Suck Less | A Plea For User-Centric Design: Powered By You!

Analysts, honestly, make the world go round when it comes to any successful business – yes, data is that important. As you might expect from any role, they also make a handful of important mistakes. I’ve written about the biggest mistake web analysts make.
Today’s post is an adjacent mistake: The cardinal sin of spending too much time with data and in reports!The Marketing-Analytics Intersect. Thanks. [/sidebar]
BUT I Want Data-First!
For some in our audience here, it is hard to leave analytics and data behind no matter how desperately I want you to. I understand the pain of trying to let go of years of accumulated comfort from never having to experience your business, and only living through data. I’ve done it.
You can use data as a starting point, if you really want to.
It is possible that the HTC team could have found their heartbreaking Pre-Order page via the fabulous Shopping Behavior Analysis report that is part of the magnificent Enhanced Ecommerce Reporting in Google Analytics.

The above data does not belong to HTC (15% also might be a bit too high!). But, the first column is what we would be looking for. That could trigger a visit to the website to try the user experience.
I do want to caution that not everything broken will be so easy to find, hence I want you to complement your data skills and analysis efforts with just going to the site/app and trying to emulate a normal person (you!).
Another source of starting points, if you insist on using the data, is to leverage the Behavior Flow report that automatically helps you unpack the complexity of the user experience on your website or

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Ad Block Tracking With Google Analytics: Code, Metrics, Reports

You don’t use an ad blocker, right? Of course not! You would never want to take away the opportunity a content creator has online to monetize their work via ads.
I know that at least some of you think I’m being sarcastic. I am not, and this post is all about getting the data to show you that I am indeed not being sarcastic.
I am insanely excited that we can track ad blocking behavior in Google Analytics, so easily. This post covers these key elements:
Here’s how this post unfolds…

1. Ad block: #wth
2. Technical how-to implement enhanced code guidance (Google Tag Manager or direct)
3. Setting Google Analytics front end elements (custom dimensions, advanced segments)
4. Five Reports and KPIs that deliver critical insights from ad blocking behavior

While you could call on your favorite IT BFF to do this for you, let me encourage you by saying that if I can do this all by myself…. You can do it too! Honestly, it is that easy.
Excited? Let’s go!
1. Ad block: #wth
The reason you might think I was being sarcastic above is that there is such venom in the media (of course the media!) about people who use ad blockers, and an incredible amount of hoopla around how the only reason media is dying is the awful people using ad blockers in their web browsers.
The reality is not quite that cut and dry.
First, plant me firmly in the column of people who believe that using an ad blocker is a personal choice, each person makes the moral decision they are most comfortable with. Second, I believe that the let me make cheap money by

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A Great Analyst's Best Friends: Skepticism & Wisdom!

Here’s something important I’ve observed in my experience in working with data, and changing organizations with ideas: Great Analysts are always skeptical. Deeply so.
This was always true, of course. But, it has become mission critical over the last few years as the depth, breadth, quantity and every other dimension you could apply to data has simply exploded. There is too much data. There are too many tables/charts/”insights” being rammed down your throat. There has been an explosion of “experts.”
If you are not skeptical, you are going to die (from a professional perspective).
And, yet… You can’t be paralyzed by skepticism. At some point, you have to jump. Or, you are dead (again, professionally).
Let’s do this post in two pieces.
First, a plea to be skeptical, of everything and everybody, illustrated using an example from one of the most respected sources of data out there. Followed, by advice on getting to a decision rather than what happens to poor analysts: paralysis.
Second, as we are on the topic of great analysts, I want to share how to recognize that you might be one, from a macro perspective, and, if you are, or are not, what’s your value to your company.
Surely, you are intrigued!
#1A: Skepticism is your BFF.
I saw these two numbers presented the other day: 42% of online shoppers use video for pre-purchase research. 64% use YouTube to find products.
As soon as I heard them, I knew they were horse-manure.
The source of skepticism was simple, neither number is true for me – and I’m in a place, with people, who are the most connected people on the planet with more devices to do this type of research if it was true.

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The Marketing < > Analytics Intersect: My Newsletter!

