Category Archives: Web Analytics

The Big Dance – 2012 @deanshaw Twitter Madness Championship Set

@deanshaw 2012 Twitter Madness Tourney - Final Four

Phil Buckley (@1918) made this & I am shamelessly using it Goddamit.

It was just a few weeks ago that 64 hopefuls enter the arena of Twitter competition in the 2012 @deanshaw Twitter Madness Tourney. From longshots to titans, from locals to global icons, each held of dream of walking away with the prestigious title of Twitter Madness Champion. This honor sits alongside the Green Jacket, the Oscar, and a Nobel Peace Prize as one of the world’s most revered honors. Last year, a country bumpkin named @spikejones from Austin came from virtual obscurity to become the competition’s first champion. On Wednesday (or whenever I can get to the results – I’m friggin’ busy people), a new champion will join him.

And who will vie for this most cherished title? Well, let’s take a look at the final four matchups…

@jimsterne v. @1918: Phil (@1918) Buckley continued his unlikely and inspired run into his Final 4 matchup against web analytics wonderman @jimsterne. Phil ignored the Las Vegas bookies, who offered him at a bazillion to 1 odds, and powered his way into the Final 4 doing what he does best; offering a mix of compelling SEO-focused marketing links, original content on his blog, and promoting and engaging with local social media birds of a feather. Ya see Phil doesn’t pine to be a small fish in a big pond, preferring to be a quite massive fish in our humble Raleigh-Durham pond. I swear there isn’t a marketing related event in the Triangle that Phil isn’t smack dab in the middle of. I heard he’ll even venture to Carrboro if the hippie tree-huggers promise not to hound him for autographs.

Perhaps the most steady-eddie competitor in this year’s Tourney, Phil stuck with his tried and true game plan starting with cordial note to his adversary @jimsterne. Frankly I would have preferred some good old-fashioned trash talk but Phil always takes the high road on these types of interactions. He followed up with some of his usual high quality SEO content but lest you thought he was a one trick pony also added some mad design skillz to the competition, designing the Final Four image you see here. I’m pretty sure it was Phil’s way of saying “Dean, your images suck, get a load of this”, but I’m not gonna take that personal (cough…..point deductions…cough). Finally, he was able to slip in the word ‘bacon’ in a couple tweets scoring him a quick 76.24 Twitter Madness points. In short, Phil put up a great score and dared @jimsterne to beat it.

That brings us to @jimsterne. The heavy favorite coming into the matchup, Jim came out swinging starting with a congenial acknowledgement of his opponent Phil, scoring major points by sharing a link to Phil’s blog, despite the increased visibility and influence it was sure to afford Phil with the Sterne followers. In addition to his regular sharing of web analytic content (this hits the bulls-eye of my professional heart and soul) he tweeted some things he probably wasn’t even aware would contribute to his Final Four success.

First, he tweeted this:
'Nothing happens until someone gets pissed off' - Tom Peters

Two things stuck out here:
1. @mktgdouchebag was actually a competitor in last year’s @deanshaw Twitter Madness Tourney Final Four, seeing his name come up at this point in the competition reminded me of the excitement of last year’s tourney as well as just how small this social media world is.
2. I LOVE that freakin quote cuz I think its soooooo true. Let’s get pissed off America and make sh*t happen!

Next, he tweeted this:

Little did Jim know that I spent 12 years of my life in T.O. (as us Torontonians call it) and the image of that skyline reminded me of how much I love that city. Seriously folks, if you’re on the fence about this emetrics thing, just go. It’s in freakin’ Toronto. And stop by Lee’s Palace and watch some sweaty, local alternative rock. They may say something about me skippin’ out on a tab but they’re definitely talking about a different Dean Shaw.

