Saturday, December 6, 2008

Recap of Internet Marketing Conference in Stockholm

As Internet usage keeps growing, Internet Marketing Conference is defenitely a needed event. When eMetrics Summit is more specialized on web analytics and marketing optimization, IMC is more common and has wider point of view to Internet marketing. If you haven't been in neither one, I suggest first IMC and then eMetrics, although these both have several events in a year in different locations. Finnish marketers have an excellent chance to get involved in when IMC will be held first time in Helsinki on March 2009.

The big question in the panel at IMC Stockholm this year was that how possible worldwide downturn will affect on everyone's business? Companies will invest more to online marketing in the future according to several studies. And it makes sense, customers are already online and they are ready to buy. But beware, don't trust blindly your old-school advertising agency, ask second opinion and latest trends from your digital vendor. You can find these companies in IMC for example.

IMC is one very good opportunity for international networking. I liked a lot the first session in Stockholm: Everyone can be a keynote - where participants had a chance to introduce themselves and tell the reason why they were there. Still, I think there was too few customers and too few questions. This is a place where you can really challenge consultants and vendors, but you have to prepare your work related questions beforehand. There are top speakers and panelists ready to answer and have a chat, so don't hesitate ask and get worth for the money you're paying for the conference.

Especially during the recession you should ask from your vendors how they can help returning the money you're loosing to their bills. When the going gets tough, it's all about ROI (return on investment) and that's why you, a bright marketer should measure every activity in online & offline channels and of course, conversions and final outcomes. By measuring you know which half of the marketing was effective and which one was vasted.

In bigger companies you may need to change mindset of several people first. Marc Saarde said very well: "In order to succeed in measuring, you need to have data driven culture in your organization." I totally agree. It's also very important to have clear business goals in mind before any project you may have, whether it's creating a newsletter or search marketing strategy!

Hot topics this year at IMC Stockholm were (and still are):
And finally, my#1 tip for IMC participants and my dear blog readers:
"With passion in your work you can guarantee personal and company competiviness. Passion drives you network, learn, test and measure new things. With passion you will step up and succeed better than average, especially during the possible downturn."

Friday, November 28, 2008

IMC presentation available - Campaign tracking and Marketing optimization case

Magnus, Terhi, Lars, Lennart, Elina, Steve, Mira, Janne, Oliver, Henrik, Thomas, Tobias, Mark, James, Andrey, Denis, Jen, Stephan, Jesper, Katri, Marc, Henry, Pekka, Mikko, Nicolas - everyone else I met and everyone who watched my presentation: thank you for making the IMC Stockholm 2008 such of nice, usefull and relaxed event!


There was companies like Videoplaza, Trainers' House Analytics, Naviatech, IIH Copenhagen, Google, WebTrends, Maxymiser, Interwoven, Yandex, Unica, Clickstar, Traceworks, Creuna, Snoobi, Getupdated, Omniture and many many more. As promised, here is my IMC presentation about online and offline campaign tracking and marketing optimization at SEA LIFE Helsinki. I will write a recap from the event later so stay tuned.
"Good shit!"
Steve Jackson right after my presentation. : )

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What is Search Engine Marketing?

What is actually search engine marketing as a whole? Too often paid search like Google Adwords, Yahoo! search marketing and Microsoft adCenter is considered equal as search engine marketing (SEM). Sometimes, depending on the source, search engine optimization is included (SEO) as well. Even Wikipedia nowadays has a quite narrow definition about SEM. In my opinion:
"Search Engine Marketing includes different kind of methods to affect and improve visibility related to people, companies and social networks in different kind of search engine results."
Therefor, search engine marketing as a whole have to include several other areas of search. It is obvious that Google is dominating search business, but here's my list of different kind searches and examples you may consider when thinking your search engine visibility:
  • Paid placements or price per click (PPC) advertising offered by search engines mentioned above. You can easily buy your visibility, but I strongly recommend to use professional (sertified) help for optimizing your paid search campaign.
  • Shopping search. I wrote a post about shopping search in Finland, but if you're selling products online in other countries as well, you may have to check shopping search possibilities by target market.
  • Paid inclusions. Some search engines and especially directory services, except Google, may charge a small fee to get you in their index. This can be very similar compared to previous one.
  • Image or picture search. Every major search engine offers you image or picture search. Try now and have fun! Think twice when you edit next time your image file names for public publishing.
  • Video search. Probably the most used and known is the YouTube. As a part of Google's property YouTube integrates with Google search. If you upload videos, you may consider how you name these videos to get some search visibility.
  • People search. You can find people by any search engine but you may also want find people from social media services. Perhaps the most used in the business world is the LinkedIn and you can't talk about this without mentioning the Facebook. Of course, there are other services where you can find people (mobile number services etc.) and you can easily test how to find you or your company's executives.
  • Social search. Related to people search, you can also try to find different kind of social networks. For example you can find Omniture user group in LinkedIn or Web Analytics Association in Facebook. Can your company fans or product users be found in these?
  • Internal site search. You may have a search engine closer than you guess - in your own website. You should defenitely analyse your site ranking in search engines and which keywords are bringing visitors to your site, but also how the internal site search is used. This can be a gold mine as you can find out the "long tail" by seeking out those "zero results" with your web analytics system. If you find internal search important, then maybe you should have internal site conversion as one of your KPIs (key performance indicator).
  • Map search. Many search engines offer a map search and for example to Google Maps you can provide your company information for free via local business center. As video search, Google Maps are integrated to normal Google search. Check out below how our company is shown at Google Maps.

