Category Archives: Blogs

In my last post, I spoke about the need for small business to use big data capabilities. In this post, I want to talk about engaging a partner that can unlock the potential of big data for small businesses that don’t have the scale to build an analytics function in-house.

Big Data is big business today and in a trend that reminds me of the Klondike Gold Rush, it has attracted many companies that now offer Analytics as a Service. The problem for a small business looking to use analytics as a competitive advantage is no longer lack of choice but too much choice. The good news is it’s not hard to pick the ACE from the deck.

Let’s say you have a lemonade stand. You start work at the crack of dawn every morning, when the rest of the world is still dreaming, by mixing just the right amount of lemon juice, sugar, water and ice for the thirsty travellers that would pass by your door that day. It’s a lot of hard work but the satisfied expression on your customers face as they take their first sip makes it all worth it.

The only problem is you never can tell what kind of day you will have. On some days business is so good that you are sold out by noon yet on some other days you have to be at it till evening. If only you could plan better, expand and understand what is it that drives demand other than quality which doesn’t vary.

Lately you have been hearing about the power of big data, analytics and prediction and you are considering engaging an analytics partner to answer some of your questions.

So how do you go about finding that ACE in the data space?

ACE stands for Analyse, Conceptualise, and Empower which are the three things that an ACE analytics partner brings to the table.

Let’s look at each of these one at a time:

ANALYSE

An ACE analytics partner should be able to do what you can’t afford to do- step away from the lemonade stand.

  • An ACE will take in a bird’s eye view of the landscape.
  • An ACE will use social media, surveys and buying patterns to understand the voice of your customers.
  • An ACE will tell you the global trends that have the power of creating a huge disruption that are sneaking past you unnoticed.

To you, the lemonade stand owner, an ACE will tell you that your usual customers are neighbourhood women who stop by as they return back from their yoga classes and they love the freshness of your ingredients. They also find it very convenient that you accept cash and the price is such that they don’t have to do carry much of it. Whenever there is a soccer game in the neighbourhood schools, you get double the usual traffic. Most of these customers would love to be able to order online and pick instead of having to wait in queues.  Though your product is very popular today, your key customer segments is increasingly getting conscious about their sugar intake. And by the way, locally, the council is going to start a construction that will restrict entry to your street soon. Also you haven’t been around that long but the demand won’t be as strong in winters as shown by industry trends.

CONCEPTUALISE

After Analyse, comes Conceptualise. If Analyse is the bird’s eye view, conceptualising is all about identifying the prey and plunging steeply downwards at a high speed to capture it.

  • An ACE analytics partner will tell you which one of the insights that they have given you are Actionable Insights.
  • An ACE will quantify the impact of the generated insights- the likely impact and potential opportunity in dollars.
  • An ACE will propose actions and recommendations that will help you realise the benefits from identified opportunities
  • An ACE will work with you to create a rolling 90 day action plan for acting on the recommendations starting with top 3 opportunities.

    To you a lemonade stand owner, an ACE will tell you the upcoming construction that will block access to your street for soccer moms and dads is like to result in a revenue loss of 10%. Not mixing the sugar right in the morning but giving the customer option to choose will increase satisfaction and loyalty by 1% while saving you some cost. The 20 cent increase in price to make a glass cost $1.20 is likely to make it inconvenient for the customer to buy and charging $1.50 is a smarter decision. A hypothetical 90 day plan will look something like below.

    InsightRevenue Impact Proposed ActionBy When
    Customer trends around sugar consumption -25%Introduce sugar free options 7 days
    Soccer days bring more traffic+25%Put Flyers in school to increase market share 15 days
    Upcoming Construction-10%Research Alternate locations, engage school 30 days
    Impact of winter season-50%Diversification into soup90 days

    EMPOWER

    After conceptualise, comes empowerment. An ACE needs to empower you, the business owner, because an ACE knows that they will not stay with you forever.

