Archive for April, 2009

Are You Coming to Emetrics?

It’s almost amazing to consider that it has been a full year since the last Emetrics “West” event in California — what with so many changes and little Luca Dechamps Otamendi turning one — but it is again time to gather together and bask in the glory of Mr. Sterne’s excellent event. I am again honored to be presenting to a combined track, this time on Wednesday, May 6th at 11:00 AM, and will be giving an update of my “Competing on Web Analytics” presentation that resonates so well with, well, pretty much everyone who has seen it.

The update is important and stems from a bunch of research I have been doing for the past six months. Given the launch of Yahoo Web Analytics 9.5 today and the recent opening up of the Google Analytics APIs I am busier than ever talking with companies who are trying to find the “right” balance of technology, people, and process.

Also, as I do from time to time I have a really big announcement that I will be making at the beginning of my talk. Last time I quit my job at Visual Sciences to start Web Analytics Demystified … this time? Come to the talk and be the first to find out!

I hope you’ll drop by and see my talk, again: Wednesday, May 6th at 11:00 AM.

I am also speaking briefly in the “Softer Side of Metrics” panel with Mr. Stephen “Recently Elected to the WAA Board” Hamel and folks from BT Buckets and Firefox on Thursday, May 7th at 11:00 AM. This should be fun since I’ll get to introduce the larger web analytics community to the work I have been doing with Twitalyzer.

Also, don’t forget about the Emetrics edition of Web Analytics Wednesday which is, as always, open to conference attendees and the local community alike. We have something special planned to honor our recently deceased colleague Hosam Elkhodary so I hope you’ll sign up (so we can get a good count) and join us at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose.

Finally, as always I go to Emetrics to meet with as many people as I possibly can and operate under the “I can sleep when I get home” mentality. If you’ve read my books, read my blog, enjoy Twitalyzer, or just have always wanted to ask me something please feel free to reach out … literally if you see me passing by or by Twittering me at @erictpeterson and setting up a time to meet.

(If you can’t make it to San Jose the next big analytics event in the U.S. is the X Change Conference September 9, 10, and 11 in San Francisco. I’m a huge fan (and partner) in the X Change so I’d love to tell you more about it if you’re interested!)

I hope to see you in San Jose!

Published on April 29, 2009 under Events, Presentations, Web Analytics Wednesday

Interview on Social Media and Analytics

I have done hundreds of interviews with all kinds of media in my years in web analytics. Some of these interviews have turned out well, some less well, but rarely do I get to participate in a conversation about analytics that afterwards I think “Phew, that was cool.”

A few weeks ago I got to do exactly that thanks to Brent Leary at CRM Essentials.

If you have a few minutes and want to hear my recent thoughts on a variety of subjects including getting started in analytics, the impact of analytics on social media, and the work I’ve done recently on Twitalyzer, please take the time to listen to this interview.

Brent is a totally engaging interviewer and he pushed the conversation along in unexpected ways. I have been getting tons of good feedback already but, as always, I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Published on April 26, 2009 under Interviews

Is Your Attribution Model Appropriate?

Recently I have spent an awful lot of time thinking about and talking about data accuracy issues in the field of web analytics. The widespread use of cookies as a tracking mechanism and the underlying assumption that “one cookie = one visitor” is a big part of the problem, but cookies are not the only problem. Another problem, one that I actually believe to be more substantial than cookies and visitors, is  the challenge of campaign attribution.

Challenge? What’s hard about campaign attribution? You tag campaigns and web analytics tells you what works, right? You get pretty ROI graphs and click-reports and all that fun stuff? Campaign analytics is easy!

Wrong.

One of the best-kept secrets in online marketing is that most campaign attribution data is completely wrong and the models used to evaluate campaign performance are wholly inappropriate.  The relative nascence of digital marketing practices, combined with conflicting measurement systems and poorly understood interaction between online marketing channels, likely means that hundreds of millions of dollars are wasted annually on marketing efforts that don’t produce their intended results.

Companies are increasingly responding to this observation by re-examining their marketing measurement systems.  Even the most cursory analysis yields a great deal of information about the “campaign attribution problem.”  Popularized recently by Microsoft with their “Engagement Mapping” efforts as well as analysis published by Forrester Research and others, it is clear that the most widely used online campaign attribution model is inherently flawed.

To correct these flaws and begin to improve both the accuracy of measurement and the general understanding of how marketing really works online, Web Analytics Demystified recommends a new approach to campaign analysis.  Dubbed “Appropriate Attribution”, the approach leverages widely available but infrequently used data to triangulate towards the true value of online marketing efforts.