And beware: word wide web services are used more and more with mobile devices. We may already have or at least we will have own search software for smart phones. I hope you like more holistic view about search engine marketing and don't be a stranger, please comment if I forgot something here. : )

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hear me speak at IMC in Stockholm

Over the past nine years, Internet Marketing Conference (IMC) has been held in eight North American and European cities. IMC has previously been held in New York, Vancouver, Las Vegas, Montreal, Berlin and Copenhagen. It has attracted many of the world's top speakers in Internet marketing, web analytics, e-business and online marketing optimization.

After a little disappointment, I will be representing the case SEA LIFE in Stockholm. IMC will be hold also in Helsinki on March 2009. If you don't know anything about this event:You can also see this short introduction video by Lars Johansson and his recap from IMC Vancouver:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Chairman for WAA Finland selected

I'm very happy to announce that I will be following Kalle Heinonen's footsteps as a chairman / country manager of WAA Finland. I got a confirmation email from Steve in the beginning of October, and we had already the very first meeting with board of directors last week. I'm pleased that we have almost every chair and roles filled. Kalle's legacy is obviously remarkable - we are leading country in Nordic at the moment measured by the number of WAA members.

Still, as I wrote earlier, we need some good action and our main product will be...surprise surprise; the Web Analytics Wednesday. These events will be held probably on Wednesday evenings ; ) and for those readers who haven't been with us, it's a very nice and relaxed event after normal working hours with professionals speaking about hot topics from the field of analytics and of course, couple of drinks sponsored afterwards. So, if you want to get invited next time, feel free to send me a message.

We have very ambitious goals for the future, but I'm sure we will achieve good results and create positive buzz with all the people involved. As a chairman, I will be responsible for sponsorships and reporting our success to Lars Johansson who is Nordic coordinator and Steve Jackson who is serving the international co-chair of WAA. You can study more about WAA membership and get the answers why to join? And stay tuned on this channel because I will be writing about our plans and other related issues as well. : )

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Presentation of Search Engine Marketing available (in Finnish)

I was speaking about search engine marketing at eCommerce seminar this week. Instead of 60 minutes, this subject could easily take a whole day. If you're interested more in search marketing, SMX is the place to be. In my opinion, search and search metrics should be included to any company's key performance indicators nowadays. Here is the presentation I went through. Unfortunately it's in Finnish so feel free to email me and ask a translation or questions you may have.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Naviatech chooses eZ Publish open source CMS

It was defenitely hardest decision ever where I have been involved in. Almost a year ago we ended a solution and let our own baby go. We gave up the development work of Navia content management system and chose Norwegian eZ Systems' partnership instead. I think we had a really good open source business plan, but I guess we couldn't create enough hype around it for Finnish venture capitalists. Finally, although we made the decision already, Tekes turned us down too.

I'm not happy at all how these financing things went and what were the arguments, but what has happened afterwards - that's another story. So we're not going to make millions and billions of euros with proprietary licences in the future (I'm not sure who eventually can, Bill Gates maybe?), we had to adjust our strategy and position for the future. Now we have eZ Publish, a free (GPL) open source CMS for customers, and to support our services.

eZ Publish is not a simple "web publishing" tool and it is not developed entirely by the community. It is a hard core content management system which development processes and security has been tested and sertified by the US department of defence. This also means that there's a commercial company behind where you can buy support and sotware maintenance/updating services. From analytics and optimization point of view, there's lots of good features in eZ Publish:
  • easy page template management for quick implementation of web analytics software and goal tagging
  • version management with "show differences" function - excellent for A/B or multivariate testing
  • automatic page/article/element titles (which you can customize too)
  • clean URLs and possibility to make URL aliases
  • comprehensive internal site search
  • out-of-the-box tag clouds and sitemaps
  • editing possibility for alternative image text
This is simply one of the best scalable software products I have seen in this field. You can easily - by couple of clicks - add blog, event calendar, photo gallery or poll, just to mention few. Hell, you can even start selling your products online with minimum technical work required. When you're planning next website or new CMS or face-lift, I think you should evaluate eZ Publish and calculate better ROI for your online presence.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Web Analytics is Business Intelligence

I had a chance to participate an eye opener (at least for me) event, Affecto's Business Intelligence Forum 2008. In my mind, there's no question about it whether the web analytics is business intelligence or not. I don't see any reason why these two fields should be developed separately in the future.

Especially when you're having multiple data sources and that's probably the situation in many cases. Maybe in a dream world one system could handle it all, but in many cases we have to collect the data from different systems or databases and in some cases, unfortunately, we have to do it manually...

I asked from the panel how they see web analytics as a part of business intelligence and I got a straight answer from Juha Teljo who is country manager at Cognos: "Of course web analytics data has to be in, especially when companies are doing eCommerce". I couldn't agree more, and I think we have so many common things, as we both:
  • collect data from internal and external sources
  • define key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • try to do it in systematic way (process)
  • value people who analyze the collected data
  • try to benefit from best practices
  • use competitive data for benchmarking
  • try to find people for analyzing the collected data
  • try to improve quality of information
  • try to get more insights and better understanding for business decision making
According to Aguilar (1967) the most beneficial information is the one has been defined necessary and the information which is really needed. And that is not always the case with clickstream data which is automatically collected by several web analytics systems.