  • An ACE will make sure that you know what metrics tell you what success is long before the financial results are in (leading indicators)
  • An ACE will create post implementation review templates that will enable you to learn from various actions
  • An ACE will leave you with a suite of easy to understand dashboards and visualisations that will help you spot an issue early on
  • So how do you recognize an ACE? When you meet an ACE, it would be like meeting a goal mate, a business partner that shares your vision, comprehends your challenges and complements your strengths. Here are a few suggestions to pick an ACE.
  • Ask all potential suitors what they know about your business. If an analytics partner is unable to personalise their offering for your business and its unique needs, you can’t expect them to help you understand your customers and make your offering personalised. On the other hand, if you hear them talk and think ‘They totally get my business’, it is a good first sign. An analytics partner will sound like someone who has walked in your shoes and knows how it feels.
  • Check the credentials of your potential partner. Who is on their team? What work have they done in the past? Can they share references? You want a healthy mix of the three Es: Education (formal training), Experience (past clients, nature of projects) and Exposure (in your geography and/or industry) on the partner’s resume.
  • Request sample work / case-studies. The best visualisations are really easy to grasp and understand and the best case-studies are ones that drive impact for companies similar to yours. If the visualisations and dashboards make you break into a sweat because it looks too hard or complicated, don’t swipe right, keep looking.
  • So there. My take on what makes an ACE analytics service provider and how to find one.  Don’t settle. Keep looking till you find your goal mate.

    Author Profile: Gazal Kapoor is an analytics professional with experience across domains, geographies and industries. She describes a career in analytics as a passionate arranged marriage but that doesn’t prevent her from flirting with writing from time to time.

    Gazal Kapoor works full time in Sydney and is a guest blogger for Convergytics.

     

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

Posted in Blogs,

In today’s world of data and analytics it’s now easier than ever to understand your customers behavior on your digital properties, analyze the behavior and customize the experience / market to them real-time or near real-time with the right offers at the right time and turn many a lead into a sale. With an unending supply of qualitative and quantitative data at your business’s disposal, you can work toward your goals both online and offline. Data driven marketing has become an industry standard for sales, but its success relies on rich data created by the proper implementation of your digital analytics infrastructure.

So, how can you be sure your digital analytics has been implemented correctly? With the correct application of skills, technologies, and information processing you can drive the continual improvement of your business. Below are 7 ways your digital analytics implementation may be flawed and what you can do to fix it.

1.     Missing or Duplicate Tags

This can happen for a variety of reasons. Communication or the lack of it, creating stand-alone pages and not using a tag manager are probably the 3 most important reasons for it. This can lead to over/under-reporting of numbers and can lead to erroneous decisions and a lack of trust among senior management on the reports that you and your team share with them. If one number does not match, how do I trust the others will be question you will be asked?

2. Not filtering Bots and Internal Traffic

Depending on what your acquisition strategy is and what kind of security precautions you have taken, you can and will attract a lot of bot traffic. While putting in checks and balances in place to prevent the bots from overloading your site is important, it is just as important to ensure that you do not count the bot traffic as valid traffic and end up invalidating most of the numbers on the site or getting incorrect insights from the numbers in your analytics reports. From our experience, excluding the common bots can bring down your overall traffic (from about 2-3% for the large websites to even 10-15% for SMEs/smaller sites).

Just as important as the bots is blocking out internal traffic (especially from Dev, Testing and Marketing Teams) to ensure that there are no spikes during project launch and testing phase of a project and also to ensure that you really are getting the true picture of a site’s performance. This can play a much bigger role for smaller companies (SMEs) than for larger ones.

3. Not capturing User Data

Identifying a user (by even an anonymous id) helps you really understand the behavior and segment the traffic in so many interesting ways instead of just looking at summary reports. Of course, this should be followed by setting up of the relevant User-Level Dimensions as well so that the analysis can be richer and more actionable. E.g. Once you setup a User_Id, you can pull reports that identify the split of one-timers and repeat customers by channel, by product of interest and many other dimensions. This can lead to interesting actions such as lowering the spends on certain channels and spending more on others.

