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Posts Tagged: online marketing

I’m Running for the WAA Board of Directors

Posted by & filed under Web Analytics.

Hi everyone, this is Olivier. I wanted to drop a quick note to let you know that I’m running for the Web Analytics Association Board of Directors.

For those who read this blog, I would like to explain briefly the reasons behind my nomination and why I’m asking you to vote for me (weird feeling now… requesting your vote! I feel like I’m entering into politics).

Anyway, I have presented my candidacy because I feel that our industry needs as much help and support as we can provide. And having been in the Web Analytics and Online Optimization space for more than 10 years now, I felt it was time for me to give back to this industry that has given me so much. My objective with the WAA if I have the chance to be elected is to put much effort in helping web analytics and online marketers solve the challenges of spending more time on what matters. For the past 10 years, and everywhere I go, it’s the same challenge.

What matters is the analysis, the interpretation, and more importantly the actions/recommendations/changes we can make base on the data that has been collected. Testing new marketing or web design ideas, improving the user experience, watching the online conversion rates increase, that’s what is fun and rewarding.

But unfortunately, most people are bugged down with data accuracy, implementation challenges, best practice measurements, etc. Too many individuals are spending their time trying to reconcile numbers, understanding and explaining why A and B don’t match as they should, figuring out the best way to measure specific web content (i.e.. flash, video, Social Media, mobile, offline data, etc.), and finally coordinating efforts with IT to implement (or re-implement) their web analytics tags for the 10th times to capture all this. There’s got to be a better way. And that’s the challenge I would like to tackle with all the players in this industry if I’m elected.

I really think that the WAA could be more proactive as an organization. Look at the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) and how they create web standards ahead of time for everyone, especially for technology vendors to follow. As a WAA director, I would love to list all the key challenges expressed by the WAA members (some of them listed above) and figure out proactive standards and best practices for measurement and implementation with all the key players in this industry so that WE (all of us) get to spend more time on what matters.

For more information about my candidacy, you can visit the WAA site.

I appreciate everyone’s support, and I wish you all a successful 2009.

by Ali Behnam
Co-Founder, President
3 comments

The Long Tail of Online PR

Posted by & filed under Social Media.

In a recent post we covered a comparison between social media and pay-per-click traffic. We covered the fact that social media was almost as effective as PPC advertising. This post provides an update on the study, with additional data collected since.

The finding: Online PR has a long tail.

Here's the analysis. At first glance, online PR has a short lifespan. Consider the figure below, which shows the traffic as a result of PR and blog coverage associated with the release. We can see that as expected, the site gets the majority of its traffic immediately after release, with residual traffic afterward.

However, the one thing that you don't want to do is to stop the analysis shortly after the release. Based on our findings, the long tail of online PR matters. In this specific example, over a 30-day period, the PR traffic during the peak period accounts for 41% of the PR traffic. This means that the long tail accounts for 59% of the PR traffic.

Now let's take this to the next level and look at the KPIs for the PR campaign. More specifically, we're interested in cost per lead associated with the online PR campaign. For benchmark purposes, we're going to compare these numbers with our PPC programs in place. This is shown in the figure below.

In this graph, we also see the impact of the long tail on this KPI. By looking at the data for a short period of time, we see that initially online PR is not as effective as PPC advertising. However, over time, online PR turns out to be a more cost-efficient method for lead generation than PPC advertising.

The conclusion is that online PR has a residual life that when taken into account makes it as cost effective a medium as PPC advertising. So when it comes to PR measurement, make sure that you take the long tail into consideration.

by Ali Behnam
Co-Founder, President
6 comments

Social Media Marketing & Search Engine Marketing

Posted by & filed under Social Media.

As more companies are leveraging social media marketing and online PR in their marketing mix, one of the questions that is brought up is the relationship between social media marketing and search marketing (or pay-per-click advertising). Do they complement each other or do they target the same audience?

