Using Web Analytics to View the Landscape Not Blades of Grass

Avinash Kaushik is one of my web analytics heroes. If you’re a marketer and not currently reading his Occam’s Razor blog, you’re missing out on a wealth of great understanding.

In today’s post, Avinash takes the time to remind us that we too often drill down to the smallest data points, but completely miss the bigger picture.

He suggests four areas to review, before you start figuring out the browser resolution of the visitor from Belgium, and whether he uses a dial-up or broadband connection.

  1. How many visitors are coming to my website?
  2. Where are they coming from?
  3. What do you want them to do on the website?
  4. What are they actually doing?

Of course, Avinash explains each point in detail, so you’ll have to head to his blog, for the full insight.

SEOs – Slimebuckets or Geniuses?

Ladies and gentleman, presenting the heavy-weight battle for the reputation of search engine optimizers.

In the red-corner, we have Jason Calacanis, who blogs a whole bunch of criticisms of SEOs, without backing up any facts or responding to reader’s comments and questions.

…the truth is that 90% of the SEO market is made up of snake oil salesman. These are guys in really bad suits trying to get really naive people to sign long-term contracts. These clients typically make horrible products and don’t deserve traffic–that’s why they’re not getting it organically so they hire the slimebuckets to game the system for them.

In the blue-corner, we have IAC’s Barry Diller, singing the praises of SEO.

Channel Sponsors

Yahoo’s Product Pipeline Reveals Feed Mashup Tool

The blogosphere is  buzzing this morning, with news that Yahoo has launched Yahoo Pipes. Instead of simply regurgitating what’s already out there, let me just help point you to the various reviews.

But first, what the heck is “Pipes”. Nial Kennedy provides the best explanation

Yahoo! Pipes lets any Yahoo! registered user enter a set of data inputs and filter their results. You might splice a feed of your latest bookmarks on del.icio.us with the latest posts from your blog and your latest photographs posted to Flickr. You might automatically translate your favorite news sources to your native language, or only receive the 1 out of 20 news stories from your local paper that reference your town or local schools. A traditional web feed lets you select your news from a set menu, while tools like Yahoo! Pipes let you build your own dish with only the ingredients you care about.

YouTube Founders Selling $326 Million in Google Shares

Bloomberg is reporting that YouTube co-founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen have registered to sell 3.23 million shares of Google stock.

Hurley and Chen, who founded YouTube in February 2005, may each sell shares worth about $326.2 million as of today’s closing price. Sequoia Capital, YouTube’s largest investor, may sell shares worth $504.4 million.

Others investors included in the filing include:

  • Sequoia Capital (worth $504.4 million)
  • Artis Capital Management LLC ($83 million)
  • Jawed Karim (another YouTube founder; $64.6 million)

The rest of YouTube’s employees will have to wait until vesting before they get to cash out.

What does this say about the future of YouTube? You can’t blame the guys for cashing-out, but it’s hardly a vote of confidence.

Hat-tip to Pete.

“The Sky is Falling” on eCommerce Spending

eMarketer Daily looked into its crystal ball once again Monday to produce another collection of contradictory studies and quotations. This time, we get to debate whether eCommerce will plateau soon or continue to grow the way it has (article free & live for a limited time).

The problem with exponential or even linear growth is that as you get bigger and bigger, it becomes more and more difficult to sustain the same rate of growth—but not necessarily the same amount of growth. For example, if there are 100 retailers online in 2005, 50 new retailers in 2006 is 50% growth. Add 50 more retailers in 2007, and suddenly the growth rate “plummets” to 33.3%. Also, 100% saturation doesn’t seem like a realistic goal in this generation, so yes, growth will eventually slow down.

What Shoppers Want for Christmas This Year

Allurent, Inc. has released its “Holiday Shopping: Online Customer Experience Survey.” Their main finding is:

The survey revealed that a growing number of consumers (41% in 2006 compared to 28% in 2005) said a frustrating online experience would make them less likely to shop at that retailer’s physical store. And 59% reported that when they have a frustrating shopping experience online, it negatively impacts their overall opinion of the retailer/brand. In 2005, this number was 55%. The percentage of consumers who said a frustrating shopping experience online makes them less likely to shop at the retailer’s physical store remained at an overwhelming 82%, the same as 2005. [sic]

Based on last year’s study, I believe the last sentence should read, “The percentage of consumers who said a frustrating shopping experience online makes them less likely to return to the retailer’s website remained at an overwhelming 82%, the same as 2005.”

Sidebar Widgets Suck

I’ve just removed the external sidebar widgets from Marketing Pilgrim. As much as I loved having them on the site, they just slowed down the page load-times too much.

Looking at the click patterns via Crazy Egg, it appears few readers were actually clicking on them anyway, so why frustrate the 99% of visitors who had to suffer slow loading pages.

As a compromise, I’ve added a “pilgrim’s picks” section to the sidebar, which includes links to the Link blog, MyBlogLog community and job board.

I think widgets are fun for a blog to have, but when they start adding 8-15 seconds to a page’s load time, it’s time to rethink.