Thursday, 27 August 2009

Short URL Services

URLs (web addresses) can be extremely long! If you are not hyperlinked and can’t cut/paste then the web page may not be visited. People just can't be bothered to walk the walk...

To the rescue came organisations offering a URL Shortner service. There are LOADS of these services and they differ in many ways. You may have heard of the TINY service. For example click on this URL you will reach a fantastic book at Amazon, please feel free to buy it!

Do you see what I’ve done? I’ve changed the long 38 symbols...

to the short 20 symbols...

I can track how many people click the tiny link by going to the Tiny web site. (Click on the image to see it better)

Just to prove my point I did the same for so try

(Click on the image to see it better)

Take a look at many others at this link

URLShortner compilation

And now google offer one too see

Q. Why is this so good and why is it relevant to metrics?

A. Well there is no restriction on how many aliases I can create at for this one site or for others, and I can use the many other services too. That means I can use different URLS in different campaigns. If I am promoting my book on my business card I can use one, another as an email signature, another I can use in Blogs, another one on my TV ads and so on. This simple device allows me to see the effectiveness of these different modes. In metric-speak this is ATTRIBUTION. I can attribute actions to the initial web page that was served.

Do yourself a favour. Create 20 short URLs ready to use with different campaigns, but make sure that the service you choose allows you to track the visitor numbers. My favoured two are the ones above and

Friday, 21 August 2009

Blogs & Blooks

Complicated wording coming up!

On our journey for what is happening today, (rather than yesterday) people, (rather than books), become essential.

Yes we can learn a great deal about measurement, metrics and research from web pages and text books, but the field of digital marketing is ever-changing. I find that blogs are an important source of knowledge. There are many blogs, what I mean are the many blogs produced by professional researchers and analysts.

Here are the three blogs I like the best:

  1. Occam’s Razor by Avinash Kaushik
  2. Brian Clifton
  3. Eric Peterson
The first one was even turned into a BLOOK (that is a word meaning book based on a blog) you'll find details of the book at the blog. The second one is also available as a book and Eric also has books. These blogs are the place where these experts sound out ideas, and those ideas eventually become books.

Many other professionals write blogs and many are linked to this LINK, just look under BLOG ROLL. Thought for the day: to keep up to date, keep in touch with real people.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Social Network Numbers

It is easy to be baffled by the number of Social Networks, so I was pleased to see a simple analysis in a UK newspaper (The Telegraph 6 Aug 2009 pg 3), I see they took the numbers below from the Ofcom Communications Market Report 2009 - that is a PDF file - well worth putting in your personal PDF library collection.

Here you go... these are user numbers at May 2009. Bear in mind that the UK population is 61million and London is 7.5m. Second Life really is over-rated!

Facebook 18.9m
MySpace 5.1m
Bebo 3.9m
Friends Reutd 2.7m
Twitter 2.6m
LinkedIn 1.1m
Second Life 59,000

These are useful figures but hide activity... how many of these are inactive accounts?

Thursday, 30 July 2009

All happening at Yahoo

Yahoo offers a free Analytics software, similar to Google Analytics. However you need to spend advertising money with them. I feel special because I have had an account to use for educational purposes. I can report that it works and I enjoy using it and teaching with it.

Today Yahoo launched a network of consultants, see

And I see they are using an academic David Reilley to look at Advertising effectiveness. See his work on Yahoo advertising here

Today's news of Google/Microsoft collaboration must only strengthen the offering. Certainly one to watch

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

buy.ology and Neuroscience

I have spent months trying to write a book review for a book by Martin Lindstrom called buy.ology. My difficulties are many, so I am going to share some of them with you!

First of all the book is written in the style of an airport book, in other words, easy reading for managers on the move. It is well written in that it is a compelling read and the fact that it is "true" makes it even better. However as an academic this style is frustrating, as an academic I want to see the objective, method, results and conclusion in a clear way, easily seen.

The basic story is that Lindstrom is a respected marketer and he raised loads of money from multinationals to fund research. The research was to look at brain activity in conjunction with use or thoughts of brands. This is a case of metrics and measurement, so that is why I mention it here. His conclusions come thick and fast before we see the method, another reason why I find it annoying. Some highlights are:
  • cigarette packet warnings create craving rather that warnings.
  • Product placement may be a waste of time
Another difficulty I have is to trace how these things come from the data... I am still searching. Judge for yourself, you can see the author describe the book, download a PDF chapter free etc. Just go to his web site here

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

DIY Online Surveys

When considering whether to carry out primary research, a company has two options: it can stay in-house or go to an outside agency. DIY survey software allows the researcher to create questionnaires using an easy template; effectively, this is a ‘questionnaire wizard’. Email addresses belonging to customers or prospects can then be inserted into the software. At the touch of a button, email messages go to hundreds of respondents simultaneously. The recipient can link to the questionnaire from the message. This is an online survey and easily administered via the Internet. Many packages also allow immediate analysis of results; visual displays of data can be produced instantly.

