Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New blog - switch your RSS feed

www.napkyn.com/blog is the location of our new and improved blog!

If you're following along using RSS, http://feeds.feedburner.com/backofthenapkyn is our new feed.

While there, check out our new website beta and send us your feedback!

Some great new content has already been posted on our new web analysis blog.

See you on the other side!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Uncover your most valuable page to yield great insights

It's an important question. It's a big question. And if you can't answer it, you're in some serious trouble.

What's your most valuable web page (MVP)?

Don't just say 'my home page' because it may not be true. It could be deeper in your site than that. The answer could even change every month.

First of all, you have to know the goal of your site and your traffic breakdown. Look at absolute revenue and conversions - where are they all coming from? (Hint: Look at e-commerce and goal-completion tabs.) Identifying your MVP will allow you to observe the behavior of your customers, and also to have a great impact on revenue or conversion once you've identified opportunities for optimization.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

[Video] Devices are tracking and optimizing our lives

For internet-oriented people, it's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture of how data and electronics are changing our world. I mean that in both the personal sense and the literal sense - how we design everything, from cars to the streets they're driven on, are now based on thoroughly collected and analyzed data.

Of course, we know that websites track how we use them, but as this IBM video points out, our clocks and cars can be networked and tracked and optimized to make our lives more efficient

Check out the video...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Forget web analytics – being a web analyst is hard

I have been stewing all week over a great blog post I read by Evan LaPointe, a digital marketer out of Atlanta. The post was entitled “I don’t want an analytics job”, and it seems to carry over the same feelings and themes of an earlier post he wrote called “Web Analytics Sucks, and it’s nobody’s fault.”

These posts both excited and annoyed me at the same time.

On one hand, it was almost liberating to read that someone is living in the same trenches that we are at Napkyn. A lot of the points of frustration that Evan talks about – like navigating both internal politics and sub-par data as well as having the role of web analyst considered a low-level technical job rather than a high level executive job – hearing someone else say this stuff will make any analyst grin and buy in. It’s like reading a good Dilbert cartoon and thinking “Hey, that is SO where I work!” - it’s cathartic, but not productive.

Hence my annoyance. Evan touches on all the challenges with being an analyst, and outlines all the skills (data analysis) and opinions (Always Be Testing) that good analysts bring to the table. But his conclusion is that good web analysts don’t actually want to be web analysts, they just represent the next generation of executives-in-waiting – web analysis is beneath them. He says that web analytics actually want to be the ‘shepherds’ of a business, who use data to help guide the organization to ongoing successes. There’s already a job title for that – it’s a CIO.

So while I totally agree with the sentiments, I thought I would share my thoughts on what the real issue is.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

One great idea for catalog businesses going online

We're in the thick of working on our monthly digital analysis reports here at Napykn. At this point, we're bringing together ideas developed from last month's reports, looking at the most recent month's data and refining our techniques based on our readings from numerous online sources.

Recently, we've been working with a few catalog-based companies who are increasingly shifting their focus into online sales. One proven segmenting technique that we've been recommending to these clients is to register alternate domain names and direct their catalog-based traffic to these domains.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Don’t let your thesaurus eat your leads

We don’t claim to be a copywriting company. We let each clients data guide the recommendations we make on their digital business and optimization strategy. That said, we fully appreciate the importance of good copy in the persuasion/conversion process, and there is no place worse for brutal copy than B2B.

Tell me what you do or you won’t get my business

I have worked exclusively on the vendor/consultant side in B2B for my entire career. After over a decade of looking at business websites, I have a pretty good idea of how to cut the wheat from the chaff to find out what a given firm does.

I look at the homepage, and if I still don’t know what they do, I click on “About Us”.  If I still don’t know what they do, I click on “Products/Solutions”. At this point I will click on “Clients” and if I see some big names, I will just call the receptionist and ask... ”What do you guys do exactly?”

I have been doing some vendor research today, and I have bumped into at least 10 websites where I don’t really know what they do.

A few quotes for context:

“...leading center of excellence for catalyzing online direct to consumer interactions.”


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Proven online talent being secured by top retailers

The role of the Digital Analyst is becoming central to the digital marketing roster in any organization with a growth strategy today. This statement holds true for any and all sorts of companies of all sizes and shapes, but is particularly salient for B2C transactional businesses - eCommerce shops in particular.

