Location! Location! Location…Based Advertising

I’ve been spending a tremendous amount of time recently focusing on Location Based Advertising (LBA), because of how strongly I feel about this as a marketing opportunity. Eighty percent of mobile users prefer locally relevant advertising and 75 percent are more likely to take action after seeing a location-specific message (Golden, 2012). The LBA tactic is clearly showing advertisers high ROI potential. The second half of the question is where this becomes more complicated and there is a need to understand what consumers are prepared to engage with.

As Bachman points out this week, more than half of app users, 57 percent, have uninstalled an app over sharing personal information and other privacy concerns (Bachman, 2012). More specifically a Pew research study found that 54 percent of Americans are concerned about their location being known when using the Internet (Heggestuen, 2013).

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In the current climate of concerns about privacy invasion (i.e. NSA, Target, advertisers, etc.) it is unlikely that these worries will vanish over night. I definitely believe that LBA is a tool that many consumers will find valuable and can increase the effectiveness of campaigns for mobile marketers, but three things must be at the forefront of all activities (in no specific order): First, understanding the target demographic and their tolerance for LBA. Younger target markets may be more accepting of this new tactic and extra precautions should be taken with older demographics. Second, clear opt-in instructions and expectations of the program should be outlined immediately (Hopkins & Turner, 2012). This will alleviate most confusion from the outset. Third, ensuring that data privacy controls are as secure as possible. There will be no quicker way to damage LBA (or a company’s reputation in general) than to compromise sensitive data.

Are there any other pre-planning activities you would engage in for LBA that I didn’t mention?

What level of privacy concern do you have as it relates to LBA?


Bachman, K. (2012, September 5). Survey: Privacy a top concern for mobile app users. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/survey-privacy-top-concern-mobile-app-users-143352

Golden, R. (2012, August 31). Mobile spells effective and affordable opportunity for SMBs. Retrieve from http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/opinion/columns/13669.html

Heggestuen, J. (2013, September 6). Location-Based Advertising Is Threatened By Increased Privacy Concerns. Business Insider. Retrieved January 29, 2014, from http://www.businessinsider.com/location-based-advertising-threatened-by-increased-privacy-concerns-2013-9

Hopkins, J., & Turner, J. (2012). Go mobile: location-based marketing, apps, mobile optimized ad campaigns, 2D codes and other mobile strategies to grow your business. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

P.I. Reed School of Journalism. (2014). IMC 629. Lesson 4: Mobile Promotions & Location-Based Marketing. Retrieved January 29, 2014.


The Battle: Content vs. Conversation


Which is truly “King”?