Many of these services are free of charge, and the rest are certainly affordable. We now see that companies, large and small, are turning to this approach to conduct research. Reader’s Digest supplies reading matter, music and financial services, and is a big user of research; the company sees ‘DIY research’ as an integral part of its business. Product managers in many companies, hard-pressed for results, will turn to DIY survey software. Suppliers tell us that their clients are household names such as Nike, Visa, Domino’s Pizza and Gillette.

If you have a Google account you can produce a questionnaire online. Go to Google Docs and click on NEW. Then select FORMS from the drop down box. Here are a few commercial providers of these services along with their websites; most have free trials and instant demonstrations. As one claims, ‘you can begin creating online surveys in minutes’.Google Docs

Advanced Survey CreateSurvey KwikSurveys Make Survey Market Sight Poll Daddy Qualtrics Survey Garden Survey Gizmo Survey Professionals SurveyGold SurveyMonkey Vovici Web Surveys ZipSurvey™ Zoomerang

(Extract with permission from Bradley: Marketing Research Tools and Techniques, Oxford University Press buy HERE from Amazon)

Blog Searches

Blog Search Engines are a good way to spot the chatter about your company or brand. They show how your product or service is seen "on the street".

Try some of these

and here is a list of many

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Social Media Monitoring

Social media, has really arrived! Look at this list:

  • Instant Messaging, Message Boards, Text chat, Internet forums,
  • Blogs, microblogs (twitter),
  • social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn),
  • Wikis, Social guides, Social bookmarking,
  • Virtual worlds (Second Life, Habbo) and others.
I am amazed by the number of monitors for social media. Here are just a few

And here are some Twitter monitors

Will we see meta-analytical tools next?

Friday, 24 July 2009

Puzzling Results

Although I think web analytics are an amazing thing, every so often users in large companies find conflicting results with two types of software. There are usually good reasons such as reporting two different time periods or excluding certain things or often the software has been configured differently. A recent post to an online forum is typical of the frustration shared by a few users

"We have XXXX on one of our sites and we were suspicious of the numbers so we put Google Analytics on it as well. I expected discrepancies in the total numbers, but they trend differently too and that I can't figure out.
For example, using a basic metric like "visits" I find that between day X and day Y our XXXXXwill report we got fewer visits and GA will report we got more visits.Can anyone tell me how something basic like visits can be counted so differently between two reporting suites? "

Indeed Google have answered that question see their answer by clicking HERE

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

CAM Foundation Qualifications

Great to see the two new diplomas from the CAM Foundation dedicated to Digital Marketing. Here is a taster of just one unit:

Digital Marketing Essentials

Element 1: Campaign Tools (30%)

Element 2: Using campaign tools (40%)

Element 3: Monitoring (30%)

Looking good!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Comparing competition - intelligence!

There are several services that allow up-to-date comparison of competing companies. One of these is the shopping agent, which will compare specified products or services. Comparison shopping services allow products to be compared by price, delivery date, etc.

More sophisticated systems are also available and these services act as a monitor of web activity by individuals. We can see, for example an increased interest in specific brands or products, we can identify fashions as they emerge. Many devices allow the user to enter several competitors to view daily unique visitors, comparisons by region, sites visitors and keywords used to find these sites. Complex data processing allows estimates of advertising expenditure to be made available.

Here are some links to explore which use blog posts, twitter and new searches to identify “chatter” and create a view of user activity, fashions and company popularity.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Web site Analytics?

A quick observation. On the whole I try to use the two words "web site" as opposed to "website". The Web Site version is generally used with "classic" (albeit recent) books such as

  • Peterson Eric T (2004) Web Analytics Demystified: A Marketer’s Guide to Understanding How Your Web Site Affects Your Business. Celilo Group Media
  • Peterson Eric T (2005) Web Site Measurement Hacks. O Reilly ebook
  • Sterne, J. (2002) ‘Web metrics, Proven Methods for Measuring Web Site Success’ – London - John Wiley and Sons Inc
Also what is perhaps worth paying attention to is the use of
  • Web analytics
  • Web measurement
  • Website analytics
  • Website measurement
  • Web site analytics
  • Web site measurement
Some authors say that measurement is different from analytics (the reasons vary) but I often use them interchangeably

Tuesday, 14 July 2009


AdSense is the biggest secret earner on the Internet. Effectively Google are creating advertising billboards in places never expected. Revenues come to these new media owners from unexpected places. I love the condition "I will not click on ads I'm serving" to stop click fraud...

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Telepathy & metrics

Is it possible to read a web visitor's mind? Well the obvious answer is no, but we have a tool that allows us to get an idea. When someone arrives at a website s/he is looking for something. Faced with a fresh page the visitor may have various options. One is to read what is there and solve their problem. Another choice may be to click on a link to another page (on the same site or another). One brilliant mind-reading trick is to add a site-search tool. That way we can detect almost exactly what the visitor is looking for. Search tools are free and easy to add to sites. I have had internal search tools on most of my sites (but not all pages) for many years

see site 1 or site 2 to see my search boxes. The really astounding thing about analysing such results is that people hold nothing back - they will ask questions that they need an answer to - they search for themselves - they will swear and curse. You really do know what is on their mind. It is not perfect because it is not used by every visitor. But it is sufficient to see motives.

Tip for the day, a site search tool offers a valuable insight into visitor motives.
Best wishes from a windy United Kingdom