Ad-hoc reporting is no longer considered satisfactory. To truly understand the impact of all of the pressure being applied digitally (Traffic generation, email marketing, performance marketing, etc.) businesses require holistic, standardized internal reports that speak to individual initiatives, as well as the cross-discipline impact of each initiative.

I am going to stop my self here, as the Analyst's workload and responsibilities are not the focus of this post. I wanted to talk a little bit about the status of today's rock-star hires in eCommerce circles.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How to track email campaigns in Google Analytics

One of the most common recommendations that Napkyn makes to our clients is to properly tag emails so that they can be tracked in Google Analytics. The key to actionable and insightful digital analysis is clean data that properly represents an online business - and tracking email sendouts is a pretty simple way of cleaning up your data.

How do we set up email tracking?

Unless you're lucky enough to use one of these fine email marketing services with automatic Google Analytics integration, you'll have to set up email tracking manually with a bit of coding.

First of all, let's stop thinking in terms of email tracking and start thinking 'link' or 'URL tagging'. That's the key. Your emails contain links back to your website, and if you want to monitor the impact of your email sendouts, you have to add tags to all your links. Tags are short additions to the URL that tell Google Analytics how to categorize traffic.

But not to worry, it's actually pretty simple.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why e-businesses need effective category pages

Imagine that you walked into a store and told a salesperson that you want to buy a blender. The salesperson walks into the store room, grabs one off the shelf, comes back and puts it in your hands. “You want it or not?” he says. “Not this one exactly,” you say. He walks away and returns with another blender. “What about this one?”

Any customer would grow tired of this exercise pretty quickly. Online, it’s no exception. Guiding your online customer to the right product and allowing them to browse for a moment before the sale creates a more pleasurable buying experience and will increase conversion rates.

Occasionally, because of various responsibilities, both clients and digital analysts can forget about this very basic premise. Buying online is a process, and walking with your customer through your online store using digital analysis can be a revealing exercise. With Analytics, we can walk with our customers and map the most common paths to a purchase.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Don't trust your instincts

All too often, when it comes to online businesses, we tend to simply go with our gut feeling. Will a video on the homepage increase bounce rate? What sort of discount will result in the most sales?

Most online business owners and managers just don't have the time or mental energy to perform the tasks required to determine these best practices. Well, a blog post by the Harvard Business Review has some harsh words for business owners who just shoot from the hip: There's a much better way of doing business.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sentinel pages, part deux

So let’s think about ways to apply the concept of the ‘Sentinel page’ to your business.

First, think about the biggest group of mostly irrelevant traffic you have. By this I mean a segment of visitors that either cannot or most likely will not convert, either because it is not possible or because your site will not properly speak to the visitor’s intent. For example...
  • eCommerce Business that only sells in the US: Anyone outside the US would be a ‘sentinel segment’. 
  • Irrelevent Products: Like a company that sells snowmobiles. I am guessing latin america would be a ‘sentinel segment’.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Use ‘Sentinel’ pages to separate wheat from chaff

I have never had a client call where I didn’t learn something new and interesting. As the digital analyst, we end up in an interesting intersection in a clients staff and vendor ecosystem where we get to see and talk about everything that happens online. We are monitoring the effects of detailed traffic generation initiatives, multivariate and landing page programs, advanced email campaigns...you name it.

One of our customers is an enterprise marketing software firm. Their product is designed to allow major online brands to survey their site visitors and better understand their motivation and needs. It's great stuff. However, there is a ‘powered by’ link in the surveys that leads back to their site. This generates a fairly significant number of consumer traffic to a business to business website. This means:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Notice anything different?

A lot of changes and progress have occurred at Napykn over the past few months. The biggest change? Me. I'm Ben. Happy to be on board as the new digital analyst (and blogging enthusiast). But that's not all.

We've re-vamped the blog, as you can see. And along with this spiffy new template, we're re-committing ourselves to posting new and interesting articles on a regular basis. Jim's got a great one lined up for April 1 that's going to open some eyes, and I'll also be contributing a few anecdotes during April.

The best part about our blog is that it's the result of our everyday interactions with our digital analysis clients and their data. When we notice something cool, we'll be throwing it up here for you to pick apart. Also, expect to see news and notes from around the office and the internet as a whole. 

So don't forget to subscribe to our RSS feed before you bounce, because there's a lot of good stuff coming your way.