Posts Tagged ‘data’

Website Analytics: How to use data to determine where to test

May 28th, 2015 No comments

At MarketingExperiments, we use patented heuristics to evaluate websites, emails and other digital mediums. 

Often people think that a heuristic evaluation is a purely qualitative approach to a problem. This can be true, but when you combine quantitative analytics with the qualitative knowledge you increase the power to make meaningful change.

This post will show relevant metrics for three of these elements that any marketer — from beginner to advanced — can use to discover opportunities for improvement.


Step #1. Look at the qualitative elements of your website

Often people just ask for data dumps. To make matters worse, they want it in a very short time. On top of that, most data scientists use purely what they are comfortable with: numbers.

To add context and save time, you must evaluate the site to see where you should focus your data analysis.

Put yourself in the customer’s mindset and go to your site. If you own creative or design, try to remove those biases as best as possible. What makes sense to you or feels like the right amount of information may be completely overwhelming to a customer who isn’t familiar with your product or industry.


Look for things that are broken, functions that are clunky, images that don’t make sense or add value and difficulty in completing the conversion. You must objectively look at all the pages in the conversion path and be familiar enough with them to make sense of the data that you pull.

Pull data to illuminate the points you saw to give validity to the theory. Key heuristic elements and data help prove the problem.


Step #2. Understand motivation

Motivation cannot be affected, but it can be matched.  Use the traffic reports below to determine who is coming, how they are coming and why they are coming.

Sources and mediums

The source is the specific place where the traffic originated and the medium is the type of traffic. Google is an example of a source, and the medium would segment this traffic by direct, organic, paid, email, etc.

Knowing where the traffic is coming from tells us about:

  • The types of users — For example: young, old or tech savvy
  • User brand awareness — Having more organic than paid traffic can mean users already know you and your products.
  • Email — Users are on a list and have engaged with you before.


Match the motivation of search traffic by looking at what keywords were used to find the link to your site.

If the majority are branded, then you can spend less real estate on your site telling people who you are with primary level value proposition. If the majority is nonbranded, then you know you must put value proposition about your company and products directly in the customer’s eye-path.

Next level

Look at the landing pages people visit most often, and look at the bounce and exit rates. If these are high, you haven’t aligned with the motivation of the visitors.


Step #3. Insert value proposition

There are four main levels of value proposition:

  • Primary — about your company
  • Product — about your available offerings
  • Process — what steps need to be taken to convert or what happens post conversion
  • Prospect — telling potential customers why they should be doing business with you


It is important to use value proposition in the right place to increase the perceived value of the offer as you increase the perceived cost — which could be taking action or giving personal information.

Previous page

Look at pages such as “About Us,” “Contact Us” and “FAQ” and run a previous page report. This will show you where visitors need more value proposition to keep them in the funnel.

You can take it a step further and see where visitors went next by running a Next Page Report, which shows the areas customers needed more information on.

Exit Page Report

Find your top exit pages and then look at them to see if there is value proposition on those pages. If there isn’t, then add the appropriate value proposition. If there is, maybe the value proposition needs updating. This update could be as simple changing as where it is and what it says.

To understand what goes into a proper value proposition, review these five questions from a MarketingExperiments interview with Michael Lanning, the inventor of the term.

Scroll metrics

Often I see websites where the value proposition is on the page, but it is too low on the page or too outside the eye-path to ever be seen.

See how far people are scrolling on your pages to determine the placement of your value proposition.

Next level

Look at responses of customers to determine the best and worst aspects of your product(s) so that you can highlight the best and message against the worst. Also, look at your competitors and compare products so that you can highlight why your product is the best for the potential customer.


Step #4. Address friction

Friction is the amount of effort someone has to give to complete a conversion. Look at the key funnel steps and run these reports.


Every website has many friction possibilities, so focus on those specific to you. Look at form fields, product pages, carts, calls-to-action and other places that may be difficult to navigate.

“Previous” and “Next Page” reports are a great way to isolate friction. If you see that a high rate of visitors are bouncing between steps or between the cart and shopping, then some element of friction is most likely causing them to not want to complete the step. If people are going to the “Contact Us” page at the same point repeatedly, then they most likely have had enough with trying to complete the purchase online.