One very critical and important phase in analytics or business intelligence is to define business goals and what kind of information is needed. Accoring to web analytics business process white paper from Web Analytics Demystified:
"Your business objectives define your web analytics reporting needs: Objectives create the framework against which you measure visitor activities, and visitor activities are the basis for all of your metrics and key performance indicators."
According to professor Mika Hannula from Tampere University of Technology, there are three kind of companies:
  • those who make things happen
  • those who watch things happen
  • those who wonder what happened
So, what kind of company you're working at? : )

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Recap of eMetrics Summit in Stockholm

There was approximately 80+ attendees at eMetrics Marketing Optimizaton Summit in Stockholm last week. Little bit surprisingly it was a combined event with Search Marketing Expo, which made it even more interesting as search marketing and metrics are very important area in analytics, though event marketers should use this combination more wisely in the upcoming happenings.

eMetrics is simply a must and a place to be for people who want to optimize their business! Analytics and analysts have very important and strategic role in any company!

After the summit I had to review the definition of marketing because I thought this was also a business development event. Sometimes I tend to forget and think marketing = advertising, but the American Marketing Association's approved definition reminds it well - what it's all about:

"Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large."

Jim Sterne brought up an idea whether the Web Analytics Association should change its name? In the long run, I would say yes and I have already said that we should drop the "web". Although I'm not sure if the Analytics Association would be the right name as people wouldn't confess being a member of "AA"... : )

The everlasting question "Which is the best web analytics tool?" was there again, but I'm very pleased that most of the conference was about people and processes. Maybe even too much as I longed for concrete cases with actual data in. In my opinion, the best analytics tool will be some day a business intelligence application. There was so much good stuff that it's very hard to even write a recap. Anyway, here's couple of bullet points why you need to be there next time:
  • Networking. I met Jim Sterne and we talked about WAA and the organization in Finland. While talking with Jim Sterne and Steve Jackson, I met briefly Bill Hunt, an author of Search Engine Marketing Inc., a great book I have quoted quite often. I met also consulting colleagues, vendors (thanks Kalle) and practitioners - every discussion and person very valueable.
  • Best practices. Lots of presentations and case studies to learn from. And the best thing is you can meet those people in lobby and have a drink with them in relaxed athmosphere, exchange business cards and send an email later on to pop a question. And I'm pretty sure they will answer or lead you to another source. It's also a very good chance to benchmark you and your company. It was reliefing (again) to notice that there's so much in common with other companies.
  • Roundtables and workshops. It's not about just listening those presentations, there's roundtables and workshops where you can ask an any kind of question in your mind and you have panel full of world's brightest specialists answering. Isn't that just great? Check out photos from the event and you'll get the picture... ; )
Actually, you can get involved in developing the whole industry if you like. We had a good conversation in the evening, after couple of drinks of course. René Dechamps Otamendi from OX2 brought it up and Steve Jackson continued debating for one common tag later on. I believe it will happen sooner or later.

There is an open source web analytics system (atleast Piwik in alpha stage at the moment) and there will be probably others too. Whether we need OSS is another question, as we have free Google Analytics and IndexTools available. In those cases the matter is more about data ownership and export/integration possibilities.

An intermediate solution would be a standardized and open tag for basic data collection. I see benefits, but I'm not sure who would be the driving force and when it would realize? This sure is one thing what's on WAA's responsibility: to keep the conversation alive!

What's next? I had some sympathy because my presentation was canceled, but I'll try to get in Internet Marketing Conference which will held in Helsinki on March 2009. I hope to see you there or sooner in other events like Affecto's Business Intelligence Forum or the eCommerce seminar!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Speaking about Search Engine Optimization at eCommerce seminar

This week I will be at eMetrics Summit in Stockholm so if you are there, please feel free to catch me. Although I won't be speaking this time, I really look forward to meeting new people and "old web analytics buddies". I try to write some sort of report from the event as soon as possible.

Instead of eMetrics, I will be speaking at eCommerce seminar in October 16th, here in Helsinki. The topic of my slot is search engine optimization. Email me for a discount, if you're interested and willing to hear the following subjects:
N.B. By the way, you can add yourself as a follower of this blog right under "About me" text on the right. Or you can find my blog also in the Facebook.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A nomination for the chairman of WAA Finland

I wondered earlier who will be the replacement of Kalle Heinonen as a chairman of the Web Analytics Association Finland. Now it's clear that I'm nominated for this post. Have to say it's an honor and I truly appreciate it. I was a bit surprised, but I had also a little hunch of this coming. I thank the board of Naviatech which in great wisdom is accepting and believing this is a good thing. : )

I look forward to if other nominees are accepting their roles and the organization coming real. I'm really eager for the job and networking. I would like to see what we can achieve with several people working together and raising the awareness of web analytics in general.

INVITATION TO JOIN THE FINNISH BOARD OF THE WEB ANALYTICS ASSOCIATION

DATE 10.09.2008

Dear sir,

The International chapter of the Web Analytics Association is piloting the development of a board of directors in each member country which will follow the organizational structure set-up in the US. The first pilot of this structure is to be in Finland. You have been recommended to our Board Development Committee as a possible candidate for board service. We are requesting you to give serious consideration to our nomination shown below.The nominations are;

  • Chairman (Country Manager) - Petri Mertanen (Naviatech)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Get qualitative data to boost your insights - online survey tools

Do you feel like a camel going through huge amounts of your web analytics data? Are you frustrated for getting insights and wondering why people are behaving like that in your website? Why not ask them directly? Customer satisfaction is very important to any business. You can measure your company's performance and quality by observation, interviews and surveys. One-time thing can make you happy but well thought, continuous and comparable qualitative data is one key to success. As with your quantitative data from your web analytics application, you need to look at trends in your customer satisfaction data.