4. Disregarding Goals and Funnels

As a website owner, you clearly will have goals that you will be measured by. Making sure that you have setup those goals on your analytics tool and are reviewing that on a regular basis with your marketing, merchandising and analytics teams is a critical step. The goals could range from Macro Metrics (like Orders or Form Submissions) to Micro Metrics (like PD Page Views, Cart Adds, Check-Out, Time_Spent > x minutes).

In addition to setting up goals, for an e-Commerce site, making sure that the funnel is captured will enable Funnel Analysis and comparisons to get insights into Funnel performance overall and within each customer segment.

5. Not Tracking Key Events

In addition to the macro-goals on your website, there are typically many elements of your website and key pages on your site that either might be working really well or working very badly for some or all of your customer segments. To be able to understand that, one of the pre-requisites is that you need to be tracking it. Events that might need to be tracked include Video Views, Banner and Nav-Bar Clicks, Social Sign-On or Social Share and even Review Shared about a Product.

6. Not Tracking Custom Behavior (Dimensions & Metrics) around your Business

Each business is unique in its own way. Even if you look at two businesses in the same industry, they each will have their own idiosyncrasies. Making sure that you capture that and also you build your reporting around that is critical to ensure that you are acquiring the right kind of customers for your business and also that you are grooming / growing them as per your plan. Tracking you put in could help segment customers and then treat them with a unique experience as per their past behavior.

7. Not Effectively Categorizing or Tracking Campaigns

The biggest gap in a marketing team is not having a coherent and homogenous tracking mechanism for all marketing channels. A marketing campaign today does hit a customer across marketing vehicles and the day and age of single-channel teams and campaigns is long gone. For this kind of campaign to work and work effectively, making sure that all teams use the same standard of tracking is imperative. Using UTM parameters and using them effectively is a simple solution to ensuring accurate and effective tracking.

Summary:

Managing your digital analytics tool and its implementation effectively is a massive undertaking, but well worth the results when implemented correctly by an expert team. Your business’s goals and sales will benefit from a good web analytics platform and the proper implementation of data analysis. The potential is in the data and information that your customer is sharing with you, it’s up to you to first capture it and then put it to work.

If you would like to learn more about auditing your digital analytics implementation and how Convergytics can help optimize you with your data capture and utilization, please visit our website and sign up for a FREE Basic Digital Audit of your Website.

Author Bio:

Randhir Hebbar heads Digital Analytics and BI at Convergytics. Randhir has over 15 years of consulting experience with the likes of Verizon, DSW/Town Shoes, Adidas, Dell, BestBuy, Gap, Nordstrom and Citi. He is a 2012 Franz Edelman Laureate, the winner of Whichtestwon.com awards for Online Cart Optimization and most recently co-founded Convergytics and heads the Digital Analytics Practice there. He can be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]. You can also connect with him at https://www.linkedin.com/in/randhir

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

Posted in Blogs,

Google AdWords is a great channel to get leads for your business. But, a key to your success is the use of data-driven digital marketing and analytics. Therefore, at Convergytics we provide end-to-end, data-driven marketing. That’s how we helped a leading furniture retailer based in US to increase their AdWords ROI 3X. We used extensive tracking of clicks from Google AdWords and detailed drill-down analysis and segmentation of traffic to study the results, and continue to test & learn and optimize the user experience.

1. Target the right keywords

When you choose keywords, think like your prospects, and use keywords that indicate buyer intent. That means keywords people who are shopping or, at least, researching their buying options, would put in. The Keyword Planning tool helps you to find keywords that are relevant, convey buyer intent and have relatively little competition.

If you sell internationally, find the keywords used in those countries. The US, the UK, Australia and others use different vocabularies.

Track your results. Some keywords result in click-thru and sign-ups, but not sales conversions. You need to eliminate them once your data analytics identifies them.

Use negative keywords such as “free,” “bargain” and “sale.” Negative keywords screen out any search queries containing those words. You don’t want customers who are just looking for the lowest prices.

2. Manage your bid strategy to get the right traffic

To earn a healthy ROI from your campaigns, you must focus on conversions, not clicks, impressions and traffic for the sake of traffic.

