Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas from up north

Joyeux Noël! 
     Merry Christmas!

Pictures I took while skiing at Massif du Sud this morning.

I'm sure this is where Santa takes all his Chistmas trees!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

My take: Web Analytics Without Borders - learn, collaborate, help

"I'm not sure how I landed here". This was a way of saying that growing in the online analytics industry is often like a long path with several crossroads that could have lead somewhere else, high mountains and challenges to tackle, a sense of accomplishment, but also a down to earth knowledge the road ahead is full of surprised and opportunities to learn. On this path I met several new friends and mentors who were kind enough to help me and point the right direction. I also did my share of mistakes, had bad experiences, stupid managers and occasionally met self-proclaimed prophets. The path is different for everyone, but the story is probably similar.

I was a volunteer medical first-responder for nearly three years. During the day I was the techie, the geek, the web architect. At nights and weekends I was volunteering to help others in what is by far the most important: life. Sometimes I was the helpless witness to tragedy, pain, suffering, cries and death. I comfort myself in thinking I made the smallest of a positive difference.

We all have careers, we all are very busy, and we all have our own objectives. There is nothing wrong in trying to grow our career and work hard to make a good living. It's even better if we can become better persons along the way.

This, in essence, are the reasons of my involvement in the Web Analytics Association - Save The Children "Web Analytics Without Borders" project: to genuinely and sincerely help.

How it got started

In July I got an email from Adam Laughlin, newly appointed web analyst at Save The Children, asking about  using WASP to check the quality of the Google Analytics and WebTrends implementation on savethechildren.org. I though providing a free license was a small way to help out. One thing leading to another, and I guess because of my role as a tutor of the UBC Award of Achievement in Web Analytics, Adam asked me about tips to define good online objectives and a strategy to increase outcomes for the children. I suggested he take a look at the concept of Web Analytics Maturity Model as part of a problem solving approach to help SaveTheChildren. We quickly got into a very interesting discussion about learning, sharing and helping. I recommended he came to eMetrics to have an opportunity to learn from thought leaders, particularly Alex Langshur, president of the WAA and PublicInsite, who has done a lot of work for non-profit organizations, as well as meet with fellow practitioners. He had no budget - we shared a room.

At about the same time, two involved members of the WAA, Daniel Waisberg and Kris Groulx were working on a similar idea. We quickly saw the opportunity to work together for the greater good of everyone: analysts, the WAA and NGOs.

Web Analytics Without Borders (WAWB)

We spent a lot of time defining the goals of WAWB, how it would work, how we would offer guidance and mentoring to help WAA members who wants to learn in a real, large-scale and representative environment. Over the years tutoring at UBC, following the analytics forum and getting personal emails I've continuously heard this kind of request. It's fairly easy to get volunteers, it's slightly harder to get dedicated volunteers, and a whole different thing to get organizations, even NGO, to "open up the kimono" and show the naked truth about their numbers. For that, I thank and salute the willingness of Save The Children to participate in this project.

We discussed the project at the WAA Board retreat in September. Sadly, we didn't have time to go through the final details and get Board approval to launch the project. We were getting ready to launch it officially in November, then December, then January... The WAA being open, some information about it was publicly available and I had already talked about it on my blog in September.

Next steps for WAWB

We are already accepting volunteering efforts from WAA members and in January we will roll-out the collaborative environment. Why WAA members only? Because we believe in the WAA mission: "lead and support the members by providing quality education, developing standards and best practices, conducting research and advocating for issues that advance the industry". In order to achieve this mission we rely on volunteers, people like Adam, Daniel, Kris, myself and so many others. Maybe even you!

The project is built along principles similar to crowd-sourced or open source software projects. There will be various ways of getting involved and contributions will be reviewed and commented through peer review and mentoring. As Adam stated, "Save the Children will share team goals, processes, scope, and objectives, allowing WAA members to become part of our team". Participating volunteers will have access to web analytics tools, but success isn't much a matter of tool, but much more a matter of structured efforts and change management.

Education is about gaining knowledge and competencies, such as mastering the concepts of statistics, marketing and technology in order to truly understand what web analytics is all about. This is the UBC program and other universities mission (for the French-speaking community, check out the new full-semester, MBA-level online anallytics course: "MRK-6005 Analytiques Web"). Training, on the other end, is more about acquiring specific skills, such as hands on learning of how to use Google Analytics. Generally, employers will look for trained people, while employees will seek education as a way to advance their career. The balance between the two is important to increase and sustain your value in the market.

And how does one prove its value in the market? That's the WAA Certification objective. It is a way for those who have achieved a certain level of experience and expertise to be recognized. Because there is still no unique path to become a proficient analyst, we need an independent, unbiased and credible way of evaluating our market value: the Web Analytics Association.

The WAWB doesn't replace education or training, it offers a playground and opportunity to help children in need grow up safe, educated and healthy, and better able to attain their rights.

If you want to get involved, become a WAA member and send an email to waa.membership[at]webanalyticsassociation[dot]org.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

What's holding back web analytics?

About everyone in the web analytics industry knows Eric Peterson. He's been an early evangelist. He wrote the "Big Book of Key Performance Indicators", which, to this date, remains an excellent reference for anyone starting in the field. He also leveraged a fantastic idea from June Dershewitz called Web Analytics Wednesday.

Eric asked on Twitter:
"What do you think is holding the #measure industry back? Pls share!"
Replies were plenty.

Incidentally, two days earlier, someone for whom I have the utmost respect spent an amazing amount of time shedding light on the web analytics industry. Joseph Carrabis is an amazingly bright person who is somewhat of an outsider to the web analytics industry, and thus, can shed a different light on it. He looked at us, collectively, asked questions, and shared some very interesting thoughts in Part 1 and Part 2 of "The Unfulfilled Promise of Online Analytics". Joseph is an observer, a listener, a thinker, and a very honest and respectful person. Joseph opened up a conversation.

Back to the Twitter thread

@immeria: @erictpeterson wht's holding #measure back? My take is the Web Analtyics Maturity Model http://bit.ly/fAavu Nevr got feedback from U abt it

@erictpeterson: @immeria I'm not a believer in the value of models. I worry that they are the new "Web analytics is easy."

@immeria: @erictpeterson What's holding back #measure? Additional comments in my nod to @JosephCarrabis at http://bit.ly/4CAvEc #measure

@immeria: @erictpeterson never claimed WAMM would make #measure easy, but certainly easier. It's a start, don't you think?

@erictpeterson: @immeria let's agree to disagree, shall we? Either way, glad you got an A+ on the thesis paper. Congrats!

@immeria: @erictpeterson Solving problems when #measure is "hard": 1) acknowledge the problem 2) understand it 3) act to solve it. WAMM helps do that

I waited and thought about this thread because I simply don’t get it. I was to reply privately but decided to post a public response instead. The comment “let’s agree to disagree” is what Wikipedia defines as a "thought-terminating cliché". Hopefully, this will be a way to continue the conversation because without conversation, there is no learning, and no evolution.

So, what's holding back web analytics?


