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Posts Tagged ‘web analytics’

Automated Insights now offers plain English web analytics

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Automated InsightsIf you’ve ever spent hours digging through Google Analytics trying to find the stats that are meaningful to you, you’ll appreciate the new offering from Durham, NC-based Automated Insights called SiteAi.

The first-of-its-kind service helps website owners find the hidden insights buried in web analytics by providing daily and plain English actionable reports in email.

It’s the latest use of the Automated Insights sophisticated AI engine, which sifts through large data sets looking for patterns and trends. Previously the company sold Yahoo a product that automatically produces recaps of Fantasy Football games, cranking out 500-1,000 word articles for millions of players at the rate of more than 1,000 per second.

Automated Insights started life as the StatSheet network in 2007, a very popular college basketball stats site, and soon expanded coverage to MLB, NFL, NBA, and college football. It was founded by CEO Robbie Allen.

Expanding off its first base

Using no human writers whatsoever, it published tens of thousands of articles for over 400 team-based web sites, over 450 team-based mobile apps, and thousands of Facebook and twitter feeds. The websites and apps are data and visual rich, with articles, charts, lists, and feeds.

AI’s Joe Procopio tells us, “When we became Automated Insights, our goal was to expand off our sports base.” The company’s mantra is to automate everything. “We’re still working on automating our ping pong games,” Procopio quipped in an earlier interview.

The goal of the new product, he says, “Is to help website owners maximize whatever their goals may be, not just report the statistics. But it does save you from needing to click through all those charts on Google Analytics.”

Viral pricing

Joe Procopio at a TechMedia event. If you're in the Research Triangle and involved in startups, you've probably run into him. He gets around.

Joe Procopio at a TechMedia event. If you’re in the Research Triangle and involved in startups, you’ve probably run into him. He gets around.

The company is “Eating its own dogfood,” says Procopio. “We have hundreds of websites and its a huge time-saver for us, helping us maximize impact from how and where we run our ads.”

The company is also using something Procopio calls “viral pricing.” He explains, “The product is free for 60 days, then we start charging a fee based on the number of people we’ve signed up.” The fee will range from $4 to $10 a month, he says.

Just a start

“The more people who sign up, the less the price will be, so it encourages users to tell others about it.”

Analytics is a sweet spot for the company, Procopio adds. “There is so much data and much of it is difficult to access. We automate reports and do it quickly.”

The new product, though is just “a first shot,” at product development outside the sports arena. “We’ve only scratched the surface of what we can do with AI,” Procopio says.

It’s a social world: Internet users spend one of every five minutes social networking

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

comScoreIt really is a social world: Internet users spend one of every five minutes online social networking and more than half the world’s Internet population visited Facebook in October, according to a new report from digital measurement firm comScore.

The report It’s a Social World: Top 10 Need-to-Knows About Social Networking and Where It’s Headedanalyzes the current state of social networking activity around the globe, providing key insights into how social networking has influenced the digital landscape and implications for marketers operating in this social world.

“The emergence and widespread global adoption of social networks has vastly influenced human interaction on an individual, community and larger societal level, and underscores the convergence of the online and offline worlds,” said Linda Boland Abraham, comScore CMO and EVP of global development.

“Regardless of geography, social networks are weaving themselves ever more intricately into the fabric of the digital experience, opening a world of new opportunity for business and technology.”

Key findings highlighted in the report include:

  • Social networking is the most popular online activity worldwide: Social networking accounted for nearly 1 in every 5 minutes spent online globally in October 2011, ranking as the most engaging online activity worldwide. Social networking sites now reach 82 percent of the world’s Internet population age 15 and older that accessed the Internet from a home or work computer, representing 1.2 billion users around the globe.
  • The importance of Facebook cannot be overstated: In October, Facebook reached more than half (55 percent) of the world’s global audience and accounted for 1 in every 7 minutes spent online around the world and 3 in every 4 social networking minutes.
  • Microblogging has emerged as a disruptive new force in social networking: In recent years, microblogging has taken hold as a popular social networking activity on a global scale. In October, Twitter reached 1 in 10 Internet users worldwide, growing 59 percent in the past year. Other popular microblogging destinations seeing rapid adoption include Chinese site Sina Weibo, with its audience growing 181 percent in the past year to rank as the tenth largest social network in October. Tumblr, which ranked twelfth worldwide in audience size, grew 172 percent in the past year.
  • It’s not just young people using social networking anymore – it’s all age groups: Although young users age 15-24 still represent the most highly-engaged segment of social networkers, with an average of 8 hours per visitor spent in the category in October, social networking is catching on among older age segments across the globe. In fact, people age 55 and older represented the fastest-growing age segment in global social networking usage, with the penetration of social networks in the segment increasing nearly 10 percentage points since July 2010 to 80 percent in October 2011.
  • Mobile devices are fueling the social addiction: In the U.S., 64 percent of smartphone users accessed social networking sites at least once in October 2011, with 2 in 5 smartphone owners connecting via social networking nearly every day. In the EU5, 45 percent of smartphone owners accessed social networks on their mobile device during the month, with nearly 1 in 4 doing so on a near daily basis.

