  1. If a special edition of WASP had a price tag, which packaging would be most effective for you? Take this poll
  2. Which features would you like to see added to WASP? Take this poll
Make a donationIf you are inclined to do so - or if you use WASP for professional purposes - a donation would be appreciated!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I've been quiet, but quite busy!

On the surface, I've been more quiet than usual for a couple of weeks. But behind the scene, there's a lot going on! Here's some highlights.

Webcom Montréal


Webcom Montreal is coming up next week, November 14th in Montreal. I will be on a panel with Jacques Warren and Simon Rivard discussing about "how to optimize your conversion rates with web analysis?"
Don't forget Web Analytics Association members get a 15% discount!

"[WAM] Web Analytics Montreal" and "[WAQ] Web Analytics Quebec"

[WAQ] Living in the nice Quebec city area? Book your agenda for November 21th at Taverne Urbaine Chez Mo where we will repeat last month's experience of joining the YULBiz group. At the same occasion, there will be the launch of a book entitled "Pourquoi bloguer dans un contexte d'affaires" (why blog in a business context), a collective work of 10 bloggers in Quebec .

[WAM] Close to Montréal? Book your agenda for November 28th, around 6pm at Café Melies, for the next get together of Montreal's Web Analytics community. This month sponsors are Coremetrics and the Web Analytics Association. I will provide more info as we get closer to November 28th.

eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit

I'm working with Andrea Hadley, June Li, Alex Langshur and Joseph Carrabis on the upcoming Canada's eMetrics Marketing Optimization coming up in Toronto March 31st-April 2nd. We're putting a final touch on the agenda and making contact with potential sponsors and speakers.

What about WASP?

It's been a while since I talked about the Web Analytics Solution Profiler. I have made some major improvements since the last version: a status bar, more tools detection, improved interface, much better handling of multi-tab browsing, optimization, etc. Sadly, it's been rejected twice by the approval team at Mozilla because of some changes in the End User License Agreement and the introduction of some data collection in the tool itself. Basically, I will collect usage information in order to improve the product and provide market share data (this feature can be turned off). I hope to have the stamp of approval within two weeks.

UBC Introduction to Business Process Analysis

I'm tutoring the UBC course "Introduction to Business Process Analysis", which is part of the Certificate in Business System Analysis. This first experience as an online tutor is a great opportunity to view elearning from the mentoring side instead of being a student. Starting in January I will be tutoring the "Introduction to Web Analytics" course, which is part of the Award of Achievement in Web Analytics program.

eBusiness MBA at Université Laval

I took a break this summer and for the fall semester, but will get back to it for the winter semester in order to complete the MBA within a year. In the meantime, I will be attending the Honor Roll reception on November 13th for achieving higher grades (top 20 students for the eBusiness MBA program).

immeria

Between all of this, I'm getting closer to November 30th, which is the date I will be officially "freelance" and 100% dedicated to web analytics. Setting up the business is a lot of work in itself: incorporating, lawyer, finance, setting up a decent presence, defining the exact services I want to offer, finding some contracts, etc.

On the opportunity side, it's beyond my expectations! I already have some work going on, and two major contracts on the way. The work I've put in networking, getting some attention and word of mouth are paying off and I'm very excited by the way things are turning out.

Some might ask, why "immeria"? It's already hard to find a name, even more a name that can have some meaning and good pronunciation in French and English! immeria can have several meanings:
  • The word immeria is inspired by the german word "immer", which mean "always", "forever".
  • It refers to the notion of immersion or flow: an experience that is at once demanding and rewarding, from the theory of M.Csikszentmihalyi
  • It can simply be a contraction of "immersed in Internet and Analytics"

Friday, November 2, 2007

Online identity, reputation and privacy

Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, GMail, Hotmail, Yahoo!, YouTube, Amazon, eBay, FeedBurner, del.icio.us, Flickr, Friendster, corporate identities... and a bunch of others. Thank God I have resisted the temptation of using Second Life and Twitter! And a newcomer, I'm giving a try at Naymz:
Naymz Profile for Mr. Stephane Hamel

It's like managing our flesh and blood life wasn't already hard enough, now we have to manage our identity in the ether.

