I’m very pleased to comment that the first day of the eMetrics summit has been a complete success (at least for myself). The day started off with a quick update on the Web Analytics Association presented by Richard Foley. Not a whole lot new here, just an update showcasing that the association is starting to grow into its own and that 2007 has been a year for a pretty dramatic increase in membership. A great metric to me demonstrating that web analytics is definitely starting to be a substantial interest in many organizations and one that they are willing to invest heavily in.
Before I move onto another huge point I’d like to draw attention to is…(and I really want to stress this):
eMetrics Is Coming To TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA!
You heard me correctly! After I’m sure many Canadians in the online industry trying to convince others of a thriving audience for an eMetrics summit, Jim Sterne has apparently heard us! The conference will be held in early April (1-3) in Toronto and will be composed of:
- 1 day Web Analytics Base Camp led by the Web Analytics Association – a great resource for all of you out there who still feel uncomfortable with the “big picture” of web analytics or even the terminology used by many of the tools
- 2 day eMetrics summit – I know I know, why do the other locations get three days? Well I guess I have to give it to them in that we have a smaller audience but even still!
This summit plans to be targeted to a broader audience out there as the analytics market in Canada is largely unknown and the WAA is trying to not be elitist and leave anyone out.
Jim Sterne gave a great keynote address entitled “Think Different” (inspired by Avinash’s post and image (see right)). In truth, I didn’t actually take many notes during the key note but Jim largely addressed issues around what’s now being called “Web Analytics 2.0″. A term referring to the emphasis to go beyond evaluating site success on just clickstream data and an effort to try to get that 360 degree view of you visitors. Avinash does a much better job explaining the strategy in his post, so I’ll leave the rest to him.
Microsoft Gatineau Preview
I’m very happy to say that today I was part of the privilaged few that got to see the first public demonstration of Microsoft Gatineau. For those of you who are unaware, Gatineau is Microsoft’s answer to Google Analytics and will be provided as a free analytics tool for all to use (provided you have an adCenter account).
Overall, I really liked what I saw of their offering. In particular, the more advanced options they offer in terms of visually modeling clickstream data as well as visitor segmentation (made possible by tying in Live ID profiles), will differentiate them enough from Google Analytics to provide some companies with a reason to switch over.
Another nifty differentiator is a tool that Gatineau has built in that will automatically tag your site for you. The demo we saw today accesses your web server via FTP and then checks the files on your server for a closing </body> tag somewhere in the page. When it finds one, it simply inserts the Gatineau code and you’re done! Imagine that, even less IT involvement than ever before! Obviously this tool will have it’s flaws on CMS driven or dynamically generated content, but still a very neat offering from Ian Thomas and his team.
Breakaway Session #1: R.E.A.L. Reporting for the Real World
Presented by Jennifer Veesenmeyer, I found this session a bit to rudimentary for my tastes but I think a lot of people got value out of it. The session largely focused on extremely applicable tips-and-tricks in order to shorten the pain in everyone’s butt which is producing reports. On top of that, Jennifer also went into some real world ways of changes you can make to your reports in order to convey only the most important information in a organized and coherent manner.
Her second session in the day provided some great insights on not only shortcuts to producing highly effective reports, but suggestions on how to get management buy-in to those reports in order to make decisions.
Again, my only problem was just that I knew most of the tips and tricks discussed, but otherwise I thought it was a great session!
Breakaway Session #1: Rethink SEM / PPC Analysis: Ego Bidding, Cannibalization, Long Tail Exploitation and More
Finally I got to see Avinash Kaushik present in person and he is just as enthusiastic, fun and animated as I’ve seen him on any of his videos. As I told Jim Sterne, Avinash’s session today alone made eMetrics worth the investment in my opinion. Although I don’t want to go into too much detail, Avinash presented 6 things to think about when looking at SEM and PPC campaigns:
- Measure bounce rate – when running SEM / PPC campaigns, don’t measure clickthroughs. A click is useless if, as Avinash states it, “they came, they puked, they left”. Although I’m in agreement with this completely, remember to go one step further. A low bounce rate on a campaign only implies that a visitor went > 1 page deep. Make sure to look at pageviews per visit and visit duration to make sure that you’re evaluating true measures of engagement and to an extent, satisfaction.
- No more ego bidding – stop worrying about bidding for spot number one if that spot is producing the worst qualified traffic. What is qualified traffic? Like I mentioned above, qualified traffic can be defined as “sticky” traffic or traffic that completes the goals you have set out on your site. Use tools like Google Analytics to not only evaluate which positions are bringing in traffic, but bringing in qualified traffic (see below).
In the images above, the image on the left demonstrates the “wrong way” to look at keyword bidding. Notice that position 1 brought in the most amount of visits but as the second image shows, the third position actually brought in the most qualified traffic with the highest pageviews per visit!
- Search Traffic Cannibalization – before investing in PPC / SEM, realize the benefits of these methods versus organic search. In the PPC world, I purchase keywords that I know (or expect) my audience to be using and then based on which keyword, I can guide that user to the information I think is most relevant to them. This differs greatly from organic search that simply decides on its own what content on your site is most relevant to a visitor’s search. The reason we buy keywords is so that we can guide a visitor’s experience. Don’t buy a keyword that if I searched and clicked on an organic result, would drive me to the same spot on your site. In this case, you literally threw money down the drain in the form of results that organic search would’ve provided you with anyway!
- Think Long Tail – Understand that 10 keywords drive probably 90% your traffic.
In the chart above, the “long tail” is that long thin portion of your incredibly diverse keyword landscape. At the “head” of the graph are those top 10, usually brand related keywords that drive the majority of traffic to your site. But brand keywords = brand awareness. The “long tail” of your site is where the work needs to be done. This is the traffic that came to your site possibly having no prior awareness of your brand at all and these are the people you need to work the hardest on in order to persuade and convert them.
- Experiment or go home! – Don’t guess at your SEM / PPC spend anymore. You’re spending a lot of money on these initiatives, make sure they’re working out for you!
- Competitive Intelligence Rocks – compete.com can give you views of people you didn’t even know you were competing with for your keywords! Hitwise also offers a variety of tools (except as I found out today, no luck for Canadian data from hitwise…yet).
That’s it for today!
It isn’t that there isn’t more to write about form today but just that I’m tired and there’s so much more to go into tomorrow! I’ll try to do a recap post at the end of the summit for anything I’m missing now, but I hope that gives everyone some relevant information!