I heart you Toronto

I heart you Toronto

Then he tweeted:

Why yes I do call myself an analyst and yes I did buy 10 lottery tickets. Eff you @jimsterne!
(Note: I’ll be at work Monday so it’s fair to assume that I didn’t win the lottery and Jim “may” get the last laugh here)

Mega Lottery Loser

Running scared from @1918’s stellar performance and continuing his Venn diagram fascination he threw this is the ring:

deanjshaw.com venn diagram

and so as not to look like he was pandering to the judge, he then offered a candid and telling opinion of my tweeting prowess:

(p.s. they turned down my order explaining my tweets weren’t worthy of such fine parchment)

Not content with questioning my acumen, he once again poked ‘retargeting’ fun at himself:

Oooh la la

Spanx Jim???? I’m blushing for you.

Finally, in an attempt to bring some culture to this sordid event, he offered up his prose in the form of a limerick:

Wow! This is horrible!

Sadly, he lost 746 points for this as it was quite simply HORRIBLE, and embarrassed leprechauns everywhere.

In the end @1918 was very strong, but @jimsterne was stronger. But be warned 2013 Twitter Madness Tourney competitors, the secret is out and look for @1918 to be a favorite in next year’s spectacle

Winner: @jimsterne

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@jowyang v. @kaimac: It’s obvious @kaimac wasn’t listening to the sage counseling I gave @RudiShumpert at the conclusion of Elite 8 matchups so let me freakin’ repeat….

“Folks, let me be clear on something. When you get to the Elite 8 of the @deanshaw Twitter Madness Tourney and you don’t tweet on the first day of the matchup you disrespect me. But you not only disrespect me, you also disrespect your country, the Corps, and your Mama.”

I don’t know how clearer I could have been on this. I mean anyone who speaks English could not….wait a minute…@kaimac is Irish. I mean right off the boat smelling of beer and potatoes Irish.* Could it be that writing these posts in English as opposed to @kaimac’s native Gaelic has caused confusion for the young lad? If that’s the case, then I offer this to @kaimac:

Cad é na fuck cearr le fear agat? Ná tuigeann tú go bhfuil tú i @deanshaw Tourney Twitter Madness Final Four? Cuir síos ar an Guiness agus do cheann a fháil ar an Mick cluiche!

I’m glad I cleared that up.

On a positive note he did come strong on day 2 with a tweet offering last year’s champ @spikejones advice on serving me with a restraining order. I need that kind of discipline now and again.

As for @jowyang he seemed to find his groove with a variety of Twitter goodness including (but not limited to):

Comparing Apple fanboys to potato crazy Japanese monkeys.
Genetically modified goats mutated with Spider DNA to create spider webs in milk.
• Theorizing that our grandkids will laugh at our ‘paper’ and ‘metal’ system of currency
• A cute and boyishly naïve belief that Google+ has a hope in Hell (even though his own blog has no +1 capabilities)

* I don’t know this to be fact and it may be a gross mischaracterization and stereotyping of @kaimac and Irish people everywhere. Then again my Irish friend ‘Gus-Boy’ has been in America for almost 20 years and does, in fact, still smell of beer and potatoes.

Winner: @jowyang

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So there you have it, 64 competitors whittled down to 2 battle worthy competitors. To quote Denver Bronco quarterback Peyton Manning (ok that sounds weird), “IT’S ON LIKE DONKEY KONG!

Let’s have at it boys!

As for @kaimac and @1918, you have inspired a nation gentleman…ok…probably not…now shoo.

To check out the brackets go to @deanshaw Twitter Madness 2012 Brackets
For more info on the tourney check out my 2012 Twitter Madness Tourney Page

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@deanshaw 2012 Twitter Madness Tourney: Elite 8 Edition

2012 Twitter Madness Tourney: Elite 8 Wrap Up
2012 Round Elite 8 Wrap Up

I believe it was Walt Whitman who said “Damn, the @deanshaw Twitter Madness Tourney is off the chain, dawg”  Truer words were never spoken as the 2012 Edition of the Tournament was proving to be the most unpredictable and exciting in the 112 year history of the event. From grizzled veterans, to renowned celebrities, to local phenoms, the event has been one cliffhanger after another.  So captivating has been the tournament that I got a call from Steven Spielberg yesterday who wanted to option the event for a movie.  Well, I’m pretty sure it was Spielberg. I didn’t actually pick up the call and he didn’t leave a message, but c’mon, this tournament has been so spectacular why wouldn’t he yearn to base a movie on it?  Anyway, I’m sure he’ll call back and if he doesn’t I’ll let Quentin Terantino do the movie cuz I know he’s gonna call.

