Archives for March 2011

QR Code Analytics

QR codes have started to pop-up in lot of places such as store display, business cards, online ads, postcards etc. Whether QR codes are here to stay or not but from the measurement perspective they do present a huge opportunity in measuring advertising’s (particularly offline) effectiveness.

If you are one of those marketers who have embraced QR code or are thinking about it or just curious to know how QR code measurement works then this post is for you.

Measuring URLs in QR Codes

You won’t be able to measure the number of impressions of the QR codes if they are distributed offline. What you can measure is how much traffic those QR codes are driving to your site or to your pages on 3rd party sites like facebook page, twitter account etc.

  • Measuring QR code links to your site

    Measuring QR codes that sends user to your site is as simple as campaign tracking. Just add the campaign tracking variable to the URLs that you have in your QR Codes and treat it like any other campaign. Then you can use your campaign reports to see how much traffic QR codes are bringing and how valuable that traffic is.

    (Note: The tracking code, that you should append, depends on your Web Analytics tool.

    For Google Analytics, you need to append add at least 3 variables, Source, Medium and Campaign Name. to the URL for it to be tracked in the Google Analytics (Check out URL Shortner, http://clop.in as it’s URL builder let’s you append the variables for tracking in Google Analytics, Omniture, WebTrend and Unica NetInsights )

    Example
    Say I want to create a QR code to send people to
    http://webanalyis.blogspot.com

    Instead of simply creating a QR code to http://webanalyis.blogspot.com I appended Google Analytic campaign tracking code so my URL looks like the following http://webanalysis.blogspot.com?utm_source=qrcode&utm_medium=blog&utm_campaign=qrcodeblogpost

    Now I can use the campaign tracking in Google Analytics to see the stats on my QR code advertising.

  • Measuring QR links to offfsite URLs such as Facebook page

    Since you won’t have your own web analytics tool running on a Facebook page you can use a URL shortener like http://clop.in or http://bit.ly (or better yet get a URL Shortener for your own domain with built in analytics from http://clop.in) to shorten the destination URL and then build a QR code using the shortened URL. This way you can use the built in analytics functionality of the URL shortener.

    Example:
    Say I want to send user to my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/TheAnilBatra

    Rather than sending user to the facebook page, via my QR code, I created a short URL using http://clop.in, http://clop.in/PByJfv and then used this shortened URL to build my QR Code.

    Now I can use the analytics reporting of http://clop.in/short-url-clopin.aspx?utm_source=qrcode&utm_medium=blog&utm_campaign=qrcodeblogpost to see the stats on my QR code advertising.

Tracking Phone Numbers in QR Code

To Track phone numbers, that get dialed when someone scans a QR code, use a unique phone number that you have tracking for. If you don’t have unique phone number then you can use 3rd party services likes Marchex to get a unique phone number for each QR code that you publish.

Note: To create a QR code use a service like http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ 

Questions? Comments?


Current Open Positions

Underline the Clickable Text and Link the Pictures

Sometimes there are things that you know are not right and need to be fixed immediately rather than testing and waiting for the result. Such was a case that I recently encountered and the results were amazing.

Recently, I was working with a client who sells people expertise (I am purposely vague here because I don’t want to reveal the name of the client). The “Expert” search is the start of the process and then “Expert Search result” page is a second step in the process.

On the expert search page, each expert is listed with a small blurb and the name of the expert was linked to the next step of the “checkout process”.

When analyzing the “checkout” process we noticed that there were 2 things missing

  1. The name of Expert was not underlined – it was linked to the next step in the “checkout” funnel but not underlined. Also, that was the only call to action on that page i.e. to click on the experts name to go to the next step.
  2. The picture of the Expert was static and had no link whatsoever.

Recommendation

Usually I recommend doing A/B testing before making any changes to a page/process but I also do rely on best practices from time to time. In this case underlining the Expert’s name (“product name”) to get more information and to link the image to either next step or the enlarged version of the image with more info made total sense. I was confident that I did not need any test (I sound like a HiPPO, right?). So
So rather than waiting to conduct an A/B test we went ahead and made those changes.
(of couse a clear to call to action link or button might have worked too but that was not an option)

Result

  • Exits from that page dropped from 38% to 33%
  • Funnel conversion rate went up from 40% to 47% (Though 40% conversion was amazing considering there was no highly visible way to get to the next step of the process).

I am sure if you look at your own site you will find plenty of such opportunities for improvement.
Thoughts? Comments?

Context is Critical: Creating a Culture of Web Analytics

Continuing my series on Creating a Culture of Analytics I would like to touch on a very critical aspect of creating a culture of Web Analytics and that is Context.

What is Context

According to Princeton.edu context is

  • Discourse that surrounds a language unit and helps to determine its interpretation
  • the set of facts or circumstances that surround a situation or event

Context takes the ambiguity out of the equation. As an Analyst it is very important that you provide full context when reporting your web analytics data. Context gets everybody on the same page. Do not leave anything for interpretation by the end users of your reports, give them the insights in a simple and easy to understand format.

Let’s look at an example to understand critical context is.

