Category Archives: Web Analytics

The Value of Remarketing Campaigns

One aspect I notice with clients, be it small business owners or managers of an enterprise, is a hesitancy to deploy a new technique to their paid search campaigns.  They feel running digital ads is an empty exercise in marketing futility with an indiscriminate increase in spend.  Applying advanced techniques such as remarketing can make that spend more discreet and make the futility less likely.

Remarketing is one of the newest techniques in digital advertising. Remarketing is a strategy in which an ad appears after a website visit.  Its purpose is to provide site visitors a “reminder” to return to a site.  Many remarketing campaigns are created with adding a small snippet of analytics code to the intended site pages.

The advancement of remarketing reflects the dynamic environment consumers are in. With so many ways to discover a retailer online, providers of paid online ads have had reimaging their ads appearing somewhere other than alongside a search engine result.

The value of remarketing lies in providing additional engagement of visitor who fallout of a conversion path. Take a user for a beauty care product. That customer visits apage, but then remembers the need to pay a bill online to prevent a late fee.As a result, they leave your site to go pay a bill or perform some other related online task. As this same user navigates the internet, ads can appear on other visited sites, reminding the customer of thebeauty care product. The ad may even add an enticement – free shipping ora 10% discount if the customer “acts now”. The customer then recallsthat they wanted the beauty care product. The customer then clicks the ad to make the intended purchase.

One end result from this activity is an increase conversion rate. Conversions from an organic search can reach single digit percentages with the best effort; Remarketing campaigns focuses on the unconverted majority.

Another end result is to cause marketers to imagine a potential customers journey. Reviewing website navigation behavior can indicate ideas for where a remarketing campaign would best complement customer search for products and services. There are signs that remarketing campaigns are providing additional value.  An eMarketer post noted that marketers running social media alongside remarketing programs are seeing improve branding and direct purchase response.

Finally, issuing a remarketing plan can be an initial discussion on establishing a privacy policy. Google for example recommends that website indicate a privacy policy when updating its Google Analytics code for remarketing campaigns. Such discussions can rally an organization to understand what can breech consumer data management and ruin customer trust.

Remarketing is on the cusp of breaking out as an expected way to deploy digital advertising. Clickz noted remarketing as among the top 5 marketing trends for 2014.   With some imaginative planning, retailers can learn how to leverage remarketing as a personalization tool and not a shopping intrusion.


Predictive Analytics for Great Retail

Many retailers struggle with connecting with customers’ desires and needs. But instead of relying on sole instincts and trial-and-error tactics, retailers should develop their own predictive analytics models to find the right untapped opportunity. They should begin much sooner than later. Retailers in various markets are realizing the potential of their efforts, becoming significant competitors as a result.

Predictive analytics is the rollup analysis of data that determines an anticipated outcome. For retail, this means determining customer segment behaviors through evaluating data patterns related to that segment. Data for advanced predictive models can be from numerous platforms requiring a mix of software and programming to reveal insights. For example, the R programming language is a popular choice to combine with analytic packages to create predictive models for numerous business scenarios.

Demand for predictive analytics is increasing. O’Reilly noted in a Strata article that business analysts are increasing interested in more complex data modeling. And Gartner noted that by 2016, 70% of most business processes will incorporate real time predictive analytics to establish a competitive advantage.

Applying predictive analytics can lead to developing robust process controls that ensures an organization a better chance to choose the right investments or activities.

Price management is a prime example. IT can monitor tech costs associated with a price management campaign, from website maintenance to inventory-related systems. Thus IT teams impacted by predictive analytics can direct resources on tasks that will likely raise or lower costs. Furthermore, the ongoing nature of a price management campaigns can encourage better supply chain management. This can lead to further cost reductions and improved operations.

A recent Forbes article highlights a few examples that analytics firm ForeSee has observed. Hickory Farms, Perry Ellis, and all saw incremental increased sales through strategic usage of predictive analytics. And last year Chain Store Age noted how grocer Safeway achieved sales success with “Just For U”, a personalized pricing card program for shoppers. Personalized pricing is derived from predictive analytic measures.

To their best capabilities, predictive analytic models address the management of uncertain future outcomes within the organization. No one knows the future with a certainty. But a solid predictive model can provide an important indicator of what profitable activities are best pursued.

CEOWorld names Zimana’s Pierre DeBois one of the top Big Data experts to follow on Twitter

CEOWorld Top Big Data

CEOWorld named its Top Big Data experts to follow on Twitter…

Earlier in 2014, CEOWorld Magazine named @ZimanaAnalytics among the top Twitter accounts to follow for Big Data. Managed by Zimana founder Pierre DeBois, the Twitter account curates a number of topics on small business, big data, and analytics, as well as regular posts from Zimana Blog, an AllTop web analytics blog.  The @ZimanaAnalytics Twitter account was ranked Number 36.

CEOWorld Magazine is a global business and technology information media site. Created by Amarendra Bhushan in 2008, CEOWorld Magazine offers business news features for chief executive officers and senior executives.

Pierre DeBois

…and Zimana was named one of the top Twitter accounts to follow for Big Data and Analytics

CEO World Magazine

Zimana listed among the Top Big Data Experts to Follow, according to CEOWorld Magazine

“I am extremely pleased and thankful for CEOWorld to consider @ZimanaAnalytics among the top Twitter profiles that feature big data topics, ” said Pierre DeBois.  “By focusing on curating on analytics-related topics, the Zimana Twitter account has become a key resource for small and medium sized businesses that are working to increase their business intelligence knowledge and analytic capability. This acknowledgment from CEOWorld, along with a nod to the Zimana Facebook page being named one of the top Facebook pages to follow by Small Business Trends, encourages me to ensure that the Zimana social media platforms are of great value to clients, customers, and partners.”