Web based survey is pretty easy and cheap way to measure the customer satisfaction. Of course, you can do printed questionnaire, but you'll have to do manual work to save answers to database. I recommend that try to convert customers online, keep the survey simple and short and you'll get higher response rate. Longer than 5-10 minute surveys can be annoying and too much for busy people. You can ask questions which are answered in scale (from one to five for example), but don't forget open ended questions. You'll get much more information from your customers, if they cant answer by number or simple yes/no.

Some web analytics vendors (at least Omniture) have a survey tool including their package, but you can use third party online software vendors too. In Finland (and probably they do also international business) you have the following companies, which are happy to help you with the survey:A relative for customer satisfaction and another thing is a visitor satisfaction which is measuring performance of your website. As some of you already know or you have seen this before entering my blog, one very good and free tool for this is iPerception's 4Q. There's just four questions to your website visitors and you can get very valuable insights for developing or fixing problems at your website. Unfortunately I haven't got enough data yet, to represent it or to make long term conclusions. The first one is about overall visiting exprience (scale from 0-10). You will get a nice indicator as a result.

The second question is about the primary purpose of visit and you can select the answering options from variety of choises. As you can see, there's also other free option. You can also think this as your website goals.

The third question is about task completion and the fourth is open-ended question based on the answer of third question. You'll get good statistics about why people visit your site, are they able to complete their tasks, why they weren't able to complete the task or what they like on your website. If you're interested, take a look at this 4Q introduction video (10 minutes) by Avinash Kaushik.

But, a little bit critisism too. It can be quite annoying and scaring for someone when the 4Q survey pops up before you actually enter the website. It would be better if you could define when the survey will open based on visitor's behaviour. And of course, I think it's possible e.g. with their commercial solution called webValidator. For example, companies who are running online store, can be interested why visitors abandon their shopping carts? And because I'm working mostly in Finland, I could use a Finnish language version of 4Q.

Another very nice solution is Kampyle feedback analytics. Kampyle is free as well, easy to customize and you can integrate it with Google Analytics! You can check this out by clicking the blue "Give Feedback" button on the right side, just on top of my profile, or the picture below. If you're intrested, you can also take a Kampyle site tour.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Kalle to Omniture, Dennis to WAA board of directors

Before happy news, I have to say I'm sad and disappointed about the fact that my case SEA LIFE presentation is canceled in eMetrics Summit Stockholm. Whatever the reason, I worked hard to get this very good case public and a little bit PR for both companies. Well - you win some, you lose some. I was asked to an another seminar to represent search engine optimization and a customer case. I'll let you know if this is going to happen FOR SURE. Good news is that I'll be in Stockholm anyway, as a guest. Thank you Sandra and Fanny for your efforts.

And back to the topic. I speculated earlier what Kalle Heinonen might do next. It took couple of months and now we know that Kalle is joining Omniture to help their business in Finland and Baltics region. As Kalle is also advisor of Naviatech's board, and me having bigger customers, this combination may open up interesting possibilities. Because of his current job, Kalle will leave his position as a WAA Finland country manager. I have been involved in planning the Finnish WAA board of directors, so I really look forward to who will be Kalle's replacement.

When Avinash Kaushik step down, Dennis R. Mortensen was selected to WAA board of directors. Although he won't probably talk for separate WAA-EU organization, I'm sure he will know the local challenges and activity needed here. In my opinion, we need a strong leader and lots of more member companies and individuals in Finland before can even talk about member qualification and certications. I think we have to spread and praise the joyful analytics message to raise overall awareness and interest for WAA. After that we can go deeper with standards and semantics.

I have plenty of ideas and again, I try to write more often. Although in next couple of weeks I will be quite busy as we're moving with my family into a house we just bought. Please be patient and stay tuned, I will have something to share. Here's one point: lately the challenges in several projects/customers are not technical web analytics stuff, they relate more and more on people, leadership and (the web analytics) process management...What do you think about this? Please share your thoughts and give me comments.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

eMetrics Summit in Stockholm - see me live on stage! (canceled)

My original home town Joensuu
I hope you all had (or some of you may still have) a relaxing and nice summer. Sorry for this long break in posting, that's mostly because of my vacation. During that, I spent six weeks with my family and did some travelling in Finland. We enjoyed Finnish summer, although sometimes it's not very pleasant experience to sit in a car hours with small kids, if you know what I mean... : ) (damn you Pixmania for screwing up the delivery of the car DVD system)

Now I'm back in business and will have plenty to do for catching up my posting frequency. Have to admit though, I did some work during my holiday. After couple of arrangements I'm so excited about the fact that I will be on stage at eMetrics Summit in Stockholm (canceled)! This is a huge thing for me, mostly because of my public speaking goals (thanks Tomi for the tip). And to be honest, I have to say that I haven't been speaking in an event like this ever. I should do a presentation with Allan Malmström, but I'm little bit afraid that this is about to change.

I have plenty of time to plan a good script as the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit will be held on 23rd and 24th of September. I will be in very good company as there are other speakers like Jim Sterne, Steve Jackson, Lars Johansson and the rest.