My opinion, based on 18 months of study on top of over 20 years of experience that led me to this industry - looking at other fields of expertise and interviewing practitioners around the globe - it turned out there were some clear patterns. The result is a proposal for the Web Analytics Maturity Model - a document where I ask for feedback and peer review.

I received and continue to receive amazing feedback about it. Even when something looks wrong, people offers very constructive feedback. That's perfect: it's the goal of peer review. Very few people ever said something against this work. "I don't believe in models, they are the new "web analytics is easy"" and bold claims like "I'm a maturity model atheist" are really the exception and as you guess, offer no solution.

There seemed to have a level of consensus in previous research (lets not call them “models”) and among the feedback I gathered.

What's holding back web analytics is:
  1. A lack of trust, engagement and support from management: the 1st "pillar", or critical success factor.
  2. Unrealistic or undefined objectives & scope: the 2nd & 3rd key success factors.
  3. Nonexistent change management, politics and bad communication.
  4. Lack of process and best practices: the "Team & expertise" dimension of the model.
  5. Difficulties in taking action, going into a continuous improvement process that brings positive outcomes. The 5th dimension of the model.
  6. Technology was the least important of the factors leading to a successful, positively accepted web analytics program.
Joseph concluded to similar issues when he said "So far three matrix elements — time, a lack of leadership and realism — have been identified". If they were to be regrouped, the Twitter replies to Eric would pretty much fall in one of the above six categories.

People can tell me I'm off track with the Web Analytics Maturity Model - everyone is entitled to an opinion. But critics should lead to suggestions. The concept of a model - although not perfect and obviously open to improvement - as proven a valuable tool to facilitate assessment of organizations web analytics status and spark constructive discussions. That being said, I repeat, a "model" is NOT a black magic recipe to success. I'm also warning that using the model as a comparison tool between organizations is not necessarily a good use of it.

Let's continue the conversation

I'm open to any and all types of comments, positive or not, as long as they are respectful an not bold unilateral statements. I invite people to collaborate and participate in the conversation, either here or through Joseph's excellent threads. Tweet @immeria or feel free to email me privately at shamel67@gmail.com.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A nod to Joseph Carrabis: The unfulfilled promise of online analytics

<Side Note>

I'm not sure how I landed here.

  • I had poor grades in high-school.
  • The career adviser said I shouldn't apply in computer science - I had no chance. I did anyway.
  • I loved computer science. I was a hacker - yes, it was me who shut down the mainframe to get exclusive access to finish my homework...
  • In 1986 I had to pick an internship. I picked an obscure Unix/C research project with University of Montreal while my classmates headed for IBM/Cobol and Fortran in banks and insurance - I was crazy!
  • "Unix will die" they said, "C will never pick up". But I was on the Internet in 1986 - before the Web ever existed.
  • Work - Unix sys-admin and Oracle DBA. Then HTTP & Mosaic - it was natural.
  • Logs, like any other computer system. Unix scripts to automate; soon enough the data was in Oracle.
  • Web development, web strategies, ebusiness, measurement & optimization.
  • Needed more business & management credibility - I did my MBA.
It's been over 20 years. I'm still a child in a candy store.

< End of side note >

The chasm

The Internet was built on collaboration, the early days of the Web were, as  is  was web analytics. The web analytics industry is at a crossroad. Vendors are fighting for a share of the pie, competing for the latest cool feature while trying to capture as much profits as possible from their clients and locking them down along the way. Newbies are flocking to the field, just as it was some time ago for the Web - anyone and everyone is an expert. Self proclaimed gurus ego are inflating exponentially with the number of "friends" they have.

We are craftsman. We improvise custom solutions to old problems - optimizing processes, measuring success, managing change and politics. We pride among ourselves for finding new clever ways of measuring social media and inventing new metrics nobody else understands when we can't even get five minutes with senior managers to improve their business.

We go at conferences, gang in discussion forums and Twitter to convince ourselves we are so right - we know what's wrong and how to solve it. The "outsiders" can't understand, they don't get it - so we think.

The unfulfilled promise of online analytics

Joseph Carrabis "The Unfulfilled Promise of Online Analytics - Part 1" was thought provoking and several people contributed to the conversation - it's a shame some people retracted or didn't even participate. Joseph, with his unique style and outsider perspective, published the second part. Anyone in the analytics space should read it - vendors and gurus must read it - and comment.

Joseph takes great care in being respectful and always ask for permission and opinion before quoting or talking about someone. As soon as I got his email I took a glimpse at it - thinking I would get back to it later... then I stopped everything else and read the whole thing.

There are several gems in his document:
  • Please remove my comment
    It takes a lot of honesty and tact to talk about those who requested their comments be removed...shame on them for a) not standing by their opinion and/or b) not accepting they might be wrong.
  • The Setup to Fail Syndrome
    "There is also a need to recognize what's achievable when (so people aren't set up to fail) and how to promote faster adoption of an agenda". It reminds me of a book I read: "The setup to fail syndrome", by Manzoni and Barsoux. I read that when, at a particular job, I went from "fame" to "looser" because the context changed (got a new boss). Success is also (mostly?!) a matter of context...
  • I'm playing, don't bug me
    "Management repeatedly asking difficult to solve questions results in they're being ignored by analysts until the final results are in. By that time both question and answer are irrelevant to a tactical business decision".
    "This means such institutions - which require experienced practitioners to survive - will only be able to afford low quality/low experienced practitioners to help them. This can be likened to a naval gunnery axiom: "The farther one is from a target, either the larger the shell or the better the targeting mechanism" and companies will opt for larger shells (poorly defined efforts) rather than better targeting mechanisms (experienced practitioners)." 
  • Let's find something cool to do
    "We're suppose to be solving problems. But I can't figure out what problems we're suppose to solve."
  • Act quickly, think strategically
    I loved the prognosis/diagnosis example and "Investigation takes time and only certain businesses can afford time because unless the science is working at overcoming a business obstacle, it's a cost, not a profit."

A maturity model

I'm grateful Joseph mentioned and acknowledged the usefulness of my work on the Web Analytics Maturity Model to advance the field. When Jim Sterne introduced me during the WAA annual members meeting he said "I don't know how to present Stéphane", referring to the fact I have a technical background and recently completed my MBA... but mostly, I guess, because of my passion for the field and my willingness to share. Others have publicly or privately acknowledge my work and provided honest feedback - positive or not. Ultimately, there is no evolution without collaboration.
I asked Stephane if he believed WAMM provided a metricizable solution with universally agreed to objective measures (I told Stephane that I wasn’t grasping how WAMM becomes an "x + y = z" type of tool and asked if I’d missed something). Stephane replied "…no, you haven’t missed anything, because it is NOT a x+y=z magical/universal formula, that’s not the goal. The utmost goal is to enable change, facilitate discussion, and it’s not ‘black magic’. A formula would imply there is some kind of recipe to success. Just like we can admire Amazon or Google success and could in theory replicate everything they do, you simply can’t replicate the brains working there – thus, I think there is a limit to applying a formula (or ‘brain power’ is a huge randomized value in the formula)."
Then there are "maturity model atheists" - those "who've been there, done that"... Such positions gives very little room for discussion. My feeling is they are standing so high on their pedestal, busy working with the top organizations, that they've lost empathy with those struggling to make things happen - at their scale and with the capacity they have.
One key element to remember is "you can excel along any axis... but to be successful you need to excel evenly along all axes... so far three matrix elements - time, a lack of leadership and realism - have been identified".