While we hear more and more about so called "social network" horror stories or email bankruptcy, a "Giaant", I mean Google, is sticking to its corporate mission to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful". This week we witnessed the birth of the gPC, a simple and cheap solution that totally avoid Microsoft while being enough for most casual home users. This PC is not "built by" Google itself but obviously heavily backed up. And that's not the only battle front for the business "Goood" of the 21st century: gPhone, backing mySQL, OpenSocial (and a first security breach in 45 minutes!), Google enterprise plans and probably other stuff we don't suspect today.

At the same time, while Facebook was an unsuspected player just a few months ago, it is raising to become a data-pit of private information grown to unprecedented scales. It seems that Project Beacon will raise segmentation and one-to-one marketing capabilities to a new level... this will be done within a closed, badly developed, unusable interface... with the consent of its users. My personal experience of Facebook isn't very positive. So far, the 57 "friends" I have in Facebook and the Web Analytics Quebec group that gathered 41 fans in a week haven't proven to be very effective to ease constructive communication (other than the zombies and a bunch of other useless gadgets).

All of those have one thing in common: information concentration in the hands of a few. And these days, information is power. Sadly, history has proven that too much power in one's hand, even with the pure and honest intention of "doing no evil", inevitably ends up in chaos.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A view of the web analytics market

Is it the end of recreation for competition and innovation?

This week buzz was all about Omniture acquisition of Visual Sciences. This gives us a pretty good indication of where the market is heading: consolidation, less competition at the high-end level, but also a potential for more maturity. At the same time, Google Analytics is pushing from the base and adding new features that will make entry-level competition slowly disappear. Is it the end of competition and innovation? I don't think so. Innovations still abound and there are plenty of space for new ideas: think about TapeFailure, RobotReplay, ClickTale, CrazyEgg and others that are interesting innovations in search of a bigger role (yes, maybe eventually absorbed by the bigger players). Coremetrics, WebTrends and ClickTracks and others remain very good solutions for some companies.

End-to-end view

My take is also that monitoring will eventually be much closer to web analytics (the Keynote, AlertSite and Gomez of this world) and end-to-end monitoring of the user experience will play a bigger role. It's obvious that a degraded web performance or poorly performing enterprise systems have a direct impact on conversion and outcomes on the frontline. Unless I'm mistaken, this is not measured by any of the ASP-based solutions.

Qualitative data

From another angle, qualitative data such as surveys, polls, content ratings will also naturally merge with web analytics platforms. We already see it with OpinionLab being integrated to SiteCatalyst through the Omniture Genesis integration platform.

Commodization of the core tools

Wikipedia says of the word "commodization" it "is a process that transforms the market for a unique, branded product into a market based on undifferentiated price competition" and continue saying "a performance oversupply- which means that the market is performance saturated and any differentiation, even when being offered, is more than what the market demands". Considering most companies are barely using the core web analytics component of their solution, let alone more advanced features, it is very difficult to pick a vendor solely based on their core web analytics capabilities (data collection, reporting, ease of analysis, segmentation). The "web analytics 1.0" aspect is being commoditized.

While the tools appear to become a commodity, the job isn't any easier. Analysts skills are scarce, implementations are often botched, and actionable insights end up competing with other business priorities. Knowing something should be improved is one thing, having the resources (budget, people, time) to do something about it is a different story.

Actors of business optimization

We're not only witnessing the evolution of the web analytics industry. Through online process analysis and optimization, we are actors of the transformations that are changing the way business is being conducted online, and off line.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Web Analytics Quebec got a Facebook group

As much as I hate Facebook for its obvious failures in the area of usability and some very anoying features, I'm giving a try at creating a Facebook group dedicated to the local web analytics community in the province of Quebec, Canada.


So if you live in Quebec and you are a practitioner in web analytics, a PPC or SEO specialist, an ebusiness strategist or manager, a designer, a web developer or just interested in the field of web analytics and online business optimization, this is the place!

Facebook Group: Web Analytics Quebec

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Competing on analytics and business optimization

Another big news today: Omniture acquires Visual Sciences.

While Omniture tagline is "The leader in online business optimization" and VisualSciences's one is "Real time analytics", the press release headline sports:
"Combined Company Dramatically Accelerates Development and Delivery of Industry-Defining Business Optimization Platform"
We're slowly but surely getting away from "web analytics" and "online optimization" and elevating the bar to "business optimization" and "competing on analytics". Just like ebusiness buzz is fading to become pure "business", web analytics is maturing to analytics.