Given that the majority of online advertisers have direct response goals, and that most marketers are still generally unsatisfied with the campaign measurement tools at their disposal, Web Analytics Demystified believes that Appropriate Attribution is the first step towards improving companies’ collective understanding of their digital marketing efforts.

Eventually marketers will have access to robust warehouses of data detailing consumer interaction with online media and advertising, but the adage “you must walk before you can run” is as true in digital marketing as it is in life.  Before business owners and marketers become fully equipped to benefit from complex marketing mix analysis of online and offline channels, they are well advised to address the campaign attribution problem to increase the return on their valuable dollars spent for online marketing efforts.

Thanks to the fine folks at Coremetrics you can read all about Appropriate Attribution and learn how you can start to get a better understanding of your online marketing efforts today.

Download your copy of the Appropriate Attribution paper from Coremetrics today.

Published on April 20, 2009 under General Web Analytics, Research, Vendors, White Papers

Hosam Elkhodary

UPDATE: There is information at the bottom of this post about how to make a donation in Hosam’s memory from June Li in the Web Analytics Forum.

On Tuesday of this week the web analytics community lost a passionate advocate with the passing of Hosam Elkhodary. I had the pleasure of working with Hosam just after founding Web Analytics Demystified as well as spending time with him at many an Emetrics. There are many blog posts about Hosam out there but the most touching is Mike Sukmanowsky’s — Hosam clearly had the same impact on Mike as he did on many of us. I encourage you to read Mike’s post and comment there if you knew Hosam.

Hosam will be missed.

FROM THE WEB ANALYTICS FORUM:

Some additional information for those who are interested in contributing to the Heart and Stroke Foundation fund for Hosam. You can donate online here:

http://www.heartandstroke.on.ca/site/c.pvI3IeNWJwE/b.3581623/k.C08D/Donate.htm

In addition designating that the contribution is in memoriam of Hosam, please make sure you address the card as follows, which will doubly ensure the donation is directed properly:

Abdalla Elkhodary
7 Delaney Drive
Ajax, Ontario
L1T 4B2

Published on April 10, 2009 under Web Analytics People

WAA Board Election: Don’t Forget to Vote!

I finally had a chance to look at the fine group of folks running for Web Analytics Association Board of Directors in this go-around and I have to say I am mighty impressed! Not that the WAA doesn’t already have an amazing group of Directors, but wow, some serious contenders each with a ton of experience in the sector running this time around.  If you haven’t already voted, have a look at the consultants, practitioners, and vendors running in this year’s election.

This is actually a unique election given that none of the existing Directors who have the ability to run again have chosen to do so. The few I have talked to about this have cited “time” as the major factor but no doubt the WAA will miss April Wilson’s passion, Neil Mason and Laura Paxia’s experience and European perspective, and Seth Romanow’s historical knowledge of the Association. Thankfully Jim Sterne will still be serving as Chairman of the Board (right Jim?)

I really like the approach the WAA took this time interviewing each candidate and putting the text and recording on the Association web site. It certainly helps us learn a little more about each candidate which will make a difficult vote a little easier. I also like that some candidates are actively campaigning in the Web Analytics Forum, in Twitter, at Emetrics, etc. This more than anything emphasizes the importance of these Board positions — and of the Association in general.

If there is any one question I would have posed to the candidates that did not get asked it would be this:

“If there was one thing you could go back in time and change about the web analytics industry, what would it be?”

Who knows, maybe some of the folks running for WAA Directorships will take the time to answer the question. I know what my answer would be ;-)

Best of luck to EVERYONE running in this election!

Published on April 1, 2009 under Web Analytics Association

 


Recent Blog Posts

Slack Demystified
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

Those of you who follow my blog have come to know that when I learn a product (like Adobe SiteCatalyst), I really get to know it and evangelize it. Back in the 90′s I learned the Lotus Notes enterprise collaboration software and soon became one of the most proficient Lotus Notes developers in the world, building most of Arthur Andersen’s global internal Lotus Notes apps. In the 2000′s, I came across Omniture SiteCatalyst, and after a while had published hundreds of blog posts on Omniture’s (Adobe’s) website and my own and eventually a book! One of my favorite pastimes is finding creative ways to apply a technology to solve everyday problems or to make life easier.