"So there better be a 'right way to do it', at least as far as delivering results and being understood are concerned, because without that the industry - more accurately, the practitioners - are lost". I hope we will find this way together, honestly collaborating and being open minded, because I love what I do.

If we don't? "any industry that succumbs to promise and hype will ultimately end in disappointment".

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Job: Web Analytics and Optimisation consultant - Bell Web Solutions - Montreal

Bell Web Solutions is looking for a Web Analytics and Optimisation consultant for its Montreal office. The selected candidate will be in charge of providing solutions to clients concerning performance tracking for web sites (e-commerce; media portal; financial services; etc.) and other online activities (interactive campaigns). Services offered span from key performance indicators definition, web analytics tool implementation (Omniture; Webtrends; Visual Sciences (HBX); Google Analytics; etc.) to reporting and analysis of collected data.

About Bell Web Solutions

Bell Web Solutions, an excellence centre focused on the Web, is part of a Bell Canada division called Bell Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Solutions. Bell Web Solutions has more than 200 professionals in communications, strategic planning, marketing and Web technologies. The excellence centre integrates the expertise of CESART (now Bell Web Solutions), specialized in interactive marketing for the past 10 years.

As a strategic partner, the Bell Web Solutions team accompanies its clients from beginning to end and is actively involved in the evolution of their interactive projects. Bell Web Solutions offers a wide range of innovative solutions customized to the needs of its clients. These include: Online Consulting Services, Web Development, Usability and Accessibility, Web Analysis and Optimization, Interactive Marketing and Promotion, and Electronic Delivery Services.

Additional details and application available through Workopolis.

iPerceptions releases WASP v1.30

I'm really happy to announce the release of WASP v1.30, the 1st since I sold the technology to the great folks at iPerceptions.

What's new

  • Changed ownership from immeria to iPerceptions
  • Usual round of bug fixes and minor improvement
  • Added enhanced help for Yahoo! Analytics
  • Detection and handling of Google Website Optimizer
  • Crawl stealth mode for WebTrends, Coremetrics, AT Internet
  • New tools: Netminers, eSearchVision, OpenX, comScore, Rubicon Project, sophus3, beencounter, econda, GoingUp!

What's coming up

Please take 2 minutes to submit a review at addons.mozilla.org and visit the UserVoice page to suggest improvements and cast your vote for the v2.0 features!

WASP v1.30 is available immediately at WebAnalyticsSolutionProfiler.com and is awaiting approval at addons.mozilla.org. Or you can simply wait for the automated update notification.

Training: Roadmap to your online analytics success, Ottawa, January 20th

After spending months studying the managerial aspect of web analytics and delivering the Web Analytics Maturity Model, I'm ready to share insight, expertise, best practices and tips to achieve success with your online analytics program.

Course description

This workshop isn't about using web analytics tools or optimizing your marketing campaign. This course is looking at online analytics from a managerial perspective.

So much has been written about why web analytics is valuable and how to make it work technically. The major stumbling block for most organizations is change management and developing the online analytics culture. Once convinced that they need to look at business from a different perspective, companies need a roadmap. The end game is so far off and the next steps are unclear.

Target audience

The course is specifically designed for analysts who are change agent in their organization or web and marketing managers who wants to leverage online analytics.

Objectives

This workshop will go through an assessment of your online analytics goals and objectives from a business, marketing and web executives point of view. You will learn about the critical success factors and the process that will enable you to plan for future advancement:
  • A method for strategically benchmarking your current situation
  • Identify the pillars of successful data-driven organizations
  • How to determine the resources and investment required to advance to the next level
  • Tips to define realistic online objectives tied to business goals, and how to measure success
  • How to communicate effectively, bring changes and overcome political roadblocks
  • Several real life examples of commonly faced organizational challenges and how to overcome them

Course material

Presentation hands out with annotations and exercises.

About the instructor

Stéphane Hamel is a leading voice for online analytics, helping businesses understand the value of performance measurement and process optimization. With over twenty years of experience, most spent developing web sites and online strategies, he is now teaching a full-semester, graduate level class about online analytics at Laval University (Québec City), as taught over 500 people through lecturing the « Award of Achievement in Web Analytics » and « Introduction to Business Analysis » classes at the University of British Columbia. He is a member of the « International Institute of Business Analysis » and on the board of directors and treasurer of the « Web Analytics Association ». Stéphane received the « Web Analytics Association Leadership and Technical Excellence Recognition » and is a frequent speaker at the « eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit » and other conferences. Stéphane owns a Master in Business Administration specializing in eBusiness.

Helping partner

This event is made possible with the collaboration of:
PublicInsite
PublicInsite is a privately held, Ottawa-based consulting firm with offices in Ottawa and Boston, offering Web site performance measurement and other e-services to the public and non-profit sectors.

Event details

When:
January 20th, 8:00am-12:00pm
There will be a Web Analytics Wednesday on that evening.
Where:
Crowne Plaza Hotel
Frontenac room
101 Lyon Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1R 5T9
Cost
$295 (WAA members can benefit from a $50 discount)
>>> Register now! <<<

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

iPerceptions deep dive in behavioral and attitudinal data

As you might know, I'm now on the iPerceptions' Advisory Council. In this role, I had the opportunity to get an insider sneak peak at the new A&B Interactive Dashboard.

Real life example: airline flight booking

While Google Analytics provides valuable information such as source of traffic, campaign performance, visits, page views, goals and ecommerce data, it is up to the analyst imagination to figure out user intent and satisfaction. On the other end, voice of customer, iPerceptions webValidator enterprise-level solution in this case, offers a different angle on the same situation. Basically, behavioral data alone cannot accurately judge satisfaction, while attitudinal doesn't provide the event-driven data.

If someone books a flight, does it mean this customer was satisfied? If he or she didn't book it, does it mean he or she was dissatisfied? The Eye for Travel site, which offers specialized news & analysis of the travel industry, recently talked about this very topic: "Web analytics data alone cannot accurately judge satisfaction". Fellow Web Analytics Association Board member Vicky Brock puts it very simply: "context is everything and part of that context comes from the visitor themselves".

Let's deep dive in a real example.

1) KPI Tracker

The KPI Tracker view can easily be customized. In this example, the top-right area shows the Task Completions compared with Overall Experience (top left), Average Revenue per visit (bottom left) and Medium (type of traffic to site – CPC, Organic, Referral, etc). The dashboard shows two attitudinal and two behavioural metrics together. Whenever you apply a filter using the left-side controls, all KPIs are updated in real time. Really cool!

2) Data Miner: Task Completion by Purpose of Visit

Switching to the Data Miner view, we can quickly see Task Completion by Purpose of Visit

3) Data Miner: Focus on Purpose of Visit

At this step, we are more interested in the task "Purchase a ticket/Book a flight", so we simply click on it to drill-down. Note that we are still just looking at attitudinal data, that is, the Voice of the Customer survey answers.