Some people at my current job didn't catch my move to go freelance in web analytics. What they obviously fail to understand is that web analytics is just an excuse to get in the field of analytics (without the "e") and business optimization.

At the same time, while Google is commoditizing web analytics, the acquisition of Visual Sciences by Omniture is a good indicator of a maturing market. Omniture is taking the high-end lead, way ahead of Coremetrics, WebTrends, Unica and myriad of smaller solutions.

I see all of this as being very positive for the web analytics industry, for businesses, and honestly, for me too!

Here's some of the best stories about Omniture acquiring Visual Sciences:

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Life, death, childhood dreams and living with integrity

A colleague told me about Randy Pausch "last lecture", a tradition from Carnegie Mellon whereas one give a lecture like he would be dying soon. Except this time, it's true for Dr.Pausch. He is suffering from pancreatic cancer, a father of three and computer science professor who did amazing things in the field of virtual reality.

I invite you to take a 10 minutes pause and listen to him celebrate the chance he had been given to live the life he always had dreamed of. He was inspirational to me, I hope he is for you to.

There's a 1 hour version of Dr.Paush last lecture, and a condensed (10 minutes) from his appearance at Oprah.



Some quotes from Dr.Randy Paush
"Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want"
"If you are doing a bad job and nobody points it out to you, that's when they have given up on you"
"The brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things"

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

[WAQ] Web Analytics Quebec, Thursday, October 25

This month, the "Web Analytics in Québec city" get together is joining with another event called Yulbiz-Québec, organized by my friend and web analytics entrepreneur from iMinr named Stéphane Guérin.

Who: bloggers, entrepreneurs, strategists, designers, web analysts, VC, geeks :)
When: Thursday October 25th, around 7:00pm
Where: Taverne Urbaine chez Mo, 810 boul. Charest Est, Québec

Come join us for a chat, a drink and some tapas!

You might want to let me know or Stéphane Guérin if you come, so we can plan for enough room for everyone!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Webcom-Montreal: November 14th

Webcom-Montréal is coming on November 14th. This one day event offers three tracks:
  1. Interactive communication
  2. Interactive marketing
  3. Interactive solutions

My good friends Jacques Warren from WAO Marketing and Simon Rivard, VP Marketing for Canoe, and myself will be together on a panel about "how to optimize conversion rates with the help of web analytics". Here's the blurb from this panel intro:

In the last few years the importance of Web analysis has grown worldwide as well as in Québec. Web site managers are looking for additional knowledge on their Web site traffic as well as using Web analysis to improve their business. Web analysis transforms Web practices as well as interactive marketing culture & strategies. Accountability, performance & optimisation are now major stakes with a growing number of organisations.

Since the Web Analytics Association is an associative partner of this event, members can get a 15% discount on the registration.

Seminar in Toronto: boost your website impact with Web analytics

ClickInsight, from Toronto, is doing a seminar in November about boosting your web site's impact, effectiveness and ROI with web analytics. June Li is another person I met through eMetrics and the WAA. She is the founder and managing director of ClickInsight, a consulting firm specialized in online marketing optimization. Co-presenting at this event is Alex Langshur, from PublicInsite (Ottawa), specialized in optimization for the public and non-profit sectors.

The three of us (plus Joseph Carrabis) are also on the advisory board of the upcoming eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit that will go on from April 1st trough 3rd in Toronto.

Ok, now I can imagine all the folks from Montréal and Québec wondering when there will be something similar here. The Web Analytics get together I've been organizing for a year now will continue to happen and I'm seeking your feedback and comments to improve this monthly event. This month I had managed to get Omniture Regional Training to our door, now I'm thinking about a product agnostic training day or a workshop that would be specifically tailored to our local reality; send in your suggestions and I'll try to work out something that will cater to your needs and expectations.

Friday, October 19, 2007

WAM & Omniture Training in Montreal: outcomes

WAM - Web Analytics in Montreal

Our monthly web analytics get together had to move to a new venue at the last minute because there was not enough room at our initial location. That's a good indication of the growing importance of web analytics, but also a red flag for me that organizing web analytics 5-7 is getting more difficult and time consuming.

The crowd of about 35 people chatted for a while and from the discussions I grasped, the networking seemed to be good. Then we took a few minutes to hear Matt Kohl, manager of Omniture Support, talk about a couple of ways to ease web analytics adoption and improve problem resolution.

Omniture Regional Training

There's nothing like a good training session to make you realize there's so much to learn, so much to do, and so many opportunities for improvement!

Day 2 and 3 of our training session was another steady round of tips & tricks. Even when you think you know the concepts and the product, there's a bunch of insights that are really worth taking time away from work.

If you are an Omniture user, beg your boss, make a plea for the relief of your (web analytics) soul and attend the Basic and Advanced User training sessions. But don't be fooled by the word "Basic", it's not a Web Analytics 101 course! A good advice is to use the tool for a while before attending training, this way you'll get the most out of it and the learning experience will be even more rewarding.

Career management for web analytics

I met June Dershewitz at the last S-F eMetrics during a very fun kite flying session with Jim Sterne, Joseph Carrabis and Andrea Hadley.

A few days before eMetrics D.C., June contacted me to ask for permission to use one of my posts in her presentation about Career Management Strategies for Web Analytics Professionals. I think June is a proponent of career stability and she said to be very happy with her current career. That's one of the message conveyed in her presentation: you don't have to hop around, you can also grow from within. At the same time, I told her I was going freelance and she wanted to know more about it. The aspect of freelancing is also in her presentation.

You should have a look at her presentation and do a quick introspection: this will help you make sure you are in control of your own career.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tonights Web Analytics Get Together: new venue!

Tonights web analytics get together is so popular that I had to find another venue!

We will meet at the Hyatt bar around 6:00pm. It's also located within the Complexe Desjardins building but a couple of floors on top of our original location, Bâton Rouge.

We can still go eat some ribs afterward!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Web Analytics Get Together is THIS Wednesday!

This is going to be exciting!

Don't forget our Web Analytics Get Together in Montreal. Check out the location and agenda.

Here's five reasons why it's gon'a be fun!
  1. This will be the largest ever gathering of web analytics people in Quebec: so far, over 40 confirmations! Yes, that's right, over 40! I heard through the branches that our neighbours from Toronto and New-York are getting jealous! :)
  2. eMetrics is going on and there's a hell of a lot of positive waves coming from D.C.: the strongest ones being a new version of Google Analytics, and Microsoft Gatineau sneaking it's nose out the door.
  3. Plus eMetrics Canada's Marketing Optimization Summit coming this spring in Toronto. As a member of the advisory board of this event, I'm looking for your input! Will you be there? What are your expectations? Want to be a sponsor? Or be a speaker? Come see me!
  4. Omniture is very present on the Montreal/Quebec market, come talk to Matt Kohl, manager of Omniture Support and hear what can be done to improve user adoption and successful use of a web analytics solution.
  5. Hmmm... Bâton Rouge ribs!

And the best reason of all: it's a local event for all of us! As my friend Jacques Warren once said "intelligent people, intelligent conversations, no sales pitch".

Monday, October 15, 2007

Announcing eMetrics Canada (Toronto), April 1-3

I knew about it for a couple of days but had to keep it undercover until the official announcement at eMetrics D.C. So it's now official: there will be an eMetrics Summit in Toronto, April 1-3.
  • April 1st: BaseCamp is the one day workshop led by the Web Analytics Association and is a great jump start for those who are new to the field of web analytics.
  • April 2-3: the eMetrics Summit itself, with speakers, keynotes and various topics tracks.
I had the pleasure of speaking at eMetrics San-Francisco in the spring and I'm honored to be on the advisory board for the first ever Canadian eMetrics Summit, along with June Li (ClickInsight) and Alex Langshur (PublicInsite). In this role, my "duties" are to provide support for sessions content and tracks, speakers, sponsors and marketing and media coordination.


If you have any questions regarding this event, feel free to contact me or visit the official Canada's Marketing Optimization Summit.

Omniture Training in Montreal: day 1

It's getting late, but I wanted to report on the first ever Omniture University Regional Training in Montreal. While all eyes are turned toward eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit in D.C. some interesting activities are going on in other parts of the world!

I was responsible of planning this event with Omniture so it's with a bit of relieft that everything went smoothly: we got the training manuals on time, everyone found the place without difficulty and we're benefiting from a full-featured classroom.


The Omniture Training is a very well tuned engine and the agenda of the day was just enough to go trough the planned content while allowing for open questions and exercises. Along with basic concepts and reports overview, we're benefiting from participants interactions and Doug McCormick Jr., our trainer, does a great job answering everyone's questions while keepig a good pace.