This week we waded into the always-passionate debate between content versus conversation when it comes to utilizing a blog. This conversation typically creates very passionate camps in what can sometimes be summed up as a “chicken or egg” situation. Does great content drive traffic and conversation or does inspiring conversation drive traffic and the ability to continue generating content? This post will examine the thoughts from two articles and then I’ll offer my personal take on this debate.
            In a 2009 article by Michael Greenberg in Multichannel Merchant, he makes the case for driving all activities through Content. Greenberg contends that great content drives e-commerce marketing activities and without it, there is not much to have a conversation about. In one pertinent example he discusses how readers would react if an issue of BusinessWeek were to not be published. He states that they would likely freak out and that is how content producers should feel when creating content for their blogs (Greenberg, 2009). In regards to content and posting frequency, Greenberg is aligned with the correct thought process. Frequency of posts is a major component of audience retention. A 2009 study investigated the time between posts and the percentage of the audience lost. While there was some allowance for infrequent posting, a 16-day time between posts lost 5% of the audience while a 60 + day delay resulted in a 38% loss. The researchers recommended more frequent posting, interaction with commenters, explanations for any delays, and a consistent style or tone for smaller blog followings (Carrabis, 2009). Overall, Greenberg advocates frequent posting and honing skills in regards to creating superior content in order to drive the success of the blog.
            In her 2010 article on Social Media Today, Catherine Novak directly challenges the “Content is King” mentality. She emphasizes an astute point that driving content without the assistance of conversation is essentially just broadcasting, which is losing relevance in today’s social web. Novak references the rise of social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, which are propelled forward not by content but the conversation that stems from content. She implores readers to consider if their content has the ability to generate content once it has been posted, because if it does not they should revisit what the reason is for broadcasting that message (Novak, 2010).
Where to focus?
            Blogs have proven an effective vehicle in reaching diverse audiences. In 2011, there were over 156 million blogs in existence. 120,000 new blogs were being created each day (P.I. Reed School of Journalism, 2013b). A 2011 study found, marketers are primarily using blogs for specialization, convenience, interactivity, real time conversation, and popularity. The more personal a marketer made the blog posts, the greater the likelihood of consumers believing that it was an interactive dialogue (I-Ping & Chung-Hsien, 2011). The loyalty of blog readers is fairly high, with 46% being repeat read and 43% noticing the blog’s advertising, which can produce valuable results for companies able to produce compelling content (P.I. Reed School of Journalism, 2013).
            In order for these blogs to stand out amongst their 156 million competitors the content must engage readers so they feel compelled to share it with their friends, serve as a dialogue between the blogger and their readers, and provide a certain level of transparency about who the blogger is and what they represent. The blog should: not pretend to be someone else, speak in a plain manner, or assume that all readers are consumers (instead regarding them as publics) (P.I. Reed School of Journalism, 2013b).
In a fast evolving social web experience, I believe that the focus on driving robust conversation will ultimately yield greater loyalty to a blog. The conversation can create many advantages for the blog writer such as helping drive conversations, uncovering what is truly important to the readers, and creating longer lasting impact of blog posts. While quality content will always be important in terms of retention, I believe that getting a conversation to take place on your blog will generate greater credibility and conversions for the brand.
Carrabis, J. (2009). Optimal Frequency of Blog Posting to Maintain Audience Share Best Determined by Audience Size and Psycho-social Distance from the Blogger. Journal Of New Communications Research, 4(1), 95-107.
Greenberg, M. (2009, October 20). Content is king of social marketing. MultichannelMerchant.com. Retrieved April 12, 2012 from http://multichannelmerchant.com/social-media/1020-content-social-marketing/
I-Ping, C., & Chung-Hsien, H. (2011). Exploring The Impacts Of Blog Marketing On Consumers. Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, 39(9), 1245-1250. doi:10.2224/sbp.2011.39.9.1245
Novak, C. (2010, July 27). Why conversation, not content, is king. SocialMediaToday.com. Retrieved April 12, 2012 from http://socialmediatoday.com/wordspring/152636/why-conversation-not-content-king
P.I. Reed School of Journalism, WVU (2013b). IMC 619 Lesson 6: Viral, Buzz, Word-of-Mouth & Word-of-Blog. Retrieved March 3, 2013.