To assess this, we’ve used our own press release campaign as a case study. More specifically, we were interested in knowing the overlap between the PR and PPC audiences. The results: the two are very complementary.

First the background: the press release was launched on January 21 and can be found here. The release was also picked by a number of bloggers covering the social media and online PR measurement landscape. Simultaneously, we ran a series of PPC campaigns around social media and PR measurement as shown below. The question to ask is whether these two campaigns are reaching the same audience or are different ones.

In order to analyze the results, we’re using web analytics solutions (Google Analytics and NetInsight in our case). The results inside the web analytics solutions reveal no overlap whatsoever between the two campaigns. In other words, those who came to our site as a result of PPC did not have any exposure to either our press release or the blogger coverage of it. This is done thanks to the Tealium Social Media product. Let’s look at some of the analysis.

First, we’re going to look at the AdWords report inside Google Analytics. This is shown in the figure below. However, we need to also look at the overlap of the report with the social media segment. The social media segment is an additional segment that clients of our social media measurement service get access to. It allows you to compare what percentage of your traffic has been previously exposed to your social media and online PR (examples are PR stories and blog coverages).

We expected very little overlap between the two campaigns. In other words, we expected that our press release and blogger coverage targets a different audience than AdWords. But we did not expect the two to be mutually exclusive. Out of the 107 visits generated to the site as a result of PPC advertising, not a single one previously viewed our press release or read any of the blogs covering the release. This even holds true for the contextual advertising portion of our PPC campaign.

Now let’s take a closer look at the effectiveness of these two campaigns. For this, we’re going to look at the key performance indicators of the two campaigns, which is shown below. We can see surprisingly strong performance by the PR campaign. For example, the site conversion rate of the social media campaign is at 11.5%, only slightly lower than search advertising. At the same time, the cost per visit for the PR campaign is just slightly lower than search advertising.

The benefits of search advertising have long been known: you reach an audience that’s ready to buy at the most critical stage. But the fact that PR campaigns enjoy a similar performance means that online PR can be as effective as search advertising.

To reiterate, this study is for one site only and other sites may not experience the same effect, so you should take this into consideration. But marketers are well served adding online PR and social media marketing into their marketing mix. Not only does it target an audience that’s complementary to search advertising, but it also enjoys a level of success that’s in tune with PPC advertising, with similar cost per visit, cost per conversion and conversion rates. So go ahead – start experimenting.

by Ali Behnam
Co-Founder, President
7 comments

Social Media Measurement is Here

Posted by & filed under online marketing, Social Media, Web Analytics.

We’re proud to announce the general availability of Tealium Social Media, a new measurement service for social media and online PR that’s tightly integrated into web analytics. The service is designed for marketing professionals who use social media and online PR as marketing vehicles to generate awareness and demand, and require side-by-side comparison with other marketing channels.

For a review of Tealium Social Media, please visit this blog posting by PR measurement guru, KDPaine.

How does it work? Consider this scenario:

A visitor is in the market for CRM software and comes across a blog comparing various CRM programs. The blog mentions a number of CRM applications that the visitor had no previous knowledge of, including SugarCRM and NetSuite. Because of the great feedback in the blog, the visitor decides to go to SugarCRM by doing a search for “sugar crm” on Google. This leads the visitor to sugarcrm.com, where the visitor requests a personal demo.

With traditional web analytics, this conversion would be attributed to Google. With Tealium Social Media, the conversion will also be attributed to the original blog that started everything.

Tealium Social Media is a web analytics plug-in that is integrated into popular web analytics solutions: Google Analytics, SiteCatalyst, Unice NetInsight, WebTrends, Coremetrics, etc. This means you can get your social media ROI measurement directly inside your existing web analytics account.

Intrigued? Request a demo.

by Ali Behnam
Co-Founder, President
1 comment

Myths & Facts About Social Media Measurement

Posted by & filed under Social Media.