Top 10 Most Engaged Social Networking Markets Worldwide

The widespread adoption of social networking highlights the global appeal of this online activity. Of the 43 markets individually reported by comScore, 41 markets saw at least 85 percent of their respective online populations visit social networking sites inOctober 2011.

Analysis of the most highly engaged global social networking markets revealed that Israel led all countries with visitors spending an average of more than 11 hours on social networking sites during the month. Argentina ranked second at 10.7 hours, followed by Russian (10.4 hours) and Turkey (10.2 hours). The United States, at 6.9 hours per person, did not even rank within the top ten countries for social networking engagement.

Top 10 Global Markets by Average Social Networking Hours per Visitor
October 2011 
Total Audience: Visitors Age 15+, Home/Work Location*
Source: comScore Media Metrix
  Average Hours
per Visitor
Spent on Social
Networking Sites
Worldwide 5.7
Israel 11.1
Argentina 10.7
Russia 10.4
Turkey 10.2
Chile 9.8
Philippines 8.7
Colombia 8.5
Peru 8.3
Venezuela 7.9
Canada 7.7

*Excludes visitation from public computers such as Internet cafes or access from mobile phones or PDAs.


Are you missing these tricks in Web analytics?

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

By Allan Maurer

Ted McDonald

Ted McDonald - Web Analyst, Verisign

One of the things Ted McDonald, Web Analyst for Verisign noticed at both his current and his last position, was the amount of junk traffic cluttering up reports with misinformation.

McDonald, who managed the web analytics program at Carfax before joining Verisign and managed web analytics at National Geograpic before that, will be discussing a few unusual tricks of the web analytics trade at the Digital East conference in Tysons Corner, VA, next Wednesday and Thursday (Sept. 28-29).

He is an expert at using Omniture products, like Discover and TestandTarget, and assessing the ROI of SEM and social media marketing efforts McDonald will be joined by dozens of experts, executives, and entrepreneurs in digital media, e-commerce, and the web world at the event.

Traffic that mucks up your data

One of the things he’ll discuss is how to detect that junk traffic and what to do about it.

At Verisign, he says, he has to deal with “A large number of people trying to hack us.” Seeing a lot of Eastern European traffic might be one clue that is happening, he notes.

Another problem he deals with is that of registrars hitting the site dozens of times a day. So to solve that and filter other traffic that isn’t relevant to the company’s consumer report, he looks at IP addresses and domain names.

He has triggers set up in the company’s web analytics program, Omniture, to alert him if a certain IP address is looking at the site’s Whois information a number of times a day and so on.

An allied problem to be on the watch for, says McDonald, is that for some reason, a number of site cruising bots – whatever they are – start visits on a site’s order confirmation page. That can seriously distort results if hits to the confirmation page are being used to count transactions. “It mucks up your data,” McDonald says.How

How many visits result in a transaction?

We asked if there are any metrics people should be looking at they might not be aware of. Mostly not, he says, but added, “There is one metric I like to look at that most analysts don’t: the impact of your pageviews on transactions. What you don’t know from a lot of standard reports – the top pages report, bounce rate, all of that – is of how many of the say 1,000 visits to a page resulted in a transaction five or six steps down?”

That is information that’s not readily apparent and “It’s something I look at that most folks don’t even know is an option,” he says.

McDonald says he’ll elaborate on these topics and others at the conference next week.

Do you need the web analytics in marketing automation systems?