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Profile Website Visitors via Campaign Codes and More
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

One of the things customers ask me about is the ability to profile website visitors. Unfortunately, most visitors to websites are anonymous, so you don't know if they are young, old, rich, poor, etc. If you are lucky enough to have authentication or a login on your website, you may have some of this information, but for most of my clients the "known" percentage is relatively low. In this post, I'll share some things you can do to increase your visitor profiling by using advertising campaigns and other tools.

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A Primer on Cookies in Web Analytics
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Some of you may have noticed that I don't blog as much as some of my colleagues (not to mention any names, but this one, this one, or this one). The main reason is that I'm a total nerd (just ask my wife), but in a way that is different from most analytics professionals. I don't spend all day in the data - I spend all data writing code. And it's often hard to translate code into entertaining blog posts, especially for the folks that tend to spend a lot of time reading what my partners have to say.

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Excel Dropdowns Done Right
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Do you used in-cell dropdowns in your spreadsheets? I used them all the time. It's both an ease-of-use and a data quality maneuver: clicking a dropdown is faster than typing a value, and it's really hard to mis-type a value when you're not actually typing!

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The Downfall of Tesco and the Omniscience of Analytics
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Yesterday, an article in the Harvard Business Review provided food for thought for the analytics industry. In Tesco's Downfall Is a Warning to Data-Driven Retailers, author Michael Schrage ponders how a darling of the "analytics as a competitive advantage" stories, British retailer Tesco, failed so spectacularly - despite a wealth of data and customer insight.

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Creating Conversion Funnels via Segmentation
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

Regardless of what type of website you manage, it is bound to have some sort of conversion funnel. If you are an online retailer, your funnel may consist of people looking at products, selecting products, and then buying products. If you are a B2B company, your funnel may be higher-level like acquisition, research, trial and then form completion.

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10 Tips for Building a Dashboard in Excel
Tim Wilson, Partner

This post has an unintentionally link bait-y post title, I realize. But, I did a quick thought experiment a few weeks ago after walking a client through the structure of a dashboard I'd built for them to see if I could come up with ten discrete tips that I'd put to use when I built it. Turns out…I can!

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Exploring Optimal Post Timing ... Redux
Tim Wilson, Partner

Back in 2012, I developed an Excel worksheet that would take post-level data exported from Facebook Insights and do a little pivot tabling on it to generate some simple heat maps that would provide a visual way to explore when, for a given page, the optimal times of day and days of the week are for posting.

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What I Love: Adobe and Google Analytics*
Tim Wilson, Partner

While in Atlanta last week for ACCELERATE, I got into the age-old discussion of "Adobe Analytics vs. Google Analytics." I'm up to my elbows in both of them, and they're both gunning for each other, so this list is a lot shorter than it would have been a couple of years ago.

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Top 5 Metrics You're Measuring Incorrectly ... or Not
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

Last night as I was casually perusing the days digital analytics news - yes, yes I really do that - I came across a headline and article that got my attention. While the article's title ("Top 5 Metrics You're Measuring Incorrectly") is the sort I am used to seeing in our Buzzfeed-ified world of pithy "made you click" headlines, it was the article's author that got my attention.

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Eric T. Peterson

Bulletproof Business Requirements
John Lovett, Senior Partner

As a digital analytics professional, you've probably been tasked with collecting business requirements for measuring a new website/app/feature/etc. This seems like a task that's easy enough, but all too often people get wrapped around the axle and fail to capture what's truly important from a business users' perspective. The result is typically a great deal of wasted time, frustrated business users, and a deep-seated distrust for analytics data.

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Welcome to Team Demystified: Nancy Koons and Elizabeth Eckels!
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

I am delighted to announce that our Team Demystified business unit is continuing to expand with the addition of Nancy Koons and Elizabeth "Smalls" Eckels. Our Team Demystified efforts are exceeding all expectation and are allowing Web Analytics Demystified to provide truly world-class services to our Enterprise-class clients at an entirely new scale.

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When to Use Variables vs SAINT in Adobe Analytics
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

In one of my recent Adobe SiteCatalyst (Analytics) "Top Gun" training classes, a student asked me the following question: When should you use a variable (i.e. eVar or sProp) vs. using SAINT Classifications? This is an interesting question that comes up often, so I thought I would share my thoughts on this and my rules of thumb on the topic.

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5 Tips for #ACCELERATE Exceptionalism
Tim Wilson, Partner

Next month's ACCELERATE conference in Atlanta on September 18th will be the fifth - FIFTH!!! - one. I wish I could say I'd attended every one, but, sadly, I missed Boston due to a recent job change at the time. I was there in San Francisco in 2010, I made a day trip to Chicago in 2011, and I personally scheduled fantastic weather for Columbus in 2013.

