Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thoughts about so called digital and social media marketing

This is probably the most general post I have written to my blog ever. However, this needed to be written out because I'm wondering these things in my daily work with partners and customers. Overall, I think we are living very interesting times dear reader. Communication is going through a transformation, no matter from which point you are thinking about it or which research you are referring to. So is marketing communication. Do you agree?
"Marketing doesn't equal as advertising."
Many people are talking about marketing, but they are really talking about different forms of advertising. Even if you are talking about marketing communication, still you are forgetting couple of P´s of marketing. There is no reason to speak about digital marketing because...
"Everything is digital and we are living in digital world every day."
It's a huge risk if your company is relying just for non-digital communication. As you know, there is a huge hype on so called social media. There are as many experts as there are users. Companies are establishing Facebook pages like they were putting up websites in 90s. "We kind of have to do it because everyone are doing so." Not!
"Social media doesn't equal as Facebook."
Instead of term "social media" we could use "Internet marketing". Internet marketing hints that you have a connections but with new devices and native applications (iPhone, iPad, Symbian, Android) it may be hard to say when you are "connected" or "online". With all this new technology, platforms and services, people need constant education to keep themselves up to date.
"Before you buy services from experts or consultants, you need to know what you are buying."
First, I suggest that you buy training, books - go to events, network and study online. This is a very good tip because I have been training concepts, content management, newsletters, social media, open source, web analytics and search marketing for years. : ) I give you few real life examples so you know what I'm talking about here. Would you buy 2 million Facebook ad impressions for 750 € or learn how to plan and target Facebook advertising?

Would you buy "Google Maps advertising" for 200 € or would you add your company information to Google Places in 5 minutes if I send you a link? Would you buy search engine optimization service or learn what you need to do content and link building wise to help search engine visibility in the long run? Would you buy a crappy marketing register or learn how to grow own, quality database for newsletter promotions etc.? Would you buy thousands of clicks or learn how to know which channels are converting visitors into actions that are relevant to our business?

I hope you got my point. Learn the new technology, platforms, services, software and companies that may help your business. What ever you are doing, you should define a strategy = make a plan. A strategy, in other words a plan, doesn't have to be a 50 page long ultimate document, but it should include the most important thing: business goal(s)!

Before jumping in to Facebook, Twitter etc. or before creating a iPhone or iPad application think these: are we trying to sell more, save costs or both? How we are going to do that and how to measure that? What is the schedule, what are the tasks that need to be done and what are the resources (people, companies, software or channels involved)?
"Most campaigns fail because planning phase is not very well executed."
I'm sure that many people are struggling with many questions regarding to communication solutions. Should we use social media and how? Should we have a mobile website or should we create a native application and for which operating systems? Should we still use print and how can we help production of print products?

What are customer contact points / channels and which are the point of sales? Should we establish a web shop and how do we measure sales between channels?  How do we manage content in each channels and what are the best and most cost efficient systems we are using?

Many tough and excellent questions. And probably many more. That's why you need to learn. When you know more, you can ask the relevant questions from your expert or potential partner and you won't probably make a bad decision. It will cost a lot money if you choose wrong person, wrong software or wrong partner. Here are three simple rules to follow in order to make success:

  1. Measure your current activities against goals
  2. Plan your next online service, campaign or activity based on the insights you have got from measurement
  3. Execute the new plan
  4. Start all over

Is it simple? What are your experiences? Throw in your comment - feel free to disagree. Join into a conversation - tell us what's your pain point at the moment? Show me your social side - ask a question! Want to meet me or ask if we can sell more or save costs: send me an email. Try Quick Response code below and get my contact information to your phone. You can download a reader to your phone from Upcode or Beetagg.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My presentation and notes from NXC seminar this week in Helsinki

Below you can check out my presentation from NXC seminar we had this week in Helsinki. The event was mainly about multichannel publishing with eZ Publish. My topic was quite challenging, at least very interesting: "What social media, search engine optimization and web analytics got to do with multichannel publishing".

