Archive for the ‘Analytics’ Category

Bryan Eisenberg & Richard Zwicky at SES Toronto

July 13th, 2010 by Richard Zwicky

Bryan Eisenberg, who is the best-selling author of  “Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?: Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing” and many other books and I did a panel together recently at SES Toronto.  After the panel, he interviewed me with regards to meaningful metrics.  It was a good panel, and interview.

Perhaps the most salient point from both panel and interview is that when a business is trying to understand and evaluate key metrics in online marketing they need to look through the entire value-chain. The challenges of the changing marketplace make it very difficult for marketers to measure all channels equitably and fairly, balancing search, social media, email, newsletters, etc. Bryan highlighted the importance of cross channel metrics, which I was able to substantiate with an example of a client who was struggling to find value in PPC after having only invested in, and measured, one channel. Upon examination, the client discovered that a significant portion of the business’s social and organic search traffic was preceded by visits from the paid channel, and that these multi-touch visits were actually converting and providing measurable results at a higher rate than single visit traffic.

I hope you take the 5 minutes to listen to the interview, and feel free to send me any questions that you have as a consequence.

Enquisite Suite Update - April 2010

April 22nd, 2010 by Richard Zwicky

Earlier this week we released an update to the Enquisite reporting suite, extending the functionality of some key components. We are very excited to share the news, and outline the features and benefits with you. Many of these changes are very significant, and are benefits unique to Enquisite: you can’t do most of these things with any other analytics package on the marketplace.

Cross-Domain and Sub-Domain Tracking
We’ve added the ability to track actions and conversions across different domains and display the results as a unified reporting set. This is particularity useful if a booking engine or shopping cart is hosted on a separate domain, or if multiple domains all point in to one site for conversion purposes. Please note that cross-domain and sub-domain tracking will require assistance from the Enquisite team to implement: it’s not complicated, and shouldn’t require any effort from you. If you would like to take advantage of these new capabilities, please send us an email at [email protected].

Sub-Domain Tracking
Cookies can now be tracked across sub-domains and we now tie sub-domain activity together using a single Enquisite tracking code. This allows you to take advantage of our entire platform of functionality while ensuring accurate cross-channel attribution of actions and conversions, no matter where your customers go on your site.

Advanced Organic Keyword Predictions
We are already widely regarded as industry leader in Organic Keyword Research and Predictive Analysis. But being the best isn’t good enough. There’s always room to improve. During the last year, our research scientists have been working hard to enhance the core algorithms and validation routines that deliver predictive keyword suggestions to Enquisite Campaign users. This update is a major step forward on a lot of fronts, and it means you’ll benefit even more than ever from our predictive insights far in advance of the rest of your competitors in the marketplace.

Advanced Regex Segmentation
Enquisite’s Search and Social Analytics platform, Optimizer, is recognized by advanced search marketers as the fastest and most accurate way to segmenting your search traffic. We’ve enhanced your ability to segment by adding the ability for you to take advantage of the most powerful commands in the regular expression (regex) database query set.

In doing so, we have opened up a whole new way to look at your search data. These newly added commands can also function with lists, meaning that if there is a large selection of keywords that you need to work with you simply create a list, and use the list within an expression. Advanced segmentation functions are available when using the ‘contains’ and ‘does not contain’ match type in the Optimizer Longtail segmentation panel. Commands and variables include:

* An asterix is any number of characters,
? A question mark is a single wild character.
| The pipe symbol denotes alternation (either of a number of alternatives).
() Parentheses may be used to group items into a single item. (e.g. (a|b|c))
{x} Brackets indicate a list substitution where ‘x’ is the name of the defined list of words
\ Backward Slash before a control character denotes it as that character not the command (e.g. ” \ * ” is the ” * ” character, not a wildcard)

The search marketers we previewed the regex features to were absolutely thrilled. It makes the management of large datasets so much easier on a lot of levels, and saves them days of work each month.

We Want Your Feedback
We are eager to get any thoughts or suggestions on improvements or new features that you would like to see in the Enquisite Performance Suite in order to exceed your expectations and best meets your needs. You can submit your ideas at [email protected].

Another Patent for Enquisite!

March 23rd, 2010 by Richard Zwicky

Just over a month ago, I posted a note on this blog, recording my feeling at having a patent issued. I was excited.

This week, I’m at SES NY, and am thrilled at lots of amazing things which are occurring this week. First up, I am happy to report that today, Enquisite has had a second patent issued. It’s Patent number 7,685,191, and the Abstract describes it as “Selection of advertisements to present on a web page or other destination based on search activities of users who selected the destination.” If you’re interested you can read the whole thing over at the USPTO office site. If you do, let me know, please.

More on Social Reporting in Enquisite

February 10th, 2010 by Richard Zwicky

Yesterday, I posted about Enquisite adding a Social Tracking function to our reporting suite. I got quite a bit of email expressing interest in knowing more. In re-reading my post, I also felt a little egg on my face for making the beginner mistake of leaving a [LINK] comment in the post, and not making it live – sorry. Stupid mistakes are easy to make; when you mess up, clean it up!

Anyhow, most of the email & DM’s via twitter (@rzwicky) asked for more info, and screenshots. Beginner mistake #2 – always include screenshots whenever possible so readers know what you are describing. I do realize that none of you can look inside my head and see what I do, so why the heck would I assume that you could visualize what I’m writing about without a picture? When I used to do SEO full-time, I always explained to clients that a picture’s worth a thousand words to human visitors, but zero to the search engines. Why would I ignore such a basic tenet of providing meaningful information? Text is great, but a picture seals the deal. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this is one lengthy document!

So, this post is about correcting yesterday’s errors, and providing more insights into Enquisite Social Reports.

We created Enquisite Optimizer’s Social reports to help provide online marketers with perspective. Last year I spent a fair bit of time talking to all sorts of online marketers: search marketers, social search marketers, social marketers, video optimization specialists, etc., and also VP’s of marketing and CMO’s.

What struck me about social was everyone talked about social, but no one seemed to understand how it related to any of their other marketing activities, nor what conversions it really drove. We already were collecting all the user referral data, but didn’t display the social information. Looking at the information, I realized that while there are some apps which help you understand how many referrals you get from any one channel, there’s no holistic views. For example, when you do a post using’s service, you can track how many click through you’re getting from the U.S., but you do have not context as to real geography. We already were reporting on search referrals down to the zip code, so why not do the same with Social? Why not make it possible to track a social push, show where the traffic spiked geographically, and then look at the search referral traffic to see how it compared? Did it follow a similar pattern? Did conversion rates go up? How does one benefit the other? This information was missing from the discussion.

Social marketing offers a huge potential of opportunities in branding, driving visitors, raising awareness, and delivering valued customers to a business. But it’s not a stand-alone channel; it’s a piece of the puzzle. We’ve added social reporting to offer businesses some perspective, so that you can start to understand how they really fit together. For example, take this series of screenshots from Enquisite Social Reports, and then compare it against our Longtail search analytics report.

First off, we have a Longtail type view into social referrals, using categories as a definition. Instead of just reporting on all the referring sites, we added a category layer, so that you can understand the traffic types at a higher layer. In this screenshot you can see that for the particular website being looked at, shopping and consumer review types of social networks deliver the best conversion rates relative to overall social traffic.

In the upper left corner of the screenshot, you should also be able to see the site-wide bounce rate, page view rate and average time on site for referrals from social marketing. Watch how this number changes, and compares against search referral traffic.

Next up, we segmented out just the shopping and consumer review types of social sites – note the segmentation panel. I’ve also dropped in Twitter, as I wanted to see how it related. Note how the traffic quality improves as shown by the increased time on site / pages viewed, and lowered bounce rate.

Now, in this next step, we’ve segmented out social referrals to just ones that came from within the U.S., and are showing this information on the map. Look at the distribution pattern of visitors from social search, and keep this in mind for the comparison to search referrals to come later.

Drilling in to the map view, we have two important perspectives: 1) where do the referrals come from, city by city, and 2) then the following screenshot shows us where visitors were really located when they purchased a product as a result of a referral from a social network or social marketing initiative.

Now let’s compare this against search referrals in Enquisite Optimizer’s Longtail reports. First off, the bounce rate is much lower from search, and the pages viewed and time on site are much higher. So a more engaged visitor from search.

At the present time, search is sending almost 100x the referral traffic that social is to this site. However, to be fair, the business in question hasn’t really engaged a full-on social campaign. More like dipping their toes so far. But, all of a sudden they are recognizing value where they couldn’t before, in that they can understand the conversion rates better, and also they can compare and understand how the two traffic sites overlap.

Finally, let’s look at the map of search referral traffic. First up are referral rates.

Obviously, unlike the social referrals, the search traffic to this business is very broadly dispersed. Looking at conversion rates however, a different trend emerges:

Interesting how the Pacific Northwest is over-represented for conversions, relative to search referrals.

Finally, let’s compare that against conversions that were generated from social marketing, and we can see similar patterns emerge, with certain locations better represented proportionally.

These screenshots were built using the same time range throughout. When tracking specific campaigns, you can get much more granular to understand time lag.

Additionally, for marketers and business operators who want to understand the financial contribution of any channel to the bottom line, we offer Enquisite Campaign, which was designed from the ground up to report on, and provide predictive analysis of opportunities across all online marketing channels, and let online marketers, VP’s, CMO’s and CFO’s understand how the various channels interact, and combine together to contribute to revenue.

Marketing via Social networks is still in the early days, and the impact is usually difficult to understand. But a combined perspective on Search and Social will continue to become ever more important to any online marketer. We recognize that marketers are having a hard time measuring the impact of both channels, independently and together, so we’re bringing some perspective to the marketplace.

Businesses need perspective to properly invest in worthwhile initiatives. We provide insights to act.

Enquisite Adds Social Reports

February 9th, 2010 by Richard Zwicky

This evening, we’re adding a new set of reports to Enquisite’s Optimizer product.

Optimizer has been Enquisite’s core search analytics service since launch. Late last year we added a links tracking module to the reports, as search marketers needed to be able to monitor which links when live when, and more importantly which links pointing in to a web site stopped sending traffic, or had huge spikes in referrals. These additions were designed to help the search marketer monitor more of their traffic sources that affected their search campaigns. We’re taking that logic further with tonight’s release.

Tonight, Enquisite is adding a layer of Social Marketing tracking functionality to our reporting. The search marketing industry has grown considerably over the last year and a half, and so have we. Social networks were still nascent, and their impact was hard to understand. But a combined perspective on Search and Social (not just the firm Search and Social) has become very important to any online marketer. We recognize that marketers are having a hard time measuring the impact of both channels, independently and together, so we’re bring perspective to the marketplace.

Enquisite Campaign was designed from the ground up to report on, and provide predictive analysis of opportunities across channels, and let online marketers, VP’s, CMO’s and CFO’s understand how the various channels interact, and combine together to contribute to revenue. Businesses need that perspective to invest.

Today’s addition to Enquisite Optimizer adds a “Social” tab to the reporting suite. Now, you can understand all your social campaign referrals from within one interface, and also view that traffic geographically via our mapping interface. Plus, you can compare that against your paid and organic search campaigns.

Do you really know how your social campaigns are affecting your search campaigns? Now, you can see where social referrals are coming from, and map that against your search referrals. Do the geographies overlap? What’s the lag time? How does it affect referral quality and conversion rates? These are all questions that for the first time you can now answer.

Log in, take a look, and provide us feedback of what else you would like to see added in Optimizer’s Social reports.