Friday, August 19th, 2011

By Kevin Joyce, VP of Marketing Services, The Pedowitz Group

Kevin Joyce

Kevin Joyce

Let’s say you already use Omniture, WebTrends or Google Analytics and you want to know if the web analytics function that comes with a marketing automation system can offer you anything new. Do you really need both? It can and you do. Is there an optimal way to set up landing pages and forms in the marketing automation system to make analytics tracking in the traditional tools easier? There is.

The traditional web analytics tools like Google and Omniture do a great job of tracking and reporting on overall traffic largely from the perspective of the assets. I.e. most of the data is about:

  • Which pages received how many visits, bounces, exits, visit duration etc?
  • What paths through the pages did visitors take, especially paths to some ultimate goal?
  •  Where did the visitors come from and what browsers did they use etc?

In general, the traditional web analytics reporting treats visitors as an anonymous collection, and reports are geared towards telling us how the assets are performing – an asset may be a specific URL for instance.

The marketing automation systems largely offer tracking and reporting from the perspective of the individual. I.e. most of the data is about:

  • What pages did that person visit?
  • How many times have they visited the website in the past month?
  • Which pages do people with “CIO” in their title visit most often?

Notwithstanding the fact that most marketing automation systems also save individual anonymous visitor web history in the hopes of identifying the person later, most of the data and reporting is around what identified individuals are doing on the website.

  • Traditional web analytics is great for understanding the performance of your assets
  • Web analytics is great for understanding the digital behavior of your prospects and customers

And just as traditional web analytics offers some information about individuals such as their browser and monitor size, perhaps their IP address and location, so too the marketing automation web analytics offers the aggregate information about page visits, unique visitors, and duration on site.  The overlap stops there. The traditional web analytics tools are simply not designed to save and report on results by named individual, and the analytics are not designed to give in depth reporting on website asset performance. You will benefit from having both.

Here are some examples of the web analytics reports you can run in a typical system:

  • What percentage of my traffic is from CXO vs other levels?
  • What are the job roles of people who download my technical whitepapers?
  • What pages do people look at right before they purchase my B2B product from the sales rep (not an eCommerce purchase– that’s easy to report on)?
  • Is there a difference in which pages people from SMB firms visit vs enterprise visitors?
  • Is there a strong correlation between website behavior and purchase intent for B2B?
  • What pages do people look at based on where they are in the purchase cycle?

Another nice feature in the marketing automation analytics is that the digital behavior being recorded can be reflected in the prospects’ “lead scores” which can trigger alerts to sales reps. If your company had a big opportunity in proposal stage with a client, and the CFO from the client visited the website, wouldn’t the rep want to be notified immediately?  I.e. the marketing automation system workflow engine can send alerts based on context that includes the behavior, the account, the individual, and sales opportunity data.

A final wrinkle in this story is the fact that most marketing automation products can also publish their own pages: landing pages and microsites. Naturally they can track the traffic on these pages perfectly, but how well will your traditional web analytics do in tracking this behavior?  Most often the landing pages served up by the marketing automation products are in a sub-domain dedicated to the marketing automation system, usually something innocuous like There are several important items to consider when you set this up:

  1. Ensure that the sub-domain is listed in your traditional web analytics so that visits to sub-domain pages from the primary domain do not show up as site exits.
  2. Insist that the marketing automation team follow standards for setting up the URLs for landing pages and forms so reports can be generated by filtering for URL stems. For instance, perhaps all white paper offer landing pages have –LP- in the URL, and webinar registration forms have –webinar- in the URL.
  3. Often we want to continue to use the goal tracking in the traditional web analytics, and it may involve forms hosted by the marketing automation system. Ensure that the “thank you” pages that the marketing automation system sends the prospect to, after form completion, are unique to that form and offer, but perhaps have a common stem to facilitate reporting by offer or asset.
  4. If you are using Google adwords, don’t forget to add the adwords tracking code to your “thank you” pages served up by the marketing automation system so that the credit for the lead can go back to the right ad.

Kevin brings 29 years of experience working with a variety of high tech companies to The Pedowitz Group. He specializes in helping clients create effective demand generation strategies that focus on delivering both marketing efficiencies and revenue results. Kevin joins The Pedowitz Group as the agency’s vice president of marketing services. The Pedowitz Group

Two former Google employees prefer the startup scene at Spring Metrics

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

By Allan Maurer

Shannon Bauman

Shannon Bauman

DURHAM, NC – How do you get Google employees to move to Durham, NC and join a startup? Persistence worked for Spring Metrics, an analytics company that helps e-businesses understand what drives their revenue online. The company has signed two former employees of the search engine giant, a former product manager and an engineer.