But enough of my name-dropping Hollywood exploits, let’s see what happened in the Elite 8…

@jimsterne v. @frankreed: Frank made a Cinderella run in this year’s tournament but this time the clock struck 12 on this Marketing Pilgrim and his golden carriage turned into a pumpkin. So what went wrong? Well not much really, this is just a case of running into the Twitter Buzzsaw that is @JimSterne.  So what did Jim do that was so special? Let me summarize.

  1. He freakin’ brought Venn Diagrams to the party. This hasn’t been seen since the ’54 Twitter Madness Tourney and Jim’s retro strategy was well timed.
  2. He pointed out his shortcomings. This is the first time in the history of Twitter that this has ever been done and Jim showed true courage in being the trailblazer of this type of humility.Male Pattern Baldness Rocks!
  1. He’s bringing his case for Twitter supremacy to the source. And I suspect I can con him into paying for the coffee as well.

Winner: @JimSterne

 

@TheOnion v. @1918: In a true David vs. Goliath matchup, local upstart Phil Buckley (aka @1918) tried to stop the undeniable force of @TheOnion. First, some background. according to his website 1918.com his twitter handle and seemingly his whole existence is predicated around the Boston Red Sox, and in its incarnation his Suck it Bostonweb presence was to honor the year of that team’s last World Series Championship (1918).  A worthy tribute I suppose but I am going to be perfectly honest with you, I hate the Red Sox, in fact there’s not much I like about Boston except for Bobby Orr, chowder, and the band.  As far as the Red Sox go, I’ll never forgive them for poaching Pedro Martinez from my beloved Montreal Expos, which proved to be the final death nail in the downward spiral of the franchise.

But this isn’t about grudges right? So let me put away my well ingrained hatred for the city and baseball team I loathe the most and focus on the man himself, and his performance. I noticed that he secured a new gig which has to be attributed to his run in the Twitter Madness Tourney. I mean that’s the kind of power this event has…it catapults careers!  To his credit he put on another successful #SEOMeetUp here in Raleigh (in an Irish Pub no less) featuring a guy making mad cash doing a web show called Freezerburns which Phil deftly promoted on Twitter with great skill. On the downside I noticed that he referenced the term “awesome sauce” which deducted 2.74 point from his score.

Now, how about @TheOnion.  @TheOnion was Jon Stewart before Jon Stewart was Jon Stewart. If that kind of humor floats your boat than there’s no one better feed to follow than @TheOnion. But during the matchup with Phil, there just seemed to be something missing in the normal stellar Onion reporting. I can’t really put my finger on it but can’t help but think they were overlooking @1918.  In fact, I detected some subtle sarcasm pointed towards Phil in one of their tweets:

I heart @TheOnion

So the question is, how much equity do I allow @The Onion, who is consistently the go-to Twitter account for all the fake news that’s fit to print.  The answer: “none Goddammit”. This is the freakin’ @deanshaw Twitter Madness Tourney and you better show up ready to play when the bell sounds.  So as the Onion might say:

@deanshaw : A Legend in his own mind

Winner: @1918

 

@RudiShumpert v. @jowyang: A great matchup between the Sr. Director- Technology of Keystone Solutions  and Jeremiah “Don’t call me Jow Yang” Owyang, Industry Wonk to the stars at Altimeter Group.  Jeremiah came out of the gates strong with his mix of shared and original content.  This is where Jeremiah really excels.  Rather than just use Twitter as a glorified Mashable link feeder, he throws in some of his own content.  Imagine that, a guy creating his own content and not RTing the same shit that’s been RTed a bazillion times by everyone else.  He did make a huge mistake however when he Tweeted a link that was via him. What the fuck is up with that.  As anyone familiar with my list of 25 Tweet Types will tell you, this is a clear violation of Tweet Type 3, and actually might be a new strain of Tweet, the “I RT my own Tweets” Tweet.  With a Douchebag Scale Ranking of 8 this really hurt his score and could have been fatal.

