Tuesday, April 21, 2009

MindMeld: from Omniture Summit to eMetrics San Jose

The first ever MindMeld was an invitation-only event held at the Omniture Summit 2009. I had the chance to be invited by Matt Langie, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Omniture. Under the coordination of John Lovett (Forrester Research) and Jim Sterne (WAA and eMetrics), we formed into roundtable groups to discuss hot topics of the day.
MindMeld is an interactive discussion forum of industry peers designed to foster review, debate, and offer proposed resolutions to issues inhibiting industry growth.

Social Media impact & measurement

I was pleased to be a session leader for social measurement. With representatives from iTunes, Warner Music, Norwegian Cruise Line, Best Buy and Brian Watkins (aka @omniture on Twitter), the session was broken down into three main blocks of about an hour each:
  • scoping and establishing the breath of discussion,
  • identify critical events, technologies and necessary actions
  • report key takeaways, resolutions and call to action (from an individual perspective, for Omniture and the industry as a whole)
The video of our takeaways is now available on the YouTube channel WAMindmeld. Mine is shown bellow:

MindMeld at eMetrics: the conversation continues

I'm glad to be part of it again, but now, as Jim puts it "that was only the beginning. Now, it's time to take action." The topic will be "What needs to happen to move the industry forward?", nothing less. In my new duties as one of the member of the Web Analytics Association Board of Directors, I guess this will be on my mind pretty much all the time!

Talking about eMetrics, I will be speaking twice, first about the web analytics maturity model I have developed and put the test (also check this post), and a second time on a panel about "The Softer Side of Metrics - Is it Hot in Here or is it Just Me?" with my friends Peterson and Jonathan Levitt. Jonathan will talk about 4Q and I will cover WASP.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

WASP: Germany's top 500 sites by OgilvyBrains

A nice survey conducted by OgilvyBrains, the strategic consultancy arm of the Ogilvy Group in Germany. Here's some interesting abstracts from their press release (original PR in German):
OgilvyBrains analyzed the websites of Germany’s 500 largest companies in terms of turnover and the top 50 national banks as to whether their website uses a tool-based web controlling program to analyze customers and visitors to the site. Over half of the companies surveyed did not have this facility. This means the company does not have access to detailed information about customer and visitor behavior on their site and, hence, cannot improve its performance and functionality accordingly.


According to Bert Klingsporn, the WASP, the Web Analytics Solution Profiler, survey has one main conclusion: “The consumer’s heavy Internet use is not mirrored by adequate corporate web controlling in Germany. Often it is little things that stop potential customers completing their purchase. Recognizing and understanding these barriers and adapting the website accordingly can lead to billions in earnings potential.”
Even if we account for some margin of error in the way WASP for Market Research to its analysis, the percentage of web analytics adoption still appear to be lower in Germany than in some other countries. WASP won't detect purely server-based solutions, and it might have missed smaller, very localized players. However, we can safely state that less than 50% of the companies surveyed are empowered with analytics and taking fact based decisions based on their web users browsing behavior.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Web Analytics Association Board of Directors

It's official: I've been elected to the Web Analytics Association Board of Directors. I want to thank everyone who participated in the election process, congratulate newly elected board members and extend my respects to all the very talented people who ran for a position.

What's a director anyway?

Beyond boasting the title of "director", responsibilities includes financial and legal aspects of a non-profit organization. But more importantly (to me anyway), it is to contribute to the development of programs and activities that are consistent with the mission of the WAA. So, you might ask, what is the mission of the WAA?
The Web Analytics Association leads and supports the members by providing quality education, developing standards and best practices, conducting research and advocating for issues that advance the industry.
There is a lot of work to do if we want to accomplish everything that's in the above phrase. But as with any complex endeavor - such as bringing the web analytics culture to an organization and succeeding at it! - we can define SMART objectives and accomplish one step at a time toward the larger goal.

Listening to the Voice of Customer: you!