We got plenty of good feedback for the whole seminar and once I'm done with our Youtube channel, you can see videos of all presentations. Here are my key points regarding to my speaking and like always, you can send me an email and ask a question.
  • You can optimize details but keep in mind big picture: optimize your business (= money). That's why we are learning all this stuff and why everyone will listen to us. 
  • Web analytics is not just tracking your website. Keep in mind wider perspective and measure social media, offline advertising and point of sales. Measure mobile / phone channel as well.
  • Social media needs planning, do not establish a Facebook page just because others are doing so (there is a training course coming up from NXC).
  • You should use social media with search engine optimization also in mind.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Multi-channel publishing requires multi-channel measurement

About a month ago, just before my summer vacation I was in the eZ Conference in Berlin. Although this time I was speaking about search engine optimization, the main topic in the conference was multi-channel publishing. The highlighted key issues being mobile publishing and applications. Usage of mobile web and applications is growing fast, there's no doubt about it. Tony White summarizes the development very well:
"In the last couple of years first newspapers disappeared from hotel lobbies, airports etc. Now smart phones and other mobile devices have replaced laptops."
You yourself can easily see this trend for yourself anywhere when you are traveling and I guess there's plenty of research data of the topic as well. TV and web are merging with these new LED-Internet kind of TVs or should I say displays. If you are interested about this topic, maybe you should read my TV advertising and web analytics research. eZ Systems puts this multi-channel publishing into its slogan: any content - from any source - delivered to any channel.

Overall, what does this mean for publishers and companies? First, very easy thing you can do is to find out how many visitors are actually browsing your website with mobile device at the moment. In Google Analytics you check out how many visits you got from each mobile operating system by country. Below you can see that 4,21 % of my blog visitors in June came to the site using a mobile device, quite naturally most of them were from Finland and little bit surprisingly iPhone was the most used device. You can also see iPad visitors coming in already in June.

I hope your company stats has much more volume than my blog but this is very good place to start. You can always conduct a little poll or survey for your current customers. Ask how many of them would use mobile devices if there would be mobile optimized website or a native mobile application? If you're using Google Analytics, maybe you should read more about how to tune it for mobile tracking or how to measure native mobile applications.

So, for some good reason you decided that you should have a mobile service for your visitors. Next important questions are: how do you recognize these mobile users? Do you automatically serve them with mobile service from which they can easily jump to full website if they want? How do you create, update, publish and measure mobile content? Basically is your content management system ready for mobile publishing or would you like to integrate your CMS with a native mobile application?

Unfortunately these are not the only questions you may have. Do you still need printed material or are you using outdoor print promotions or TV advertising? How do you plan your visitor journey and user experience across different channels? How do you measure these crossing points? Or would you like to drive visitors to physical point of sales / services instead of digital channels? Multi-channel strategy is not easy but it's doable!

I like this new concept of Berlin TV tower because you don't have to queue anymore (which improves my customer experience). You can buy your ticket from an ATM downstairs and use either SMS or quick response code to receive an information SMS back to your phone with your personal time of access up to TV tower. How convenient. I have written about using Quick Response code and I'm still wondering why companies are not using it? QR code is easy to create, program and measure. All you have to do is plan a nice cross-channel concept... : )

In order to measure print channel you need to use either QR codes or you can use vanity URLs. But do you use same or similar content in print and web? How can you help production of print and how do you automate QR codes or vanity URLs? Back to CMS: does your content management system have features that ease up production of printed material? You can integrate eZ Publish with third party desktop publishing systems like Adobe Indesign. Actually you can integrate eZ Publish with other important enterprise applications as well. It is not wrong to state that:
"We will move more and more from content management to business application integration and publishing!"
Perhaps in the future you have to set a different kind of criteria for your content management system as well as your conceptual / technical / analytical partner who will get the big picture.

As usual, I welcome any comments you may have and of course, if you want to have a private chat, feel free to email me. Or you can just relax and check out these photos from eZ Conference 2010 in Berlin. : )

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Search Engine Optimization - my presentation at eZ Conference in Berlin

Working at NXC Finland soon

I'm really glad that our company took the next, very important step. NXC Group invested in Naviatech and became a shareholder last week. We will change company name and brand to NXC Finland as soon as possible. Maybe, one day we will sell the whole company to someone, but you never know what happens so it's useless to speculate it now. Actually this NXC thing came to us suddenly but not surprisingly.

Back in 2007 we had an open source business plan around our own Navia CMS. I presented the plan to couple of venture capitalists and Tekes. Unfortunately they turned us down. I was a little bit disappointed about the reasons Tekes gave us. I think they didn't have enough time to explore our open source business model.