Caution: Douchy Tweet Ahead!

As for Rudi, well he inexplicitly posted no tweets on the first day of the matchup.  Folks, let me be clear on something. When you get to the Elite 8 of the @deanshaw Twitter Madness Tourney and you don’t tweet on the first day of the matchup, you disrespect me. But you not only disrespect me, you also disrespect your country, the Corps, and your Mama.  Needless to say, that despite his faux pas Jeremiah was enough of a hare to beat Rudi’s tortoise to the finish line

Winner: @jowang

 

@kaimac v. @AndyBeal: So @kaimac said somethin’ about ‘Titantic’ and then @andybeal said somethin’ about ‘Cinderella’ and then @kaimac said somethin’ about ‘Brooklyn’ and then @andybeal said somethin’ about ‘tru dat’ and then @kaimac said somethin’ about ‘Irish beer’ and then @andybeal said somethin’ about ‘trakur’  and then @kaimac said somethin’ about ‘potatoes’ and then @andybeal said somethin’ about ‘being sexy and he knows it’ and then @kaimac said somethin’ about ‘Amazon closing at 7pm’ and then @andybeal said somethin’ about an ‘Android condom phone’ and then @kaimac said somethin’ about ‘US Soccer’ and then @andybeal said somethin’ about ‘ukeleles’ and then @kaimac said somethin’ about ‘WTF’ and then @andybeal said somethin’ about ‘lol’ and then @kaimac said somethin’ about ‘grrrr’ and then @andybeal said somethin’ about ‘OMG!’ and then @kaimac said somethin’ about ‘Pie’ and then @andybeal said….wait…what??? @kaimac said something about ‘Irish Beer’, ‘potatoes’ and ‘pie’????? Ladies and gentleman, what you have witnessed here is the first culinary trifecta in Twitter Madness history. And then @deanshaw said somethin’ about ‘Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!’

Winner: @kaimac

 

To the Winners – Welcome to the Final Four!

To the Losers – Well, no one likes a loser…scram!

To check out the brackets go to @deanshaw Twitter Madness 2012 Brackets
For more info on the tourney check out my 2012 Twitter Madness Tourney Page

Social Media; Influence, Engagement and the Elusive ROI

‘It’s funny.  All you have to do is say something nobody understands and they’ll do practically anything you want them to’.  ~ Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye
 
 

So this tweet from John Lovett (@johnlovett) caught my attention last week:

John Lovett Tweets

Having been flooded with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales figures, my first thought was how small that $7M sounded compared to the $1.25B that was spent online that day. How small? Well .56% small. I thought it was curious that John would trumpet a number that frankly was about equal to the Cyber Monday sales that were influenced by my Mom’s bridge league. Being the sumbitch I am I responded:

Dean's Response to John Lovett

(Note: I'm patenting #WhoopDeeFrigginDo” so don’t get any wise ideas about stealing it)


 
The rest of the conversation went something like this…

A Twitter debate between Dean and John Lovett
A Twitter debate between Dean and John Lovett
 
The response this seemingly benign tweet started, prompted this blog post from John: Counting ROI in Pennies with Social Media, which deferred to the tired explanation that has always been given regarding social media and revenue – “It’s a method to engage with people on a meaningful level and to allow them to engage with one another.” Swear to God if I hear another “It’s not about the money. It’s about engagement”, I’m gonna stab myself in the ear with a fork. To me this explanation roughly translates to “Revenue? Oh this social media shit doesn’t drive revenue, but it’s a lot more fun than that other Marketing bullshit we do, and it’s the best explanation we got to keep doing it.”
 
Listen, I get it, social media is about connecting and engaging “on a meaningful level” (whatever the Hell that means). I’ve been at the Marketing rodeo long enough to understand and appreciate that there are many arrows in the Marketing quiver and each serves its own purpose, but I take you back to the tweet that started this whole thing…

John Lovett Tweets
 
It didn’t start with a debate about the role of social media; it started with a statement about its contribution to sales, I.E. $$$$. My less than enthusiastic response spoke to a fairly pitiful contribution.
 