With all the buzz around social media marketing, more and more companies are jumping on the social media bandwagon. Social media offers a greater reach than some of the traditional online marketing channels, and enjoys fewer competition. Yet, there’s a lot of skepticism among some around social media marketing. The main roadblock that we’ve seen so far has been around measurement. Many companies still have the perception that social media is not measurable or that it can not be measured with the same standards as other online media. The following is a list of myths and facts about social media measurement.

Myth: I don’t pay for social media traffic. Since I don’t pay for it, I don’t need to measure it.

Fact: This is only a perception. The fact that you’re spending your resources – time and labor – means that you’re paying for social media traffic. True, there’s no cost-per-click model, but the mere fact that you’re spending time writing blogs, creating Facebook pages, responding to people’s requests or questions on Twitter means that you’re spending valuable resources on social media. Like any other activity, there’s an opportunity cost associated with your efforts – time you could be spending doing other things.

For example, if an employee costing the company $80,000 per year spends 10% of his/her time responding to blogs, Twitter posts, etc., then the cost of social media associated with that employee alone is $8,000 per year.

Myth: There’s no measurement standard when it comes to social media measurement.

Fact: There has been no shortage of measurements introduced when it comes to social media marketing – video views, sentiment metrics, advertising equivalency, etc. What’s important to note is that the same standards that have applied to PR measurement apply to social media as well. For years, PR professionals have classified the measurement of their activities in one of three buckets:

  • Outputs (who’s talking about you): this is the basic level of measurement needed. Mapping this to social media measurement, the metrics associated with this pillar are video views, number of RSS subscriptions, number of blog or news mentions, etc.
  • Outtake (what are they saying about you): this is the qualitative side of PR and social media measurement. Many brand managers use social media measurement for this aspect. The metrics associated with this pillar include qualitative measures such as “thumbs up”, “thumbs down”, measuring influence on Twitter or within the blogosphere, etc.
  • Outcome (what does it mean to your business): this is the ROI portion of the measurement. How much site traffic and conversions can be attributed to social media. Do visitors who viewed a YouTube video end up visiting the site? This is clearly the most critical aspect of social media measurement for online marketing professionals.

The same standards that have applied to PR measurement also apply to social media measurement.

Myth: You can’t measure the ROI of social media.

Fact: This is not true. This is exactly what Tealium Social Media has been designed to do. Whether you measure your results based on the amount of traffic generated on your site, number of leads generated and the online sales volume, social media can be measured accordingly. In fact, so far most of the interest from customers has been around using measurement to audit their social media and PR agencies. Yes, you can measure the ROI of your social media marketing.

Myth: I can’t compare social media to other online marketing channels.

Fact: Again, not true. By integrating data from Tealium Social Media into your web analytics tool you can measure the ROI of social media side by side with your other online marketing channels such as search, email and banner advertising. This means that you can in fact compare your social media traffic – traffic attributed to video sharing sites, bloggers and news coverages – to your paid marketing channels.

Yes, social media is measurable and because it’s still a new practice, this means less competition and therefore better ROI than other online channels. We are working on a number of case studies in this area and are looking forward to sharing our findings once completed. Stay tuned.

by Ali Behnam
Co-Founder, President
5 comments

Hyundai Assurance – Marketing for Tough Times

Posted by & filed under online marketing, Uncategorized.

I was watching the wild card playoff games between the Falcons and Cardinals where I noticed a huge media buy by Hyundai for the Hyundai Assurance program. According to the official press release,”Hyundai is providing a complimentary vehicle return program for the first year on every new Hyundai that is financed or leased for owners who experience an involuntary loss of income within 12 months of the purchase date”.

Certainly this is an unprecedented move in the auto industry. And marketing wise, it is a brilliant one. According to the American Marketing Association, marketing is defined as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers”. This program certainly provides value to customers in these economic times.