“We didn’t actually look specifically for people who worked at Google. We were just looking for people we think are the best out there,” says Doug Kaufman, co-founder and CEO of Spring Metrics. But, he adds, “It does make the interview process easier knowing that Google puts them through the wringer.”

Google is known for its rigorous and daunting employee interview process.

Shannon Bauman, the former Google project manager, for instance, was asked: How many tennis balls fit in a 747? Why are manhole covers round? What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Bauman was at Google’s Mt. View headquarters for most of his four years with the company, but spent a few months at its Chapel Hill office prior to co-founding Spring Metrics. “There were a lot of smart people at Google,” he says.

“It was a shock to be in an environment with so many people smarter than me. It was daunting at first, but you learn to value it. There is a very open and collaborative environment there that helps foster the ability to get information from other people’s brains and make better products.”

Bauman says that when he started at Google, “It had 2,000 people. Four and a half years later, it’s 20,000 people. I was really more interested in working with smaller companies. I figured I’d learned  a lot at Google, but the the things I’d keep learning by staying there were not as important as those I would learn by going to a startup. I thought of doing one myself, then met Doug and joined Spring Metrics.”

Networking paid off

He notes that he did a lot of networking when he first came to the area and “The Google name got me through a lot of doors.” At a Southern Capitol Ventures brunch, Jason Caplain introduced him to Kaufman.

“I love the Triangle,” he says. “The people the greenery, the space. It has so much going for it.” He admits, however, it is a bit harder to do a startup because there is less venture capital and angel money and fewer engineers than in Silicon Valley. “The more people you have in an ecosystem, the more things happen. California has ten times more people.”

Spring Metrics got its start with Launchbox Digital, the only Southeast accelerator to make a list of the top ten in the U.S., recently, then nabbed a $635,000 seed round from LaunchBox Digital, CBC New Media Group, Zelkova Ventures and Steve Vanderwoude and Lee Buck. The company’s product simplifies Web analytics to show only the data affecting the bottom line. It lets users see what is driving revenue and how they can actively generate more conversions.

Kaufman says that “If it were not for LaunchBox Digital, we probably would not have started this. Because of it, we knew we would have a much better chance of getting funding.”

A startup can do what a big company can’t

Patrick Scott

Patrick Scott

The company also set its sights on a Google engineer, Patrick Scott. The firm started talking with him at a very early stage, but as he saw where the company was going, “He realized it wasn’t going to fall off the map in five days,” says Kaufman. “So he got more comfortable and excited about a startup.”

But there was one other piece that worked in Spring Metrics’ favor. “There is something a startup can do that a big company can’t,” says Kaufman. “That is to really show someone how valuable they are. For us, pursuing this engineer, he knew we could only hire one guy. We showed him and told him how valuable he would be to us. We didn’t want just any engineer. We wanted him.”

That, he notes, “Goes a long way with people.”

Kaufman says the five-employee company is working on taking its product to another level. “We’re going to make this more useful, bring on another marketing person and bring on customers,” he says. While the firm is not looking for additional backing right now, “We will be,” says Kaufman.



Atlanta’s ClickFox closes on $17.9M for web analytics tech

Monday, November 29th, 2010

ClickFoxATLANTA – ClickFox Inc.,  an Atlanta-based web analytics firm, has closed on a $17.9 million equity investment, according to a regulatory filing.

In 2008  the company raised a $12.5 million round led by Ascent Venture Partners of Boston with current investors Cedar Fund, Veritas Venture Partners and Delta Ventures contributing. The company disclosed the latest funding in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

ClickFox closed a $4 million Series A round in 2004 led by Cedar, Veritas, and Delta. The company was founded in 2000 by Dr. Tal Cohen and Nissim Harel, both former faculty and researchers at Georgia Tech. The founder left about two and half years ago along and the company now has a growing operation at the Denver, Colorado, Tech Center.

The company says its customer experience analytics solution provides a cradle-to-grave view of customer experiences across multiple business service touch points. With use of behavior pattern analytics and advanced segmentation, users are able to understand the effect customer experience has on key business drivers.