Archives for November 2008

Facebook lost my Email Notification settings

I got an email this morning from Facebook that they have lost my email notification settings. I did not believe that email, I thought it was a phishing email. I checked the url in the email and it seemed valid but for some reason I still could not believe it. “How can Facebook lose my email notifications? Not possible” I thought.

I logged into Facebook and found the same message on the home page. So, the email was legit and Facebook had indeed lost my email preferences.

It is very concerning to me. How can a company like Facebook lose data? Millions of people put a lot of data on Facebook and how can Facebook not keep proper safeguard to make sure data does not get lost and proper backups to restore the data. It is not clear if a programming error or human error cleared all the data or did somebody break into the database/file system and cleared it out. I am not sure if it was just me or others got affected as well?

Did you receive similar message from Facebook?

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Technical Consultant for Internet Marketing and Web Analytics at Unica (Waltham, MA)

Motrin Ad Controversy – Who Gained from it?

Last week there was a lot of uproar in the social media space about a Motrin Ad that caused Motrin to pull the ad within 2 days of launching it and post an apology on their site. Judging by this and the negative press it got, it seemed like a failure. However, in my last post I outlined few key measures to see if the ad was a success or a failure.

As I expected, Motrin site saw a huge increase in traffic on its site. According to Compete Pro Motrin’s site saw a 10X increase in its Daily Reach on the Web, jumping from .002% to .02% in one day. That is a huge. An ad without a controversy would have not generated that kind of traffic. Motrin should send a big thank you and some motrins to #motrinmoms , a twitter group that started this whole controversy.

Source: Compete Pro

Note: 15th evening is when the ad went live and by 17th evening they pulled the ad and posted an apology.

#motrinmoms, you were successful too because you got the ad pulled out and got an apology. Now go take some motrin to ease the pain caused by this ad, don’t forget to print a coupon at Motrin.

Comments? Questions?

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Technical Consultant for Internet Marketing and Web Analytics at Unica (Waltham, MA)

Was Motrin’s Baby Wearing Ad a Failure?

Last week, Johnson & Johnson’s video ad for Motrin caused a lot of uproar in the media. There were a few moms, dads and media upset with this ad and voiced their opinions on blogs, twitter and other social media. But there were also many who voiced their opinion on the social media and said they did not see any issue with the ad. It was amazing to see how the negative voice of few people carried such a huge weight (as it does most of the time) that Motrin was forced to remove the ad and post an apology on the home page of

So should we say that this ad was a failure? It sure does seem like it, doesn’t it?
However, in my opinion, there are several ways to look at it. Let’s look at various KPIs and see if the Motrin ad was a success or failure.

  1. Number of Video Views – I think this was huge, way more than Motrin or their agency ever imagined. If Motrin calculates the percentage increase in actual v/s anticipated video views of this Ad then I am pretty sure they will find it that this ad was a huge success. (Related Post, Video Analytics)
  2. Buzz created – Huge. A lot of buzz was created. The blogosphere, Twitter, Social Media, TV, Newspapers – everybody was talking about it. Honestly, I never even considered Motrin when I was looking for pain killers, but now I know it is another option made by Johnson and Johnson. Also, some people have told me why Motrin might be better than the other pain killers I have been taking.
  3. Buzz Sentiment – Yes, there was a lot of negative press about this ad that forced the ad out (there were a lot of positive sentiments as well) . I am not sure if opinions about an ad from Motrin would really impact Motrin’s brand image that much. A lot of people I talked to did not view this ad negatively, but also did not voice their opinion in any social media so their sentiments were not taken into account. Yes, all sentiment measures will show an issue, but is there really an issue with the product or was the issue just with an ad? If you just look at the buzz sentiment in isolation then this ad appears as a failure.
  4. Brand Awareness – A lot of people, like me, who never even considered the Motrin brand before, became aware of it. I think this is a huge positive.
  5. Change in visits to the site from pre-video launch– I am sure it was a great success. I am sure a lot of people went to the site to see what all the fuss was about and to read the apology by Motrin. The apology got the blogosphere and social media world buzzing again driving even more traffic to Motrin’s site.
  6. Change in Motrin Sales – This will really tell us if the ad and this backlash had any negative (or positive) impact in Motrin or not. As I asked above, was the backlash against Motrin, or just against the ad? If it was the ad then they apologized and took the ad away. The product “Motrin” did not have any negatives attached to it. As mentioned above, a lot of people might have to gone to the site. If you look on Motrin’s site there is a link on the top called “Special Offers”. You click on that link and get a coupon with the option to forward the page to a friend. I am sure that this increase in traffic would have resulted in an increase in coupons being printed and forwarded to a friend. This in return will possibly drive more sales. This seems like a success for Motrin.

In the future when Motrin comes up with a new ad they’re automatically going to get some additional coverage. I think that also makes the Baby Wearing ad a success. Free publicity; what more can you ask for?

So what do you think was it a success or a failure?

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Technical Consultant for Internet Marketing and Web Analytics at Unica (Waltham, MA)<

Market and Optimize Responsibly

We, the people in the business of marketing and optimization, know (I hope) that certain images, text, ad copy etc. work better than others in driving user to convert on our sites. We continuously test (A/B and Mult-variate) to see what works and what does not work for our visitors/customer on our sites and then optimize our sites/banners/emails etc. accordingly. In order to make users click we test headlines, text, testimonials etc. making certain claims about our services, and products in those headlines, ad copies, emails etc.

In making those claims we need to think responsibly. We need to make sure that we do not go over broad and make false claims, promises or exaggerate the results. Yes, those claims might give you higher click through rates and higher conversions but there is one more KPI that you need to keep in mind i.e. the KPI that measures responsibility (both ethical and legal). We need to all think ethically and legally about all the claims we make. Think about how we will feel if another company made such claims and we fall for it, will we feel cheated or not? Think about the potential of lawsuits. is being sued for allegedly making false claims in their email. According to Media Post

“The plaintiff, Anthony Michaels of San Diego county, alleges that he signed up for a free membership to the site last Christmas Eve, but then upgraded to a paid one after receiving e-mail ads stating that other schoolmates were trying to contact him. Those statements turned out to be false, according to the lawsuit.
Michaels’ lawyer, Brian Kabateck, said his client had no way of verifying whether his former schoolmates were actually seeking to contact him on the site, short of signing up for a one-year membership.
“The e-mail said: ‘So and so’s trying to find you, and in order to hook up with him you have to join and become a gold member,'”

Media Post further reports that also faces a lawsuit by members complaining about the site’s marketing efforts. In that case, filed in federal district court in San Francisco, the members allege that sent e-mails that appeared to have come from specific friends, but were actually sent by the site.

We might (or might now) find out if the claims by classmates were false or not. Either way this lawsuit provides a great lesson for the marketers – Market and Optimize Responsibly.

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Technical Consultant for Internet Marketing and Web Analytics at Unica (Waltham, MA)

Google Analytics: Creating Advanced Segments and an Issue

Last month Google Analytics released Advanced Segmentation functionality. I am very impressed with it so far, however this functionality is still in beta, which means it could potentially have some issues. In this post I will show you how to create an advanced segment and one issue that I found with it.

Business Problem: I want to see all the data for visits that originate from Google.

Solution: Create an Advanced Segment that will have all the visits that has the source as google.

Let’s see how to create such a segment. (Not this is a very simple segment but the same steps can be used to create more complex segments).

Creating an “Advanced Segment”

  1. Click on the “Advanced Segments” link on the left navigation bar under the “Settings” section.

  2. In the next screen you will see all the “Advanced Segments”. In this screen you manage all the advanced segments. Google Analytics has predefined some of the segments and they are grouped under “Default Segments”. The segments that you create will be listed under “Custom Segments”. To create a new segment, click on the “Create new custom segment” link on the top right hand corner.

  3. The next screen is where you create the segment. The segments can be created by using one or more dimensions and metrics. On the left hand side you have 2 sections “Dimensions” and “Metrics”. I chose a dimension of “Source” listed under “Traffic Source” as I wanted to see all the visits which originated from Google (i.e. the source was Google). I chose “contains” as the condition as I wanted to get all the visits that originated from anything that contained Google in the source. Finally I entered the word “google” in the value.

  4. Click on “Test Segment” button to do a sanity check and see if the segment size is as expected. Once you are satisfied with the segment, give it a name in “New Segment” filed and click “Save Segment” to Save the segment.

  5. Once you the save the segment you will be taken back to “Mange Segments” where your new segment will appear. See below, a new segment called “Google Visits” show up. The new segment is now ready to be applied to various reports.

So far so good. However, I found one potential issue with the data.

The Issue

I applied this segment to one of the pages in my Content Report (see below) and chose the date as Nov 3rd.

As you can see my “Google Visit” segment is reporting 328 pageviews while my “All Segments” is reporting only 175 pageviews. That does not seem right. Similarly Unique Views is 112 for “All Visits” while 201 for “Google Visits”. As you can also see from the graph, “Google Visits” are higher than “All Visits” on several dates not just November 3rd. Has anyone else seen something similar? Am I not reading these reports correctly?

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Technical Consultant for Internet Marketing and Web Analytics, Unica Corporation (Waltham, Massachusetts)

Technical Consultant for Internet Marketing and Web Analytics, Unica Corporation (Waltham, Massachusetts)
Unica Corporation is looking for an experienced Professional Services Consultant to install, configure, optimize and provide web marketing consulting services relative to our NetInsight Web analytics solutions on-site at our customers’ facilities.

To be a successful Professional Services Consultant you must be a self-starter, capable of working with minimal guidance in a diverse set of environments. You must be a quick learner with strong analytical skills accompanied by a strong desire to learn new tools and techniques. You must be capable of communicating with both technical and non-technical audiences (administrators and end-users of our software), as well as with our internal sales representatives. The ability to build rapport and develop effective working relationships with clients is essential.

This position requires extensive travel and is based in our Waltham, Massachusetts headquarters.


• Install, configure and optimize our NetInsight Web analytics solution on-site at our customers’ facilities
• Collaborate with customers and internal representatives to determine the scope of the professional services projects
• Document internal and customer deliverables in statements of work
• Advise customers on best practices and deliver supporting documentation
• Provide training to both technical and business users of our software
• Specify hardware/software configurations based on customer requirements/environment


• 3+ years of enterprise software consulting and implementation experience
• An extensive knowledge of relational databases, specifically: Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and DB2 databases
• A comprehensive knowledge of web servers, specifically: Apache, Microsoft IIS and iPlanet
• An extensive knowledge of major software platforms: specifically all flavors of Windows and UNIX
• A comprehensive knowledge of SQL querying for multiple databases
• A basic knowledge/exposure to business intelligence tools, specifically: Business Objects, Cognos and MicroStrategy a plus
• Functional experience in at least 3 scripting languages: Perl, Bash and VBScript preferred.
• A solid understanding of systems administration and network management
• A solid understanding of Microsoft Active Directory/LDAP/Web Server connectivity/security
• Outstanding problem solving, troubleshooting skills
• Experience in the Web analytics and/or business intelligence a plus
• Experience with Internet Marketing is a plus
• Strong organizational and time management skills
• Excellent written and oral communication skills
• Tenacity, persistence, and a winning attitude
• Bachelors degree preferred
• Outstanding PC skills (Excel, Access, Word, etc.) required

This position requires approximately 75% travel and is based in our Waltham, Massachusetts headquarters.
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Should You be Freaking Out about your Analytics? Tracking the Spikes and Dips.

This Blog Post is written by Aaron Lovelace. Aaron is an Analytics and Optimization Analyst on my team and he will be guest blogging on this blog.
One of the challenges in web analytics is knowing whether a spike or dip in web metrics is something to be worried about. One common way that we deal with knowing whether to ‘freak out’ or not is to conduct a historical baseline analysis. Now, if you are a WebTrends customer, there is an easier and less time consuming way. But first, let me explain how we normally go about it so that you can fully appreciate the new development.

For any given site, our team typically maps out historical trends and create a set of standard metrics to measure against. We call this process a “baseline analysis.” These baseline metrics can then be used to determine whether what we are seeing in our analytics is normal or not.

If you do this type of baseline analysis on your site and you notice that your metrics are abnormally good, you can turn whatever caused the spike into a best practice. If your metrics are unusually bad, try to avoid whatever caused the problem in the future. Easy enough, right? Well, sort of.

It is easy to see that conducting this type of research is a necessity if you are serious about success, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a time consuming and laborious process. If you hire a consultant to do a baseline analysis for you, it could get expensive.

So here is the good news— there is a now faster and more accurate way to track spikes and dips in WebTrends… and to know if you should freak out about them.

WebTrends recently announced a new service (through a partnership with Technology Leaders) called “Dynamic Alert.” Among other things, Dynamic Alert allows you to track spikes and dips that deviate from your website’s historical norms automatically.

It should be noted that SiteCatalyst has a feature called simply “Alerts” which allows you to be notified if your metrics exceed a pre-set metric that you specify. With Alerts, you still need to do a manual baseline analysis to figure out which number(s) to enter in the Alerts configuration.

This is what is so great about the new WebTrends tool—you don’t need to pick a number, it just does it for you by automatically analyzing your historical data. One feature I would like to see, however, is the ability to integrate with other analytics tools beyond WebTrends.

Keep an eye out for more information from WebTrends and Technology Leaders about this useful new tool. Although Dynamic Alerts was developed by a partner, if you sign-up through WebTrends, your bill for this service will just be added to your regular WebTrends bill.

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Technical Consultant for Internet Marketing and Web Analyticsat Unica (Waltham, MA)