4) Data Miner: Closing the loop: merging attitudinal and behavioral

Now, we want to look at task completion from a business perspective. In this scenario, Google Analytics was configured with specific Goals to track the important steps of the flight booking process. We are particularly interested  in "Step 2: List of Available Flights". Notice how Task Completion for "Not completed" and "Only partially" shrank from 39% to 20%.

What does it tell us? Basically, that 80% of those who reached Step 2 of our conversion process actually achieved their purpose of visit. Viewed this way, it's 80% conversion rate! Pretty good isn't it? Even if we didn't convert (from a financial perspective) this time, we helped our customer in his/her purchase decision process and the likelihood of conversion, even if not this time, is high.

5) Text Miner: listen, I'm talking to you!

So far, it's all good. But there's something all this data doesn't reveal: the humans behind the numbers. And that's exactly where real human feedback comes in. You can use the same slicing & dicing, segmenting and filtering to extract the most pertinent comments. You can even use regular expressions to filter the comments.


You can also turn high volume of contextualized comments into word clouds to get a different perspective!


A&B: Truly merging behavioral and attitudinal

A&B doesn't stand for the usual A/B testing acronym, but for "Attitudinal and Behavioral". That is, merging the "what" provided by traditional clickstream (behavioral) tools such as Google Analytics, and the "why" (attitudinal) expressing your visitors intent and satisfaction, such as provided by the free 4Q or the high-end enterprise webValidator solution.

You might say this has been done before, and you are certainly right. However, it has never been done in this way - with this level of insight. Basically, I think it's a game changer in the online analytics market.

Interactive Dashboard

The Interactive Dashboard is simply amazing:
  • live slicing & dicing of your data,
  • select your metrics, dimensions and visualization,
  • create segments on the fly,
  • single-click drill-down on specific data of interest,
  • easily merge specific metric values as one,
  • bookmark and share custom views

My take

iPerceptions isn't new to customer satisfaction surveys, before founding the company in 2000, they had years of experience in more traditional survey methodologies. Beside asking the right questions, there is also a significant methodological and scientific approach to interpreting and understanding the data. Until now, behavioral and attitudinal were two siloed set of data trying to explain the same phenomena.

The "multiplicity" put forth by Avinash and "persuasion architecture" from Bryan Eisenberg boils down to a pretty simple concept: matching user needs & expectations with online optimization and good business practices. Up until now, there was no simple way to combine behavioral and attitudinal data without a tremendous amount of effort. A&B Interactive Dashboard is very easy-to-use yet extremely powerful data exploration tool that gives an unified view of different datasets.

Job: SEM Specialist - Skooiz.com - Montreal

Passionate about search engines and their technologies? You like to plan & provide recommendations?


Skooiz.com is an interactive e-marketing agency based in Montreal that specializes in search marketing, email marketing and media consulting on the web.

They are looking for a "Specialist in Google AdWords Campaigns Management", you know, the usual stuff: analyze client needs, set business objectives, manage and optimize the campaigns, analyze results and present recommendations...

Except at Skooiz you could do it for a whole bunch of cool clients and work with other geeks just like you! :)

gaAddons open source project: enhancing Google Analytics

Update: gaAddons v2 is available at http://gaAddons.com
A while back I developed a script for Google Analytics and posted "Google Analytics: script to track outbound links and downloads". Those two features are not available out of the box with Google Analytics and lots of people using GA do not have the expertise nor the time to develop such automation.

gaAddons idea

The general idea of gaAddons is to develop a collection of useful enhancements and automation to extend and improve upon the default Google Analytics implementation. With the latest round of Google Analytics enhancements, especially events and custom metrics, the tool is becoming much more powerful. I already have a bunch of ideas to enhance GA, but I'll first see how the idea of gaAddons picks up.

Justin Cutroni, author of Google Analytics Short Cut and consultant at EpikOne, Brian Clifton, author of Advanced Web Analytics with Google Analytics, and John Hossack, from Vancouver-based VKI Studios have expressed interest to participate in the project. Also, thanks to Andy Edmonds and Damond Gudaitis who have already contributed to enhance the initial code.

gaAddons Open source project

gaAddons is an open source project, it's now up to GAACs, consultants and power users to contribute and collectively enhance the gaAddons features!

Source code managed through Google Code at code.google.com/p/gaddons/
Discussion forum at Google Groups: groups.google.com/group/gaaddons

I'm trowing it out there, in the wild, and we'll see if there's enough interest and collaboration to get somewhere :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Q&A with Andrea Wood, Visionary Strategic Analyst

Andrea Wood moved from New York to Montréal a couple of years ago where she joined Canoe.ca as Senior Advisor, Research & Sales Optimization. I rarely do Q&A and profile highlights on this blog, but I'm making an exception for Andrea: her career path  demonstrates the role of analytics in one's job and how she grown from technical writer to a top job in analytics.
Andrea is a seasoned market analyst with extensive experience in strategy development and sales optimization. An energetic visionary and articulate communicator with a talent for looking beyond the numbers to develop and sell ideas, concepts and projects to senior leaders. A dynamic leader and mentor, fostering a team of highly analytical and innovative marketers in a changing marketplace.
SH) You have an impressive CV please tell us a bit about yourself.
AW) I’m a Montreal-based Analyst with a passion for high-tech and innovation. My willingness to jump headlong into new opportunities has allowed me to get involved with some pretty intense challenges.

SH) What was your career path to become a Senior Research Advisor at Canoe.ca?
AW) I started my career as a Technical Writer while at the University of Waterloo. I discovered the world of Analytics while working as a Technical Editor shortly after graduation. Since then I’ve worked in many different research roles that have all relied on my love of painting a clear, concise picture based on quantifiable data points. I’ve been with Canoe for the past 2.5 years, and was completely new to web analytics when I came on board. My experience in research provided a foundation on which to develop a strong aptitude for web analytics – but the learning curve was steep. Learning the new industry terms and methodologies took real focus.

SH) What role does analytics play in this type of job?
AW) At Canoe I’m responsible for developing and managing data-driven marketing and sales strategies. Quebecor owns many web properties, which we track each month using a detailed set of KPIs and dashboards. My role is to advise the executive, product managers and sales on market position, target demographics, and opportunities for product/campaign improvements. All of these tasks rely both on my knowledge of web analytics and on my background in competitive intelligence.