60 Degrees

If I say it is going to be 60 degrees tomorrow. What will be you reaction?
If you are in Minnesota – You will yell “Summer”
If you are in Seattle, you will think – ““Spring”
If you are in Florida, you will say “ Damn… Cold”
If you are in India, you will say “WTF….” (Indians measures temperature in Celsius and 60 degrees Celsius is 140 F)

Some other question that might pop in people’s mind are:

  • What is the temperature today?
  • Is it normal to have 60 degrees this time of the year

Without context 60 degrees does not mean much. Right.
Similarly when you report your numbers and tell report on visits, page views, time on site etc. it does not mean much unless you provide the full context.

Web Analytics & Context

Just saying that Visits are down by 10% from last week is not enough. You have to put that 10% decline in full context. Tell your end users what happened and why they should or should not worry.

So add something like : Visits are down 10% from last week and also 10% lower compared to the same time last year. Prior to this week we saw a 10% year over year growth but last week was abnormally down. Isn’t that betting better now?

You should go even further: Last year we got some free advertising from local newspaper sites that drove 20% additional traffic same time last year. Since we did not have the advertising deal this year, it impacted our visits this year. We noted the potential impact of newspaper site advertising in our last year’s annual recap (here is the link to last year report – people forget so remind them). If we take out the impact of spike from newspaper sites then we have a consistent pattern of 10% year over year increase. As noted in last few reports, that increase is due to our social media efforts this year. Now the picture is much clearer. Of course you should look into the full impact e.g. conversion, bounces, sales etc. (Note: How you present this story will depend on what format you chose to present your report)

Now everybody is on the same page and knows exactly what those numbers mean. Without that context, everybody would have had their own interpretations of the data. Misinterpretations lead to wrong action and/or mistrust in the data and the analytics team.

Final Words

Do not provide any reports without providing full context. Keep in mind that most of the canned and automatic reports do more harm than good because they do not provide context.

Other posts in the series


Follow me on twitter @anilbatra

Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Anil-Batra-Page/130050670343547


Looking to fill your Web Analytics or Online Marketing position?  Post your open jobs on Web Analytics Job Board.

Current Open Positions

Value of Social Shares

Adding a widget such as AddThis , ShareThis and Facebook Like button on your site makes it very easy for your site visitors to share your site and content with their friends and followers via email or social media. Even though these are small widgets, that your developers/designers might not have paid much attention to, they add a tremendous value to your business.

According to a recent report by eMarketer 47.5% of the people trust the recommendations of their social media contacts. In order to leverage social sharers you have to make it easy for them to share you content and widgets like these do a good job in making your site shareable.

A small widget like this can save you thousands of dollars in customer acquisition and even retaining the customers via either direct conversions from the traffic driven by shared links or by the brand awareness that those links create.

Monetary value of Social Shares

Most of the sharing widgets have built in analytics to measure the virality of your site/content. Use the analytics report to understand how valuable those shares are. Make share analytics reporting part of your web analytics reporting so that other stakeholders can see the value too. If you need to convince your boss on why they should pay attention to these social shares, tie the value of shares to something more tangible i.e. Dollars/Pound/Euro/Rupee. Here are some of the ways you can tie the value of social shares to money:

  • Direct revenue
  • Life-time value of customer gained via social share
  • Advertising cost savings from the shares

Let’s do a simple calculation to see the value of social shares. In this example I tied the value of “Social Share” to the amount saved in paid search advertising

Example Calculation

Data that you will need:

  1. Clicks Generated– The number of click/visit/visitors generated from Social shares shares. (You might only get clicks/share from the widget analytics but you can easily estimate visits or visitors based on the data from your web analytics tool)
  2. Cost of a visit – You can estimate this from either a blended cost of all your online advertising or simply from paid search.

That’s all. Using the above information you will be able to calculate the “Cost Savings”, the cost you would have paid to drive those visits that you got for free from social shares.
Note: If you are able to tie the social sharing with your web analytics tool then you can not only get accurate count of visits (or visitors) instead of just clicks but also can get the conversions and revenue generated from those shares.

A/B Testing & Optimization
The location of you share widget will have an impact on the number of social shares you get. Social shares present a great opportunity to drive lots of valuable traffic. A/B test different locations of share widget to see how it impacts your bottom line and find the best location for those widgets.

I have attached a spreadsheet that will allow you to calculate the value of those shares and the opportunities optimization present. Just plug in some basic numbers and see the results. Download the spreadsheet from http://anilbatra.com/digitalmarketing/downloads/socialshares.xlsx

Related post: 3 Tools for Measuring the Virality of Your Content


Follow me on twitter @anilbatra

Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Anil-Batra-Page/130050670343547


Looking to fill your Web Analytics or Online Marketing position?  Post your open jobs on Web Analytics Job Board.

Current Open Positions

  • Web Analytics Senior Implementation Consultants (Contractor)  at Acceleration Emarketing (New York, NY)
  • Web Analytics Analyst at Designory. (formerly Agency.com) (Chicago, IL)
  • Web Games Analyst at Arkadium (New York, NY)
  • Online Performance Data Analyst at Announce Media (St Louis, MO)
  • Web Data Analyst at Genworth Financial (Richmond, VA)
  • Web Games Analyst at Arkadium (New York, NY)
  • Web Metrics Analyst at Omnitec Solutions (Alexandria, VA)