Calling For Graphs In Real Life

Making data more personal to people is a core part of my business, and I often wonder the best way to go about this.  When you personalize data through a story or through some other means it will stick with people more and they will comprehend it better. I have been exploring ways to accomplish this by making data a part of real life. One way that this was done perfectly was with Google’s wonderful online checkout in real-life video.

I have many ideas on how to do this for clients, but I wanted a consistent real life theme I could add to the blog. So to do that I am working on finding graphs in real life to help make each of my blog posts more interesting. A graph in real life is like the following:

Real Life Double Hockey Stick

That is a real life honest-to-goodness hockey stick graph. Even better it is a double hockey stick graph. There are startup entrepreneurs that have dreams of these every night. And who wouldn’t want to see their traffic and revenue accelerate like this?  It’s almost as good as a double rainbow.

While I will work faithfully to find these little nuggets, or graphs, in real life, I was hoping that you out there would be willing to help out. If you ever spot a picture online or in the real world that shows graphs in real life send it my way by emailing me at tim at flintanalytics dot com or send it to me by tweet and I will be sure to reward and credit your wonderful contribution.

So show me what you got, because I know if you are like me, after a day of looking at graphs on your computer they tend to miraculously appear in real life.

5 Analyses That Will Excite Your Client About Your Year End Analytics Reports

Recently I talked about year end reporting for ad agencies and why you should do year end web analytics reporting and analysis for your clients. Today I  want to talk about five analyses that you should be covering in year end report. These are items that will help you identify potential opportunities, problems, and help you demonstrate your value to the client.

Staircase Graph, Real Life Graphs

So without further adieu, the non-conclusive list:

1. Mobile vs Desktop

Mobile vs desktop traffic is the new timeless struggle when working with your clients.  The old problem used to be convincing your client that developing for IE 6 didn’t matter.  The task in performing this analysis is finding a way to convince your client it is important to increase investment in a mobile-optimized or responsive website (assuming it is necessary from the data). The answer is absolutely you can convince them and it just depends if it is worth it right now or not. Most of my clients are seeing a higher percentage of mobile traffic with each passing month. The problem though is that because their website isn’t optimized for the mobile web they tend to see lower conversion rates in comparison to their desktop brethren. It isn’t uncommon to see something like the following happening on a site.

Mobile Vs. Desktop Data

As you can see, mobile makes up a healthy chunk of traffic, but it converts horribly. It is easier now than ever to pull this data from Google Analytics, but this might not convince them alone.  You might have to go so far as predicting the performance of your mobile site if you had one by estimating how much in revenue was left on the table because your conversion rate was lower than it could have been. You can do that with the following equation.

Lost Mobile Traffic Equation

This will help you get a rough estimate of what conversion you could have had, and the results can be incredible. If you are doing ecommerce take this a step further and use the average order size to estimate how much revenue was lost. So how does this affect my client?  Well let’s just say that because they don’t have a mobile ecommerce site they are losing thousands of dollars in sales every month. Now tell me that won’t get your client’s attention and more work for you.

2. Marketing Channel Performance

Data in aggregate is nice, but it can never lead to any sort of real insight or action. There are many ways to divide up your data to draw comparisons and insights, but one of the quickest ways is by analyzing the differences in performance between marketing channels. As an agency you might be drawing people into a campaign through many means including paid sources like banner ads, and PPC, and non-paid sources such as SEO, social, and email. It is up to you to identify what is working and what isn’t. In Google Analytics you can quickly get this at a glance by comparing the conversion performance of each source to the site average. You can see below how much higher or lower a channel’s conversion rate is performing in comparison to the site average.

Channel Performance Comparison

But go in-depth to see more than what channel isn’t performing up to snuff but also to identify the ad that is or isn’t working. If you can tell your client what to kill and what to double-down on in the data then you will have them eating from the palm of your hand.

Oh, and don’t forget to see how your social media work is coming along. And make sure you are trying to track social media as a whole the best way you can as social is notoriously difficult to track. Here is one way to help with that: see advanced segment four.

3. Unexpected Behavior

There are analytics beyond Google on the web. One of my favorites is crazyegg.  It is a wonderfully simple tool that drives incredibly powerful insights (often ones which were unexpected).

Screenshot showing Heatmap

Crazyegg shows where everyone on your site clicks, whether they clicked on a link or not, and presents it as a wonderful heat map. What this does is it shows how users view your site and can bring insights that you wouldn’t have thought of. For example, one client of mine had a landing page that we wanted to understand more clearly how customers interacted with the page. What did we find that was unexpected? That a huge percentage of people were clicking on an image of the logo that wasn’t a link. So, we were frustrating all of our users by making them think something was a link that wasn’t.

What unexpected behaviors are your website visitors doing? Find out and you will have won yourself new work because you found a way to fix it and make the customer happy.

4. Channels that are converting, but might not be getting their attribution

Is your highest converting traffic coming from direct traffic and organic search? Most likely. That tends to be the case for many websites. Does this mean you should shut down all of your other traffic sources that your client is spending money on? Not necessarily. Here’s why.