Advantages of Google Analytics for Small and Mid-sized Businesses

After spending the last few weeks familiarizing myself with Google Analytics, I am now fully starting to understand the value it can bring to tracking your website’s performance. Coming from a limited background regarding web metrics, the abundance of options included in a free platform like this can certainly be overwhelming (note: I’m aware that there are more comprehensive software choices out there, but still feel that Google Analytics possesses very robust offerings). It is very simple to become bogged down with the many options and directions you can take your analysis, so it is important to have clear objectives of what you are looking for.
            The advantages of Google Analytics I would to explore further in this post will be framed in a very specific way: How small and mid-size businesses can leverage the reports and features of Google Analytics. As businesses look to reduce expenditures and become more efficient, a free analytics program like this can be incredibly valuable. Within that Google Analytics has reports and features that can actually limit the need to involve multiple parties or constant monitoring of a website, thereby freeing people up to perform other tasks in their daily roles. I will specifically be looking at the value that Goal Setting, E-Commerce, and AdWords Linking can offer businesses as they look to streamline their approach and increase the efficiency of their websites.
Goal Setting
            Google Analytics can only be as helpful in tracking your website goals, as you are in creating specific ones to track. Without clearly defined metrics for success, all the metrics in the world will not help you evaluate if you are achieving what is crucial to the success of your business. Kaushik emphasizes the importance of focusing on the Critical Few metrics that will help you determine your success. These metrics should satisfy the four attributes of great metrics: Uncomplex, Relevant, Timely, and Instantly Useful (Kaushik, 2010). Once you and your team have agreed on what those look like for your operation, then you can begin to leverage Google Analytics.
            Google Analytics allows users to set up four types of goals: URL Destination, Time on Site, Page Visit, and Event. The goals are listed under the Conversion section. While setting them up, it creates a “funnel” as to what path will create a successful conversion. This allows you to determine the most lucrative conversion path and ideally make changes that will enhance future conversions (Google, n.d.).
Value of Goal Setting
            The ability to set up goals in Google Analytics has multiple benefits for a small or mid-sized business. Mainly, it is a fantastic way to stay organized and focused on what is most important to the site. After spending a great deal of time identifying your sites goals, you will want to track them intensely.  Secondly, the simplicity of setting up the goals (as with most Google Analytics tasks) is much welcomed by novices to web metrics. Finally, setting up your site’s goals within Google Analytics will allow quick assessments of progress. It is as simple as going to the Conversions section of the page and seeing where you currently are in terms of success. If you are unhappy with certain results, you know exactly what to change without wasting precious time combing through unnecessary data.
E-commerce Tracking
            E-commerce, while not the main goal of every site, plays an incredibly important role in determining the success of a site. Fortunately, Google has a dedicated area of the Conversion section for tracking this metric. The e-commerce section allows you to track revenue associated with AdWords, revenue from specific referrals, and average visit per traffic source amongst other things. Additionally, it offers the functionality to code the items you are tracking and give them unique names in order to efficiently understand item performance (Google, n.d.).
Value of E-commerce Tracking
            In 2013, consumers will spend approximately $262 billion through e-commerce, growth of 13.4% year-over-year. It will also experience an “omnichannel” effect, the blending of physical stores with web and mobile purchases as consumers become more comfortable with technology (Rueter, 2013).
            With the continued growth and competitiveness of the e-commerce segment, it is important to leverage all available resources to succeed. Google Analytics provides companies with highly detailed information on item performance and a greater understanding of how the purchase funnel impacts SKU success. There is no reason for items that are not adding to the bottom line to be left in online stores. The information provided in e-commerce tracking should allow small and mid-sized businesses the optimal product mix to produce the greatest ROI.
AdWords Linking
            Google is understandably fond of AdWords, as advertising is the largest contributor to its profitability. In 2012, Google recorded $43.6 billion in advertising revenue (2013 Financial Tables Investor Relations, n.d.). Therefore, it should not be a surprise that AdWords tracking is highly integrated into the Google Analytics platform. With this tracking it offers you tremendous advantages in evaluating multiple aspects of the business.
Value of AdWords Linking
            On just the surface level of segmentation and optimization, the benefits of linking an AdWords account are immediately noticeable for smaller organizations. Five options for segmentation that a small business could use to assess the performance of AdWords campaigns are Geography, Paid vs. Organic, Search Terms, Time, and Top Movers. Geographic segmentation would be helpful, as you could bid on geo-targeted terms, which would increase the effectiveness while reducing waste. Similarly, the Paid vs. Organic search can help you understand where overlap is occurring and again reduce wasteful spending on terms that are coming organically to the page. Understanding Time will again allow you to selectively bid on terms only at the most optimal times, those that result in conversions. Finally, reviewing the Top Movers section will allow you to understand which tweaks have had a positive impact on the site’s performance, and conversely where there are still gaps to be closed to enhance the performance (Tabeling, 2013).
            As you begin to explore the more quantitative advantages of linking AdWords performance to Google Analytics, you will uncover even stronger value to your bottom line. Under the “Clicks” tab in the AdWords section of Google Analytics, you will be able to look at eight metrics to help quickly assess how the advertising is working. Impressions, Clicks, Cost, and Click-Through-Rate will quickly show how many people are seeing your ads along with how it is impacting their behavior (enticing them to click or not). Next to those four options you will find: Cost-Per-Click, Revenue-Per-Click, ROI, and Margin (Google, n.d.). For the small and mid-sized business, these may be the most important metrics of all in regards to advertising. They will quickly and efficiently show whether or not the AdWords campaign is generating a profit or sustainable long-term. If not, it can be compared to the overall site metrics and then the strategy recalibrated with key decision makers.
My Experience With Google Analytics
            As I now begin to wade into the world of Google Analytics, in regards to this blog, I am finding things that I enjoy about and which are beneficial. I have enjoyed the general layout of Google Analytics, as it is fairly intuitive and navigation does not require much guesswork.
Everyone will inevitably gravitate to certain aspects that they find intriguing within Google Analytics as it pertains to their particular situation. With this blog I have found the metrics regarding which platforms are being used to access the blog interesting, as well as the breakdown between mobile and PC. Perhaps it is just the novelty of the metrics, but I think it says a lot about the types of users that are accessing the blog. As we continue to be presented with multiple options of web browsing, I believe it will be crucial to understand just how people are consuming content. It could end up dramatically impacting how you interact with your audience.
We have discussed possible advantages of Google Analytics, but what areas are you finding most useful for analyzing your site?
How do you feel small and mid-sized businesses should utilize analytics?