But here’s my point (and it echoes John’s when he speaks about outcomes). If social media is going to be accepted as a legitimate business tool, it will eventually have to measure its value to the organization. If it’s not through revenue (assisted or direct) then it has to be by some other measurable criteria. Give me something a little more concrete that “It’s about engagement”, you know, something I can put on an excel spreadsheet.
 
It was John’s own colleague, Jim Sterne (@JimSterne), who wrote in ‘Social Media Metrics: How to Measure and Optimize Your Marketing Investment’ that there are only three true business goals: Increasing revenue, lowering costs, and increasing customer satisfaction. At the risk of putting words in Jim’s mouth, everything else is bullshit. Interestingly, each one of those business goals can be measured and some of those metrics have nothing to do with dollars.
 
So Social Media folks, what’s it gonna be? Are you gonna hang on to this ‘engagement’ rouse you been feeding the boss, or are you going to put your analytic mouth where your engagement money is and identify some measurable outcomes that deliver true (and measurable) value to the organization.
 
I’d suggest the latter, because as a marketing guy with a few miles on his tires, I can tell you that when times get tough, the people shown the door first are the ones delivering ‘engagement’ not the ones delivering Benjamins. Be brave, identify some outcomes for your Social Media efforts, and measure the crap out of it. You might find that you can deliver more than just engagement.
 
There, I said it, I’m glad.

Google Analytics Premium Should Expect a High Bounce Rate

Google Analytics Premium
So after much speculation and anticipation in the web analytic community, Google finally announced the release of Google Analytics Premium. After years of offering Google Analytics for free and gaining hundreds of thousands of users – who doesn’t like free? – it seems appropriate for Google to start generating revenue form what is a very robust tool.

So the big question is can Google Analytics pivot from being a free tool, and convince users (and non-users) that it’s new premium version is worth $150K/year. To figure that out, let’s look at what features Google Premium is bringing to the web analytics party along with my razor sharp perspective:

Features:
Google Analytics Premium Features
1. Extra-Processing Power: Increased data collection, more custom variables and downloadable, un-sampled reports.

Dean Says: The big feature here is the un-sampled reports. If you are a larger organization with lots of data then you are very familiar with seeing sample data in your Google Analytic reports. And when I say sample data I mean really, really, ugly bad inaccurate ‘laughed out the meeting’ sample data.

This might be the most important feature in Google Analytics Premium, especially for enterprises. Then again, if you’re an enterprise and you are relying on Google Analytics for advanced web analytics then you really haven’t been taking your web analytics too seriously have you? If you are serious then you are relying of Omniture or CoreMetrics for your advanced web analytics driven decision making and use Google Analytics to “check your math”… or to give Sally in Marketing something to play with that will make her feel smart.

Final Assessment: These features (especially un-sampled data) were a “must-haves” for Google Analytics Premium to play in the paid space, but for the organizations that need it most it’s something they already have with Omniture. They are going to have to continue to bring on more feature and functionality to make real inroads.

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2. Advanced Analysis:

Attribution modeling tools that allow you to test different models for assigning credit to conversions.

Dean Says: This functionality is critical to understanding which tactics are contributing most effectively to your goals. Most often there are many touch points and assigning credit for a goal (sale) to the last interaction is short-sighted and ignores all the work that took place to complete that goal.

Once again, this is functionality that serious enterprise users already have. If they don’t have it, then they are probably not bought into the whole web analytics thing to begin with and are not going to be swayed by mere presence of Google Analytics Premium.

It should also be noted that the current Google Analytics offers Multi-Channel Funnels which also give visibility into attribution and thus somewhat neuters the value of Premium’s attribution model.

Final Assessment: Google Analytics Premium is bringing forth a feature that is necessary and not revolutionary. The target audience is either already doing attribution modeling or haven’t evolved to that level yet.