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I've Become Aware that Awareness Is a #measure Bugaboo
Tim Wilson, Partner

A Big Question that social and digital media marketers grapple with constantly, whether they realize it or not: Is "awareness" a valid objective for marketing activity?

I've gotten into more than a few heated debates that, at their core, center around this question. Some of those debates have been with myself (those are the ones where I most need a skilled moderator!).

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Advanced Conversion Syntax Merchandising
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

As I have mentioned in the past, one of the Adobe SiteCatalyst (Analytics) topics I loathe talking about is Product Merchandising. Product Merchandising is complicated and often leaves people scratching their heads in my "Top Gun" training classes. However, many people have mentioned to me that my previous post on Product Merchandising eVars helped them a lot so I am going to continue sharing information on this topic.

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Team Demystified Update from Wendy Greco
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

When Eric Peterson asked me to lead Team Demystified a year ago, I couldn't say no! Having seen how hard all of the Web Analytics Demystified partners work and that they are still not able to keep up with the demand of clients for their services, it made sense for Web Analytics Demystified to find another way to scale their services. Since the Demystified team knows all of the best people in our industry and has tons of great clients, it is not surprising that our new Team Demystified venture has taken off as quickly as it has.

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SiteCatalyst Unannounced Features
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

Lately, Adobe has been sneaking in some cool new features into the SiteCatalyst product and doing it without much fanfare. While I am sure these are buried somewhere in release notes, I thought I'd call out two of them that I really like, so you know that they are there.

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Hello. I'm a Radical Analytics Pragmatist
Tim Wilson, Partner

I was reading a post last week by one of the Big Names in web analytics…and it royally pissed me off. I started to comment and then thought, "Why pick a fight?" We've had more than enough of those for our little industry over the past few years. So I let it go.

Except I didn't let it go.

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Competitor Pricing Analysis
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

One of my newest clients is in a highly competitive business in which they sell similar products as other retailers. These days, many online retailers have a hunch that they are being "Amazon-ed," which they define as visitors finding products on their website and then going to see if they can get it cheaper/faster on Amazon.com. This client was attempting to use time spent on page as a way to tell if/when visitors were leaving their site to go price shopping.

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How to Deliver Better Recommendations: Forecast the Impact!
Michele Kiss, Partner

One of the most valuable ways to be sure your recommendations are heard is to forecast the impact of your proposal. Consider what is more likely to be heard: "I think we should do X ..." vs "I think we should do X, and with a 2% increase in conversion, that would drive a $1MM increase in revenue ..."

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ACCELERATE 2014 "Advanced Analytics Education" Classes Posted
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

I am delighted to share the news that our 2014 "Advanced Analytics Education" classes have been posted and are available for registration. We expanded our offering this year and will be offering four concurrent analytics and optimization training sessions from all of the Web Analytics Demystified Partners and Senior Partners on September 16th and 17th at the Cobb Galaria in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Product Cart Addition Sequence
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

In working with a client recently, an interesting question arose around cart additions. This client wanted to know the order in which visitors were adding products to the shopping cart. Which products tended to be added first, second third, etc.? They also wanted to know which products were added after a specific product was added to the cart (i.e. if a visitor adds product A, what is the next product they tend to add?). Finally, they wondered which cart add product combinations most often lead to orders.

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7 Tips For Delivering Better Analytics Recommendations
Michele Kiss, Partner

As an analyst, your value is not just in the data you deliver, but in the insight and recommendations you can provide. But what is an analyst to do when those recommendations seem to fall on deaf ears?

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Overcoming The Analyst Curse: DON'T Show Your Math!
Michele Kiss, Partner

If I could give one piece of advice to an aspiring analyst, it would be this: Stop showing your "math". A tendency towards "TMI deliverables" is common, especially in newer analysts. However, while analysts typically do this in an attempt to demonstrate credibility ("See? I used all the right data and methods!") they do so at the expense of actually being heard.

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Making Tables of Numbers Comprehensible
Tim Wilson, Partner

I'm always amazed (read: dismayed) when I see the results of an analysis presented with a key set of the results delivered as a raw table of numbers. It is impossible to instantly comprehend a data table that has more than 3 or 4 rows and 3 or 4 columns. And, "instant comprehension" should be the goal of any presentation of information - it's the hook that gets your audience's brain wrapped around the material and ready to ponder it more deeply.

