Web Metrics | Search Marketing
Site Strategy

"In a nutshell, Jason created our marketing analytics capability. He was able to figure out what data we collect, where it is, what was missing, and hook it all up so we canget meaningful, actionable data. Our marketing efforts have improved leads and conversions in some cases by an order of magnitude. He knows his stuff."
Chris Foleen, Marketing Project Coordinator, TransCore, Inc.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Freshbooks Interview with John Marshall

Freshbooks had a great interview with John Marshall. They talked about ROI, internal search and Funnel Optimization. Some interesting points came out and some unexpected insights too! Here are my (somewhat raw) notes from the call. Good stuff.


Only 20 to 30 % of sales (conversions) can be meaningfully tracked back to the originating campaigns.

Holes in ROI data:

1. There is an implicit trust in the data that creates false hopes
2. Cookie deletion and blocking
3. Product recommended by one person and purchased by another

Beyond ROI

Try to find how successful a campaign is, regardless of campaign without depending on ROI.

"Average Time on Site" is the preferred new solution.

Not connected directly to dollars, but has almost no holes if done correctly.

Successful campaigns consistently produce more time on site.

Does usability effect this?
Yes, so some rules:

1. Only compare numbers against campaigns on your OWN website because every site is different.
2. Website redesign requires new benchmarks.

Internal Search

External search terms are polluted because people may not have wanted to find what you have.

Internal search represents people who have at least some interest in what you have, so what they type into that internal search box is much more pure and more valuable than external search terms.

Make sure internal search does not negatively effect usability.

Use internal search to bring forward what people are looking for.

If internal search hurts usability, then just use if for a little while to get some insights, then pull it.

Analysis of "no results" returns is very important and experience should be handled with alternate offers.

About Path Analysis:
Path analysis can be misleading and/or just plain wrong, especially "Top Paths" report.
The obvious paths are expected.
The long tail of random paths that constitute the vast bulk of paths is so convoluted that it is impossible to make any meaning out of it.

However, looking one page forward or back is reliable. Path analysis can be done only one click at a time.

Exit page is important because there is no follow-up page--ask what is wrong?

User segmentation is the most important feature of a web analytics tool.

Create a user segment based on people who get to a specific goal then see what the top exit page for that segment is and learn from it.

Funnel Optimization

Segmentation and goal definition is key.

Funnels suffer from some of the same problems of path analysis.

Funnel Background:
Based on traditional sales funnel like a inverted pyramid and is a linear process.

In online this does not make sense, because your website can handle as many leads as possible and does not need to weed out the weak leads.

The online sales funnel should not be funnel shaped because it does not have the same constraints.

The online analytics point of view of the sales funnel should expect to convert 100%--pipe shaped, not cone shaped.

Also, in traditional funnel, people either progress down the sales path or they exit. But this is not accurate for online sales process because they meander around and the sales process is non-linear, even in the checkout process.

Some very valuable data:
You can find what pages are influential at getting people to the final conversion page. By breaking the website up into stages of conversion, you can find what are the most influential pages at moving people to the next stage closer to conversion.

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