I want to invite you to get in touch with me if you have opinions & ideas about the WAA and how we can serve you. I already have a couple of ideas, and some of you already expressed very good points in private emails. This will be a great experience for me, I'm sure there will be challenges and lots of work to do, and my commitment is to do my best to get closer to the spirit of the WAA mission statement.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

WASP v1.22 released

WASP v1.22 is awaiting approval on addons.mozilla.org but is already available from WebAnalyticsSolutionProfiler.com.

I'm continuing my monthly release cycle. A smaller release this time, but there are a couple of more important things coming up for WASP v1.30, coming up in May.

What's new

This release includes minor enhancements and bug fixes:
  • Bug fix: invalid detection when complex rules were involved. This caused some tools, like Omniture SiteCatalyst HBX, from being detected under specific conditions.
  • WASP Pro: the crawler now handles wildcard rules in robots.txt and catch errors for invalid rules (this was preventing the crawl from working correctly in some rare cases)
  • WASP for Market Research: tools will now be logged only once even if multiple occurrence on same page and beacons won't be logged anymore
  • New tools: NetMonitor, Silverpop Engage, Marketo
As always, your feedback and suggestions are more than welcome! Please take 2 minutes to submit a review at addons.mozilla.org.

See you at eMetrics San Jose

I will be speaking at eMetrics San Jose, May 4-7. I will be on a panel about "The Softer Side of Metrics - Is it Hot in Here or is it Just Me?" with Peterson and Jonathan Levitt. Jonathan will talk about 4Q and I will cover WASP.

I will also present the concept of "Web Analytics Maturity Model" I have developed.

Get WASP v1.22 update now!

(P.S. Results are in, I have been elected to the WAA Board of Director!")

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Job: Web Analytics Specialist for online gaming

Another job in the Montreal region: Morris Mohawk Gaming Group offers online gaming services to users in North America.

They are looking for a Web Analytics Specialist. The ideal candidate will be someone smart, enthusiastic, and technical, with a passion for data and the know-how to drive web optimization success. The candidate will be equally comfortable drawing business conclusions and presenting to key stakeholders, as they are analyzing web data and dealing with IT partners.

To give you a hint of the type of job: "We have 42” TVs on every wall playing sports and poker non-stop. The traditional “dark and gloomy office” has no place at Morris Mohawk Gaming Group." :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Why WASP isn't free

The good

I'm receiving tons of positive feedback about WASP, the community of over 10,000 users is providing great ideas and suggestions which I'm carefully taking into consideration. I'm very proud of this tool. I've spent countless nights and weekends working on it over a period of 18 months.

But WASP isn't just the result of this hard work, it's also the culmination of over 20 years of experience ranging from development, system administration, DBA, web development, analytics, and about every aspects of launching a business.

The bad

Over the years I've been known to be very "verbal" about my opinions. I have matured and grown some (a lot!) of gray hair. I think my temper is much better than it was years ago, but when I receive something like this... it hurts:
My suggestion is to take WASP extension off your "Free Ressources" (sic) page, or perhaps change the name of that page.

It's a shame you no longer offer a free version that doesn't time-out since it's clearly the crawler that is the power-tool aimed at WDAs. We have a bunch of staff who every now-and-again need to check an Omniture variable or two to help in locating reports, but will never require a crawler.

Oh well, bon chance!
I wish I could talk to this person, who knows, maybe he or she will read this and get in touch?

Did you know?

Lots of people think there's a whole business behind WASP. In fact, it's the result of a single person's dedication and passion for web analytics: me! I'm doing a mix of consulting, teaching and developing WASP because I like what I do, working 40, 50, 60 hours a week. I'm a strong advocate of sharing and collaboration. But I'm not stupid either.