I want you to sign up for something very, very special I’m doing: Writing short stories from the intersection of marketing and analytics.
My goal is to get you promoted, you are going to love it. So. Please do sign up. But, first, as you’ve come to expect from this blog… Context…
Should you own or rent?
The logic we are taught from when we were babies is that it is better to own than rent. Reality is actually a bit more complicated.
In our context, let’s consider two applications of own and rent.
In the past I’ve spoken about own vs. rent in context of platforms. Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn are platforms where you rent your existences. Mobile and desktop websites, mobile applications are platforms you own. You own the content, you set your own creativity limits (no 140 characters or videos of only xx resolution), and you own the data on platforms you own.
I’ve also spoken about own vs. rent in context of audiences. You rent audiences on TV, Magazines, Search, Display, etc. You own audiences on your email lists, on forums you host etc.
Audiences and platforms, two places to bring our own and rent lens.
Before we go on, a quick word on the word own. It does feel odd to say you own anyone/thing. Own in this context is like as much ownership as you can apply to a seed you plant in your front yard. You need to protect it, you need to nurture it, you need to champion on its behalf, and you need to be unselfish for a long, long, long time, and maybe some day you get flowers. And, here’s the most amazing thing, if

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How To Suck At Social Media: An Indispensable Guide For Businesses

Facebook, at last count, has 1.5 billion monthly active users. YouTube has 1.2 billion users (watching 6 billion hours of videos!). Instagram has an estimated 400 million users.
Those are some big gigantic numbers!
I believe that every human with time to spare, and a connection to the web, should be on social media. The benefits are numerous. Facebook allows you to stay close to people you choose to. YouTube has democratized entertainment and education. Instagram allows you to express your creativity, and soak up expressions from others. Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, others have a role to play as well.
Humans, check.
But, what about businesses? Companies small and big? In India or Japan or the United States?
It comes down to two important questions: 1. Do the big gigantic numbers imply that your business should use these social media channels? 2. If yes, should your participation be the same as regular humans?
I believe that we have never answered the first question. Businesses were told: “The numbers are HUGE!” The second question was never answered either, but because all businesses know is how to pimp that became their default strategy.
The assumption is: Big Social Audiences + Big Pimping = Big Social Profits.
Big mistake.
You know that of course because for your business, after five solid years of investment, this has not proven to be true. Even the people who powered your investment in Social Media, the Gurus, have, reluctantly, accepted this reality.
I believe that it was erroneous not to answer the two questions above, it was erroneous to be tempted by the Big Numbers and not understand how Social Media channels actually worked (streams, home pages, personalization, rankings and more).
So, let’s fix that error.
In

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See, Think, Do, Care Wining Combo: Content + Marketing + Measurement!

There have been tons and tons of implementations around the world of my wonderfully profitable See-Think-Do-Care business framework.
This is immensely gratifying.
Over the last year, I’ve also worked with many companies to drive new and rapid innovation in their digital strategies using the framework. In the process, I’ve learned a whole lot more, evolved my thinking and refined the nuances.
In this blog post I want to share two strategic clarifications/extensions of my thinking about the See-Think-Do-Care framework. My hope is to better assist you in your own journey in using the framework to unlock imagination, build intent-based audience strategies, deliver joy to them and accelerate business profit.
And, just because I love you all so much, I’ll end with a little bonus. A thing three that shares optimally aligned See-Think-Do-Care metrics!
But, let’s start with the core intent of my post.
There were two key reasons I’d created See-Think-Do-Care.
Thing One.
I passionately dislike how most Marketers have become selfish – because most companies set deeply selfish goals for them!
There is a ton of pressure to show ROI, in 24 hours (!!). There is very little desire to “rock the boat.” There are ton’s of incentives to keep doing things the way they’ve always been done. There are loads of “studies” and business frameworks from the ancient Romans and early Greeks to “guide” decision making. We expect to shout via TV or Radio or on AOL.com and expect our customers to follow a specific “path” down the “funnel.”
Shove, shove, shove, them down the funnel, and shovel, shovel, shovel in the money!
I saw this wonderful cartoon by Marketoonist somewhere, it captures the essence beautifully…

It is not that companies are silly. Remember, there was little data

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Digital Marketing & Analytics: Five Deadly Myths De-mythified!