2013 Financial Tables Investor Relations. (n.d.). Google. Retrieved November 18, 2013, from http://investor.google.com/financial/tables.html
Google. (n.d.). Analytics. IQ Lessons. Retrieved November 17, 2013, from https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/3424288
Kaushik, A. (2010). Web analytics 2.0: the art of online accountability & science of customer centricity. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley.
Rueter, T. (2013, March 13). U.S. e-commerce to grow 13% in 2013. Top 500 U.S. E-Retailers. Retrieved November 17, 2013, from http://www.internetretailer.com/2013/03/13/us-e-commerce-grow-13-2013
Tabeling, J. (2013, October 4). 5 Ways to Unlock the Value of the AdWords Dimensions Tab. Search Engine Watch. Retrieved November 19, 2013, from http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2298629/5-Ways-to-Unlock-the-Value-of-the-AdWords-Dimensions-Tab

Facebook & Google Ad Platforms


I wanted to take a closer examination at two online advertising platforms, Facebook Ads and Google Adwords. Both have the ability to create data driven advertising campaigns that will bring increased traffic to your site and allow you to monitor their effectiveness for future decision-making. We will examine the advantages and disadvantages of both platforms, which will hopefully help you, understand which one is right for your purposes.
Facebook Ads
            In September 2013, Facebook averaged approximately 727 million daily users and claims a monthly user total around 824 million (Facebook, n.d.). This clearly makes it a lucrative advertising platform, as long as you have clear goals and objectives. I’d like you to take a look at this video for some background information and then I will dive into the advantages and disadvantages of this advertising model.
One of the immediate advantages that should be noted is the relative ease in creating a Facebook ad. As you can see in the YouTube video, it requires only a few selections and then allows you to have an ad that is ready to go live. This is a tremendous benefit in terms of timesaving, as well as making the platform more accessible to web advertising novices.
Targeted Segmentation
            The second advantage that was immediately apparent in the YouTube video was the ability to target incredibly specific demographics for the ad. This is an incredible advantage to reaching Facebook’s 824 million monthly users and possibly the largest advantage over Google Adwords. While Google has social elements, Facebook is still better suited for segmenting data as its users are readily offering up information that makes hyper-segmentation incredibly efficient. As the user continues to segment the ad, the right side of the screen gives an approximate reach metric to ensure that it is targeting the correct number for the campaign. This is a helpful tool and assists in making your ad as broad or specific as you would like.
            Once the segmentation process is done, Facebook Ads allows you to set your budget and bid size before confirming the ad. With increased scrutiny coming to social media in terms of ROI, this is an important aspect to setting up the Facebook ad. You can set the daily expenditure limit, how long you would like the ad to run for (or indefinitely) , and the bid for what you are willing to pay for performance (also allowing a choice of pay per impression or click). This allows the advertiser to be as conservative or aggressive as they would like depending upon the resources available to them and their guidance.
            Advertising on Facebook does not come without its drawbacks and it is imperative that advertisers understand them before allocating resources to this platform.
            Limited to Facebook
            While it may be an obvious one, it is still relevant: Facebook advertising is limited to just Facebook. While it boasts over 800 million users, it may not be correct for every campaign. Just recently, during an earnings call, Facebook was forced to again admit that usage from teens is waning which caused losses to Facebook stock (Pepitone, 2013). With increased pressure from other platforms (e.g. Twitter and Tumblr), Facebook advertising may not be the way to best reach your target demographic.