Luckily we had plan B in our pocket so we decided to stop our own R&D with Navia CMS and have a partnership with eZ Systems. It was a big strategic change for the whole company. We needed to re-think our revenue model and very early we realized that we have to focus on services. January 2008 we had a jump start with eZ Publish training and we started selling like Hell... : )

Last year we won the Rising Star of the Year Award at eZ Conference in Paris. That moment has been one of the highlights during my career. It was a recognition of job well done. It is a shame that Finnish press doesn't publish news like this. Instead, if you're laying off people, the news is guaranteed to be published. Second half of the last year we were in contact with NXC and I was joking that maybe they could buy our company. Well, it took off more seriously so we sat down in Geneva and Lausanne during the eZ Winter Conference.

I really like the style and attitude of Yngve and Christian. I think it's quite similar with mine and therefor our negotiations were quite fast and flexible. We signed a letter of intent in January and started co-operation immediately. Six months later we sealed a stock purchasing and new shareholder agreement, just before eZ Conference & Awards in Berlin. It wasn't the easiest process where I have been involved with. The laywer didn't help the process and sometimes I felt ripping my very short hair off.... ; )

Anyway, for now I'm satisfied, motivated and looking forward to our work together. This is a great opportunity for us and instead of having a small team in Helsinki we basically have 75 people in 7 countries. There is an awesome development power with 45 programmers. We're also having 5 people in creative side plus very good freelancers as well. From analytics & search marketing point of view we will start building a center of excellence to Helsinki. That means we're hiring web analysts quite soon in order to serve our current and new customers Europe -wide.

In my mind, it's much better and wise to concentrate in creating profitable business than run around with these public training programs or fundings! I'm very happy that instead of just money, we have a strategic partnership with NXC from whom we are able to learn more from as well as share experiences, references and resources with. Exciting fall and future coming up indeed. Some one said that it's not possible to grow and make a good profit at the same time – I would like to proof that wrong. : )

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Blogging about web analytics - What has happened in three years

This is a three years' anniversary post and 78th overall. It's really mind opening and fun to look back and analyze little bit what you have done in a year or three. When I started I felt some sort of pressure for blogging from other people. Today, I think it's pretty common if you're a blogger but still, there are many characters and gurus that are not branding themselves online. Let's do little bit benchmarking:

Here you can see search volume by Google Keyword Tool for different different people (May 2010). Petteri Järvinen is over Alex Nieminenmy sister is on top of me (maybe because of the hockey :) and I've beaten Mikko Helme, CEO of advertising agency Taivas in Helsinki. : )

Here you can see search volume over time by Google Insights for Search for us. Now we got confirmation that Petteri Järvinen's brand is in rise. I would like to know what happened for Alex Nieminen in the beginning of 2007? A huge peak in search volume back then.

Let's also take a look how many Google search results we get from Helsinki today for us:

  1. Alex Nieminen: 1 080 000 search results
  2. Mikko Helme: 546 000 search results
  3. Jim Sterne: 165 000 search results
  4. Petteri Järvinen: 86 500 search results
  5. Petri Mertanen: 56 000 search results
  6. Terhi Mertanen: 35 700 search results

I'm pretty sure that you will get different kind of search results depending on WHERE you do the search. It may be confusing from search engine optimization point of view when Google is geo-targeting it's search. As you can see from some of these previous search examples, I have found very interesting how pictures, videos, maps and social circle are coming in to search results page. Do your own rehearsal with these tools at time to time to check your persona., company or product brand against competitors! ; )

So what has changed since I started blogging? One of my goals was sales & personal branding. I'm sure that blogging has helped a lot in business, yet I have to confess that it's very hard to measure the effectiveness of blogging. I haven't done that much writing than during the two previous years but I have been speaking and training a lot. In a year there has been:

  • 17 posts + couple of guest posts (30 previously)
  • 14 comments - 6 of my own
  • 14 speaking opportunities
  • 15 training events
  • more than 20 workshops / kick-offs
  • couple of articles
  • lots of comments online

Blogging and speaking has definitely helped me to close some deals, that's for sure. How much and how? Don't know to be honest. I do have the same passion to share information and experiences but I sure would like get much more comments so this whole blogging thing could be more like conversation than just shouting out.