SH) What are the skills you think are important in your role?
AW)
  • Organization: the ability to prioritize ideas and concepts into logical groups allows me to identify issues and present strategies with clear, quantifiable explanations.
  • Interpersonal skills: the ability to listen to client’s needs and ask relevant questions ensures that a project is planned and a strategy delivered with the utmost efficiency. So many possible paths exist when looking at traffic patterns within the Quebecor network – I really need to keep a clear mind to ensure I am meeting the client’s requirements.
  • Interpretation: To me, the ability to translate data into a clear story the client will understand is of the utmost importance. So often I see the client starring blankly at a spreadsheet full of data. Often all that is needed to communicate an issue and solution in a few simple, graphic slides with a prescriptive note for a heading. This is where my background in writing comes in handy – I’m still a pretty good wordsmith.
SH) If you had to name the 3 books, websites, blogs or persons that had the most influence on your career, which ones would they be?
AW)
  • Canoe.ca: I’ve spent hours reviewing JS tags, developing procedures and creating dashboards/KPIs for this site. I came on board shortly after we began to implement Omniture as our web analytics solution, and have learned so much about best practices, solution management and training users.
  • Joe Wilcox: Joe is a bright and outspoken journalist and a former colleague from JupiterResearch. His ability to deliver insight in an entertaining and charismatic way is unparalleled. I consider Joe to be my mentor for all the support he has provided me. (SH: Visit Joe's blog at Oddly Together)
  • Digital Capital: This book marked my transition from Tech Writer to Research Analyst. I was hired by the author, Don Tapscott, to validate research sources and technical information, and gradually became a full-fledged contributor to his projects. (SH: Digital Capital by Don Tapscott)
SH) As a Senior Advisor of Research, web analytics might be just one aspect of your job. How do you see your expertise evolving in the future?
AW) The next obvious step is enhancing my knowledge of SEO/SEM to round out the web analytics profile. A real web analytics practitioner doesn’t just look at the numbers on the inside, but concentrates on a holistic approach to traffic performance and management. Improving product strategy and attracting external traffic go hand-in-hand.

SH) I’m offering you your dream job, what would it be?
AW) My ideal position is a client-facing role combining research, strategy development and product commercialization. I’d love to get more involved in product development and market entry – a more product marketing orientation.

See Andrea's complete profile on LinkedIn.
If you liked this post and would like to see more exceptional profiles, please let me know and don't hesitate to give names!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Web Analytics Association Survey: Industry Outlook 2010

The Research Committee of the Web Analytics Association is conducting its annual survey on the outlook
for the Web Analytics Industry. The survey is open to all industry participants
and covers expected spending, priorities, and industry challenges.

By participating in the survey, you'll automatically receive an invitation to
the webcast in January 2010, as well as a complimentary survey report.

If you are a member of the WAA, you can get 2009 Outlook Survey: The Future of Web Analytics is Here webcast, slideshow and paper.

Not a member? What are you waiting for!


Friday, November 6, 2009

Job: Product Manager at iPerceptions (Montreal)

As you might know, I recently sold the WASP technology to iPerceptions, and I'm now a member of their Advisory Council. I'm happy to relay the information about a job opening that will certainly be very interesting: Product Manager. iPerceptions is in the business of "Voice of the Customer" with the famous free 4Q survey and their corporate-strength webValidator continuous listening solution, and now WASP. iPerceptions works with top brands such as Dell, Toshiba, Reebok, Intuit, BMW, Sony, Nissan, etc. and as offices in Montreal, New York and London.

Enough blabbing, here's the job!

Product Manager

The Product Manager is responsible for both product planning and product marketing. This includes managing the product throughout the product lifecycle, gathering and prioritizing product and customer requirements, defining the product vision, and working closely with engineering, to deliver winning products. It also includes working with sales, marketing and support to ensure revenue and customer satisfaction goals are met. The Product Manager's job also includes ensuring that the product and marketing efforts support the company's overall strategy and goals.

The Product Manager is expected to:
  • Define the product strategy and roadmap
  • Deliver Market Requirement Document and Product Requirement Document with prioritized features and corresponding justification
  • Work with external third parties to assess partnerships and licensing opportunities
  • Be an expert with respect to the competition
  • Develop the core positioning and messaging for the product
  • Perform product demos to customers
  • Set pricing to meet revenue and profitability goals
  • Deliver a monthly revenue forecast
  • Develop sales tools and collateral
  • Propose an overall budget to ensure success
  • Manage the Internet Sales channel (Web site, order process, payment process, sales inquiries, customer support, social networking)
  • Brief and train the sales force at quarterly sales meetings, if required
  • Brief press and analysts and go on press tours, if needed
  • Act as a leader within the company
Required experience and knowledge
  • Minimum of 2 years experience as a Product Manager or Product Marketing Manager
  • Knowledge of Web Analytics
  • Knowledge of Social Media (Facebook, Twitter and others)
  • Knowledge on how to manage a Web site (content management)
  • Demonstrated success defining and launching excellent products
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Technical background, with experience in using the Internet as a Sales Channel
  • Excellent teamwork skills
  • Proven ability to influence cross-functional teams without formal authority
  • Examples and at least one sample of an effective document delivered in the past
Interested? Contact info@iperceptions.com?subject=Product Manager Job

Friday, October 30, 2009

Review: AT Internet NX

Last week at the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit in Washington D.C. there was a big buzz around the new Google Analytics features. But really, Google might win a prize for biggest industry shakedown (close to Adobe purchase of Omniture), but AT Internet would be a good contender for innovation in the field of web analytics. The France headquartered company has been pushing the web analytics envelope for a long time. Very strong in Europe, AT Internet was an early adopter of the freemium model with the Xiti solution launched in 1996!

Here comes NX!

The latest release, dubbed AT Internet Digital WorkspaceNX, has nothing to envy to the leading players in the industry. Here's a summary of the new features:

Dashboard:
  • Multiple dashboards
  • Flexible dashboard layouts
  • Cool dashboard widget: monthly objectives


Advanced visualization:
  • Multi-metric and multi-time period diagrams
  • Multi-metric lines & bars graphs
  • Heatmaps (not merely click maps)
  • Radars graphs
Filtering:
  • Slice & dice from any element using a contextual menu available for each item in a table
  • Build custom filters using multiple metrics and operators
  • Merge several elements into one group
  • Easily compare metrics in pop up
Segmentation:
  • Create segments using a drag & drop interface, and a variety of operators
  • Create new segments derived from existing ones
Specific features:
  •  Live alerts
  • ClickZone & Scrollview (not new but still unrivaled)
  • Custom data collection

Vision

AT Internet is, in my opinion, one of the most underestimated, yet most sophisticated web analytics platform out there. Their product offers a 360 degree view of online analytics:
  • Clickstream data, both tags (and log-based coming in the near future)
  • Server monitoring: if your site is poorly performing or simply down... guess what: your conversion will suffer! Yet, few vendors offer integrated server monitoring
  • Social media monitoring: now unavoidable
  • Both way API to integrate with custom data
  • Technological partnerships to extend the platform
Beyond all those nice features, AT Internet approach is very different from other vendors. Their services can go as far as handling your analytics by providing dedicated analysts. This is one way of going beyond the tool and empowering their clients despite limited budgets and resources availability.

Launch event

AT Internet is doing a Montréal launch event for the NX version, along with the book launch of Nicolas Malo and Jacques Warren.

When: Wednesday, November 4th, starting at 5:00pm
Location: Hotel InterContinental
>>> RSVP to Alexandre Metier: alexandre(dot)metier(at)atinternet.com <<<
(places are limited)

I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge AT Internet great corporate citizenship: they are a corporate member of the Web Analytics Association and they frequently sponsor or present at local networking activities. Would be great if more vendors and agencies would get involved locally, as they do wherever they have offices.