            While the simplicity may be an asset to some, the bland approach to advertising on Facebook leaves a high likelihood that targets will not receive the message. Although Facebook has the ability to achieve 297 billion ad impressions in a quarter, their click through rate is an embarrassingly low 0.04% (compared to Google at 8.00%)(P.I. Reed School of Journalism, 2013). The ability to easily ignore these ads is only compounded by two other issues: Mobile devices and Ad Blockers. More Facebook users are accessing the platform via mobile, which is still a challenge for the advertising community. While 49% of revenue this past quarter has come from mobile ads, Facebook has tempered future expectations for increasing ad placement (Goel, 2013). Ad block software, such as AdBlock Plus, has now been updated to not only block sidebar ads but also the new ads that are placed directly into the newsfeed (McHugh, 2013). This provides yet another simple way for users to ignore ads.
            Secondary Reason
            Finally, the primary reason of users to be on Facebook is social interaction and personal reasons. No matter how targeted the ads get or what the quality looks like, they will always be a secondary factor in the Facebook experience. It will be incredibly hard for any ad not to be seen as intrusive, which is why brand interaction should be taking place on the user’s terms and not the advertisers. At this point Facebook has resorted to brute force with its advertising to make users notice (Bercovici, 2013).
Google Adwords
            Adwords is one of the primary reasons for Google’s success. Granted it could not function without a high performing search engine, but it was the way in which Google figured out how to monetize search (P.I. Reed School of Journalism, 2013). Here is an informative, brief video about Google Adwords.
            Google is currently averaging almost 5 billion searches per day, so approximately 150 billion searches in a given month (Statistics Brain, 2013). There are many chances for impressions that will occur and the more targeted your keywords are the better chance to receive attention. As was previously stated, Google sponsored ads have about an 8% click through rate which is showcasing how relevant they can be (P.I. Reed School of Journalism, 2013). As opposed to Facebook, the users conducting those 5 billion searches per day are coming specifically to find something. Their primary purpose is to interact with content and potentially ads.
            Another tremendous aspect of utilizing Google Adwords is the fluid nature in which a campaign can be run. Due to the quick feedback provided by Google Analytics, changes to the campaign can happen on the fly. These can include geo-targeting, keyword changes, budgeting, and others. This is a great way to ensure that resources are not being wasted and that the campaign is using the most effective information at hand to increase ROI.
            Competition from competing search methods is always a concern for advertisers utilizing Google. While Google has a commanding 66.9% market share of search as of September, it does show that other sites remain competitive (Search Engine Land, 2013).
            Your Site
            Having your Google Adwords strategy is not the only component that is crucial within a search engine advertising strategy. Google will also analyze the content of your website and assign it a quality score. If the site and ad are not delivering on the same “promise” then your campaign may not generate the success expected. It is crucial to remember that you should not try to “game the system”, but rather try to focus your advertising campaign efficiently to your goals.
            Overall, these are both excellent advertising strategies that can benefit a business. It is important to understand your company’s goals and structure a plan using one or an integrated combination of both platforms to achieve success. Ultimately, I believe that Google offers the more comprehensive, proven platform for advertising. While Facebook has a wealth of personal information, it is still largely unproven in regards to its effectiveness and ROI.
  • Do you have any particular allegiance to one of these platforms? Why?
  • How would you suggest structuring an online advertising campaign with these platforms?

