Web Analytics

Or: How to verify customer intent with split-testing

Senior copywriter Jennifer Hoppe wrote last week about how we can now track data about customer behavior like never before and use it to focus on conversions, conversions, conversions.

At the risk of wearing out the Mad Men references, Sunday’s episode reinforced the point. Whereas Don Draper aims for creative as a solution to driving customer behavior, in this case a consumer research agency is pitching Don’s advertising agency on the value of its psychological research for developing campaigns. As they point out, there is a difference between what people say they want—and what they do.

With split-testing and conversion tracking technology, we don’t have to guess what they do or figure it out after the fact; we can see it in action.

Let’s take a look at how we’ve put this technology to work. 

Continue reading "Why Your Customers' Actions Speak Louder Than Words" »

Series Wrap-Up

First, this week we're going to wrap up our series on How Can I Tell If My Website is Successful and share some of the resources we find helpful 

  • Avinash Kaushik's post on Web Analytics 101 where he defines goals, metrics, KPIs, dimensions and a bunch of great information you need to get started.
  • From Management for Dummies, how to set SMART goals (that are measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound).
  • SEOMoz explains how to create great keyword ranking charts with Excel pivot charts. SEOMoz also offers a variety of tools (including the keyword rank checker).
  • For assistance with setting up goal funnels in Google Analytics, Google support has some great advice
  • ConversionGate offers a new metric called "flounce rate" to segment out visitors who depart from high engagement pages. We've found examining the differences between those visitors and converting visitors to be very enlightening.

App vs. Mobile Web

Mashable discusses why you may not need a mobile app. Remember comScore mentioned a few weeks ago that more users use their mobile devices to access websites than apps, so it's a timely argument.

Privacy on Social Media

It's come up before but it never hurts to talk about it again. Search Engine Watch has a good list of ways to control your privacy on social media sites, including understanding what information applications are asking for and not using correct answers in the security questions.

Marketing Trends for Small Business

TopRank has 3 small business marketing trends that you shouldn't ignore.

In our ongoing series about how to measuring your website’s success, we’ve already talked about informational sites (where content is the draw), and ecommerce sites (which entice people to spend mucho dinero).

But what if you want your site to foster a deeper connection between your organization and your target audience? We call this an “engagement-based” model. Non-profit organizations and member associations often fall into this category. If you have an engagement-based site, you’re not necessarily selling anything, but you want your users to somehow interact with your site—by signing up for a newsletter, registering for an event, completing a survey, or something similar. You may not be used to thinking of these user actions as transactions, but they are. Better yet, they’re trackable. (Cue Google Analytics, please.)

Continue reading "A Modest Proposal: Measuring User Engagement on Your Site" »

Ecommerce_tracking In our series on website goal tracking, “How Can I Tell if My Website Is Successful?” we identified three primary site models: Ecommerce, Educational and Informational. It’s the latter two that are often the hardest to identify goals for since educational and informational sites, by definition, aren’t selling something.

In our first two posts, we talked about ways to track goals for an informational site, like this very blog or an association’s resource site. One of those goals was ranking for search engine keywords.

This week, we’ll switch gears a bit and look at evaluating success for an ecommerce site. Although some goals are obvious, like sales, there are others that you have to dig a bit deeper to uncover—but that can yield even greater insights.

Continue reading "Beyond Dollars and Cents: Other Ways To Track Ecommerce Website Conversions" »

What does success look like on a non-ecommerce site? And more importantly, how do you measure it? As we mentioned last week, the answer isn’t always obvious—especially if your website follows an informational model; that is, if your primary goal is for users to consume the content on your site.

Here are a few metrics you can start evaluating to measure your site’s success: keyword rankings, time on site or pages per visit, and visits to specific pages of your site. Let’s break ’em down.

Continue reading "Defining Success Metrics for Informational Sites" »

If you have an ecommerce site, it's pretty easy to measure your success.Just take a look at your completed transactions. Sales holding steady or on the rise? You're doing great. Too many abandoned shopping carts? You’ve got some work to do.

"But what does success look like if I don’t have a shopping cart?"

It’s a common question we hear from educational institutions, trade associations, non-profits, and other organizations that aren’t focused on web-based sales. But never fear. You still have plenty of ways to measure your site's success.