Full disclosure: AT Internet kindly offered a free account to test Digital WorkspaceNX, has sponsored Web Analytics Wednesdays in Montreal and offered occasional dinner, no money or other types of retributions were involved in exchange for this post.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Book review: Web Analytics by Malo & Warren


My friends Nicolas Malo, from France, and Jacques Warren from Montréal, have just published the first web analytics book originally authored in French. Entitled "Web Analytics : mesurer le succès et maximiser les profits de votre site Web", the book is clearly aimed at non-initiated marketing managers.

Organized around three main sections covering the basics of measuring online business success, outcome analysis and site optimization, the book offers a solution agnostic, easy to read and rich in examples overview of the underlying concepts of online analytics. They are not going into too much details, just the right balance, which is perfect for busy managers who just need enough understanding to "get it" :)

My only negative comment is the price... 50$ CDN seems a bit high for an introductory book by first time authors (compared to $30 for the latest Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability and Science of Customer Centricity by Avinash Kaushik).

There will be a special book launch in Montreal, November 4th, at the InterContinental hotel. This launch will be done jointly with AT Internet brand new NX offering (more to come on this). If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Alexandre Metier (Alexandre(dot)Metier(at)atinternet.com)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Smarter 404 with embeded Google Search Widget

When I posted on the Yahoo! Web Analytics forum to announce the availability of the free Web Analytics Maturity Model paper, the post included this text: "the paper at http://immeria.net/wamm." (notice the dot). The link was broken because of the way Yahoo! parses text to automatically build links.


Step 1: Use custom 404 page

The first step to improve broken links handling (404 errors) is to modify your web server configuration to point to a custom page handler instead of the default, very technical and dull error. For example, doing this on an Apache-based web server is as simple as adding the line "ErrorDocument 404 /http404.htm" to a file named .htaccess in the root folder of the site.

The specifics of your server configuration isn't the goal of this post. Contact your IT department or search for "custom 404 page" and similar keywords for additional help.

Step 2: Make a smarter 404 page

The custom 404 page handler is just another HTML page, so it can include your site navigation, brand and useful content. Often, the 404 page will have a de-dramatizing tone and some people have gone to great extent to make funny 404 pages.

Beyond trying to be fun, you want your visitors to get to your content. Two things are invaluable in this context: the referrer and the landing page URL. The next step is to make your visitors life easier by providing a path to the right page, or at least try... To do so, you can add a smart Google Search Widget:

<script src="http://www.google.com/jsapi" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
    google.load('search', '1', {"nooldnames": true});
    function OnLoad(){
        var searchControl = new google.search.SearchControl();
        var siteSearch = new google.search.WebSearch();
        siteSearch.setUserDefinedClassSuffix("siteSearch");
        siteSearch.setSiteRestriction("yoursite.com");
        searchControl.addSearcher(siteSearch);
        searchControl.draw(document.getElementById("searchcontrol"));
        searchControl.execute(location.pathname.replace(/\//g, ' '));
    }
    google.setOnLoadCallback(OnLoad, true);
</script>
<div id="searchcontrol"/>

The important elements are:
  • setSiteRestriction("yoursite.com"): forces the search to be contained within your site (change it to your own site domain)
  • location.pathname.replace(/\//g,' '): replace the landing URL slashes with spaces so you can have a more meaningful search keyphrase
  • You might want to add a stylesheet element to your page so the Google Search Widget is larger (something like ".gsc-control{width:480px !important}")
The rest of the code simply handles and render the Google Search widget. In most cases, the automated search will offer some meaningful links destinations. In the worse case, the visitor has a neat search box and the site navigation to find their way around.

Feel free to visit http://immeria.net/custom/404page to get an example. Do a "view source" to see how I made mine.

Step 3: Analyze & Improve

Don't forget to put web analytics tags on that page so you can collect information about broken links. For Google Analytics, this is as simple as doing "_trackPageview('/404/'+location.pathname)" instead of the default "_trackPageView()" call. Create a custom segment to view all reports for broken links pages, look at the Content/Content Drilldown report, understand the source of traffic, what your visitors were looking for, and how you can further improve your site based this information:
  • If lots of traffic comes from a couple of sources, you might be able to ask them to fix their links
  • If those errors are the result of a site redesign, you might want to use redirections to map the old page URLs to their corresponding locations
Comments, additional ideas and any feedback is welcomed!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Google Analytics new features: my take

It is now entrenched in tradition: Google Analytics makes announcements at the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit. So here's the latest, straight from the eMetrics floor where analytics evangelist Avinash Kaushik is addressing a jam packed room of enthusiastic web analysts!

Introducing Analytics Intelligence

The feature that excites me the most is something I discussed privately with Avinash a while back: once we spot a dip or spike in a metric, I shouldn't have to manually dig for the other metrics that are correlated with this significant change. The tool should be smart enough to point me to the other few metrics that have the highest correlation with this change.



Here's an example: conversion rate is significantly down. Ok... What does it really mean? Is there a spike in traffic? Or is there an issue in the process leading to conversion? In the former case, it means I'm bringing more unqualified traffic to the site. I can then review my Traffic Sources to easily pinpoint the issue. In the latter case, it means my conversion process as deteriorated or is failing at persuading people to convert.


Other features

There is also a host of new features (on top of the previously announced beta features):
  • Alerts! Once you have a good baseline, you want to be alerted of outliers: values significantly going beyond the historical trend. You can easily set up daily, weekly and monthly alerts.
  • Multiple custom metrics: adding "custom attributes" to visitors/visits is an essential feature of enterprise-level web analytics solutions (but I wish there was also custom metrics at the page level Can have custom metrics at page, visit, visitor level - without limitations!)
  • Multiple-rule filtering: now you can more easily filter reports by building multi-criteria on-the-fly filtering rules.
  • Goals, more goals! (20) of them instead of four.
  • Segment unique visitors: something that should have been there from the beginning
  • Mobile analytics
More info at the Google Analytics official blog.

My take

Google keeps adding new features that challenges the traditional web analytics vendors. I have witnessed exactly the same phenomena in the high-end 3D animation/special effects software industry. When you are an industry leader enjoying high margin on product and services, you accordingly spend a lot of money on R&D. However, when you reach a certain feature set level, adding new innovations becomes exponentially expensive. At the same time, lower (and free!) tools can easily look at the top-line products and replicate and improve upon those features. Basically, the industry is leveling itself off, becoming a commodity: data collection & storage costs are being eliminated, intelligence and automations are being built in. This is obvious  when a competitor you dismissed as being "irrelevant" can relatively easily replicate your unique value and offer a much cheaper (and free!) product. Even more if the true value of a product is being subsidized by other sources of revenues (ads in the case of Google).

The only alternative becomes to expand horizontally. Develop a suite of products. And this is exactly what Omniture has been doing over the past few years. Once it's done, or when you can't financially sustain the model, the way out is to move higher in the food chain... Adobe's acquisition of Omniture for example.

What does it mean for the web analytics industry?