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3. Service and support:

Experts to guide customized installation, and dedicated account management on call – all backed by 24/7 support

Dean Says: Of course I am going to want account management and 24/7 support if I am going to shell out $150K a year. Then again having account management and support is a great thing but if you are already advanced in web analytics (and in particular Google Analytics) then you’re need for a lot of support is probably minimal. That’s the beauty of Google Analytics – its simplicity. Sure you run into challenges now and again but when you do, finding support is as easy as going to the Google Analytics Forum. And while it’s not necessarily as immediate, personable, or accurate, the vast majority of Google Analytics issues do not require a lot of support. Alternately, support packages from Google Analytic Partners are available at a very reasonable cost.

Final Assessment: Service and support is nice to have, but if it’s that important, then you probably have the wrong people doing your web analytics.

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4. Guarantees:

 Service level agreements for data collection, processing and reporting.

Dean Says:  Really? You’re gonna tout SLAs as one of your primary pitches? The current Google Analytics solution has proven to be highly reliable (aside from data sampling) so waving 99% uptime is impressive, I am probably already getting that level of service now.

Final Assessment:  Reliability is a given, not a selling point. It’s like a dealer telling me my brand new car will start when I put the key in the ignition.

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Price:

Google Analytics Premium Price
So the sticker price for Google Analytics Premium is $150K which puts at a little above Omniture SiteCatalyst. I anticipate that this price will be VERY, VERY flexible and that one little flinch would result in significant discounts. The pricing, as is, creates to significant barriers to adoption:

1. Enterprises with the wherewithal to invest six figures in a web analytics solution are probably already using Omniture SiteCatalyst or CoreMetrics. They are probably not likely to switch easily at any cost, let alone at a premium. In fact, they are also probably using Google Analytics alongside their paid solution and aren’t in any dire need of a new solution.

In any given sales scenario, the incumbent solution always has an enormous advantage when you consider the inconvenience of switching to a new solution. Someone would REALLY have to hate Omniture to willingly switch to Google Analytics Premium. I mean seriously, who wants that hassle?

2. For current Google Analytics users the price is probably science-fiction from an affordability standpoint. The vast majority of current Google Analytics users are not enterprises. I’ll guess that 90% or more are SMBs who are thankful to have such a simple, robust, and free tool in Google Analytics. The keyword being “free”. I can only imagine a sliver of those folks being able to justify the leap from $0 to $150K, especially given the relative marginal enhancement offered by the Premium solution that are really aimed at very large customers.

If they are ready to make the leap from free to paid analytics they would immediately have to weigh the pros and cons of Google Analytics vs. Omniture/CoreMetrics. It wouldn’t automatically be a slam dunk conversion for Google Analytics Premium although familiarity with Google Analytics would probably work in their favor.

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Market Impact:
Google Analytics Premium Market Impact
So what will happen to Google Analytics (or Urchin)? – Moving forward Google will have to aggressively add features and functionality to overcome some of the hurdles mentioned above. They will also need to further differentiate the Premium product from the free version – perceptually, by at least $150K.

This will inevitably mean that features and functionality once destined for Google Analytics will likely become exclusive Google Analytic Premium features. This will be especially true for the more robust and powerful features. Google will simply not be able to develop the standard Google Analytics solution as it has in the past. Much like Urchin, Google Analytics will need to take a backseat to the Premium solution.

Regular Google Analytics users will grumble I’m sure, but in the end have to realize that bitching about a free product has no merit and they’ll need to either put up or shut up.

What about the Web Analytics Market? – Well, Google Analytics Premium is great news for everyone, unless your name is Omniture or CoreMetrics. Google’s entry into the enterprise space will have two impacts:

1. Better Products :  As Google Analytics Premium continues to add features and functionality, existing players will need to respond and defend their turf. This will likely mean renewed focus on new and better solutions across the board. No one shakes the dust off a staid market like Google and web analytics will be no different.

2. Lower Prices:  I smell a good market share battle brewing and the easiest tool to use is always price. Expect vendors to get soft on pricing to maintain market share.

So there you have it. Everything you wanted to know about Google Analytics but didn’t really care enough about to ask.

Wanna learn more? Of course you do. Here’s Google’s fluffy introduction:

Here’s a little more meat from CardinalPath: “Getting to Know Google Analytics Premium

So what do you think? Have I got this wrong? Of course not. So just agree with me ok?