Form tracking

Set up events or click-tracking to help identify friction (especially for places where people enter information). If you see a high drop off rate at a particular part of the checkout, then the friction has overwhelmed the visitor. You can test shortening or removing information or explaining why the information is necessary.

Internal search traffic can also be used to help identify friction in the purchase process. If common search terms are product related, it is too difficult for the user to get the relevant information they are seeking. If it is mostly related to process, then you can address those elements in the purchase path.


You can follow Benjamin Filip, Manager of Data Sciences, MECLABS on Twitter @benjamin_filip.


You might also like

Beginner’s Guide to Web Data Analysis: Ten Steps to Love & Success [From Occam’s Razor]

Digital Analytics: How to use data to tell your marketing story [More from the MarketingExperiments blog]

Value Proposition: 4 key questions to help you slice through hype [More from the MarketingExperiments blog]

Value Proposition Development: 5 insights to help you discover your value prop [More from the MarketingExperiments blog]

Digital Analytics: How to use data to tell your marketing story

March 12th, 2015 No comments

When it comes to being a data-driven marketing team, there is not as much opposition between content and data as once thought.

Two central themes that highlight this idea came out of the Opening Session of The Adobe Summit — The Digital Marketing Conference. They are:

  • Use data correctly to support a story
  • Ensure the story you’re telling can be relayed to a wider audience

Marketers need to quit treating their data analysts as number-crunching minions and start seeing them as contributors with a vital perspective of the greater customer story.

Nate Silver, Founder and Editor in Chief,, spoke about how useless data can be if you can’t communicate it to a wider audience. The practice of collecting, analyzing and interpreting data can be very costly, and marketers need to maximize ROI by making sure they tell the correct story and that it can be spread across their organization.

  Read more…

Marketing Analytics: Show your work

August 14th, 2014 1 comment

Data handling and analytics can sometimes offer shocking results, as global B2B company National Instruments discovered after a surprising decrease in an email campaign’s conversion rate.


Key Obstacle: Concern about the new numbers

“When I first saw the number change, I was a bit freaked out,” said Stephanie Logerot, Database Marketing Specialist, National Instruments.

Stephanie, as a strategist, felt her greatest challenge was communicating the new way of looking at the data to National Instruments’ stakeholders outside of the database marketing team. This meant making certain everyone understood why the numbers dropped after implementing the new, more stringent data criteria.


A little background

A recent MarketingSherpa Email Marketing case study– “Marketing Analytics: How a drip email campaign transformed National Instruments’ data management” – detailed this marketing analytics challenge at National Instruments.

The data challenge arose from a drip email campaign set around its signature product.

The campaign was beta tested in some of National Instruments’ key markets: United States, United Kingdom and India. After the beta test was completed, the program rolled out globally.

The data issue came up when the team looked into the conversion metrics.

The beta test converted at 8%, the global rollout at 5%, and when a new analyst came in to parse the same data sets without any documentation on how the 5% figure was determined, the conversion rate dropped to 2%.

While interviewing the team for the case study, as what often happens in these detailed discussions, I ended up some great material that didn’t make it into the case study and wanted to share that material with you.


The team

For the case study, I interviewed Ellen Watkins, Manager, Global Database Marketing Programs, Stephanie, the database marketing specialist, and Jordan Hefton, Global Database Marketing Analyst, all of National Instruments at the time. Jordan was the new analyst who calculated the 2% conversion rate.

In this MarketingExperiments Blog post, you’ll learn how the team dealt with the surprising drop in conversion, and how they communicated why data management and analytics was going to be held to a new standard going forward.

The team overcame this obstacle with a little internal marketing.

Read more…

Digital Marketing: Stop ignoring data and start learning

March 26th, 2014 No comments

March Madness has been one heck of a ride so far, huh? This year’s NCAA tournament is pumping out upsets left and right as Cinderella stories rise and brackets burst.

But I’m a Florida Gators fan, and I have to admit, I’m liking what I’m seeing from all of the college basketball madness so far (knock on wood). After a less-than-awesome football season, I’m going to soak up an undefeated record and this No. 1 ranking as long as I can. I’m not above infusing this into my marketing writing, either.