And after only two days, it looks like the program is so far getting a great deal of coverage through the press, blog community and social networks. Congratulations to the marketing folks at Hyundai for creating a relevant marketing program for the times.

by Ali Behnam
Co-Founder, President
0 comments

Using Google to Track the Spread of Flu

Posted by & filed under online marketing, Social Media, Web Analytics.

A while back we published a post on using Google to predict elections. A similar post has recently been submitted by Jeremiah Owyang on the use of social networking stats for similar analysis. Obviously, in both cases, one cannot heavily rely on these numbers to predict elections, as they’re a reflection of interest and one cannot guarantee that interest turns into votes. But in both cases, there’s a great deal of entertainment value associated with the data.

However, a recent article in New York Times reveals a much more powerful side of Google Trends. In this case, Google is using its search data ot track the spread of flu within the United States. More specifically, deta from last year revealed that Google saw a spike in number of searches for terms such as “flu symptoms” about two weeks before the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) reported regional outbreaks. The graph below shows the comparison between the two data sources.

Using Google to track flu outbreak

I must admit this is one of the most clever uses of Google Trends as it captures real data in a manner that can be used to actually predict trends. Congratulations to the folks at Google.

by Ali Behnam
Co-Founder, President
1 comment

Social Bookmarking in Plain English

Posted by & filed under Social Media.

I always enjoy what the guys at Common Craft do. They have a way of simplifying things for everyone to understand. This is another fantastic piece of work by them. It explains social bookmarking. Many people miss the social aspect of bookmarking.

[vimeo 267072]

by Ali Behnam
Co-Founder, President
0 comments

Cost Per Qualified Lead

Posted by & filed under online marketing, Web Analytics.

One of the most popular KPIs for lead generation sites is “Cost per Lead”. It lets marketers know whether they’re spending the right amount on marketing campaigns. However, a better KPI for such customers is “Cost Per Qualified Lead”. It provides a more accurate picture of the campaign performance.

The following is what a customer has recently shared with us regarding their use of WebToCRM.

Note: the numbers have been revised in this post.

After running a number of online campaigns, they were able to use their web analytics solution to determine high-level performance metrics such as campaign clickthroughs, conversion rates and cost per lead. The sample data is shown in the first graph below.

Cost Per Lead

The campaign conversion rates are mostly within the same range. However, because of the higher conversion rates and lower cost per click (CPC), newsletters end up generating a much better cost per lead (CPL). Based on this data, it would make sense to take some budget away from search engines, which have the highest cost per lead and put that money towards more newsletter sponsorships.

However, the customer did not stop there. Thanks to WebToCRM, they integrated their online campaign data into their salesforce.com implementation and decided to break down their leads into two classifications:

  • Qualified leads: these are defined as leads with complete and accurate information, including the person’s full contact information, job title and decision making timeline.
  • Unqualified leads: these are leads with incomplete or inaccurate information such as fake email addresses, etc.

How do the numbers hold up when you look at qualified leads instead of just the raw number of leads? The picture turned out to be quite different and is shown below.

Cost Per Qualified Lead

With a simple “Cost per Lead” KPI model which is what many web analytics practitioners use, the company would have diverted money from search engines into newsletters. However, the more relevant “Cost Per Qualified Lead” KPI shows that the customer would be well served doing the exact opposite. Although search engines provided fewer leads per click than newsletters, they also provided a far higher percentage of qualified leads. The client is therefore going to continue its investment in search engine marketing.

Still wondering about the value of cross-channel analytics? Think it’s expensive? Take another look at WebToCRM. It lets you integrate your online campaign data into your CRM application, regardless of what web analytics or CRM tool you use. Best of all, the Free edition give you the same level of data that you see in this example.

by Ali Behnam
Co-Founder, President
0 comments

Social Media in Plain English

Posted by & filed under Social Media.

Ever wonder what all the buzz is about social media? The folks at Common Craft have done the best job I’ve seen explaining social media. Enjoy.

[vimeo 1083838]

Media for the people, by the people.

by Ali Behnam
Co-Founder, President
0 comments