Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Deep Dive into Analytics: When Bounce Rate No Longer Floats Your Boat #sesuk

I enjoyed Brian Clifton's moderation of the previous session so much I've followed him upstairs to the Deep Dive into Analytics: When Bounce Rate No Longer Floats Your Boat session. The Ex-Googler is presenting here after Matt Bailey of Site Logic speaks again. The panel is being moderated by John Marshall of Market Motive.

The usual disclaimer applies; live blogging is full of typos, silly errors and random mistakes.

Matt Bailey

He kicks off with a great question; "How are you being measured?" There tends to be lot of assumptions. Mr Bailey suggests that agencies tend to over sell in order to get the business. In reality, however, too many factors are outside the agency's control. For example, just because you're generating more leads does not mean you're generating more profit.

Referring back to the previous presentation, Matt begins to explain how category pages may well have a better conversion rate than a homepage. Is that the whole picture though? What were the value of the leads that the category page provided?

In order to really understand the value of leads agencies and clients need to get further into CRM. We also need to look at the training and abilities of the sales people. Are they able to close the leads the website generates?

Matt reaches back into the past to ask how many people in room have been doing SEO for 10 years. There's myself, him and a hand at the front. Oh no... Matt's bringing us back to the Florida update.

Turns out it's a good story. Although one of Matt's clients back in the Florida update had much less traffic and leads... they had the best quarter ever. How come? Their sales guys did better.

A recommendation: follow up after the conversion. Put information on the thank you page.

Make sure you're recording enough information so you can you concentrate on selling the profitable products. Rather than doing a simple ranking report, do a ranking report by profitability advises Matt.

In order to do this the analyst needs to be aware of a host of information; how are you training your CRM people, how often are catalogues sent out, how does your call centre work, etc?

Agencies need to be aware of who is responsible for what and what impacts what.

A final tip from Matt; beware of CEOs with time on their hands as they may succumb to shiny objects syndrome.

Brian Clifton

Brian was the first person to join Google Europe who had any experience in web metrics.

Ah-ah! In order to combat "It's 4:30 and I'm supposed to talk about analytics - where is my audience syndrome" Brian added "social media" to the title of his presentation. The technique seems to have worked as I'm at the back of a busy room.

He begins by looking to a definition of social media. He offers; "Online platforms that allow content to be easily distributed" which was given to him by analytics expert Jim Sterne.

Brian suggests that sites like eBay and Amazon count as social media.

There are two sides to web analytics; the on-side and off-side (this echoes Brian's introduction to the SEO metrics presentation earlier today).

The on-site stuff, Brian argues, is easier to measure and there are plenty of tools (like Google Analytics) that will help you measure this.

The lack of control comes from the off-site world. There are some tools; Hitwise, Netratings, Compete and comScore. These tools, though, are different and it's hard to compare apples to apples.

Brian suggests that we're years away from a common, unified, off-page metric. He's going to run through one scenario though; Google Analytics for on-site in conjunction with Twitter for off-site.

We begin by looking at URL shorteners (oddly, only 66% or so of the room are using them!) Brian argues that URL shorteners help move off-page and on-page metrics together. With tracking parameters in GA you're adding human reading additions to your landing page URLs. In his example he puts "twitter" as utm_source and "social-media" for utm_medium . You can see where he's going with this - the URL shortener allows you to add tracking details to the links that appear in (some) social media.

Brian estimates that 50% of incoming traffic from tweets don't come from Twitter.com You can't simply looking at the referring domain details. Adding these tracking parameters you're able better cope with this fragmentation. For example, you can map by utm_medium to reveal the performance of incoming traffic tagged "social-media".

We're run through an example using SES London as a pretend client.

This technique is applicable to other off-site activity. Email marketing, RSS feeds and even offline marketing. Brian has a page from the New York Times, March 2010, about Upgrading a netbook with Windows 7, that uses bit.ly links when it references websites.

The URL Builder is a recommended tool. He also has a free whitepaper at http://www.bit.ly/SES2011.

That's a wrap from day 1.

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