Bercovici, J. (2013). Facebook Is Revolutionizing Advertising. So Why Are Facebook Ads Still So Lame?. Forbes.Com, 8.
Facebook. (n.d.). Key Facts. Facebook. Retrieved November 10, 2013, from http://newsroom.fb.com/Key-Facts
Goel, V. (2013, October 30). Mobile Ads Fuel a Jump in Facebook Profit. NY Times. Retrieved November 10, 2013, from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/31/technology/rising-mobile-ad-sales-propel-facebook-profit.html?_r=0
McHugh, M. (2013, October 22). New extension blocks annoying Facebook-created ads … but we have some concerns. Digital Trends. Retrieved November 10, 2013, from http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/new-extension-blocks-annoying-facebook-created-ads-but-we-have-some-concerns/
Pepitone, J. (2013, October 30). Facebook soars after solidly beating Wall Street forecasts. CNNMoney. Retrieved November 10, 2013, from http://money.cnn.com/2013/10/30/technology/social/facebook-earnings/
P.I. Reed School of Journalism, WVU. (2013). IMC 642 Lesson 3: Social Media Analytics & Advertising Channels. Retrieved November 8, 2013.
Search Engine Land. (2013, October 14). Get Our News, Everywhere!. Search Engine Land. Retrieved November 10, 2013, from http://searchengineland.com/library/stats/stats-popularity
Statistics Brain. (2013, June 18). Google Annual Search Statistics. Statistic Brain RSS. Retrieved November 10, 2013, from http://www.statisticbrain.com/google-searches/

Tab Crazy


NOT this Tab!

With all the truly amazing web developments that have happened in a relatively short amount of time, it is simple to overlook how some of the minor things have impacted user behavior and the measurement of it. In this specific instance I am referring to the advent of tabbed browsing online.
            While tabbed browsing can actually be traced all the way back to 1994 with Booklink Inc.’s InternetWorks browsers, it was not truly popularized until Opera and Mozilla added it in the early 2000’s (Orgera, n.d.). Upon the addition of tabbed browsing it not only changed the way that certain web metrics would be viewed, but also the way that users consumer content and make decisions on the web.
            For a little background, let’s take a look at the differences in how time on page and site are measured between tabbed and non-tabbed browsing.
            For non-tabbed browsing, we are dealing with sessions that follow a more linear path than tabbed browsing. In this case a time stamp will be created in the log file as the user begins the session on their first page within the site. As the user then clicks the next link (hopefully) on your site, another log is created for that page and also subtracts the time on the original page to get the time spent on page metric. This will continue on until the user either goes to a new site or closes the browser. The only universal flaw for both non-tabbed and tabbed browsing time on page metrics is that there is really no way to calculate for the last page visited on the site (Kaushik, 2010).
            The metrics for calculating tabbed browsing are only slightly more complex. Some, very rare, analytics tools will create two sessions and calculate them as if they were non-tabbed browsing scenarios. The more common approach now involves collecting all page requests and normalizing the session. This is essentially a process of blending all pages into a linear, chronological order and calculating the time like a non-tabbed experience (Kaushik, 2010). While this takes care of the straightforward metric portion, what are the larger implications to tabbed browsing?
Implications of Tabbed Browsing
            By now tools like Google Analytics and others have, as was just explained, have figure out how to handle the straightforward portion of tabbed browsing. There is no technical impact regarding time on site or time on page as far as tabbed browsing is concerned (Hamel, 2011). What about other metric variables and behavioral variables? The following are a few examples of the intricacies created by tabbed browsing:
·      Cookies: While multiple tabs opened for the same site are all logged under one unique visitor, the visitor is now having multiple site experiences, which may vary in terms of quality.
·      Pathing: Some browsing behaviors may be thrown off and seem illogical due to the fat that the visitor can exist in multiple places at the same time while browsing the site in multiple tabs.
·      Time on site: The true meaning of time on site becomes even more muddied as the visitor can be glancing back and forth between tabs and interacting with them differently. While this has always been possible with multiple windows, the behavior is more prevalent with tabs and reduces the credibility of this metric
(Burby, 2006)
            Finally, there is the matter of the behavioral changes caused by tabbed browsing. Visitors are adopting a new way of interacting with content and it is much less predictable than before from an analytics perspective. Browsing is much simpler so there may be less time to affect a visitor or their focused may be diminished as a result of multiple focal points (Burby, 2006)
There is clearly an opportunity to develop stronger, integrated methods of understanding how this behavior has changed, how to analyze it, and how to leverage it. The potential for erratic visit sessions is still developing and has now emerged with greater prevalence on mobile browsers as well. It would be interesting to see more primary research conducted on true behavioral changes in regards to browsing with tabs, so that the information can be combined with analytics to develop a better strategy for this still emerging style of browsing the web.