This year I have been little bit lazy about writing recaps of events. I have attended many many events and especially I liked Marketing Communications week, Internet Expo (web analytics panel moderated by Seppo Roponen) and seminar of the Finnish Advertisers' Association. Last year my highlights were:

 Here are some more social media "metrics":

I lost my old Google Analytics data during my training sessions... ; ) 

Note! metrics above are not equally comparable because of two web analytics systems Google Analytics and Yahoo! web analytics. (by the way, if you want to use Yahoo! web analytics, send me an email)

You can easily see three big peaks during this year. Those peaks are related to these posts:

Three years ago I was a rookie, at least when it comes to blogging. : ) Now I hope to that I'm reaching the top of mind when people are thinking analytics. Still, this field is very young and fragmented to several small consulting businesses. Globally the vendors are consolidating; Adobe buying Omniture and IBM acquiring Coremetrics lately. In Finland I just hope that we could grow the awareness of analytics. Instead of re-tweeting and creating just noise to social media why don't you open up and share your ideas or challenges you may have?

Right now I'm working with an important thing relating to Naviatech so stay tuned and be prepared to another post soon. Next week I will talking about search engine optimization at eZ Conference in Berlin. In fall we will have Internet Marketing Conference in Helsinki  so if you want to see me on stage you should put dates September 15-16 to your calendar.

Have a nice summer time - see you soon online or offline! = )

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Web Analytics Metrics vs. Hockey Stats

This is a tribute post for goaltender Antti Niemi, latest and eight all time Finnish Stanley Cup winner. He won the Cup with Chicago Blackhawks couple days ago and this was only his second season in NHL. Too bad that Hawks' victory took away the glory from Kimmo Timonen and Ville Leino who played with Philadelphia Flyers. Anyway, I have enjoyed Cinderella stories of Niemi and Leino very much during the past season.

Actually I got an idea for this post months ago when Leevi Kokko opened a web analytics seminar of Advertisers' Association. Leevi compared web analytics metrics to hockey stats so I thought to take this little bit further. I think one thing is common for these two; both of them are hard sport and you don't usually get big wins unless you haven't done some good systematic work. Here are my web analytics metrics and hockey stats comparisons:
  • visits = games played
  • visitor = player
  • page view = shifts
  • page views per visit = shifts per game
  • average page views = average shifts per game 
  • time on site = time on ice
  • average time on site = average time on ice
  • micro conversion = shot
  • macro conversion = goal
  • macro conversion rate = goals per game
  • micro conversion rate = shots per game
  • bounce = save
  • bounce rate = not converted visits' rate
  • macro conversions per visits = goal average against
  • not converted visits = shootouts
  • exit = penalty
Feel free to disagree with me or continue this and leave a comment. : ) Check out this great and very funny music video of Antti Niemi:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Working with Sitra - Public Web Analytics Case

This year I have been working with Sitrathe Finnish Innovation Fund with focus on their challenges in utilizing web analytics. Three weeks ago we agreed that the work will be public, so this here's my first post on how we started the co-operation. In the end of January I got a meeting request from Marjut Mutanen (@marjut), who got my contact details from my colleague Leevi Kokko (@leevikokkothanks mate, I owe you a pint...:))

We had a quick first meeting with Marjut and Karoliina Luoto Karoliina Luoto (@totorokiin the beginning of February. Right after the meeting I got access to their Google Analytics account and gave them an offer the very same day. The offer included some preparation work and a two hour lecture about what is web analytics. This was the kick-off as well as an introduction to the people at Sitra's side who should be involved in analytics.

Prior to the presentation, Marjut and I did a quick questionnaire with the participants, just to know more about their knowledge and level. I sent these questions to 16 people and got back 7 replies (answer rate 43,75 %). With name, title and contact information - we asked the following questions:
  • Are you involved in developing or updating of any websites (or web services)? Which one?
  • What kind of role you have in development or updating of these web services?
  • What kind of goals there are set up for these web services?
  • What should these web services do or produce?
  • Have you used previously some kind of web analytics system, e.g. Google Analytics, Snoobi? 
  • How long and how often you have used these web analytics systems?
  • What kind of data or reports you have looked at or analyzed?
  • What benefits you have got from the web analytics system?
  • What kind of data / information you would like to get from the usage of these web services?
  • What kind of development ideas you have got previously?
  • What kind of expectations you have for the lecture?
In the kick off on March 9th we had 13 participants out of 16 (81,25 %). You can see my presentation below:

After the presentation we sent out couple of feedback questions. Unfortunately we only got answers back from five persons (feedback rate 38,46 %). We asked the participants to rate the following details on a scale from 1 to 5 (1 - lousy, 2 - tolerable, 3 - medium, 4 - good, 5 - excellent):
  • content and expediency of questionnaire before lecture / kick off (average 4,2)
  • content of lecture / presentation (average 4,2)
  • speed of lecture / presentation (average 4,6)
  • expertise of lecturer (average 4,8)
We also asked: what were you missing and what are your expectations for the future?

Mid March I received Sitra's web strategy and we had another meeting with Karoliina and Marjut in the beginning of April. A week after the meeting we agreed that we will have a workshop together. That's another story I will post later on. Like always, any feedback and comments are welcome!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Next Web Analytics event in Helsinki...yes, it's on Wednesday

Last year we had two Web Analytics Wednesdays and Web Analytics Conference arranged by WAA Finland. Two of these were actually on Tuesday, but as usual, some of the participants continued the event on Wednesday's side. Little bit ironically, if arranged by WAA, we can't call these events Web Analytics Wednesdays. Or actually we can, but we should guide the registrations to Web Analytics Demystified site. This is because of the copyright issue so of course we respect that and Mr. Eric Peterson who created this event.

Anyway, this time, the next Web Analytics event in Helsinki is on Wednesday, 17th of March.

We are starting this event with Finnish WAA members from 5-6 pm. WAA members from other countries are warmly welcome as well. You can check out the invitation and agenda for member meeting here. Then just register to a member meeting at WAA's new website, or should I call it social platform of web analytics people. If you are a member, you should have ID and password in your inbox sent by Ms. Clare Madden. If you don't have login information you can always call/email/Skype/Tweet to me. In case you're not a member, you still have time to join us

After the member meeting we will open up the event for every one 
(6.00 pm) and we are having Mr. Bertil Melchior, Head of search Nordic Region, from TradeDoubler speaking about "Cross-channel Online Marketing Makes the Sale". Right after his presentation (6.30 pm) we will have drinks and relaxed get together with analytics minded people at Crush. I'm still waiting for confirmation from the bar so I really hope that we don't have to change the place... : )

Sign up here to see Bertil's presentation, hang around and meet your colleagues, vendors and though leaders.

At this very moment we have already 32 people signed up. It seems that the analytics community in Finland is alive and kicking! I'm very excited to see you all again and represent our new WAA Finland's board of directors. I'm sure we will have very interesting and event-full year ahead of us, although we started 2010 slowly. Next time I'm speaking about web analytics at seminar arranged by Association of Finnish Advertisers. Check out the program and sign up! If you're connected to Naviatech somehow, you can also sign up to our after party of Internet Expo 2010. See you around! : )

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sister wins Olympic Bronze - Olympic Committee shuts up athletes

First of all, congratulations sister and Team Finland for Olympic Bronze medal! That was an awesome job you did in women's hockey at Vancouver. There are couple of things that made this very special for Terhi:
  • she was dropped off (for some reason that I don't really understand) from Finnish national team couple years ago and now she made an outstanding come back to international elite
  • she was participating Olympic games in Salt Lake City in 2002 and Torino in 2006, but never got a medal  - losing the Bronze medal game in these Olympics
  • she has been so determined, dedicated and focused into these Games in Vancouver, although she broke her finger just before Christmas - scaring her a while with a thought that she couldn't play in the Olympics
It has been very interesting to follow her closely and I'm sure that very few people in the audience really know what it takes before hand. They only see the best parts - the final result in the score board. I played around 50 games in first division, second level in Finland, long time ago, but I know it takes lots of sweat, blood and tears...Terhi has been one active (or perhaps the only one) Finnish athletes blogging during the Olympic games. wrote (in Finnish) that it's a shame that Finnish athletes are not blogging. It's not a surprise because there has been contradictories from representatives of Team Finland. Reading Terhi's blog posts and tweets has made the whole hockey tournament and Olympics even more interesting. When I heard that there are rules for blogging, first I thought it was a good thing. After reading International Olympic Committee's blogging guidelines (pdf), I was stunned.
The more I think about it, the more angry I get.
You can read those guidelines for yourself, but to me it means that IOC is restricting athletes' freedom of speech. I give you a simple example: according to these guidelines, let's say two players in Team Finland, can't agree that they will do little video interview and put it online through a blog? I just don't understand why an earth these guidelines are so strict? 

IOC can't restrict spectators so why they are restricting athletes to communicate and interact with their fans? You can see thousands of tweets with hashtags like #olympics and #van2010. There are tons of links to photos and videos on site. People are creating buzz around this massive sport event and they are also linking to traditional media. The more buzz in social media - the more traditional media gets visitors. This should be a good thing also to Olympics brand - everybody wins, right?

I know that there should be some rules (for athletes), like there are rules in any sports. These social media rules can be good from privacy and copyright point of view. I totally understand that broadcasting during the individual sports events are dedicated to traditional media, but I don't understand why IOC is telling athletes what you can blog about and what's forbidden? 

Is traditional media jealous or scared about athletes being reporters as well? Why IOC has to defend traditional media companies? How does these rules support goals of Olympic movement, Olympic spirit and basic human rights? Olympics in Vancouver were probably the first social media Games ever. I know, and it's a shame, that many athletes were scared of these guidelines and they decided not to blog at all. 

I really hope that IOC will relax these rules for the next Olympic games and we will get more more content (text, photos, videos) straight from original source, athletes themselves. Not just stories that reporters do...As usual, let me know what you think about this - are those rules restricting one of our basic right and does IOC has a right to even create these rules?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Web Analytics Association in Finland

There has been tweets, comments and blog posts from Steve Jackson, Jim Sterne and Miles Bennet about Web Analytics Association in Europe lately. As a chairman of WAA Finland, I would like tell my story: back in September 2008 I heard that WAA was looking for a new country manager for Finland and I was nominated.

I was little bit surprised but also knew that I was one of the most active blogger and participant in web analytics events. I got selected, probably pretty much by Kalle Heinonen and Steve Jackson, in October 2008. I was thrilled and honored. My first questions to these gentlemen were; why you picked me and what do you expect from me? I was ready to work for WAA and these guys saw my passion for web analytics. That was, and still is, my first driver.

I love to share, teach and preach how useful web analytics can be. I was full of energy and inspiration when I started with the board of directors for WAA Finland. I have to admit that I didn't know much about WAA back then. Naviatech has been a member of WAA since March 2006, but most of the action happened actually during the Web Analytics Wednesdays in Helsinki.

First of all we started to plan how we could raise awareness of web analytics and WAA in Finland. We set up some goals and thought about the value for members. We agreed that Web Analytics Wednesday kind of events would be our main product, so to speak, and we simply started to execute these events. We did a huge voluntary job (Naviatech people around 200 hours in 2009) for getting sponsors, speakers, venues and participants in place.

I believe that we succeeded last year very well with over 400 people attending our events. In February we had an event around online videos, in May we concentrated on search marketing and metrics, and in September we had a big Web Analytics Conference about multi-/cross-channel Measurement. I was really happy about organizing these events, we even created a Youtube channel.

I will give you some numbers; our average feedback from all these events was 3,46 (scale 1-5). Our total costs for last year were 10.500 € and I guess we got 10 new professional members. It's true that we got 1.000 € from WAA last year (was it reward or bonus for having a agreement), so cost per new member is 100 € for WAA and 950 € for us.

Somewhere during the March there was effort for Nordic collaboration mainly by Steen Rasmussen, but unfortunately we didn't manage to have regular (Skype) meetings after all. I ran to global WAA first time in February and since then I have been involved with Steve Jackson, Clare Madden, Jim Sterne, Aurélie Pols & René Deschamps Otamendi, Steven Budd, Eric Peterson and probably couple of others. I have learned some but to be honest, I really don't know what are the roles of all these people? To me the global WAA organization is still unclear.

I had a good talk with Jim Sterne last October at eMetrics in Stockholm. I asked about organization, reporting and funding/budget things and got good answers. I did couple of things according to his advice but found out that the reality was little bit different. I have ran into copyright, cultural, language and even political issues during the first year. I have got different kind of advices and rules which makes the whole thing very confusing at the moment.

In the end of 2009 we lost Kalle Heinonen, Vincent Kermogant and Esa Peltonen from our board and we have been establishing a new board and actually terms & rules for our board members. We just had a meeting with our new board so we will announce new people and roles very shortly. It's very true that we have got a budget (around 1.000 €) for 2010 from WAA. Because of the new board we haven't planned how to spend this budget yet.

Jim Sterne said to me; remember that WAA is member driven organization, and that's one reason why we are planning a member meeting and combined Web Analytics Wednesday event somewhere in February-March. I love executing things rather than negotiating, and in order make things happen we need people who can act.

Don't get me wrong, I believe in global vision and appreciate any help but if you want to rule us and say how we should run things...then I don't think it's working. At the moment I feel that the international WAA organization is giving us more rules and restrictions than actually helping us. I'm sorry that I have to say this but that's how I feel right now.

We started this year by announcing a web analytics research in Finland. We tried to create more value for members but unfortunately we got rejected money wise by the WAA. I was frustrated regarding to explanations and the process. I just hope that one of our members, TNS Gallup, will still give some sort of discount if our other members want to buy that research.

One thing is sure: I will keep on sharing, teaching and preaching, with Naviatech, WAA or other non-profit organization (e.g. IAB) or community (e.g. I have got very positive feedback but also some shit - but that's normal when you do things rather than sitting on your ass at the office. I warmly welcome new members, sponsors, speakers and help - I really believe that there's a place for WAA in Finland and we are able to provide value for our members!

But...dear WAA, please notice that we are the experts of this particular market, please try to understand our culture and listen us even when we use bad English, please also notice the time difference and that we all have a day job. Please let us do things in Finland - don't expect us to jump immediately in with your heavy training & certification in English, when we have so much basic education to do with SMBs (although we do have very mature international clients as well).

I believe we can collaborate with Nordic and global WAA but maybe little bit differently - and if somebody wants to fire me, that's ok too. I will step down anyway in the end of this year and I want to say afterwards that we gained some progress during the two years I was a country manager... : )

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Web Analytics research in Finland

First things first. My sister Terhi Mertanen came back to Finnish national team and was selected to Olympic games in Vancouver. Congratulations sis! You can follow her on Twitter (@terhimertanen) during the Olympics although there are instructions from Finnish Olympic Committee what you can and what you cannot tweet or blog.

"Web Analytics goes to Olympic games." Jiri Brazda
And now to business stuff. According to a research by TNS Gallup web analytics has become a whole new branch of business in Finland. This research is proving many gut feelings that I've had working in the field for several years. Naviatech, Snoobi and Kwantic were involved in this research by planning and sponsoring it. Unfortunately we can't fully deliver or publish this research so if you're interested getting it, you have to contact Mr. Kalle Ahokas from TNS Gallup.

Popularity of different kind of web analytics products and services has grown substantially during the last couple of years in Finland.
"87 % of mid size and large companies are using some web analytics system. Web Analytics is supporting companies' online services."

However companies are struggling with doing business decisions based on the web analytics data. That's why you need to have an analyst who is actually transforming the data to useful information.

An analyst or consultant has to know the business in order to produce insights and concrete, easy to act suggestions. If you're just producing / sending / receiving / reading reports without any actions, you're probably not getting any real benefits out of web analytics!

Many companies already perceive web analytics as a constant process instead of executing a one-time project. There are challenges for getting the real benefits and creating an analytics driven culture. And still, many companies are trying to do all by themselves.

It seems that bigger companies are more willing to use consultants than smaller ones. Companies are in different stages of using web analytics and there is increasing demand of implementing and training. Ville Wikström from TNS Gallup summerise it on Twitter:
"Web Analytics devides companies: those who don't know what's it all about don't want to hear about it and those who know about it, want more."
According to study Google Analytics is the most used web analytics system in Finland with market share of 61 %. It was little bit surprising and strange that large companies are using free Google Analytics more than small companies. If you need basic training to start, this Google Analytics training by FC Sovelto and Naviatech (yes, I'm the trainer) is one option to start.

Web Analytics market, vendors and consultants, is very fragmented. Therefor you should spend some time to choose your partner, e.g. you can require that your consultant has certification. You can check my Google Analytics certification here and contact me if you need any help with web analytics in your organization.

Web Analytics is not easy, but it's not impossible either. According to Kalle Ahokas the survey’s results illustrate that end-users in Finland are moving towards a more systematic approach in their use of web analytics. At present the most important objective for the companies is to increase the amount of visitors on their web sites, yet increasingly companies also pay attention to measuring KPI’s regularly.

It also seems that many companies have accepted that they may need different analytics tools for different purposes. In fact, 34 % of Finnish companies already use more than one web analytics solution to track online behaviour.