June 2008

11 Jun 2008 12:40 am

the bestThe original title of this post was going to be. . . .

Contest Winners: We Are All Made Of Stars.

I love that song (am a Moby fan) and it was the first thing that came to my mind as I went through all the comments for our fun contest last week to pick the best web analytics report to take on a desert island, where you are stranded with Brad Pitt (or Angelina Jolie!).

The song goes: People they come together, No one can stop us now, 'Cause we are all made of stars.

So true! We, web analysts, are all made of stars!! That's what you made me believe. :)

I was that impressed with the quality of the comments and suggestions, they came from all over the world (I saw Germany, India, Spain and others) and they came from every tool (WebTrends, Omniture, CoreMetrics, ClickTracks, Google Analytics).

Thank you.

It is rare for me write a "non-teaching" post, but I simply could not resist. We deserve to celebrate your hard work!

There were so many great comments and though I had promised one prize, I am going to pick a few winners (that's what happens when you have such great quality).

The Absolute Grand Prize Winner:

(drum roll….)

golden nest eggEmily Fazio!!

Her report was "sources by state, compared to last month".

Three things stood out for me.

    1) The extreme clarity and focus on what she was solving for (and keeping it local)

    2) picking the compare to last month option (shamefully even I did not remember to choose this important option and I wish I had!) and

    3) focusing on goals

And as she so bravely pointed out herself (!!) in a follow up comment: "Footnote! What is important to my report, is that I had a specific question in mind and tailored my report to get the best actionable data." Gotta love that!

Well played Emily. You get a signed copy of Web Analytics: An Hour A Day (and since I am awarding more than one prize, you also get a t-shirt and a couple other things I'll try to snag!).

The "Oh I Also Loved That One" Prize Winners:

(in random order….)


Peter Pletsch (from Germany)

Pere Rovia (from Spain)

    His report was: "Segmented Site Overlay report".

    medal three Pere's comment was the most thoughtful analysis of why he picked his report, for picking a report I absolutely love (site overlay), for considering the communication angle and (!) for not forgetting the segmentation angle which is quite valuable.

    Now the truth is that Pere is one of the top analysts in the world so this is not surprising. :)

Finally. . . .


    medal fourHis report was: "Google Analytics Campaigns by Goal report"

    Pearce gets a prize not for his report, though it was a good one :), but rather for worrying about survival and wanting a report that would providing maximum value for starting fires to stay warm on a desert island! Context baby, context!

Each "Oh I Also Loved That One" prize winner gets a signed copy of Web Analytics: An Hour A Day. Congratulations.

From the bottom of my heart I would like to thank everyone for playing along and making it so much fun for me. It was hard for me to pick winners.

I hope you all got a little wiser, I did.

Won't you please join me in congratulating Emily, Phil, Pere and Peter and Pearce?

Also who was your favorite? Would you have picked a different winner/'s? Please share your thoughts.

Oh before we go, want to play more? This time for serious props? Check out The Web Analytics Championship that being run on behalf of the WAA by my good friend Daniel Waisberg. Play and win big!

Couple other related posts you might find interesting:

03 Jun 2008 10:59 am

one"You are stranded on a deserted island in the middle of the ocean. You can only pick one web analytics report to take with you on this deserted island.

Which report would you take?"

There are so many things wrong with the above scenario!

While not quite framed that badly, I do get asked a question like that quite a lot. And it poses the same challenging thoughts as in the above scenario.

Just one? Why only one? And how did I get on the island? What website am I looking at? What kind of website? Is there a computer on the island to get fresh data? Is there fresh water? :)

All tough questions to answer. With so much choice it is hard to pick one, and if you don't get paralyzed then it can reveal a lot about you.

After having thought about it for a little while (ok for just a few minutes), regardless of the website and its purpose, I would pick this web analytics report as my golden choice…

Outcomes By All Traffic Sources:

greatest web analytics report on earth

I am sure you gasped!

Perhaps you're thinking: "of all the wonderful and vast number of metrics and dimensions this is the best he could come up with?"

Are you disappointed? [Is anyone out there absolutely struck by the astounding brilliance of my choice? No? Yes?]

Let me explain.

You are right, there is a veritable ocean full of metrics in our web analytics tools, be it Omniture or CoreMetrics or WebTrends or Google Analytics or ClickTracks or whatever else catches your fancy. But the report represents two things I care more than anything else:

1) Sources of traffic, and hence just a hint of customer intent.