Some marketing channels do a great job helping along the path to purchase, but that might not be the way someone finally purchases. For example, if a business purchased the keyword ‘guitars’ in Google, that keyword would lead a user to visit the site. But, since a guitar is an expensive item, the customer might not purchase right away as they are doing their research. But when they finally decide to purchase they end up typing in your website directly into their browser to make the purchase because they already know about your awesome deal from their previous search.

Unfortunately, for a long time we didn’t have access to information about users who took multiple visits to make a purchase. In the end this led to some channels not getting the conversion attribution they deserved. So if Pay-Per-Click isn’t getting the credit it deserves, what happens if you were to shut it off? You lose more conversions than you would have thought, and this is bad.

Thankfully, if you are using Google Analytics you don’t have to guess.  You can use the wonderful multi-channel conversion report and attribute conversions like a champ!

Google Multi-channel Funnels

You can use this tool to great effect to really understand the affects of your advertising. So check it out in your analytics and show your client why your efforts deserve to be in their budget. Plus, if your client was the one who decided on paid search you will be able to compliment them on their wonderful success.

5. Listen To Your Client’s Customers

Listening to customers is one of the more profound analysis that is guaranteed to get your client’s attention in a report. How do you go about this listening tour? One of the easiest ways is to use the 4Q tool.

4Q Website Survey

4Q allows you to ask four tried and true questions to help you gain insight into what is and isn’t working on your site. Talking to customers doesn’t need to be hard, time consuming, or financially draining. 4Q makes it really simple to hear what you customers have to say and it makes it really easy for your customers to say it. The four questions they suggest you ask to drive insight are:

1. Based on today’s visit, how would you rate your site experience overall?
2. Which of the following best describes the primary purpose of your visit?
3. Were you able to complete the purpose of your visit today?
4a. (If yes) What do you value most about the [sitename] website?
4b. (If no) Please tell us why you were not able to fully complete the purpose of your visit today.

After looking over a bunch of numbers in the rest of the report your client is going to read every single one of these answers. Why? Because this data is human and your client likely doesn’t talk to customers as often as they should. This stuff is gold to your client (unless the customers are unusually unhappy). But, this is the insight they crave because it is human to them. Forget the numbers; they will remember this part of the report.

And if what the customers say backs up the data, that’s even better as it is even more reason to act on the insights for your client. This is the information that if you’re not capturing for your client you are missing out on the potential of the web as a measured marketing medium. Use this and your report will be spread across the company, especially if it is happy data. The more people who see your report the more different departments in their company will be coming back to you for more projects.

These five things are just primers. You can include other targeted analyses for your client, but these items will be greatly appreciated and have the ability to drive more revenue for your agency and for your client.

Year End Web Analytics Reporting Part 1

It’s budgeting time. While that might not send out cheers of joy for your agency (as it sounds mildly better than a root canal) it should. The end of the year is an important time for businesses because they are beginning the process of setting budgets. To set a budget, companies review a department’s performance from the previous year. Companies in this process are also reviewing the performance of their advertising budget, and they will be looking for advice on where they should be putting their advertising dollars for the upcoming year. See where this is headed. Read more

Farmers’ Market Storytelling

Belmont Farmer's Market

My family and I love to go to our local farmers’ market here in South Bend. It is indoors, which means it is open even as South Bend heads into winter. There are the few things we love to pick up every time we are there like the locally produced beef sticks, but we really love just seeing what new foods are there each week we go. You can always tell what’s in season whether it be broccoli, asparagus, apples or whatever.

I was thinking while we were there the other day about why people liked to go to their farmers’ market over a grocery store. There are several reasons that people bring up regularly such as that it is fresher, that it helps local producers, that it is more environmentally sound, or that it is healthier. But, I wanted to add one more thing to the list of reasons. It is because that produce tells a story.

At the farmers’ market, unlike the grocery store, you aren’t just getting food.  You are getting food with a story. You can ask the farmer over the counter about the produce you are buying and he will tell you all about the apples, why this year’s crop was great, and what he will be bringing the following week.  The food at a farmers’ market is not only healthier, fresher, locally-produced, etc., but it is also carries a story. This story is powerful in getting people to purchase and purchase more.

Just think about the times you have gone to a farmers’ market. Who do you find yourself buying from, the grumpy-looking farmer or the one that is talking happily to customers? The reason you are attracted to the happy talkative one is because you assume they have a better story to tell.  So there are even varying degrees to stories in the farmers’ market.

So how does this relate to web analytics? Remember, the story sells. Tell stories like the farmer at the market to get the buy from your boss or customers you need to launch your website and business to a new level.

Analytics Blog Purpose

I will be updating the blog at least once of week with tips, thoughts, insights, recommendations, videos, templates and tools to help companies and marketers better understand their data and the story it is telling. So please follow me on twitter and RSS as I continue to update the blog and website to provide new resources for anyone who needs to work with web data.