Thursday, 27 December 2007

Web Analytics powered 1to1 targeting

The First Step Change (As I had mentioned in my previous blog about the 3 step changes in Web analytics) in my view is how online marketing (Banner advertising, PPC, affiliates, email and other online marketing channels) and behaviour targeting are putting to effective use the power of Web Analytics.

Typically there has been a big gap in spending when it comes to off-site marketing channels like

- Email marketing
- Affiliate programs
- Search Engine Optimization
- Offline marketing to web
- In-store Web promotion
- Banner advertising

And On-Site resources like

- Optimization
- Web analytics
- Usability testing, etc.

With the former hogging the major share and the later (on-site resources) taking a back seat most often.

However more and more marketers are realizing that though the off-site marketing activity drives all the traffic to the website. It is the landing page/ homepage or the other critical product pages determine if the prospect converts to a customer or not and how much he / she would spend on the site products or services.

Right after the prospect lands on any of the pages in the site and interacts on the same determines his/ her engagement with the site.

You have probably experienced at some point that you were searching for a product that you are interested in, clicked on a seemingly relevant search result and landed on a page which has no flavour of the product that you were searching for. Could you recall your reaction…it most probably was, Uhh…

This is what the marketers are striving to eradicate and make each visit to the site by the prospect as engaging as possible. This could be achieved by accurate one to one targeting.

One to one targeting or behavioral targeting is achieved by the following process:

a) The visitor arrives at the website.
b) The information goes to the “Visitor profile repository, to figure out if he is a new customer or an existing customer.
c) If he is a new customer, we will build the customer profile.
d) If he is returning customer then we retrieve his profile.
e) Ping the self learning predictive modeling engine determine the suitable or optimal content that we need to show
f) Pass this on to the CMS system, which will then serve the relevant page to the customer.

Apart from the technical solution of how to serve the relevant pages to the visitor, there is a bigger task of determining the criteria (to be fed into the predictive modeling engine) of what pages/ information to serve to the relevant customer.

If we could answer a few basic questions, we would be able to target our highly predictive anonymous visitor.

- What is this visitor doing now?
- What have they done before?
- When is this visit occurring?
- How frequently & recently have they visited?
- Where is this visitor Located?
- What is their online experience?
- How did this visitor arrive here?
- And Have they already expressed what they want?

We already collect all the data that we need to serve the relevant page to the customer

With the Site behavior variables we know the customer’s

- Previous visit pattern
- Previous Product interests
- Whether he is a New/return visitor, etc.
- Previous online purchases
- Previous Campaign exposure
- Previous campaign responses

We collect temporal variables like the time of the day, day of the week, Recency & frequency

We get Environmental variables like
IP address, country, city, browser type used, etc…

We also get the referrer variables like

- search keywords
- affiliate site
- campaign ID
- Direct/ bookmark
- Referring domain, etc..

With these details and an analysis of what is best suited to your site, the landing page relevance could be built and conversion rate, customer engagement with the site and loyalty could be enhanced.

This blog is inspired and derived from the presentation published by the eminent “Brent Hiegglke” the link to his presentation is as below:

Brent Hiegglke presentation

Behavioral targeting is gaining prominence because of the need of the marketeers to maximise the bang for the buck and also to ensure customer satisfaction & their loyalty. In the US alone the market is estimated to be 3,800 million by 2011.

In one example Brent had demonstrated how a leading European bank had adopted one to one targeting which was supported by high end analytics to drive relevance to the visitor. This Bank earlier had a generic landing page that displayed all its products and services based on some analytics such as conversion rate, etc. However when 1to1 targeting was launched it had a dynamic landing page based on the search question that the visitor had chose to land on the site. If the visitor was searching for loans, the leading banner would be their loan products banner, and if the visitor was searching for credit cards the lead banner could be the one with the same and so forth. This way the bounce rate from the landing page was reduced and a tremendous increase in conversion as well.

Also usually Behavior or 1to1 targeting is misunderstood as targeting to customers who come from another site reference or through marketing. It is also important to target customers based on their on site behaviour and their personal details. If your target audience is a working mother with young kids you would’nt want to show her a Ducati unless she has been viewing or searching for one. Similarly if a visitor spending a great deal of time and had numerous visits to the “High end plasma TV” should’nt we show our latest discount offer on the “Plasma TV’ or other high end entertainment devices in his next visit.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

WAW Bangalore Dec 07 - A big success

After a hiatus of 1 year 4 months the WAW Bangalore was kicked off again on the 14th of Dec. Trinadh who is country manager WAA contacted me sometime in mid Nov and discussed about the initiatives that he is putting together as WAA representative in India.

He wanted me to put together the WAA Bangalore during the second week of December. First task was to get a suitable location, The COO of IndiaPlaza Mr. Vaitheeswaran, kindly agreed to accommodate in his conference room which could seat 15 people.

We went with the assumption that a maximum of 20 people would attend the event. Then I set up the wiki page and sent out emails to all those who attended the previous WAW and also posted the link on a couple of networking sites.

All of us were surprised to receive an overwhelming response of 55 registrations. Then we realised that we need a bigger place and Ravi from Triology who is also a WAA member organised to book a place in Jaya nagar. And thanks to Eric Peterson ( and Webexpe who were the sponsors to the event we were able to book a nice hotel to host the event.

The event started with introductions and a keynote by Trinadh. I presented a paper on "Step Change in Web Analytics" and Seby of Flatworld Solutions presented on "Segmentation".

I shall cover the topic that I had presented in this blog over the next three blogs which are the 3 major step changes that web analytics is witnessing.

And the session ended with a question and answer session and high tea. The response from all those who attended the event was very positive and the feedback that we received was that we need to have more of such events at regular intervals.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Interview on Web Analysis Blog

It was a great honour, when I got Anil Batra's email to be interviewed and featured in his popular Blog on web analytics. Anil is a renowned Web Analytics and Online Advertising Consultant working at ZAAZ. Prior to ZAAZ he has worked in various analytical roles in reputed concerns such as Revenue Science, Microsoft, Business Objects, etc., which culminated to his expertise in web analytics.

Anil's Blog is the 10th most popular blog as published by Avinash Kaushik in Top 10 Web Analytics Blogs on 16th April. Avinash is one of the most respected professional in the field of Web Analytics.

Anil questioned me mostly on my understanding of Web Analytics, entry into this field and achievements & challenges. There were also other questions which were not related to Web Analytics; they were on my other passion, cricket. You could read this interview on his blog, the excerpt of the same is as below:

AB: How long have you been working in Web Analytics?

JC: I have been working in the dotcom industry right from 2000. I started my career in, where I had a fantastic initiation into the dotcom industry. I was handling corporate communications here, which included advertising and public relations. This is where I implemented advanced online advertising techniques and was initiated into a very crude form of web analytics. After the dotcom bust, I gained some experience in conventional advertising. However returned back to online advertising in 2004. I joined as campaign manager. BharatMatrimony was one of the leading advertisers in the online medium in India. Here I handled the complete advertising budget and was given the task of optimizing effectively for every buck spent on the Internet. Subsequently, I had a very brief stint in an online advertising firm called Regalix, before I moved to present job in Tesco.

AB: Tell me about your work, education prior to making a switch

JC: Before entering into the online industry, I was in a completely different profession. I completed my education in commerce from a reputed college in Chennai – Stella Maris College and had also done a course in advertising, from the Madras Advertising Club.

I started my career as a professional cricketeer with the Southern Railways. I had taken to the sport right from my school days, I had played at the state and zonal level at both junior and senior level. I had been a wicketkeeper – batswoman and played at the highest-level national championships representing Tamil Nadu and South Zone. I realized that my scope was limited at getting selected to play for India, as I was a wicket keeper and the Indian team already had an established wicketkeeper. And my only chance existed if this player performed poorly. Instead of waiting for someone to fail, I thought I should choose the other passion of mine, which was online advertising.

AB: What are you responsibilities in your current job?

JC: I handle a team of analysts, in the Insight team. We are responsible for having a sense check on the performance of the business on daily and weekly basis by running various reports. This includes running, querying and retrieving data from the data warehouse, formatting the same, draw inference and present it to the various users of these reports. The scope includes reporting on category-based performance, performance of the various marketing channels like email, online advertising and CRM. It also includes site intelligence, which is web analytics software. Apart from the regular reporting we do various adhoc reporting and analysis on customer behavior changes, uplift of sales due to activities, targeting specific audience, etc.

AB:How do you make sure you are learning and growing in this field?

JC: I am regular on the yahoo web analytics forum and read up the various blogs of Eric Peterson, Avinash Kaushik and also try to organize a "Web analytics Wednesday" meetings here in Bangalore