I have come to believe if I have sources of traffic then it can give me lots of information (not all, just lots) about what kind of people I might be attracting by where they are coming from, I might also get other delightful clues.

bffFor example I am sure you all know that I am a big fan of direct traffic. If you tag your campaigns correctly (and come on who does not do something so basic!), then direct traffic represents free traffic because it is people who come through bookmarks, typing in your url or other such activities.

It is also traffic that is familiar with you (hence they visit directly) and so it also typically represents returning visitors (good for business). In the above case I was happy that direct is so big (and notice it converts higher!), but if I was a business I would probably want a even higher number!

Then I know that stumbleupon and Wikipedia and del.icio.us represents, for me, brand new visitors who might be topically interested in recent stories (in your case, probably recent promotions or product launched or a interesting seasonal effect).

Finally the dominance of google is clear in this case and for me it is a good thing because it means I have done a good job of search engine optimization (SEO) and that is translating into a steady stream of new traffic that gets introduced to the blog. I was delighted that there is so much traffic from images.google, a validation of the time and effort I put into tagging each image with relevant descriptions etc.

Net net, I know a lot about who is coming and by that I know if my core acquisition strategy is working, if I am getting the right kinds of people on the site, and which sites are my BFF's!

traffic sources and website outcomes report

2) Outcomes, so I have a site, big deal, what's the impact of the site on me / my business / the world.

I find that most website owners / analysts do a very poor job of measuring outcomes, or even understanding it optimally. This is one of the core reasons many senior executives in companies don't take web analytics seriously, we the providers of data / analysis stuff our reports with Visits and Visitors and Time on Site and Bounce Rate and Referrers and Top Exit Pages and . . . . . . but nothing about explaining outcomes.

I am a big fan of outcomes. "Show me the money!"

I am a fan because if you measure outcomes accurately you will find multiple outcomesthat your senior executives suddenly care about your web analytics reports, they will ask you good questions, they will seek you out rather than your knocking on doors that never open.

Of course I like measuring outcomes because to shows the value of the website and its ability to add to the bottom line. And I don't just mean measuring overall Website Conversion Rate. That is a start.

I like measuring Macro Conversions and Micro Conversions. Truly understanding why a website exists and then measuring all the ways in which it adds value.

In the first screen shot above you'll see I have two goals listed (I actually have three). So I am measuring all of things that add value to me. I have also highlighted in pink the goal that I care the most about. Do that for your business and you'll be kosher.

Now looking at the intersection of the Goals and Traffic Sources helps me understand what sources are truly valuable to me. It helps me separate my real BFF's from the pretend ones! :) For me that is analytics.blogspot.com and Wikipedia and direct!

With absolutely no other data I know the kind of websites I want to have more relationships with, invest in getting relevant traffic, get more bang for my limited acquisition budget etc.

That's it. Here's a helpful visual of my view:

critical web analytics priorities

Surprised I don't want anything about the site? Leaving it to "magic"? :)

It is a matter of prioritization. In the worst case scenario if I am a good website owner / marketer / analyst then I would bother enough to get to know it really well. In that case I can take a stab at understanding what magic is happening that is cause the various traffic streams to do so well, or poorly.

It's not perfect but I can get by (especially if I can dissect outcomes closely).

Important Update: By "web analytics" I meant clickstream, you know Omniture, Indextools, Google Analytics, Statcounter etc. Not web analytics 2.0. So no surveys or competitive intelligence or website optimizer etc. This is to make the challenge even more fun. :) I am on the record saying that if I could only have one report I would take the 4Q greatest survey questions ever report! :)

Ok its your turn now.

Imagine you are stranded on a deserted island and you got lucky, its just you and Brad Pitt (or if you prefer, Angelina Jolie!). You can only have one web analytics report. Which report would you most want to have? Just one. No drill downs. No excuses. Just one single report.

Won't you please play along and share your perspectives with us? What would you choose? Why?

I'll send the person with the best answer (I decide) a signed copy of Web Analytics: An Hour A Day! [Check out this post for the winners of this contest!]

Thanks so much.

In case you really are stranded here's a helpful article: How to Live on a Deserted Island.]

[PPS: Completely off topic:
I recently resigned from my position on the Board of Directors of the Web Analytics Association. Some of you have inquired why. It is based on the number of things I have on my plate and where I can add the most amount of value. I have cherished my time on the WAA board, it is a wonderful industry organization that is in the midst of rapid evolution to keep pace with the ecosystem. I was thrilled to be a small part of it and I am confident that the fantastic slate of new Directors will help accelerate that process even more. I was and remain an active supporter and participant.]