Use a bid strategy to maximize conversion. Google itself says that’s Enhanced CPC or Target CPA bidding. Set up Conversion Tracking, and test to discover which strategies and keywords bring prospects that turn into sales. Use Google Analytics.

3. Target the right locations

Think strategically about your product or service. If you’re a car dealer in Milwaukee you don’t want to pay for people in New York to see your ad. If you’re selling an information product in English, consider screening out countries where people don’t speak English. You can even go after specific cities (e.g. Target Toronto, but exclude Quebec). If you are into high-end fashion and want to target the urban population, make sure you exclude semi-urban and rural audience. You must continuously track your conversions, and fine-tune based on the data. Drop countries or all locations where prospects don’t convert to save your budget for countries and areas where people buy.

4. Target at the right time (of day) / day (of week)

When do your prospects spend the most time online? Test to discover that. If you sell a B2B product turn off your ads at night and during the weekends. Study and analyze Google Analytics to learn at what times your sites gets the most traffic, and how many convert into sales. That varies a lot depending on your business and your customers and leveraging data and analytics can help ensure every click is more likely to convert into a sale.

5. Use extensions appropriately.

Extensions show extra information about your business. They increase your ad’s visibility. They include: (Call, Site-links, Your location, A structured snippet, Reviews, Call-outs and Apps).

Test your ad’s performance with and without the extensions because Google charges you when somebody clicks on them. Therefore, those clicks are more expensive, but are certainly worth it if they increase your ad’s CTR and result in more sales.

Call dials your business’s telephone number. The Apps extension allows users to download your mobile app. The Location extension is great for local businesses because it displays your full address, telephone and a map marker.

6. Drive traffic to the right landing page.

Send ad traffic to a landing page you’ve aligned with the ad text, never to your home page. Continue the theme of the ad’s text. If your ad to sell cars brags about your deals in used Fords, deals in used Fords should be the main subject of your landing page.

Your ad sets up an expectation in the prospect’s mind about what they’ll find after they click through. Your landing page headline and copy must fulfill that expectation, or you’ll confuse prospects.

Your landing page consists of:

  • A relevant headline with Bullet points that talks about the benefits
  • An appealing, dramatic image or video that works
  • A powerful Call-To-Action to convince visitors to share their details / make the purchase.

Always A/B Test / Split Test your landing pages. Test and try out many headlines, then the bullet points, images and Calls-To-Action.

7. Use the right copy and the best images.

Use direct marketing copy principles. Give them a powerful hook and make a big promise. The headline must attract your prospect’s attention. You don’t have many words to work with, so AdWords ads are a challenge, but convey benefits your target market wants to have. You can’t sell your product from one small ad, so sell the click-through. The same goes for the image. It must catch their eye, and appeal to your target market and make a big promise.

The only way to determine what copy is “right” and what images are “best” is to create a number of variations and then carefully A/B split test them.

Summary:

Don’t expect to make a profit at first. Have a budget ready to test alternatives for a few months. Prepare to test, track, analyze, tweak, refine and re-refine. Use A/B split testing and analyze your results, always seeking to beat the control.

By working with Convergytics’ data-driven digital marketing team and utilizing their Google Adwords Management Services to enhance your ROI, you make AdWords a dependable source of business revenue and growth.

Author Bio:

Randhir Hebbar heads Digital Analytics and BI at Convergytics. Randhir has over 15 years of consulting experience with the likes of Verizon, DSW/Town Shoes, Adidas, Dell, BestBuy, Gap, Nordstrom and Citi. He is a 2012 Franz Edelman Laureate, the winner of Whichtestwon.com awards for Online Cart Optimization and most recently co-founded Convergytics and heads the Digital Analytics Practice there. He can be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]. You can also connect with him at https://www.linkedin.com/in/randhir.