In March we’ll be making a significant addition to Enquisite’s suite of products in the area of linking. Linking continues to present a myriad of challenges for search marketers, and the amount of spam generated in this area is massive. We’re going to help you cut through the noise and implement more effective linking campaigns. We’ll be contacting all Enquisite account holders with an early participation offer shortly, keep your eyes peeled, you won’t want to miss it.

How a patent came to be

February 3rd, 2010 by Richard Zwicky

Many, many years ago when I was a youngster growing up, I read lots of books about people like Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell. I marveled at how many things they had invented, and the effects just the things they patented still had on our lives.

At the time, I never expected to be in a position where I would have my name associated with a published patent.

Yesterday, a patent I wrote was issued. It’s patent number 7,657,626, and refers to an original method of detecting click fraud. It’s a dry read, so I’m not sure if you want to rush out and read it, but if you’re having a hard time sleeping, you can find the patent here, at the USPTO office.

Now, in no way do I consider that this one issued patent in any way puts me, or any of my ideas in the league of these great inventors or innovators, but I am thrilled nonetheless. To have an idea recognized as truly original in this process is special, and I truly feel honored, and am indebted to everyone who helped guide me through the process.

Of all the things I’ve done, this one really was like a light bulb going on. The idea came to me over a holiday weekend a few years ago. My son and I were enjoying a boy’s weekend getaway at our cabin at a lake near Victoria. I’d been deep in data looking at random server activity data all week, so playing around in the water, cooking meals over the fire, and staring at the night sky was a welcome change. The second night I went to bed around 11, and was out solid until 2:30 a.m. I woke up with a start and an idea in my head. Normally, like most people I’d just roll over and go back to sleep, telling myself that I’d deal with it in the morning, by which time I’d forget about it. But this time, I grabbed a pen and paper and started writing. Two hours later I was stuck; I’d written many pages of notes, and long-form formulae / processes, but something was missing. I put the notes away and went back to sleep.

The next day I spent being very busy doing nothing! I didn’t even read my notes from the night before, figuring that I could get back to it after the weekend. That night, I woke up at 3:00 a.m., with an idea how to break through the last barrier in the process. I started writing, and that night completed what turned out to be the first draft of the provisional patent application.

The following week I sat down with our Mathematican, Rafael Parra Hernandez, and he helped me take my long-form formulae and convert them to more conventional mathematics. He also explained to me the various types of math I had incorporated in the processes. If my high-school math teachers could see it now, they’d never believe it!

And, that’s how a patent came to be.

Google Search Update: Ranking Report Really is Dead (finally)

December 10th, 2009 by Richard Zwicky

This week I had the pleasure of moderating and speaking at SES Chicago. It was probably my favorite Chicago show yet. What a change from last year when everyone was nervous about how deep the economy would slide into chaos.

One subject that did create some buzz - no surprise - was Google’s announcement of an always-on personalized search. There’s been lots written about it, and the change truly is spectacular. Unfortunately, spectacular doesn’t always equate good.

Rather than dwell on all the questionable issues that the always-on personalized search system raises, I’m going to comment about something that’s actually good in this update: The death of the ranking report. Finally! Finally, rankings are totally meaningless as a reporting metric. Ranking reports which scrape results to identify a position in the search results have been deceptive for years, but now they are unquestionably and completely useless. Anyone providing a ranking report as authoritative is deceiving their clients.

In a way, I am thrilled with Google’s personalization changes, as they make the performance reporting used in Enquisite Optimizer even more valuable. It now is definitely the only real way to measure true page and rank positioning. Optimizer shows where people located anywhere in the world are finding your site in the results, based on actual click-through activity, not some bogus ranking report. This is only analytical platform which report back to you on what your customers are actually seeing in the search results.

People who use traditional ranking reports as a reporting metric are no longer able to report any meaningful data. First off, the data collected are unique to that computer. Second, other activity from that computer affects the results. Run just one site’s reports from a system? Do anything else with it? Anything you search for with that computer can now affect the results you’re seeing. Wait until Caffeine rolls out, and anything you do with that computer will cause variations. Use Google Docs, Gmail, or any other Google products? Your results will vary.

So how can any ranking report based on what one, or even 100 computers which repeatedly run ranking analysis reports be accurate? They can’t. The ranking report you used to use as a metric is dead.

If, as a user, you’re not comfortable with the new personalized search “benefit” just wait for caffeine to roll-out in full next year. Me? I’ve already changed my default search engine in Firefox to Bing. Strange, I’m not concerned about how responsibly Microsoft will handle my information.

Search Engine Market Share Update, November 10, 2009

November 10th, 2009 by Richard Zwicky

As noted previously, we’re trying and produce weekly and monthly breakdowns of certain search engine related market trend numbers. I posted a breakdown of search referral query length earlier, but I wanted to make sure I updated the search engine referral data as well. As always, we’re providing the data in weekly breakdowns to try and identify trends in very granular ways. This data reflects actual clickthrough activity, and not the number of queries run. Meaning if someone performs a search on Yahoo, but doesn’t click through to the results, we don’t track it. We only track searches which generated referrals.

The data shows a continued growth trend on the part of Bing, with Microsoft (MSFT) gaining almost a full point of market share over the last two months. Yahoo’s share of search referrals continues to erode.

For those who like the raw data / numbers, here you go:

Google Yahoo Bing Other
September 7 78.68% 11.51%  6.80%  3.01%
September 14 78.35% 11.13%  6.50%  4.02%
September 21 77.43% 11.35%  7.11%  4.11%
September 28 77.65% 10.80%  7.27%  4.28%
October 4 77.78% 10.66%  7.23%  4.33%
October 12 77.78% 10.66%  7.21%  4.35%
October 18 77.89% 10.65%  7.29%  4.17%
October 25 77.83% 10.56%  7.56%  4.05%
November 1 77.75% 10.46%  7.66%  4.12%
November 8 77.96% 10.21%  7.75%  4.08%

Enquisite collects data from a network of web sites distributed globally. The data used in this reports represents web sites distributed globally, accessed by searchers located in the U.S., and reflects click-through activity data.

Google Chrome, Safari and Firefox Continue to Grow; Don't Ignore Mobile

October 6th, 2009 by Richard Zwicky

Around this time last year, I looked at browser market share in the context of Google’s Chrome browser release. The market has definitely changed quite a bit since last year. Most surprisingly for me is how Chrome rebounded from a soft launch. Firefox, Chrome and Safari now account for nearly 31% of search queries worldwide, up 50% over September, 2008. Interestingly, Firefox and Safari have both grown by almost 45% in their combined market share vs. November, 2008.

At first glance this particular data set doesn’t appear to help much with SEO. But usability is a major concern of any SEO, and browser compatibility is key to usability. So SEOs need to understand these trends and plan accordingly to render properly within the leading browsers.

Separately, my friend Cindy Krum is always asking me about mobile browser data. Total mobile browser market share now surpasses 1% of all search engine referral browser views. Not surprisingly, the iPhone leads the pack at is at almost 0.6% marketshare, which is significant, and double the share vs. April of this year. RIM, Opera and Android and a few others make up the remainder. One year ago, Android was a non-issue. Now, it’s 0.04%. Still tiny, but noticeable. SEOs need to pay attention to this emerging trend. The real estate in the organic listings on the mobile browsers is much smaller, and the likelihood of people on mobile browsers going to page 2 in the results is also lower, so being at the top of the page one listings in mobile really is all that matters.

July 2009 August 2009 September 2009
MSIE (all) 67.59% 66.75% 66.61%
Firefox 19.09% 21.99% 21.13%
Safari 5.12% 6.86% 7.08%
Chrome 1.83% 2.27% 2.38%
iPhone 0.45% 0.59% 0.58%
Android 0.04% 0.04% 0.04%

About the data. Enquisite works with thousands of sites worldwide and captures a trove of relevant search-related data every day. The browser shares reported here are based on data from a selection of Enquisite-tagged sites that cumulatively represent over 350 million page views/month, across most major industry sectors - a very significant sample size.

Lastly, yesterday marked the kick-off for SMX East. Sadly, I’m not going to be there this year, as I had to bow out at the last minute for personal reasons. I know a few people, Jessica Bowman among them, had commented that were looking forward to some data, so in that vein, I hope this provides some insight into what’s going on in the search world. More data on blog posts to come.

postscript - for those who don’t like having 2 windows open… here’s the numbers from last year…

Date Chrome Firefox Safari MS IE (All)
09/30/08 0.501% 15.007% 4.321% 79.832%
10/15/08 0.433% 15.387% 4.178% 79.592%
10/20/08 0.462% 15.643% 4.296% 79.183%

Enquisite Pro Update - March 2009

March 31st, 2009 by Richard Zwicky

We’ve made quite a few updates this month in the Enquisite Pro product. I thought I would use the last day of the month to recognize these updates.

Apart from Enquisite Pro updates, I should note that we continue to move forward aggressively with the development of the Enquisite Campaign product. I’m happy to announce that we’re taking this to a larger beta immediately. If you want to be part of the Campaign product beta, please sign up, test it out, and provide us feedback. This is quite an advanced beta at this point, it’s very stable.

If you don’t know about Enquisite Campaign yet, it’s an online marketing monetization platform which allows you to audit and monetize organic search, links, social media, and any other area of online marketing you could wish to. I’m not a big one for hyperbole, so please forgive me if this sounds simple. It’s not, and it will change the face of online marketing. We already have some of the biggest agencies in the world supporting and engaging. Feel free to contact me directly for more information.

However, the point of this post was not to discuss Enquisite Campaign, rather it was to bring everyone up to date on improvements made in March 2009 to Enquisite Pro.

There were four major updates, three of which are easily visible, and all are based on user requests. First off, we’ve change the calendar system used in the application to make it more flexible for users; Secondly, we’ve added an “Organization” tab to the Longtail reports; Third, we’ve added an IP Exclusion feature to the reporting admin, and finally; A major API update with additional functionality built into the API. Rather than just posting what these are, I thought I would provide a short example of how you can use them.

The calendar feature is self-explanatory: you can select longer date ranges, and it’s easier to choose flexible time periods. It’s also an update in anticipation of some future features, and aligns with the calendar system being used in Enquisite Campaign.

The organization report has been requested by lots of users over time. We’re glad to finally get make it available. This function is more interesting for B2B businesses, as what it helps you do is understand what specific target customers are interested in. Let’s say for example that you are discussing an opportunity with IBM, and the people you are dealing with are in Seattle, White Plains, and Austin. Right now it’s impossible to monitor what people located at IBM in those areas are searching for when they visit your site. Now, it’s possible. Using the Organization report, you can isolate traffic from IBM, and then segment just the traffic from the geographic areas you want to monitor. It takes less than 30 seconds to set up a profile, and from that point forward you can monitor what the relevant terms are for your potential partner / client. It’s a whole new way to attentively listen to your conversation.

The IP Exclusion feature is also something which lots of people at agencies have asked for. They want to be able to exclude their own site traffic from reporting. Available via the admin panel, this function allows you to enter in IP addresses you want the system to ignore when presenting reports to you. You might exclude addresses to avoid reporting on your own, or your customer’s internal traffic. You might also wish to exclude a referrer with peculiar behavior which doesn’t suit your reporting or analysis needs. It’s simply one more way to refine your data.

Finally, there’s been a big update to the API for Enquisite Pro. It’s workflow related, and designed specifically for creating certain reports which many agencies use repetitively. Our beta users in the test reported that this workflow saved them 2 hours per site in monthly reporting time. That alone paid for their cost of service!

As always, feel free to send me any questions, feedback, or comments.