Continue reading "How Can I Tell If My Website Is Successful?" »

New in Books

Open Leadership: How Social Technology can Transform the Way You Lead by Charlene Li (who also wrote Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies). Online Marketing Blog has a nice review, and I've added it to my "to-read" stack.

Google Killer?

That new site isn't the next Google Killer. A great explanation from Search Engine Watch about what it will take and why no one is close.

Back to Basics

What do we mean when we talk about goals, KPIs, metrics, segments, etc? Avinash Kaushik defines them all in a Web Analytics 101.

Brand Loyalty

comScore reports a decline in brand loyalty during the recession. Interesting results by product category - we'll compromise on our paper towels but not toothpaste.

Seth Godin on the Road

Seth is traveling to Boston, Washington DC, Minneapolis and Chicago (more dates & cities to come). Learn more and get tickets.

Why don't they listen?

Branding Strategy talks about why consumers reject your advertising.

Interesting they should mention Facebook Connect - Electronic Frontier Foundation just offered this list of 6 things you should know about Facebook Connect.


As a person who’s been producing web content since the dinosaur days of 1996, I like to think that I have a certain level of expertise, hard-won knowledge, and maybe even a teensy bit of talent when it comes to my job. But whenever I start to perch too confidently on my high horse, WhichTestWon.com is bound to buck me off of it.

Each week, this site shows a sample of an A/B test that has been actually run by a company, and allows you to vote on which version you think performed best. The nature of the tests vary—maybe it’s two versions of a landing page testing conversion rates; or an email testing open rates with different subject lines. The purpose of each test are spelled out before you’re asked to vote.

For several weeks running, I’ve been faithfully going to the site, voting, and finding out that I’m DEAD WRONG! Not always, mind you, but often enough to get under my skin. And this disconcerting fact speaks to a basic truth of web content—you never know what’s going to work best until you test it.

Sure, we in the biz can create effective web environments—but too often we fail to perfect them with testing. Try as we might, we can never approach a project with complete objectivity. Nor can we magically jump into the heads of each target consumer and predict with 100% certainty what will cause her of him to click and buy. You could design the most beautiful page, write the snappiest copy—heck, even pile up a stack of industry awards, but it doesn’t mean you’ll maximize your results.

The only way to get a better insight into what works is to test, analyze, tweak, and test again. Thankfully, tools like Google Analytics and Google Website Optimizer simplify this process immensely, and—dare I say—make it kinda fun. It’s fascinating to see how the smallest revisions and tiniest tweaks can send clickthrough and conversion rates through the roof. So, no matter if you’re new to the world of web professionals, or are an old geezer like me, don’t trust your instincts. And don’t be afraid to put them to the test.

Blog bounce rate In January I described a case study I was launching to optimize one of the CDG Interactive blog posts that has driven the most repeat traffic over the past year, “3 Tips for Taking the Google Analytics IQ Test.”

My goal was to improve the performance of this post, which serves as one of our top landing pages, using the metric of bounce rate by keyword. Because I was specifically optimizing for keywords, I also wanted to see whether ranking for those keywords improved as well.

Now that it’s been nearly two months, I’ve got enough data to evaluate the results of my experiment. Here are the results.

Continue reading "Case Study Results: Optimizing Blog Post Landing Pages" »

I'll be traveling for the next 2 weeks so here are some extra links to keep you occupied while I'm gone.

What's the Buzz

When we're not talking about snowpocalyse vs. snowmageddon vs. snowfecta here in Washington DC, everyone's trying to figure out Google Buzz. At the moment it seems to be more like Wave with more people talking about having it and trying to figure out what to do with it.

And of course, we're watching all the tweets from TED and wishing we were in California. You can watch the videos of the sessions as they are posted. My favorite so far is J.K. Rowling on the fringe benefits of failure.

I might have titled this When I ask for your opinion, I actually want it, but Seth Godin reminds us that when you're asked, it's not about being right.

Year in Review

comScore releases The Digital Year in Review. Download the white paper to see which consumer trends dominated the digital media scene in 2009.

What's your story?

Google reminds us that the story is everything during their Super Bowl ad


SEOMoz offers 30 SEO Bookmarklets to save you time of some of the most commonly used SEO datapoints.

Google has launched a new Adwords Online Classroom with hands-on line training in Adwords topics including optimization and using Analytics to improve your ROI.

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