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So last week, Trinity Insight was visiting Google at their Mountanview headquarters for the yearly summit that takes place with authorized partners within the analytics and optimizer products.
Always a great time full of learning, including progressive discussions into how businesses can maximize their web properties through conversion optimization.
While there, we got a glimpse of some of the new developments with these products. Recently announced at this week’s eMetrics conference are enhancements to both Website Optimizer and Google Analytics that further close the gap between Google’s offerings and other paid solutions.
These new developments make these solutions even more useful to marketers and technology teams across the globe.
First lets discuss website optimizer. For those who are not familiar with website optimizer, it is Google’s free tool that allows webmaster to conduct both multivariate and AB Testing in efforts to improve conversion rates. Two primary enhancements were announced.
An API for website optimizer
One of Website Optimizer’s previous limitations was the difficulty that sometimes arose in tagging creative and text within content mangement systems. Users, after monitoring and completing tests, had to re-tag pages and jump through seemingly un-necessary hoops in order to conduct follow up testing.
Right now only two CMS platforms have completed the integration. One is Crown Peak and the other is Motivity. I am sure that Google is already in discussions with other shopping cart and CMS vendors, and I believe that the open source community is developing ways to integrate leading tools like eCommerce platform provider Magento and content management systems like Joomla.
Still many technical issues to figure out, but the premise of non-tagging based testing is an exciting development within the eBusiness marketplace.
Over Time Charting
Not as big a development as the API, but this enhancement is something that will help marketers in assessing test trends over a period of time. Previously, reporting data within the Optimizer back-end was limited to an aggregate of data.
With this enhancement, you can see how the conversion rate fluctuates over a unique date period. This functionality seems great for media sites, where users return daily, to assess how new design approaches are embraced on subsequent visits.
Google Analytics, not to to be undone by it’s sister product, also enhanced their product. Let’s look at the biggest enhancement.
Google Analytics Intelligence
A great stride in the product allows web analysts to be essentially alerted by their analytics system when certain key metrics fall or rise above key thresholds. This type of functionality is going to be great in helping users identify problems with the site or marketing efforts before the problem becomes a crisis.
Some interesting things you can do within this is to define your alert sensativity. This allows a marketer to be able to structure their exact notification preferences for the metrics that matter to them and get their notifcations in a manner that will impact business decisions.
That’s what these tools are all about: Getting the right data in order to make proper business decisions. Sometimes I think that message gets lost in the clutter and complexity of site optimization. These tools will not optimize the site themeselves, but rather provide the insights and datapoints to empower someone to do so.
Great to see these enhancements and these new functionality sets make the Google products even more of a player when a business is looking for a onine testing and web analytics platform.
If you want to speak to Trinity Insight about web analytics consulting and how it can impact your marketing and site efforts, please contact us!
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Web Analytics can be an amazing technology, but also a highly under-utilized one. Complex deployments and integrations frequently leave business users befuddled. Without dedicated staff to analyze, analytics packages more often than not collect dust.
This brief is focused on outlining the 7 most important web metrics to monitor within your eCommerce business and what to look for as it relates to your website’s performance.
First on our list is the most important metric you will encounter: bounce rate. Think of bounce rate as a first impression. The definition of bounce rate is the percentage of users that leave your website after only viewing the initial page that was presented.
Bounce rate is so vital because it provides details into how you initially message your value proposition to the customer or prospect. It provides a cue to also help you identify performance issues with your site that may be causing the inflation the metric.
Bounce rates vary by industry, but eCommerce businesses should focus on getting the metric below 30%. Especially important within paid search campaigns, bounce rate will provide valuable cues into which product assortments and promotions at the category and sub-category levels of your taxonomy are doing well. This knowledge can be leveraged across the business in other categories and implemented via multi-variate testing deployments.
Email Capture Ratio
The next metric you want to track is your email capture ratio. As an online business, you probably sell some type of tangible product or service in which you monitor orders or completed information forms. Most businesses monitor their standard conversion rate, but few businesses frequently monitor their email capture rate and take a proactive approach to increasing.
With eCommerce conversion rates yet to eclipse an average of 3%, 97% of users who come to your store are leaving without buying something. Just because they are leaving however does not mean they are not interested in communicating on some level with your business. By gaining an intial step of trust through the capture of an email address, you are not only increasing the size of your house list for future marketing but you are also building a relationship with your customer and can win their business by providing them solutions to their lives.
Strive for a 7-10% email capture rate and place the sign up tool prominent in the header. Too many businesses bury their sign up tool and do not leverage rich applications that can use browser technologies such as ajax to expand a capture field over standard text in an overlay fashion.
Number of non-branded organic keywords
Make sure you look at number of monthly non-branded organic search keywords. When monitoring SEO performance, you need to first strip out the branded terms that correlate with your business. Thats traffic that you would have received without effective SEO. Then look to the number of remaining keywords that were utilized to make up the balance of the remaining natural search visits.
Why is this important? Because SEO is driven from the long tail. Sure, core SEO terms are nice but you need to capture the 4 and 5 word queries that make up the majority of Google queries each day. Long tail placements are acheived through proper site architecture and quality targeted content. Simply put, the more terms that people are using to find you, the better your site is doing in content development. Aim for a 5% to 10% increase each month within non-branded search keywords as you structure your SEO campaigns.
Shopping Cart to Checkout “Step 1″ Progression Rate
Our next metric directly correlates to the transactional process. Make sure you monitor your direct progression percentage from the shopping cart to checkout step 1. See how many of your users are bailing for price shopping and/or they see a promo code box on your site and they are going hunting for one. This type of behavior dramatically impacts your conversion rate and overall profits and steps should be taken to measure and reduce.
Consider adding the promo box at the end of the transaction for non-affiliate sessions in order to reduce leakage. Use a cookie from an affiliate or potentially a URL to trigger two versions of the cart page. By incorporating checkout abandonment tools that re-market via email, and aggressive banners both internally and externally to try and re-capture the lost transaction, eCommerce businesses can pull prospects back in the sales funnel.
Browser and Resolution Percentages
Dont forget about looking at Browser/Resolution percentages (types and sizes) when scaling your eCommerce business. Lace face it, when you sell online you are in the “looks professional…is professional” world and goo design can make even the smallest retailer seem large. If your build your site and it breaks in Safari (Mac’s browser), or the navigation breaks on Firefox 3.5 on a PC, you essentially shoot yourself in the foot.
Look at the varied browsers and resolutions that are being used to view your website. Conduct full cross-browser testing, on varied platforms, to fully notice any potential usability problems that arrive.
Average number of cross/up sells added per visit
If you are an eCommerce business, you already know that intelligent merchandising is a crucial key to success. A primary metric to help you understand performance within online merchandising is that of average cross/up sells added per visit.
This datapoint associates to your cross sell tools that integrate at the product and the cart level and measures the average number of cross-sells added to the cart per visit. The number will provide details into the effectiveness of your product recommendations and if the recommended products are actively engaging and persuading customers.
It is tough to provide a benchmark statistic for this metric since products can vary so greatly in terms of pricepoint. But look at your historical performance and consider automating this component through algorithmic third party solutions.
In conclusion, web analytics is a complicated tool only when you let it be. When mining your data, consider the business need and goal before running the reports. Doing so will help you leverage your analytics in ways you never considered and help drive incremental ROI online.
Looking for more info? Contact us about our ecommerce consulting and web analytics consulting services
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For those who are not aware, Yahoo! recently purchased a company called Index Tools. Index Tools was a not well known, but very viable provider, or web analytic and bid management solutions. The acquisition though has been extremely quiet as the businesses have not issued any type of release that outlines next steps in terms of a public rollout.
Being that web analytics consulting is one of our most prominent offerings within Trinity, this is a decision that we are anxiously awaiting. Index Tools is a great platform and provides some key differences versus Google Analytics.
First, I love the drag and drop interface for customizing reports. This is a intuitive time saver. Second, unlike google analytics, you can apply filters dynamically within the report you are viewing (similar to Omniture) and do not have to set them up at a central location.
Next, their overlay tool is superior to GA. You can actually take a section of a webpage that you want to assess and drill down into the datapoints within that section. Also, there are many more metrics to segment by within the overlay data.
Lastly, Index Tools allows for the integration of multiple segments at once. And again, similar to the segmentation features, this is all done in a drag and drop interface.
Hopefully, Yahoo releases this product for free. If so, Google Analytics is going to be playing catch up immediately. More realistic in my mind though, is a scenario in which you have to meet a certain spend level within Yahoo search marketing to get it for free and if not, a user would pay a monthly or annual fee.
If you havent checked out Index Tools, I highly recommend it.
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So I mentioned that Google Analytics launched V2 earlier today, but what I did not mention is how sweet this application is! Time after time I am blown away by the Engineers at the Plex‘, but this may be their best achievement to date.
Here’s the announcement on the official GA blog: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2007/05/new-version-of-google-analytics.html
At Trinity, a large portion of our time is spent analyzing client web data. We provide this service to help marketing executives better understand their visitor behavior/marketing spend and subsequently tailor new strategies to capitalize on these trends.
Needless to say, we are snobs when it comes to web analytics. If a business relies on a local log file program to decipher intelligence, we quickly scrap that notion and implement a enterprise level tool. Myself, I was always loyal to Omniture. The best interface, the most flexibility, the best filtering tools. Then there was the pack that followed: Web Trends, CoreMetrics, FireClick, and the emerging player of last year: Google Analytics.
As we all know, what made GA so popular was the price tag. To get the power it provided for free opened up new opportunities for websites and webmasters everywhere. Finally you could get the data needed to proactively manage a website or eCommerce business at no cost!
But GA was still not near Omniture IMO. Well, that’s becoming a moot point…
The new version of GA is a slam dunk. Its obvious that some of Google’s best programmers must have worked on this release and I am excited to show our clients the new functionality that the tool brings. Lets just look at some of the new functionality which makes this new release so cool…
The flash interface motors through report creation. A new tabbed based interface lets users quickly locate what data they need. For instance, when looking at monthly visitors, and drilling into the direct traffic segment (folks who typed your url) a GA user can now see site usage, conversion data, and ecommerce data instantaneously.
Now marketers can quickly find how users are navigating through the landing pages that they are directed. “Landing page” is now a variable for segmentation and marketers can see how their key pages are performing from a natural or paid perspective. As a SEO’er, this is a great new functionality to help gauge progression. Progress can be judged on not just keyword penetration but also page penetration.
This a very cool enhancement which allows a user to determine the report timeframe using a dragging timeline. Not easy to spot – but take a look and you will find it.
Nav/Path reports in the last version were clunky. Now the process is much more streamlined as a user has a direct link to see where users came from and where they went to from a specific webpage. Now GA provides a slick dropdown (like Omniture) and a search functionality to quickly locate the page you want to analyze.
As great as v2 is, there is one thing that I hope will be integrated in the near term…
Dynamic path analysis reporting is still not offered by GA and is now Omniture’s core differentiatorin the marketplace. When visiting Google last month, I mentioned this as an enhancement to potentially roll out in upcoming months. It was viewed positively and hopefully progress will be made towards incorporating such a tool.
Gotta jet – but look for an upcoming post in which Ill take a MUCH deeper dive into dynamic path analysis and why it is so fundamental to web analytics…