I will be presenting the study case of SEA LIFE Helsinki - From online and offline campaign tracking to the optimization of marketing. If you can't make it to the Stockholm this year, I will try to get my presentation public and put it here. If you don't know what this event is, you can read about the history of eMetrics Summit or just take a look of this short video ad:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Check out short interview - videos increase visitor engagement

Last week I had a chance to talk with Mr. Gunnar Lier, editor in chief of DN.no. Inspired by his presentation at Open Nordic and eZ Conference in Skien, I asked for a short interview. Unfortunately Tero's memory card just ran out before I thanked for sharing his insights. Well, here it is - thank you Gunnar, please feel free to add comments you may have afterwards.


But how can you measure visitor engagement? You can use this awesome model of Eric Peterson or, of course, you can start with more simple metrics like:
  • visits per unique visitors
  • page views per visit
  • video downloads per visit
  • average time on site
  • frequency of visits
It's also interesting to compare different kind of visitor segments. For example: do visitors who watch videos convert better or spend more time on site than visitors who don't download any video content? As you can see from the picture below, I had my only visitor peak so far when I published my first home made video interview.


There has been some discussion (e.g. around BBC's iPlayer) that do we have enough network capacity if we are spending more and more video content? Well, that's another story - we have to wait and see how media consuming changes...

One thing I do know: my big brand new TV has been used pretty much by my oldest daughter Mona, and I'm spending more and more time with social media in the evenings. OK, I watch sports of course, but this is why marketers have to measure everything, especially effects of offline and online advertising.

In some point I'll be writing about tracking social media. Check out also this very cool breakdance video from eZ Awards show. You can do this too...after 7 years of practice. Way to go! : )

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

One year of blogging - benefits and experiences

Happy birthday Pete Box of Analytics, this is the first anniversary post of my blog! One year old is learning to walk, step by step. I would like to know how you feel about the new name of the blog? At least I think it's better than previous "My work at Naviatech". Tell me your thoughts.

First of all I can say the year has gone quickly and it's been fun, but also hard when you have a company to run and two small kids. Thank you, my ladies, for putting up with me when the husband/dad is playing with his blog mostly on weekends. And thank you sys and Mr. Ed for reviewing my texts once in a while. Now it's time to look back and analyze what has happened in a year. There has been:
  • 30 posts - 2,5 posts per month
  • 26 comments - 50 % of my own
  • visitors from 41 different countries
  • over 2,000 visits and 1,200 visitors - average 5 visits per day
About metrics: I think page views and bounce rate are not good KPIs for these kind of blogs. Length of the posts has defenitely an impact on time spent on site. I really look forward to getting my hands on Google Analytics for Blogger.

I could try to find the visitor peaks by using the standard deviations but it doesn't make sense here because my blog has gained a little continuous growth of visitors. I did found out that these following posts have brought more than 25 visits per day:
Where are my blog readers? Well, I'm not that good in geographics and English is not my native language (as you have probably noticed) so I have to confess that I don't know a country named "not set"...is it like free for bids or not named yet? : )

This blog started like a harmless test with no specific goals in mind. I have managed to share some information and experiences, but I would like to get more comments though (especially my Finnish friends who represent more than 80 % of the visitors). Please share your ideas with me and the content to other people as this blog is under Creative Commons licence.

Avinash Kaushik wrote one month ago a very good post about benefits of blogging. I agree every point. One of the biggest advertising agencies in Finland don't have a clue how to monetize blogging, butI have to say that one of the biggest benefits for me has been indirect sales. One big corporate hired me as a consultant and case SEA LIFE had something to do with their decision. And most of all, I have learned a lot while working with our customers, researching and creating stories.

Recently I have developed my blog by adding:
  • rich content including photo gallery and video
  • search functionality by Google custom search
  • tags and keywords
  • feeds
You can now sign up to my blog feeds and get the information about latest posts by email. Now I can get the stats by Feedburner and I humbly ask my blog fans...I mean my blog readers (Avinash Kaushik may have fans) who have already ordered the old version of feeds, to sign up again. It takes you only couple of seconds and you will have more feed options to choose (go to right top corner).

Here are my public goals for the next year:
  • one post per week, not necessary long stories
  • increase visits more than 100 %
  • one comment per post (excluding mine)
  • one hundred subscribers
  • public speaking gigs (billable and non-billable)
Most of the comments I have received, so far, have been positive. I would really appreciate your honest feedback and certainly like to know what YOU think I should write about. Please comment this post or feel free to send me an email. And remember to stay tuned!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

What's the value of top rankings in search results?

Almost right after case SEA LIFE I managed to get one public SEO case too. These previous posts about search engine optimization relate to this article:
In my opinion, search engine optimization is one small, but very relevant part of web analytics. Instead of putting money constantly into paid search to get some visibility, you can optimize your website for certain keywords. This was the basic idea when IMS Talent, an executive search and HR development company (B2B), decided to use my search engine opimization knowlegde.

In this case we have used the Google Analytics for measuring visitors, sources, keywords and website goals of the customer. IMS Talent got visitors with right keywords, but were paying them by using Google Adwords. We selected a handful of keywords in September 2007, based on Google Analytics and Adwords data we had. We started working with one search term first, so that IMS Talent's people, as a content owner, could get the idea of optimization work needed.