As a member of the Web Analytics Association board of directors, any major shakedown in the industry raises some interesting questions. It is clear to me web analytics industry as we know it today won't exist in two or three years from now. Commodization of web analytics is not inherently a bad thing and is a demonstration of a maturing industry. To me, the path clearly points toward analytics, analysis: business analysis and process optimization, or what some call "business intelligence". On the way to the future, Google mammoth is likely to put several players to extinction...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Web Analytics Maturity Model: free paper available

Today, while at the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit in Washington D.C., I was able to put the final touch on an important personal milestone: I’m really happy to make the Web Analytics Maturity Model paper available for general review and comments. On Wednesday, eMetrics chairman Jim Sterne will moderate the “Marketing Metrics Maturity” keynote panel (1:00pm) where Bill Gassman (Gartner Research), John Lovett (Forrester Research), Laura Patterson (VisionEdge Marketing) and myself (Stéphane Hamel) will debate the value and benefits of such maturity models and how they can be applied to your business.
To download the paper, all I'm asking for is to fill your email in the top-right box at http://immeria.net/wamm.
“So much has been written about why web analytics is valuable and how to make it work technically. The major stumbling block for most organizations is change management. Once convinced that they need to look at business from a different perspective, companies need a roadmap. The end game is so far off and the next steps are unclear” says Jim Sterne.

The paper provides an overview and a proposition for the Web Analytics Maturity Model (WAMM). Specifically, it defines the concepts necessary to understand the model and the motivation and purpose behind it. It describes the structural components, consisting of six key process areas (or pillars) within the six maturity levels of the model, and the principles that underline each of the maturity levels.

The primary benefit of such maturity model is to offer a framework to pause, think, plan and act based on an organization’s measurement and analysis skills. It offers a mean to assess the current and desired state, facilitate communication and change management. Bill Gassman highlights “the first benefit of a maturity model is the conversation it sparks. It puts the team in a mindframe to imagine what could be and to measure where they are”. Continuing on the objective of making web analytics easier, the overarching goal is to help organizations use analytics to make better decisions and extract maximum value from business processes.

The paper is a summary of an eighteen months eBusiness MBA project (Laval University, Québec, Canada). Adapted and derived from height models in fields such as business intelligence, process optimization, as well as those proposed by industry analysts and leaders, it is based on years of experience, countless hours of studying, reading and exchanging with fellow web analytics practitioners, managers, consultants and vendors.

Any feedback about the WAMM is welcomed and much appreciated. For further information, future research, including speaking, consulting and training, see http://immeria.net/wamm.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

iPerceptions + WASP: my take

I'm really proud and happy to announce iPerceptions has acquired the WASP product line and technology. You can read the official press release, but I also wanted to share some personal thoughts about what it means for me and for the 11,000 WASP users around the world.

Three years in the making

When I started working on WASP, around November of 2006, I was a part-time web analytics practitioner trying to solve, or at least simplify a real issue: how to check if our web analytics implementation was done correctly. I already had several years of experience implementating web analytics tools and knew how complex it was. What started as a proof of concept quickly became an interesting side project. One thing leading to another, a public beta was announced and in January 2009, a commercial product.

An unfulfilled need

Cookie deletion rate is a recurring topic; is it 3%, maybe 10%? It simply amazes me! The primary cause of poor analytics data isn't cookies, it's bad implementation... While you don't have much control over cookie deletion rate, you do have control over the site instrumentation (or you should!). In a study recently commissioned by Google (full PDF report), Forrester revealed the most important consideration factor for choosing a web analytics solution is "reliable data collection" (45%!). Yet, vendors generally do a very poor job at offering quality assurance tools.

Word of mouth kicked in, user base grew to over 11,000 worldwide, 150 tools detection and a  market predicted by Forrester to grow 17% for the next several years. Feedback, feature requests and constructive comments helped gradually tweak the product. There is still a long list of ideas and things to do, and as the market evolve, so will WASP. Alternatives are either too complex, unpractical, or too expensive. Clearly, WASP is answering a need: I have never seen a perfect implementation!

Always be learning

WASP has been an amazing learning experience. As most of you know, I did everything on my own, from development to marketing, commercialization and support. However, I was at a crossroad: do I want to become a product vendor, hire a bunch of people and grow the business, or remain true to the core reason why I wanted to become a freelance. I've been a strong advocate of web analytics, I love teaching & speaking at conferences (hear me at Infopresse in Montreal this Thursday, and at eMetrics Washington D.C. next week!) and my interests are for research & education. WASP is why I won the WAALTER award, and certainly a strong factor behind my election to the Web Analytics Association Board of Directors. I have other projects I want pursue; the Web Analytics Maturity Model, the concept of Just In Time Tagging and other crazy ideas to make web analytics easier.

My future and the future of WASP at iPerceptions

"Why iPerceptions?" you might ask. There were other offers, but iPerceptions is best positioned to bring WASP to the next level while remaining true to its original spirit: free trial, single user entry-base product up to enterprise level capabilities; wide range of products detection; closely listening to the Voice of Customer. They can  bring the expertise and manpower I couldn't.

The popularity of 4Q Online Survey also demonstrates their ability to bring innovative solutions to the market. As an independent thought leader and member of the iPerceptions Advisory Council, I will stay closely involved and help them with new and interesting applications that I'm sure will have profound implications for the analytics community.

Parting thoughts

Thanks to my "angel advisers" (you know who you are!) for your insights & recommendations. Your willingness to help is always deeply appreciated and I'm trying to "pay it forward" whenever I can. Thanks to you: web analysts, vendors, fellow bloggers and users of WASP!

I will keep an eye on WASP and help iPerceptions the best I can. In the meantime, and as always, I'm happy to hear your feedback!

iPerceptions Acquires WASP Product Line to Empower Site Owners to Optimize Web Analytics Performance

Introduction of new easy-to-use tool into the iPerceptions solution set allows users to audit web analytics tags to ensure that quality data is provided to site owners

NEW YORK, NY – October 14, 2009 –– iPerceptions Inc. (TSX.V:IPE), a leading provider of Voice of Customer web analytics, announced today that it has acquired the groundbreaking Web Analytics Solution Profiler (WASP) product line to continue to empower site owners with powerful tools to improve web analytics implementation. The WASP tools complement iPerceptions 4Q and WebValidator solutions by providing site owners and web analytics professionals with an easy and low-cost way to do quality assurance, understand how their web analytics solution is implemented, and make fixes that improve data quality. iPerceptions will continue to make the existing product line, including a free “test drive” version, available through http://webanalyticssolutionprofiler.com/ as part of its solution suite.

“We are seeing a pronounced shift towards tactical insights in the world of web analytics,” said iPerceptions President and CEO Claude Guay. “To achieve tactical results, organizations must begin to put muscle behind proper analytics tool implementation, and that’s where WASP’s value is really showcased. We are very pleased to now offer WASP through iPerceptions to extend our customers’ experience and benefits.”

“WASP is a required cornerstone to ensure data quality, leading to better decision making. Today, more than 10,000 analysts use WASP for diagnosis of over 150 different web analytics tools,” said Stephane Hamel. Hamel is the founder of Immeria and a leading Web analytics innovator who developed WASP. “iPerceptions is extraordinarily prescient in its voice of the customer analytics vision, and the company understands the power of the core technology developed by Immeria. Going forward, I am please to also work hand-in-hand with iPerceptions on some new interesting applications with profound implications for the analytics community.”