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Automating the Cleanup of Facebook Insights Exports
Tim Wilson, Partner

This post (the download, really - it's not much of a post) is about dealing with exports from Facebook Insights. If that's not something you do, skip it. Go back to Facebook and watch some cat videos. If you are in a situation where you get data about your Facebook page by exporting .csv or .xls files from the Facebook Insights web interface, then you probably sometimes think you need a 52" monitor to manage the horizontal scrolling.

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The Recent Forrester Wave on Web Analytics ... is Wrong
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

Having worked as an industry analyst back in the day I still find myself interested in what the analyst community has to say about web analytics, especially when it comes to vendor evaluation. The evaluations are interesting because of the sheer amount of work that goes into them in an attempt to distill entire companies down into simple infographics, tables, and single paragraph summaries.

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Funnel Visualizations That Make Sense
Tim Wilson, Partner

Funnels, as a concept, make some sense (although someone once made a good argument that they make no sense, since, when the concept is applied by marketers, the funnel is really more a "very, very leaky funnel," which would be a worthless funnel - real-world funnels get all of a liquid from a wide opening through a smaller spout; but, let's not quibble).

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Reenergizing Your Web Analytics Program & Implementation
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

Those of you who have read my blog posts (and book) over the years, know that I have lots of opinions when it comes to web analytics, web analytics implementations and especially those using Adobe Analytics. Whenever possible, I try to impart lessons I have learned during my web analytics career so you can improve things at your organization.

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Registration for ACCELERATE 2014 is now open
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

I am excited to announce that registration for ACCELERATE 2014 on September 18th in Atlanta, Georgia is now open. You can learn more about the event and our unique "Ten Tips in Twenty Minutes" format on our ACCELERATE mini-site, and we plan to have registration open for our Advanced Analytics Education pre-ACCELERATE training sessions in the coming weeks.

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Eric T. Peterson

Current Order Value
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

I recently had a client pose an interesting question related to their shopping cart. They wanted to know the distribution of money its visitors were bringing with them to each step of the shopping cart funnel.

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A Guide to Segment Sharing in Adobe Analytics
Tim Wilson, Partner

Over the past year, I've run into situations multiple times where I wanted an Adobe Analytics segment to be available in multiple Adobe Analytics platforms. It turns out…that's not as easy as it sounds. I actually went multiple rounds with Client Care once trying to get it figured out. And, I've found "the answer" on more than one occasion, only to later realize that that answer was a bit misguided.

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Currencies & Exchange Rates
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

If your web analytics work covers websites or apps that span different countries, there are some important aspects of Adobe SiteCatalyst (Analytics) that you must know. In this post, I will share some of the things I have learned over the years related to currencies and exchange rates in SiteCatalyst.

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Linking Authenticated Visitors Across Devices
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

In the last few years, people have become accustomed to using multiple digital devices simultaneously. While watching the recent winter Olympics, consumers might be on the Olympics website, while also using native mobile or tablet apps. As a result, some of my clients have asked me whether it is possible to link visits and paths across these devices so they can see cross-device paths and other behaviors.

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The 80/20 Rule for Analytics Teams
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

I had the pleasure last week of visiting with one of Web Analytics Demystified's longest-standing and, at least from a digital analytical perspective, most successful clients. The team has grown tremendously over the years in terms of size and, more importantly, stature within the broader multi-channel business and has become one of the most productive and mature digital analytics groups that I personally am aware of across the industry.

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Ten Things You Should ALWAYS Do (or Not Do) in Excel
Tim Wilson, Partner

Last week I was surprised by the Twitter conversation a fairly innocuous vent-via-Twitter tweet started, with several people noting that they had no idea you could simple turn off the gridlines.

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Omni Man (and Team Demystified) Needs You!
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

As someone in the web analytics field, you probably hear how lucky you are due to the fact that there are always web analytics jobs available. When the rest of the country is looking for work and you get daily calls from recruiters, it isn't a bad position to be in! At Web Analytics Demystified, we have more than doubled in the past year and still cannot keep up with the demand, so I am reaching out to you ...

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A Useful Framework for Social Media "Engagements"
Tim Wilson, Partner

Whether you have a single toe dipped in the waters of social media analytics or are fully submerged and drowning, you've almost certainly grappled with "engagement." This post isn't going to answer the question "Is engagement ROI?" ...

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It's not about "Big Data", it's about the "RIGHT data"
Michele Kiss, Partner

Unless you've been living under a rock, you have heard (and perhaps grown tired) of the buzzword "big data." But in attempts to chase the "next shiny thing", companies may focus too much on "big data" rather than the "right data."

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Michele Kiss

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