The very first search term was "executive search" ("johdon suorahaku" in Finnish) and this time getting the top spot in organic search results was pretty easy. We succeeded to get #1 position in Google in the end of April 2008. All it needed was just content optimization, although it took some time for customer to make those recommended changes. From technical point of view we added extra features to Navia CMS, so that IMS Talent could write unique titles and URLs to each web page they wanted to optimize.


Now we have managed to get much more traffic with "executive search" ("johdon suorahaku") and "direct search" ("suorahaku" in Finnish). But what's is the value of getting the top ranking in organic search results? Getting people to your website is not enough, you have to convert the visitors and you have to measure those conversions. And you need to get the money in your web analytics reports for counting the value of top spots in search results and SEO.

In this case one website goal is the contact request. Unfortunately, the data tells that we should do some concept design and landing page optimization. Anyway, IMS Talent can easily count how many new deals they have got by this certain keyword. These could be their KPIs for first SEO project (analysed by non paid traffic and compared to other segments):
  • visitors by keyword (or growth of visitors by keyword)
  • bounce rate of landing page (optimized for keyword)
  • page views by keyword
  • average time on site by keyword
  • conversions by keyword (e.g. contact requests)
  • sales from contact requests by keyword
  • return on investment (sales divided by costs of SEO)
  • conversion rate by keyword (contact requests divided by visitors by keyword)
  • value of visitor by keyword (sales divided by visitors by keyword)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Kalle Heinonen Joins Naviatech as Advisor but Leaves Trainer's House Satama


Kalle Heinonen, country manager of WAA Finland, joins Naviatech board as an advisor. Kalle is a well known web analyst and he has been selected to the list of TOP 100 influentials in Finland by Tietoviikko magazine. This week's news is that Kalle is leaving Satama. And I have to say that Kalle working with us doesn't have anything to do with the last one. I don't know all the details, but he was nominated to Naviatech board in the end of April. Personally, I really look forward to Kalle's effort in next meetings we have.

It's good news for Naviatech, if Kalle has more time and energy for us. It's also interesting to see what will be the next step for him? I guess he has plenty of offers on the table as we speak, but I wouldn't be surprised if he has some business plans of his own. I'm also pretty sure that he will take some time off, breathe for a while and relax before any big decision. Kalle can probably handle very different kind of positions in the field of (online) marketing and analytics, but what kind of job is motivating him and challenging enough?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Privacy Laws Drag Behind

I have wrote about privacy before, and I really have to write again. Right after "vappu" (first of May), when veryone celebrates they have a job and get drunk (including me), there was news in Finland about mobile Internet browsing. According to newspaper Keskisuomalainen (article in Finnish) there are companies who have developed systems by WAP technology, which can track down and save mobile phone numbers of people visiting websites. By knowing someone's mobile phone number, you can also find out owner's name, address, gender and even occupation.

Would you, as a marketer, use this information for better direct marketing? I could recommend one thing: think twice! From technical point of view this could be quite easy and possible. Why not, I believe it. But, in analytics business, we should think and care about privacy. Although there's not a clear privacy law (yet!), at least not in Finland, this kind of utilization is offending visitor's privacy. As a consultant I can not recommend this to any company at the moment. If you want to do something like this, you should get visitor's permission for tracking beforehand.

In business to business marketing, which is much more relaxed about legal stuff than business to consumers, I do suggest to follow visiting organizations for creating a lead list for your sales team. But, in this case too, you should have appropriate terms of usage in place. Maybe a small link somewhere in the bottom of the page in your website... : ) Anyway, I think it's just a matter of time when there will be a clear law which will prevent some of the exploitations of innocent visitors.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


My sister Terhi Mertanen works at analytics unit of Satama Trainer's House. I asked couple of questions about web analytics and her work.

Tips for Succesful Web Analytics

Web analytics is hard and we have handful of challenges when trying to get value out of the projects. The Web Analytics Association is offering a good series of top 10 things I wish I knew when I started web analytics (by June Dershewitz, Alex Cohen and Daniel Shields). Last week I had a chance to be in Copenhagen joining the first Web Analytics Wednesday in Denmark and Omniture Summit. The trip wasn't just business but also a pleasure, as I stayed threre over the weekend. Big thanks to our friends Anu and Aapo for putting up with the whole family.



There's one thing that keeps coming to me time after time. Web analytics is not all about tools, it's more about people. In fact, we should leave the term "web" from web analytics, we should talk more about business analytics and optimization. Thank you Lars for sharing your WAW slides. Here's my summary and top 10 list about tips for succesfull analytics (not in any specific order):
  • Start from the strategy and business goals of the company
  • Analyse the data from different sources and prepare to give clear proposals for actions
  • Get money into reports and send those reports to CEOs and top management for getting the money in
  • As Avinas Kaushik says: measure everything. Try to measure every marketing activity and website development you have invested in
  • Don't get frustrated, analytics is hard and new things take some time to understand and good results can take years
  • Start small, but remember to create an (internal) marketing campaign of your analytics project to show the success case
  • Test and try new things, measure and prepare to take it back
  • Invest more in people (education, events, consulting) than tools, but remember to evaluate tools properly
  • Go to Web Analytics Wednesday and other events: netword and talk with vendors, colleagues, other practitioners, consultants and of course, people in your organization
  • Try to get KPIs in whatever processes you may have in your company
Do you have comments/questions, just say what's in your mind?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Challenges in Web Analytics