WASP recently received the Web Analytics Association Leadership and Technical Excellent Recognition (WAALTER) for leadership and innovation in the field of web analytics. The solution provides a powerful crawler for tag edits and features an intuitive interface and compatibility between all major web analytics providers. The new solution, created specifically for web analytics professionals, also features:
  • Page-by-page, technical details for tags (beacons)
  • Crawl whole sites or sections of a site for easier quality assurance and tag audits
  • Convenient sidebar with as-you-browse information for testing complex scenarios
  • Enhanced tag views and more for approximately 150 top web analytic solutions
  • Frequent updates and enhancements

About iPerceptions

iPerceptions is one of North America's leading web-focused Voice of Customer analytics providers. Its webValidator Continuous Listening solution, free website survey solution 4Q, Web Analytics Solution Profiler (WASP) and proprietary iPerceptions Satisfaction Index (iPSI) turn thousands of data points into easy-to-understand strategic and tactical decision support for website marketers. iPerceptions' clients include such well-known brands as InterContinental Hotels, General Motors, Dell, Hyundai, LG Electronics, Choice Hotels International, BMW and Monster Worldwide. iPerceptions has offices in New York, Atlanta, Toronto, Montreal and London.

The TSX Venture Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this press release.

Media information: Emily Brady
Brady Public Relations
Tel: 415-606-9350
emily@bradypr.com

Investor information: Claude Guay
President & Chief Executive Officer
iPerceptions Inc.
Tel: 514-488-3600
Fax: 514-484-2600

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Free Web Analytics seminar: Oct. 26th, Montreal sponsored by Unilytics

Going beneath web analytics data into real information

Unilytics,  is sponsoring a free, half-day seminar in which they will explore the current state of web analytics and the potential it holds. The first half of the seminar will be high-level and present industry trends and general best practices. It will be of particular interest to upper management. The second half will be more technical and focused on those who make analytics part of their day to day job. You can opt for the full seminar or only the executive portion.

The challenge many companies have with analytics is that there is just too much information to really consume, understand, and action it all. These huge volumes of data are inappropriate for proper decision making. Quantity of information far exceeds quality.

The metrics needed to make truly informed decisions are often hidden by an array of reports and the complexity of their presentation. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) hold the promise of tracking a few select values which elucidate how your web site is performing. These KPIs are even more invaluable when measured against business goals and objectives. In this seminar we'll discuss best practices for determining, measuring, and tracking these KPIs.

Mature analytics adoption often renders simple reports showing most popular web site pages and numbers of visitors as a passing curiosity only. These mundane metrics have given way to integration with cross-channel data as well as other customer data across the organization. We will also investigate the potential of social media, 1:1 marketing, and KPI analysis and governance. Finally, we will demonstrate Webtrends 9 Insight, the latest version of the award winning web analytics software.

Location:
Loews Hotel Vogue (Map)
1425 rue de la Montagne
When: October 26, 2009
Agenda:
8 - 9 am Registration & Breakfast
9:00 - 10:15 WA overview & Executive briefing
10:30 - 11:45 Technical discussion & Webtrends v9
11:45 - 12:00 Q&A
Registration: unilytics.com/seminar2009.shtml

About Unilytics

Unilytics offers market leading web analytics products and services to address the needs of eMarketers in all vertical industries. As the world’s largest Webtrends partner, we offer unparalleled product expertise and consulting services for both Webtrends and Google Analytics.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

PostRank Analytics

Couple of days ago I was solicited to take a look at a new offering by PostRank called... PostRank Analytics!

The service is pretty clever and offers insight into your blog performance by merging social media measurement and quantitative data. The graph bellow shows an overview with timeline, indicators when you posted on your blog, and overall stats. Clicking on one of the post indicator leads to a more detailed report.

Learning how your content is performing with your audiences, improving your blogging, and developing relationships with your readers should be as important to you as to larger media outlets. But web analytics itself, such as Google Analytics, isn't adressing very well the social media aspect of your blog performance.

This detailed report shows individual posts with indication about the relative PostRank Engagement index, page views, time on page, and number of mentions in several social media outlets such as Twitter, Digg, Delicious, Reddit, etc. For individual posts, you also get all Twitter mentions.


Basically, PostRank Analytics allow you to better identify when, where, and how your audiences are engaging with your content, not only in the last week or month, but also today. It will help you find readers on all the important social hubs where they consume, organize and share content. You can not only see overviews of your audience engagement activity, you also see it as it happens, enabling better connection for timely conversation.

My take

A very interesting service worth giving a try. With so many data sources and different ways to look into social media and general web analytics data, PostRank Analytics provide an easy to use and pretty complete picture. Even if only $9/month, my worry is the number of clients willing to pay for a service that gathers data readily available for free from different sources, and particularly when so many bloggers are relying on a collection of free tools. Still, the insight and visualization is pretty useful, and serious bloggers should at least give it a try for a month (for free!).

Monday, September 21, 2009

Getting started in web analytics: career advice

I often get asked about tips & tricks to get started in the web analytics field. This post is a summary of various resources to get started.

Education or training?

Education is about gaining knowledge and competencies, such as mastering the concepts of statistics, marketing and technology in order to truly understand what web analytics is all about. Training, on the other end, is more about acquiring specific skills, such as hands on learning of how to use Google Analytics. Generally, employers will look for trained people, while employees will seek education as a way to advance their career. The balance between the two is important to increase and sustain your value in the market.

Getting started

There is no magic trick here. Do your homework! Read, learn, try. Network, get involved, share. Nowadays you can get started very easily and quickly. Google Analytics as certainly democratized the web analytics industry, but don't be a fool and think this is enough. Web analytics is not about the tool you use, it's about a whole lot more! Check out the Web Analytics Maturity Model for more insight on all aspects of web analytics. Expertise and experience can only be gained through time and expanding your horizons.

Getting out of the catch 22

A frequent issue for those starting is the field is finding a way to gain hands on experience while not being employed. Without access to a playground to put your newly acquired knowledge and skills at work, it's pretty hard to move on. Not enough experience to find a job, no job to gain experience. How do you get out of this catch 22?
  1. Your own site. Create a blog or a small site about something of interest to you. This is relatively easy and can be free. On the positive side, you have total control and you can touch on the three main dimensions of web analytics: marketing & business strategy, technology and analytics. The challenge here is to have enough traffic to make it interesting!
  2. Get involved with a non-profit or a local site. There are plenty of them, and they will generally accept some help. With local sites, the challenge might be the limited traffic and relative simplicity of the site, but it's a start.
  3. Crowdsourced analytics. the Web Analytics Association is working on a project that would allow WAA members and UBC students to volunteer work on a large-scale non-profit organization. More to come...

    Ressources to get started in web analytics

    Education
    Training
    • Google Analytics training: several GAACs (Google Analytics Authorized Consultant) are offering training
    • Vendor training: visit your vendor's website for information about product-specific training
    Social & networking events
    Conferences
    Books
    1. Web Analytics an Hour a Day, Avinash Kaushik
    2. Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics by Brian Clifton
    3. Always Be Testing by Bryan Eisenberg
    4. Check my full bookshelf for additional readings
      Forums & others

      Finding a job in analytics

      If you have other good starting resources to suggest, let me know!