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: