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!