Tomorrow we will continue the User Training, then go into more Advanced concepts and conclude with a Web Analytics Wednesday. All in all, a great web analytics week!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Camp Okutta: a shocking campaign

While taking a break from work and looking at some videos, I stumbled on a shocking viral campaign called "Camp Okutta: An adventure Camp for Kids". It's a summer camp like any other, except for a little detail.

We can't think of children being equipped with guns and throwing grenades without having a strange feeling in our spine. We get horrified at wars in distant countries like Darfur, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and others where children are indoctrinated and enrolled to fight.

Again today, in Cleveland, another child took a gun and rampaged his high school. Canada also had its sad share of shootings. I'm taking two minutes to support people like Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, father of Julie Boisvenu who was assassinated in 2002, and is fighting to get stricter laws, better control of firearms and support for the victims. I'm also thinking about General Romeo Dallaire, who lived the horror of Rwanda and share the stories of a genocide in the hope it will make a difference for peace.

There's no explanation for loosing a child because of firearms.

Great minds thinks alike: Bryan Eisenberg

Let me share a recent experience. A few days ago I had the chance to spend some time with Bryan Eisenberg. Who? If you don't know who he is, read on. Otherwise, skip the next paragraph!


Bryan and his brother Jeffrey are the co-founders of FutureNow Inc., he is the author of several best sellers in the field of online marketing and conversion, a renowned worldwide speaker, and the guru behind the concept of "persuasion architecture". He is, along with a few others like Avinash Kaushik, what we would call a Guru. Don't worry if they don't admit to be one: guru, like leadership, is something others see in you, not something you can claim yourself.


I spent about an hour with Bryan. We talked about my goals as a freelance, discussed persuasion architecture, and I had the honor to take a glimpse at the internals of their process and tools. Persuasion architecture is all about process, but it's also supported by a tool (or a set of tools) that could elevate any analyst job to levels of insights that were unimaginable without actually tying up Bryan to a chair beside you.


Market Motive, the new internet marketing think tank, can now count on Bryan as a leader of online conversion. Great minds thinks alike: Market Motive is bringing the cream of the crop that businesses need to understand in order to get a competitive advantage online.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Search for all things Web Analytics

I've been working with the Web Analytics Association team to integrate a search feature on their site. Not only that! We've also made it so you can search for all things web analytics. WAA volunteers have been scavenging the Web for the best web analytics information source: nearly 200 indexed sites are now included in the official Web Analytics Association Search. Content is classified using tags such as "blog", "reference", "services", "solution" and others for easier refinement of search results.

If you are a Web Analytics Association member and run your own blog, find out more about how to use this new search feature or just get searching!

You can see the WAA Search widget in action in the right sidebar of my blog at immeria.net.

Quick poll: How should WASP be sold?

As you might know (or not), I will soon be a freelance web analytics consultant. One of my goal is to continue the development of the Web Analytics Solution Profiler. I see two levels of offering:
  1. Free: A free version (in fact, donation based, but that model asn't proved very effective!) that will offer basic implementation diagnostic.
  2. Special Edition: A high-end version that will go in much more details for specific web analytics solutions. Think of it as "WASP Omniture Edition" or "WASP Google Edition", etc.

Some of you answered my previous poll about "Which features would you like to see added to WASP?" and 40% of you said "site crawl and implementation diagnostic".

I'm now seeking your input to see "Which WASP packaging would be most efficient for you?". Please take 2 seconds to answer my quick poll (fill the poll here if you don't see it below).

Feel free to post your comments or send me a personal email with your feedback.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Going freelance!

Although working for one of the best employer in Canada, despite the outstanding working environment and great projects (and the budget to do them), a good introspection led me to the conclusion I should go freelance.

What?

Then the first question is "what do I want to do?"
  1. Web analytics services: work with clients to asses their needs for web analytics and help them achieve better results online. This might include introducing the concepts of web analytics, bringing the web analytics culture within the organization, coaching, planning, implementation, analysis, training, etc.
  2. WASP: now that a "proof of concept" works, I want to extend the features of the Web Analytics Solution Profiler to levels that have never been achieved before!
  3. Teaching and speaking: Speaking at eMetrics and now tutoring for the UBC Award of Achievement in Web Analytics and the UBC Certificate in Business Systems Analysis are activities I really enjoy and I look forward for other opportunities.
  4. Higher education: complete my MBA and eventually pursue at the doctorate level
Contact me to discuss about engagement opportunities, sub-contracting or if you feel I can contribute to your outcomes!