Earlier this week, University of Florida head basketball coach Billy Donovan dished out some words of wisdom off the court.

“For me, I’m always eager to learn, to get better and to improve,” he told reporters.

Gators fan or not, you should take a page from coach Donovan. I have. In fact, I’m putting that quote into play this week as I write this post from the Adobe Summit Digital Marketing Conference in Salt Lake City. I’m immersing myself in sessions, panels, interviews and networking mixers to learn, get better and improve as a young professional. (A special thanks to Adobe for footing the bill for my growth, too.)


As a member of the pampered press for the Summit, I was invited to a special session: “Interactive Panel Discussion: Reinventing the Marketing Organization.” Ann Lewnes, SVP and CMO, Adobe, moderated, and was joined by the following panelists:

  • Jeff Dotson, Associate Professor, Department of Business Management, Brigham Young University
  • Jana Rich, Managing Director, Russell Reynolds Associates
  • Pete Stein, CEO, Razorfish
  • Jeff Titus, General Manager of Digital Technology Solutions and Strategy, Audi of America


Lewnes opened the discussion with findings from Adobe’s Digital Roadblock: Marketers struggle to reinvent themselves, published this month. The study was conducted by surveying 1,000 marketers and data was collected by ResearchNow.

One of the top takeaways: “Marketers recognize the importance of data, but aren’t widely using it to make informed decisions.” Here are the supporting facts and figures:

  • 76% of marketers agree they need to be more data-focused to succeed
  • 49% of marketers report “trusting my gut” to guide decisions on where to invest their marketing budgets
  • 72% of marketers agree that long-term success is tied to proving marketing return on investment



Titus, who was also a keynote speaker at Adobe Summit, highlighted the data above when asked to give the audience some practical advice.

“Every marketer should understand when you put something out there, you should have the ability to measure it,” he said.

You must orient your team to that, Titus added, and don’t just look at your customer’s journey after the fact – seek those real-time results.

“Measure something – empirical data – that is really the most important piece of advice I can offer,” he said.

Titus offered how data can even drive risk taking in marketing, suggesting short cycles for testing. These are quick little investments that allow your team to see what’s working and what’s not in an efficient period of time.

“In engineering, we say ‘fail fast,’ Titus joked.

Or perhaps, learn fast. Learn what changes you can use to refine your campaigns and efforts. Data is a key piece to figuring this out.

Dotson offered an academic perspective on the matter from his observations in the classroom.

Historically, he said, “marketing was the fuzzy major for students.”

Read more…

Marketing Analytics: 20% of marketers lack data

February 25th, 2013 1 comment

The huge benefit of optimization and testing is to have your customers tell you what is most effective – which headline, which offer, even which value proposition – with their real-world actions during actual purchase decisions.

Of course, for this to work, you must be able to listen to what your customers are telling you through their actions.

In a world where “big data” is a big buzzword, many marketers might take this ability for granted. However, in the MarketingSherpa 2013 Marketing Analytics Benchmark Report, 20% of marketers told us they have very limited or no data …

Q: How much analytics data does your organization collect?


A full 40% of marketers only have “an average amount of data,” which does not sound like an overwhelming vote of confidence they have the information they need to intelligently plan, and execute, tests that will help them learn more about their customers.

As you review your analytics capabilities and plan for future improvements, Andrew Wise, VP of Global Sales, Prospectvision, offered a series of questions to help guide your efforts:

  • How many discrete marketing tools are you using?
  • How many channels (and sub-channels) are you juggling?
  • How are you reconciling the data you get back from multiple activities?
  • Do you know which campaigns are working? For which segments of your database?
  • Can you watch a prospect move through stages of sales-readiness? Can you map your marketing actions to those stages?
  • Can your sales team see what you see? In real time?

To the list, I would add one last crucial question …

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Marketing Analytics: 6 simple steps for interpreting your data

November 7th, 2012 No comments

You’ve finally set up tracking on your site and have gathered weeks of information. You are now staring at your data saying, “Now what?”

Objectively interpreting your data can be extremely overwhelming and very difficult to do correctly … but it is essential.

The only thing worse than having no insights is having incorrect insights. The latter can be extremely costly to your business.

Use these six simple steps to help you effectively and correctly interpret your data.

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