There is some kind of constant debate going on in the field whether web analytics is easy or not? I have to agree with Mr. Eric Peterson about this. I started with Webalizer somewhere around 2002-2003 and nowadays I'm a part time web analytics consultant with more complex situations (part time because I have an Internet company to run as a CEO). Currently I work in five active analytics projects with different size and kind of companies. Here's some of my latest challenges:
  • multiple web analytics systems in place
  • problems with data integrity and accuracy
  • customers having difficulties to create or understand KPIs
  • multiple vendors doing overlapping work
  • difficulties to start the continuous process
  • lack of time, people involved only part time
  • delivering reports, not actually analysing the data
  • difficulties to take actions
  • attitude problems
And I know I'm not the only one. Steve Jackson listed recently a challenge per month. Fortunately we can overcome these challenges, because as you can see most of them are people related issues. My next post is about greetings from the Web Analytics Wednesday and Omniture Summit in Copenhagen; new ideas and tips for getting the value out of analytics. You can already see couple of photos from the event on the right.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Counterstrike on Web Analytics Vendors - Yahoo! Acquires IndexTools

Yesterday the whole web analytics world got awesome news as Yahoo! announced acquisition of IndexTools' Analytics business. This is probably better news than Google buying Urchin couple of years ago. And why? In my opinion, Google Analytics hasn't developed much since the acquisition. In the mean time IndexTools has shown very good development and especially new version number 10 and Rubix is comparable to more expensive solutions.

How does this change the market? I have to agree with predictions by my colleagues Steve Jackson, Eric Peterson, Lars Johansson and the rest: Yahoo! will give some web analytics parts for free! That would be killing news for web analytics vendors, Google Analytics included. As being a web analytics consultant and user of both systems, I have to say that IndexTools is much more flexible and user friendly than GA is. For example campaign tracking is very easy with IndexTools and the system has been already a very good option for SME companies. If a free version is released, it will definitely be one in the future too.

If Finnish translation is not absolutely needed, I'll recommend upcoming Yahoo! Index/Yahoo! Analytics or whatever it will be, to all of our clients. By doing this, we can concentrate on analytics work itself, and as Eric Peterson says, people and process.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Online and offline campaign tracking

This is an excellent case story about online and offline campaign tracking with one of our customers. My second post in history was about SEA LIFE Helsinki and how they tracked their visitors. Now we went little deeper in web analytics, or should I say, optimization of marketing. Sea Life Helsinki opened the winter show over a month ago and we pushed measuring into this project. The campaign included two basic ideas: a pike fishing story competition and 2 in 1 special offer coupon to bring customers at their slowest time, wednesday evenings.


SEA LIFE Helsinki decided to use both offline and online advertising to promote the winter show in aquarium. They had on outdoor advertisement in place for one week and in addition, a magazine article and a press release. They also send a newsletter and we ran a small Google Adwords campaign just to test how online ads worked versus offline advertising. So, we used IndexTools web analytics system for measuring traffic from these different sources. And actually we measured much more than just clicks (click the picture below for getting a better view of the table).



We counted or evaluated impressions, and by doing that, we got either exact (newsletter) or approximate (article based on circulation) click through rate (CTR). We counted also cost of each channel, so we got also a KPI called cost per click (CPC). We measured actions, which in this case were amount of coupon prints, and we got another KPI called cost per action (CPA). And finally, we counted conversion rate, actions divided by clicks (visitors). Unfortunately, if adult entrance fee is 13,50 €, the cost per action is too high in general.

But, we have to remember one important thing: we didn't use campaign specific domain name in outdoor advertising, just sub address www.sealife.fi/something. It's not absolute truth that outdoor advertising didn't work at all because people are lazy or just don't remember the whole address and they type just www.sealife.fi . Anyway, the table above includes very much valuable information for marketing and especially next campaign planning.


SEA LIFE has also other website goals what we measure. For example at the same timeframe they got 10 request of offers and one of them came from campaign newsletter. You should propably count this in, especially if it turned out to sales. We also found that newsletters were the most effective way in this particular marketing mix. But at the same time total newsletter subsciption conversion rate was only 0,04 %. Based on this data, one development idea is that we have to get more newsletter subscriptions and we have to bring the sign up form more visible. This is clear suggestion for action and what the web analytics is all about.

This is not all. As you can see, there's a bar code in the coupon. SEA LIFE actually counted customers and sales from the campaign. When customers arrived and gave the coupon, SEA LIFE's cash system was able to read in the bar code. After a month there was 89 returned coupons generating approximately 1.400 € turnover. We have to wait until the end of April, when campaign ends, to get final results. If you look the return on ad spent (ROAS, total revenue divided by total costs) at the moment - it's pretty poor, only 34 %.