My take

Here's what comes to mind:
  • 20 minutes is plenty of time for occasional use and seeing if WASP is useful, clearly, this person wants to use WASP for professional purposes, and he or she is not alone, there's also a 'bunch of staff" using WASP...
  • If $49 USD is too much for you, than stick to a manual method, use debuggers and proxies (the license of most of those tools isn't free, btw), or use the free Omniture JavaScript debugger
  • WASP ROI is pretty straightforward: save time, eliminate non-value added activities, increase your knowledge. And that person tells me it's not worth 49$!? The crawler including in WASP Pro, at $499, is a tiny fraction of the cost of alternative solutions...
But most importantly
I'm not selling a software, I'm selling my knowledge.
If you use WASP and find it useful, please consider purchasing a license!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Web Analytics in the automotive industry

David Iwanow, from Australian based The Lost Agency, have done an analysis of the use of web analytics in the automotive industry. He reviewed 21 automotive manufacturers and found that nearly all of them are using web analytics on their corporate sites. A figure ahead of most other verticals. Omniture is clearly leading that space (73% of the sites), followed by Google Analytics (13% of the sites). About 30% of them are "double dipping" (using more than one web analytics solution), most of the time Google Analytics. This number is consistent with other analysis I've done myself. Get the complete web analytics automotive industry report.

Headquarters vs localized sites

The study from The Lost Agency is interesting, and what I have also uncovered is the huge difference between the headquarter, official website and localized sites. For example, when I looked more closely at Canadian sites in the automotive space, I realized a number of them are using Google Analytics even if SiteCatalyst is being used on the corporate site.

Sites using Omniture SiteCatalyst:
  • Acura.com
  • AudiUSA.com, AudiCanada.ca
  • BMWusa.com
  • Fiat.com
  • Ford.com
  • GM.com, GM.ca
  • Honda.com
  • HyundaiUSA.com
  • Infinityusa.com
  • Kia.com
  • Mazda.com
  • NissanUSA.com
  • Subaru.com
  • Toyota.com
  • VW.com, VW.ca
Sites using Google Analytics:
  • Chrysler.com, Chrysler.ca
  • HyundaiCanada.com
  • Infinity.ca
  • Kia.ca
  • Mazda.ca
  • Nissan.ca
  • Porsche.com
  • Subaru.ca
  • VW.ca
Sites using WebTrends:
  • BMW.com, BMWusa.com, BMW.ca
  • Chrysler.ca, Chrysler.com
  • Ford.com, Ford.ca
  • Mazda.ca
  • Suzuki.com
  • Toyota.ca
Other tools:
No tools or log-only solution:
  • Acura.ca
  • Honda.ca
  • Lexus.ca

A matter of cost, maturity & control

Cost: I've been to a number of eMetrics conferences in the US, either as a speaker or attendee. What strikes me between the US and Canadian markets is the significant difference in investment in web analytics. Having worked with a number of Canadian companies, I have witnessed first hand how hard it is to justify the cost of high-end web analytics solutions. After all, a small US site is likely to receive more traffic than a large Canadian one! Different scales, and thus, the TCO are also very different when put against traffic and online revenues. If we think of multivariate testing, behavioral targeting and even voice of customer, Canadian sites are also generally less advanced than their US friends.

Control: The last element pertains to the justifiable and natural goal of uniformity across the brand, which often leads to a less flexible framework. The counterpart of that is the natural human tendency to try to solve problems and get information with the least amount of effort and political constraints, leading to "behind the door" implementation of non-officially approved tools, again, most of the time Google Analytics.

This point goes well beyond web analytics. I have seen a number of global organizations aiming to uniformly address the online channel while teams working on localized sites were striving to bypass those frameworks in order to gain flexibility and deliver on what they are accountable

Maturity: The other consequence, or reason (we're in a catch 22 here) is the web analytics maturity level is generally lower in Canada. Lower maturity leads to fewer investment in web analytics and ancillary applications, which makes the free Google Analytics much more interesting.

The Web Analytics Maturity Model was the topic of my eMetrics Toronto presentation. I will present a longer version of it at eMetrics San Jose, coming up in early May.

If you are on the Canadian side, do you perceive those differences? Do you agree about my view of cost/control/maturity? If you are working in a global corporation with localized sites, what's the best model to balance control and cost efficiency vs flexibility and empowering the localized teams?