How do you interact with tabs? How many are open on your browser right now?
Burby, J. (2009, August 29). Web Analytics: The Results of Tabbed Browsing. ClickZ. Retrieved November 4, 2013, from http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/1717004/web-analytics-the-results-tabbed-browsing
Hamel, S. (2011, November 30). The effect of tabs on the time on page metric. Cardinal Path. Retrieved November 4, 2013, from http://www.cardinalpath.com/tabs-impact-time-on-page-metric/
Kaushik, A. (2010). Web analytics 2.0: the art of online accountability & science of customer centricity. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley.
Orgera, S. (n.d.). Top Web Browser Innovations of the Decade. About.com Web Browsers. Retrieved November 4, 2013, from http://browsers.about.com/od/allaboutwebbrowsers/a/browser-innovations-tabbed-browsing.htm



The Critical Few

With web metrics continuing to progress from beyond the time where visits and “hits” ruled the vernacular, it is now becoming mandatory to have a clear definition for analyzing site performance. By setting clear expectations for site performance (or campaigns) it will allow you to select “The Critical Few” metrics to analyze the situation.
Avinash Kaushik describes selecting the critical few in relation to the Six Sigma philosophy saying, “Focus on the critical few, not the insignificant many.” He stresses that you must begin by asking yourself a series of questions during the development phase, which should ultimately help you settle on the correct metrics to evaluate performance. A few of the most impactful are:
·      If one metric could identify that your business was going up in flames, which one would it be?
·      Have you separated the nice to know from the have to know?
·      If you had $100 to divide amongst all of your web activities, how would the distribution look? Who gets the most investment?
The purpose of all this preparation is to help identify no more than three or four critical metrics that can be used to analyze your site or campaign, but any more than that is an indication that you should go back and reassess you goals (Kaushik, 2010, p. 147-148)
Let’s take a look at a hypothetical example for an e-commerce site and identify critical metrics that could be used in analyzing performance: Perhaps a marketing director is concerned with how his site is converting customers and the length of the customer decision making process. Where could he turn to begin narrowing down this issue and identify critical metrics to create a decisive snapshot?
In this case the suggestion could be made to break the site’s conversion goals into macro and micro conversion goals, along with tracking visitor recency between the ultimate conversions. By creating a separation between types of conversion, it allows for greater accountability in the site’s metrics as well as addressing that many different actions can count as a successful conversion. Creating a critical metric for a macro and micro conversions will help decision makers know how the site is converting customers. In terms of the decision making process, conversions happen at varied rates based on consumer behavior. By having recency as one of the three critical metrics, it will allow decision makers to analyze the data and understand the time gaps that occur on the site until a conversion happens. Ideally decision makers will be able to analyze data and suggest changes to shorten conversion time while also achieving the macro goal of conversion (Kaushik, 2010).
The critical few are frequently implemented in real life by organizations looking to narrow the list of available metrics and create a more targeted analytics process. For SEM campaigns regarding direct response you may choose to focus entirely on conversion. If traffic is the most important goal, you will want to look at the bounce rate of the site (Johnson-Green, 2008). In the travel industry the critical few, as with many, have evolved beyond page views and conversion in a vacuum. Today, companies like Cheapflights.co.uk, are intently focused on pay-per-click (PPC) rates and how they increase conversions. PPC has added great value to the travel industry, almost to a fault, but it is increasing conversion. Cheapflights has been able to identify this, which is why they have become their critical few (Cockcroft, 2006).
Ultimately, the metrics most vital to your website will depend on the organization’s goals (Johnson-Greene, 2008). It places a tremendous amount of importance on the goal setting phases for any web business or campaigns. Once there is a high degree of confidence in the goals set is obtained, it should be clear what the critical few metrics are.
Cockcroft, L. (2006). Scoring a conversion. Travel Weekly: The Choice Of Travel Professionals, (1808), 36-37.
Johnson-Greene, C. (2008). Analyzing Analytics: Choosing the Right Metrics for Your SEM Campaigns. Circulation Management, 23(10), 15.
Kaushik, A. (2010). Web analytics 2.0: the art of online accountability & science of customer centricity. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley.