What is the right number of visits to begin using analytics? – A brief answer

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What is the right number of visits or sessions needed to begin using analytics reports?

2? 33,483?  Maybe over 120,000?

The answer is none!

Your analytics really begins when planning website and app content alongside the digital marketing media used to build awareness.  In fact, the current trend of customer experience means planning on content and understanding users – not just achieving numbers just to gain numbers.

In fact the biggest mistake small business owners make is delaying their analytics until AFTER a website is launched.   Doing so overlooks maximizing the benefits from the metrics and taking action that can benefit a business for the long haul.

When starting with analytics, concentrate on identifying trends in the data first rather seeking hard numbers.  Those trends can highlight where marketing and operational resources in your business should be directed.

Analytics Tips: How non-techies can monitor branding for small businesses and non-profit organizations

Google Analytics Affinity Reports
Reports like Affinity Report can be set in the dashboard for quick referral of traffic quality.

Monitoring your brand. It’s a phrase brought up by marketers, yet no one thinks about how non profits or non technically inclined individuals should be monitoring their “brand” online.

Why is this overlook important? Well, the definition of a brand is ”how others remember you”. In general you are asking the public to remember you – for a donation, for purchase a service, or for purchase from your inventory when your nearby competitor has the same product (and these days, everyone online is a nearby competitor!).

So let’s assume that you have added a Google Analytics account to your website. If so, you’re half way to monitoring your data and your brand. To get that other essential half, try the following few starter ideas for digging into the reports without getting too overwhelmed.

  • Schedule a reporting time – minimum once a month review with the analytics reports. Expect more frequency if you are using paid search or other budgeted media for marketing.
  • Set Goals in your analytics account – Set the pages and webpage actions that relate the site to your objectives.
  • Set visits by geography if your business or nonprofit is covering a specific region. Geography reporting can be the easiest to understand, if your business is marketed to certain regions. Review if traffic consistently lined up with where the business is marketing.
  • Look for trends over time. Examining where data comes from will narrow down what actions to take to strengthen or adjust.
  • Look at affinity reports to see what other topics of interest that attracts visitors and are receiving your visitors after they have visited your site. The reports can spark ideas for Adwords campaigns by lifestyle to sites that are suitable partners for increasing exposure to your site and brand.
  • If you are receiving regular reports from an analytic practitioner, ask for the meaning behind a report or metric definition. They should be following along your business at some level, and making .

Infographic – #InternetofThings Primer by AIG

Internet of things - aig

This infographic covers some of the basic benefits that are expected from the Internet of Things era.   Dr Shawn DuBravac created the infographic for AIG.

One interesting note is the cost reduction on devices – the infographic notes how accelerometer devices have dropped in average cost from $7 to just 50 cents.

This expected trend of lowered costs was also mentioned in during Joichi Ito’s presentation at the O’Reilly Solid conference, a media event that covers the latest Internet of Things innovations. Ito is the director of MIT Media Labs, a facility which specializes in technology research.  He is a leading thinker and writer on innovation, global technology policy, and the role of the internet in transforming society.

You can read about the Solid conference in these posts for CMSWire (see Finding Solid Ground in the IoT Era) and for Small Business Trends ( Ways Your Small Business Can Capitalize on the Internet of Things).  You can also check out the video of Its’s Solid Conference presentation How Bio Is The  New Digital .

CloudCamp – The Basics of HIPAA Privacy Compliance

CloudCamp Chicago Meetup
Cloudcamp is a technology meetup in Chicago which showcases topics and ideas from presentere accross the Chicagoland area. This meetup focused on healthcare cloud issues such as privacy and health movement from wearables.
There are a ton of meetups in Chicago on technology, but few are dedicated to cloud technology. One that does examine the influences on cloud tech is CloudCamp.
CloudCamp presented a healthcare theme meetup, in which presenters displayed lightning talks on health.  Alex Connor, Lead architect at Crimson Care Management  highlighted the best of compliance concerns in his talk called  Security Sanity – what is it like in a HIPAA compliant environment.
HIPAA requires PHI – otherwise known as “protect health information” – from organizations. This means tactics such as encryption and physical security of hard drives and in emails.
Moreover, encryption efforts means having a sense of traceability is important. Traceability addresses the following questions that a HIPAA review would raise:
  • To whom does the data refers
  • Who saw the data
  • What did they see
  • When did they see it
  • From where did they see it?
To identify traceability and to maintain protocols,  annual HIPAA compliance assessment is needed.  Connor outline the basics that would support HIPAA compliance.  Thes would lead into safety best practices such as:
  • Ensure that the Information security officer attend HIPAA training, compliance,
  • Add encryption to all workstations
  • Add a Screen shield to prevent over-the-shoulder view of data
  • Lock laptops whenever you leave it – even for less than a minute
  • Set clear expectation; contextualize policy and definitions
  • Include clear definitions around warning, sanctions, and breaches
  • Stay current with current laws
  • Talk openly about breaches in the news
More is available on the slide deck, available on the Cloudcamp Slideshare page.  You will see Connor’s talk, as well as the presentations from other speakers in their entirety.

Video: The Responsive City – Stephen Goldsmith @Goldsmithongov at @ChicagoCityData

Stephen Goldsmith of Harvard Kennedy School speaks on the value of data within government agencies

This post features a video of an informal presentation from Stephen Goldsmith. The talk was given in Chicago at the Microsoft Technology Center as part of the meetup group  Chicago City Data User Group.  Goldsmith showed innovation and thought leadership during his roles as Deputy Mayor of New York City and two-term Mayor of Indianapolis. His efforts changed how many cities view technology as a driver of physical and civic improvement. He is now the Daniel Paul Professor of Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

The talk centers on the civic usage of data.  A brief 30 minute discussion, Goldsmith noted about the challenging need to use data to improve the discretion of government agency managers.  Goldsmith believed that the data should not be used to embolden bureaucratic processes, but to instead align those processes to serve citizens better and to better deploy precious resources.  Check out his comments and insights in the video below.