 

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

Posted in Blogs,

Big data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it. ~ Dan Ariely

The above quote never fails to generate a smile but I don’t think it holds true. Not for big enterprises. Not anymore. Under the leadership of Chief Data officers, most big companies are bringing together technology, talent and data assets (new and existing) in a way never seen before and Big Data & Analytics is now an integral part of their enterprise strategy.

Small Businesses on the other hand are a different story. Having talked to both new parents and small businesses, here is my analogy:

Big Data for Small Business is like post baby sex- nobody really expects to you to do it, you have convinced yourself it is highly overrated, and while it would be a ‘nice to have’, after a long tiring day, it’s not your priority. ~ Gazal Kapoor

If you are a new parent, you will change your mind.

If on the other hand, you are a small business, I am here to change your mind about Big Data. Whether you own a start-up or a mature localised business, here are my top 5 reasons on why analytics and big data should be your priority.

1. Know your customer: Your customer is more than the wallet that keeps your business running. Your customer is a person that has hopes, dreams, challenges and struggles just like you. Big data analytics will help you know your customer and personalise your offerings.
2. Map your customer experience: Whatever your product offering is, you provide your customer an experience and you need to understand it. Your customer has an opinion of you and they use it to influence. Big data analytics will help you understand why people choose you over your competitors, help you map their experience at different touch points and understand the voice of your customer.
3. Changing customer and macro dynamics: As a small business owner you are most likely busy on the dance floor. The world around you is changing very fast and no matter how much fun dancing is, you need to step on the balcony from time to time. Big data analytics will help you be at the fore front of trends that are changing your industry and help you drive a return based strategy.
4. Know your Competitors: Big data analytics not only means generating information from your own data assets, it also means tapping into sources of information outside your hold to tell you more about who else is competing with you for your customer’s share of wallet. And if your competitors think they are not big enough for big data, big data analytics will help you get ahead of them.
5. Get Social: Big data analytics will help you integrate social media into your marketing to increase the return on your marketing spend.

If you think you are too small a business and don’t even have the data, the truth is, If you have run your business for a couple of years, have a functional website to interact with a customer and a Facebook page, you have a treasure trove of data already that you are doing nothing with. You can start to dip your toe into big data by looking at public domain – Customer Search Trends from Google, Tweets in Twitter and Facebook Public Posts or even Government and Public Data Sources.

Where is the time, you say.

I hear you on that. One of the biggest challenges a small business face is operations consume almost all their time. The other challenge is budget.

The good news is there are many analytics companies that can partner with you and do all of the above on a shoe string budget. A great analytics partner will not only tap into public and social domain, they will help you create a rich repository of data by making small tweaks in your data systems. They will work closely with you to use the right tools to capture and analyse relevant data and make the most of it. In fact, Small Businesses are in a better position than their bigger counterparts to generate returns from Big Data investments because of scale, agility and nimbleness.

Don’t wait. Treat Big Data Analytics as a ‘must have’ for your small business and see the difference it makes.

In my next post, I will talk about how to choose an analytics partner.

Author Profile: Gazal Kapoor is an analytics professional with experience across domains, geographies and industries. She describes a career in analytics as a passionate arranged marriage but that doesn’t prevent her from flirting with writing from time to time.

Gazal Kapoor works full time in Sydney and is a guest blogger for Convergytics.

 

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

Posted in Blogs,

Analytics Project Tips

John (name changed) is a Marketer for a leading apparel eTailer based in New York. John joined his current company recently and is struggling to make sense of the reports in his Inbox. The #s and findings in the reports just don’t add up. While their analytics vendor sends out 10-15 reports each week, no one on his team uses these reports. No one on the team was even aware of who requested so many reports. The vendor blames the poor data quality for the unreliable numbers and the poor usage. John wonders how he can improve the quality of his analytics projects and if there is a solution.

This is a typical scenario encountered by many a marketer / e-marketer. The root-cause of these are common mistakes that analytics teams (internal and external) make. What are these common but critical mistakes and how can you make sure you avoid them?

1. Unused Reports / Unimplemented Models = No Perceived Value

Is your team / vendor doing work that is eventually not getting used?

You should first inventory the analytics projects and identify the key stakeholders for each. Identify team members who will benefit most from each project. Get these team members to review the work and use it to make decisions. Motivate them to inform you if they feel that they may not have a need for it (now rather than later).

You should do a quarterly exercise to cut redundant work by sitting with your team and your vendors . This exercise will ensure only useful projects remain. A review before a major project launch will ensure you are investing only in useful projects.

As a vendor, you need to take ownership of tracking usage of each project that you work on. Most BI Tools today come with usage tracking features. XL and other reports sent using email can use email/link tracking tools to measure usage. Share the findings with your project sponsor to showcase the impact of your work. A dramatic solution to an unused report is to pull the plug on it for 1-2 weeks and see if anybody complains. If no one does, you can indeed pull the plug on those reports.

2. Erroneous Work = No Credibility

Is your team following due procedure when it comes to QA of the reports / analytics projects that are going out?

Are there a standard set of checks required before any report / analytics recommendation / model goes out? Is the process documentation detailed enough to avoid errors due to personnel changes? Are there many QA check-points within a project? E.g. Ensure that the # of customers in your modeling data-set on is in the ball park.

QA is an important ingredient for an error-free deliverable in any analytics project. You need to confirm advanced analytics projects and presentations make business sense. You also need to ensure that the model is a good model.

3. Data Discrepancy / Data Quality = Unreliable Deliverable

Who do you blame as an analytics team for poor data?

The Data Team (if you were not part of it) or just the stars (if you were). Data will never be perfect. You need to budget enough time in a project for data treatment and call out the assumptions made.

When many data sources are available, you must use the newer, more reliable and less error prone one. It could also so happen that the data was clean for some channels and no so clean for some other channels (e.g. Online). In that case, adopting a hybrid strategy might work better. A first step is to gain access to all key data sources and compare the key metrics (KPIs) across them.

A digital website audit by a digital analytics vendor would be a good first step. This would help identify mistakes around usability, analytics implementation and reporting. You must repeat this audit at least 2-4 times a year to ensure any new changes made do not impact the site and the data. You might need more frequent audits for a website that undergoes frequent changes.

4. Conflicting Stories = Poor Credibility

Does your report tell a story, a single story?

Getting a deliverable ready to present / share with your client is only the first step. Making sure that the #s and recommendations make sense is important. It is easy to get lost in the numbers and lose sight of the reason for the request. The “So-what” or the “5-Whys” technique will help get to the bottom of what the numbers mean. They will also help make recommendations to the client to take certain actions.

You must remember “correlation is not causality” and “averages are misleading” when making recommendations. You might need to drill-down further to see if the recommendations you are making are valid.

5. Projects that don’t drive decisions / actions = No Value

Is your project making an impact?

You feel that you are doing some great work. But, is it making an impact by driving decisions. Is your model implemented in market? If your answer is “No”, you might not have given it enough thought at the start of the project. You must invest time at the start of a project to ensure that you are solving the right problem. You must also ensure that you are structuring the problem in the right way. A well-structured problem helps more than a cutting-edge tool or even a sophisticated technique.

You must ensure that any report includes recommendations based on your interpretation of data. You must also encourage users to provide feedback on these recommendations. Starting a conversation intrigues more stakeholders to use and get value from the reports. Even if you get corrected on your findings, it is likely to be because of some information that you missed as a team. You should request for the extra information and use it to improve the recommendations. More information could include campaign calendars, creatives, market dynamics or product launch schedules.

Author Profile: Randhir Hebbar is an entrepreneur and one of the founders of Convergytics – Asia’s leading analytics brand in 2015-16 (as per UK based Global Brands Magazine). He heads the Digital Analytics and BI Practice at Convergytics and also is the Account Lead for several key accounts. He has consulted with dozens of leading Fortune 500 Retail, e-Tail, Technology, Telecom and Media Companies over the past 15 years and as an Analytics Leader within the organizations that he has been a part off, has encouraged team members to strive to avoid some of the mistakes listed in the article.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

Posted in Blogs, Tagged , , , ,