In a recent set of keynotes and consulting engagements in the US, UK and Canada, I’ve had an overwhelming feeling that in very fundamental ways some companies make imprecise choices when it comes to their digital strategy. Not because they don’t have enough money or opportunity or people. But, simply because their broader framing of what the problem was, and what their chosen solution would deliver.
The heartbreaking part of these, often innocently made, choices is any lack of meaningful progress in digitizing their companies. It saddens me deeply that they are not being able to take full advantage of all the new product, marketing, customer relationship opportunities in front of them. Because, I’m sure like you, I’m humbled by the immense opportunity digital presents.
This post covers five of these heartbreaking misses in the broader framing. My hope is that 1. You’ll understand what’s wrong in terms of the strategic choice being made and 2. Get an extremely clear sense for what the right choice is in each case. I’ve suffered enough bruises on the front-lines from trying to re-imagine the current and revolutionize the future across multiple industry verticals, countries, opportunity sizes. Consider this to be a collection of wisdom from those tough lessons – from wins and losses.
Since in almost every case the imprecise framing is strategic, the true consumer of this post is your boss’s boss’s boss. Sadly, we can’t get to them here. But, at least you and I can get on the same page and perhaps I can convince you to take our message to her/him.
Here are the digital myths that are leading us down a profoundly sub-optimal path:

1. Programmatic platforms are a

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Crushing It With Competitive Intelligence Analysis: Best Metrics, Reports

Half-way through this post, you’ll seriously wonder why you’ve spent so much time obsessing with Adobe/Google Analytics/Chartbeat or other web analytics tool. When you are done reading the post, you’ll be super mad that your marketing strategy is not more influenced by your competitor’s data!
Such is the power of being able to proactively identify which of your competitor’s strategies are working well, where their current customers come from, and what specific tactics you should experiment with to create and advantage for yourself.
Regular readers of the blog know of my deep love for competitive intelligence analysis. My first blog post on the topic of CIA was on 14th Aug 2006! Competitive Intelligence Analysis: Why, What & How to Choose. CIA also formed one of five foundational elements in my best-selling book Web Analytics 2.0.
Since then, as luck would have it, we have more tools, they are smarter, and have richer data-sets.
In this post we’ll go back to the wondrous world of competitive intelligence analysis. We’ll look at an incredible cluster of examples, from the simple to the sublime, that will help you learn practical strategies you can immediately go back and apply in your role as a Marketer, Analyst, or the Boss of all Things Digital.
Here are the key elements we will explore in our quest to become CI Analysis Ninjas:

+ Foundational Concepts/Caveats
How is competitive intelligence data collected?
Competitive intelligence data will never match your site’s analytics tool
Competitive intelligence tools will never match each other!
Small sites are out-of-luck
Small countries are out-of-luck
Site-centric CI vs. Ecosystem-centric CI
Tools used in this post

+ Traffic Trends Key Metrics Analysis
+ Visitor/Audience Type Profile Analysis

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The Complete Digital Analytics Ecosystem: How To Win Big

The world of digital analytics seems to be insanely complicated.
And, yes, some of it is. Third-party or first-party cookies anyone? And, are we tracking people, devices, web browsers or whoknowswhat?
But it is a lot less complicated than you might believe. No. Really. A lot less complicated.
I led a discussion the other day with a collection of people who were brand new to the space and some who were jaded long-term residents of Camp Web Analytics. When someone played the omg, it is all so complicated (!!) card, I took the opportunity to sketch a picture of the entire ecosystem to highlight that it really was not all that complicated. The process involved slowly laying out each piece of the puzzle and how it fit the piece next to it.
By the end of the exercise there was a lovingly simple picture, and a path to glory. In this blogpost I want to share that with you.
Regardless of your experience in the space, I believe you’ll find it to be of value. Even if you are in the super-jaded category, this will help you present something to your boss’s boss that will get them to finally understand what you do!
Our journey to understanding, dare I say nirvana, follow these steps:

Digital Analytics Ecosystem: The Core Elements
Digital Analytics Ecosystem: The Inputs
Digital Analytics Ecosystem: The Outputs
Digital Analytics Ecosystem: Optimal Execution: Three Phases
Digital Analytics Ecosystem: Optimal Execution: Timing Expectations

Doesn’t it sound absolutely exciting? It is. And along the way you’ll find helpful tips, links for deep dives, and a ravishing amount of new insights.
Ready? Let’s go!
Digital Analytics Ecosystem: The Core Elements
At the

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