The best thing is that we can learn great things from this project, such as which are the most effective channels and what is the best marketing mix in general. SEA LIFE also has to compare their whole turnover e.g. last year's or last month's turnover because every printed coupon is not returned but the visitors are still converting to customers. There are so many variables and this makes web analytics and marketing optimization so challenging. It's not easy and that's why I like it a lot.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

How to track calls from your web site

Measuring contacts from your web site is very important for any business. The easiest one is to measure how may requests you get via a simple contact form . You can also count how many visitors clicked your email address, Skype or chat button. Measuring incoming calls are little bit harder but very crucial to understand the whole effect of your online presence and any marketing activity. And yes, you have couple of options how to track calls from your web site. You can simply have one phone number, reserved and showed only at your site (or a marketing campaign). In this case you know that any incoming call comes from your web site or certain campaign. With eStara's call tracking solution you can also:
  • measure number of calls (hourly, daily, weekly, monthly)
  • forward calls to multiple destinations
  • record calls (check your local privacy law)
  • save caller details such as phone number and name (check your local privacy law), geographical location and call duration
eStara has also two other quite handy solutions called click to call and click to chat. You can actually put a simple "talk to us" button to your web site as many visitors and potential customers want to call rather than fill forms or write emails. Depending on situation you can use "call us free" or pay per call strategy or something between, like Amazon does. And if you want to take this deeper, here are my KPIs (key performance indicators) for call tracking:
  • call conversion rate, number of incoming calls divided by total number of web site visitors
  • call click through rate (CTR), number of actual calls divided by number of "call us" button clicks or vice versa, call abandonment rate
  • average time of call, especially if you get revenue from calls (pay per minute)
  • wrong number rate, number of falls calls divided by total number of calls
  • total revenue from calls, in case of pay per call or lead generation for off line sales
  • cost per call, almost same as more common one, cost per click (CPC)
  • return on investment (ROI) for campaigns aiming to incoming calls (and revenue)
You can link this click to call experience (or web site user exprience in general as well) to customer satisfaction survey. i Perceptions and Avinas Kaushik just presented a free tool for this called 4Q. Do you have your own experiences for call tracking? I would like to hear your comments and feedback.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Shopping Search in Finland

People are shopping online and that's a fact. According to a research of Statistics Finland, almost half of Finnish people had bought something from the web in 2006. Unfortunately there’s no such a cool thing as Google shopping search here, so comparing prices and online stores can be time consuming task, although it's still lot of easier than running around different physical locations.

If you have or would like to establish an online store, we have couple of options for search visibility (mostly in Finnish). Almost each of these announce different metrics about usage: page views, visitors and unique visitors. Hard to say whether these are really good for your online business, but they are probably worth to mention:
  • Webinfo.fi - in my opinion, this is the closest match on Google’s unpaid shopping search. Unfortunately it seems like you can't submit your products (for free like Google.com) and the search is probably based on their own algorithm. They say in January 2008 there was over 976 000 unique visitors.
  • Vertaa.fi - cost per click (CPC) pricing method for sellers, a click price depends on product category. You pay more if you have visibility in a hot category, set up fee case by case. They say there's 600 000 unique visitors in month.
  • Ostokset.fi - over 100 sellers and 100 000 products. Maximum price for sellers is 50 euros per month. They say there's approximately 2 million page views each month.
  • Hintaseuranta - over 100 sellers and over 38 000 products, mainly electronics stuff. They say there's hundreds of thousands visitors each week.
  • Vaivaton.com - 1119 sellers and over 196 000 products. Price for seller is 120 euros per year.
In addition, Afterdawn and Vertailu.info are based on Google's customized search. Kaupat.com lists different kind of online stores, not actual products. Soprano Kauppakeskus has same kind of idea with nice visual layout and interface. Let me hear if I missed something here?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Global Thoughtz from Finland

Thank you Lars for getting me involved in Global Thoughtz Scandinavia. As they say: "We searched the globe for the brightest bloggers who have a passion for online marketing"...Well, I agree the passion but I totally leave rest of the responsibility to Manoj Jasra who carefully evaluated the blogger. : ) My first post at Global Thoughtz was about search engines in Finland, completing the same topic in this blog earlier. I hope to get some support and more accurate statistics on this one from Dennis in the future.

One of my team mates asked me to write about hockey. Here it is, analysis for our team G-force: This season we simple suck and we're not going to make the playoffs! Only one win, 7 losses and 2 ties with 5 games remaining. Unfortunately, in our hobby league, that's pretty much all the statistics we get, so I don't have to analyse saving or shooting percentages etc. I don't even know how many goals I have scored (not many though). Maybe the information is somewhere but if you're interested, take a look at Eurohockey's stats - a piece from my hockey career.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

IndexTools may break through in Finland

I couldn't agree more with Satama's Steve Jackson about IndexTools. Some of the Naviatech's customers know IndexTools as Navia Data, but this is about to change pretty soon. IndexTools has announced that they will introduce Marketing Optimization Framework which will be based on a new version, Web Analytics 10. I had a chance to preview it last week and I have to say, I was very impressed. There will be more functionality such as external data source integration - a function which will truly lead web analytics towards business intelligence.

Especially the new system has a very good usability. And as Steve said, it's very flexible. In my opinion, this is very important because not only professional web analysts use it, but also the end customers. Nowadays I'm consulting more and more marketers, even executives, to use web analytics systems. And when they learn more about KPIs and see the figures (benefits), they will expand the SEM or web analytics project and the budget as well. It's important for web analytics vendors to offer the consulting services too.

IndexTools' success won't come by itself as they have only couple of partners in Finland at the moment. They have to do more marketing to become more visible and gain more market share. IndexTools has excellent chance, e.g . with the new product Rubix. Customers will find out pretty soon that Google Analytics or Snoobi won't offer functionality they need. Omniture/Visual Sciences is very good, but the licence fees are quite expensive and solutions more suitable for big corporates. IndexTools' aggressive pricing suits well for Finnish markets where over 90 % of the companies are small and medium sized. And with the whole package, IndexTools is very competitive also in fullfilling the needs of the bigger customers.