Stéphane Hamel
Email: shamel@immeria.net
View Stephane Hamel's profile on LinkedIn
My status

Get Skype and call me for free.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

FAQ: Web Analytics Yahoo! Group - October 2007

I'm giving a shot at building/maintaining an FAQ for the Web Analytics forum. Let me know what you think and if it's worth doing it. New questions will be added and each answer will be refined to give exactly what is needed.

tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/webanalytics: FAQ
Last-modified: 2007-10-02
Author: immeria.net (Stéphane Hamel)
Available online at: http://blog.immeria.net/search/label/FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions == FAQ

1. Disclaimer
2. Why this FAQ?
3. Can you answer my web analytics question?
4. How can I add a FAQ and its answer to the FAQ list?
5. What are the forum best practices?
10. What is web analytics?
11. How do I break in the web analytics field?
12. What's the point with cookie acceptance/deletion?
13. Why are Unique visitors/visits/sessions/any metrics not accurate?
14. How can I select the "best" vendor?
15. I want to do XYZ with product ABC. I need help!
99. Credits

1. Disclaimer

Read at your own risk. I make no claim as to fitness for any purpose or absence of any errors, and offer no warranty. May contain traces of nuts.

2. Why this FAQ?

It could be hosted on the WAA site or on a wiki, but chances are those who are new to the forum (thus, more likely to ask a question that has been answered numerous times) don't know where to look for an answer. Posting this FAQ directly to the forum has proven to be one of the most effective way to address Frequently Asked Questions for nearly 15 years in thousands of online forums.

3. Can you answer my web analytics question?

Maybe. But you are better off reading this FAQ and the materials pointed to by it, and if you can't find an answer there, by all means post to the forum.

A FAQ list is intended to reduce traffic on a newsgroup, not eliminate it.

4. How can I add a FAQ and its answer to the FAQ list?

I'm following the threads on the forum and trying to spot what appears to be a FAQ. But you can mail BOTH the Question AND the Answer to me. Then I can add them to the FAQ and it should help people who have that same question later, as well as everyone who reads the group, because they won't see it asked and answered so often.

I do not work on this FAQ every day, but I will try to get updates incorporated in a timely manner.

5. What are the forum best practices?

WAA member-volunteers are doing an outstanding job at moderating the forum and making sure it doesn't get out of control. It's recommended to prefix your subject with a meaningful tag to ease perusing the high volume of posts. Some sugestions are:
  • [Job] - For all job announcements
  • [ProductX] - For a question specific to a product
  • [WaW] - Web Analytics Wednesday
  • [WAA] - Web Analytics Association announcements, giveaways, events, etc.
  • send me your sugestions

10. What is web analytics?

First question first! An official definition from the Web Analytics Association web site: "Web Analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of Internet data for the purposes of understanding and optimizing Web usage." See also the definition of "web analytics" on Wikipedia.

11. How do I break in the Web Analytics field?

See the conversation thread.
  • Recommended books by Avinash Kaushik, Jim Sterne, Bryan Eisenberg.
  • Give it a try on your own website or volunteer to do Web Analytics for a nonprofit organization
  • Try your chance at jobs that seems to be a bit higher than your experience
  • Read the forum and top blogs
  • Attend Web Analytics Wednesdays, eMetrics, XChange, Basecamp events
  • Get educated: UBC Award of Achievement in Web Analytics

12. What's the point with cookie acceptance/deletion?

See the thread about comScore study.

13. Why are Unique visitors/visits/sessions/any metrics not accurate?

See "Doubts about Unique Visitors"

14. How can I select the "best" vendor?

See "Why do web analysts switch packages?" initiated by Robbin Steiff

15. I want to do XYZ with product ABC. I need help!

  1. Read the documentation that comes with your product (in the old days, we said RTFM...)
  2. Search the forum for the product name ABC
  3. Search the forum for all variations of XYZ
  4. See if your vendor offers their own forums/knowlege base
  5. Contact your vendor's support services
  6. Post to the forum

99. Credits

Most of the content of this FAQ was edited from posts found on the Web Analytics Yahoo! Group. When text is taken "verbatim" credits are indicated, if the answer is edited from several posts, there is no specific credit.