Read more about the top Twitter list at the CEOWorld Magazine site .

Analytics Tip: Google Analytics Remarketing Basics for Your Business

Need to raise your online sales? That means raising conversions, and these days, it means considering a remarketing program to make higher conversions possible.

Remarketing is one of the newest techniques being used in paid search. Remarketing is a strategy in which an ad appears after a webste visit. Its purpose is to provide a “reminder” to a site visitor to come back and make a purchase, register for an event, or to sign up on the website. Think of it as a conversion reminder, because a remarketing campaign is meant to remind a visitor to comeback to a site.

Before making the first steps to create remarketing lists, make sure you or someone who will be responsible for the list has administrator access to the Google Analytics account, as well as someone who can modify the code  to accommodate the remarketing protocol.

Google Analytics Remarketing

The admin page contains a remarketing selection (center column, product listing)

Modifying the Analytics Code

To create a remarking campaign, you must add a remarketing tag, a small snippet of code. The code is applied to all your site pages exactly like that of a web analytics code.

The revision is based on whether the site is running Universal Analytics (analytics.js) or the previous version (ga.js), but in both protocols, the change is a minor line revision. For GA, you can  replace the following line in the GA tag…

ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://ssl’ : ‘http://www’) + ‘’;

with the following line:

ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://’ : ‘http://’) +

For Universal Analytics, adding the following line to the script is required, instead of a substitution:

ga(‘require’, ‘displayfeatures’);

If you are uncomfortable with Javascript edits on a webpage, use a tag management system such as a Google Tag Manager. Using the tag manager will better align the management of the site with reporting features and can take advantage of the Universal Analytics tag.

Establishing A Privacy Policy To Guide Customers and Gain Trust

The next step after the tag modification is indicating in your privacy policy that remarketing tags are being used. The disclosure provides an opt out choice for visitors who are sensitive to being tracked, and in Google’s analytic configuration, the usage of a DoubleClick cookie separate from the standard Google Analytics tag. Google provides guidance, particular to address display ad campaigns on what should be contained in a privacy policy (you can read it here.).

A privacy policy ensures that customers understand what impact remarketing ads can have on their online experience. The policy should disclose:

  • The capacity for display advertising.
  • Implemented Google Analytics features based on display advertising (e.g., remarketing).
  • That visitors can opt out of Google Analytics for display advertising and customize Google Display Network ads using the Ads Preferences Manager.
Google Analytics Remarketing - Linking Adwords

Linking an Adwords account is required to setting up a remarketing campaign. The link permits measurement within Google Analytics

Creating Remarketing Lists

With the settings adjusted and the privacy policy in place, the next step is to form remarketing lists for the webpages involved in a remarketing campaign. Remarketing lists describe website “triggers” – the events that will cause the ad to be shown to a visitor who triggered the event. The events are based on the objective you have set for your website. The lists can be created in the admin section of your Google Analytics. For the setting adjustment, make sure that you have access as the administrator. Navigate to the Product Linking  section on the admin page for an account. Next, click on “Remarketing”, then click “Lists” – making sure that there is a Adwords account linked to the profile.

  1. Select the profile from which you want the lists to be built from.
  2. Select the simple list type. You can have a list for several different configurations such as:
  • all your visitors,
  • visitors who visited a subsection of your site,
  • visitors who completed a goal.

The lists can be viewed within the linked  AdWords account.

Once a remarketing list has been created, a new Adwords  campaign can be launched. The remarketing list can be added to an ad group. If more than one remarketing list is added to an ad group, the ad group will target all of these lists. This means that a remarketing list is treated as an ad group (or as a sub-ad group if two or more list are added. Either way, it also means understanding an Ad group is essential to maintain the right digital message for a campaigns)

Remarketing has revitalized digital media marketing. Clickz noted remarketing as one of the top trends in 2014.  Remarketing has particularly rearranged the value that paid search can have in a given strategy.  The benefits include:

  • Remarketing can increase conversion rates by reminding customers of an offer. The tactics focuses on the audience that does not convert initially but may have potential interest that is never developed further because no media is there to remind them
  • Remarketing tailors marketing to the intended customer segment by setting triggers that a segment uses regularly on a site
  • Remarketing can strengthen brand message by reducing the number of messages that appear on different media. The multiple combinations of message and media can confuse and annoy customers.
  • Because message confusion is reduced, remarketing can enhance communication with customer. This is valuable as customers increasingly see marketing offers and messages across multiple devices

Ultimately remarketing can enhance marketing message to a fragmented customer attention span. What other benefits can remarketing offer? Share your thoughts and questions below.

Analytics Tips: Starter Ideas for Managing E-commerce Reporting

Sometimes e-commerce reporting in analytic solutions can be intimidating place to start.  An e-Commerce business or an organization with an e-Commerce group faces many reports combined with many products for a visitor to view.  So on first blush, considering what details to manage at first seems confusing.

To develop analytic reporting, consider these activities to build best reporting practices.

Monitor speed to purchase

Visits to purchase and days to purchase are valuable metrics in determining how quickly purchases are being conducted. This is a different perspective than the standard goals and recency reports shown in Google Analytics. Goals usually reflect the current within a visit clicking on a button playing a video for reaching for page referred time on the website.  Multiple actions are typical for e-commerce site, given the number of items made available. Thus E-commerce goals differ by representing both a conversion in a visit or actions with a visit.

Match analytic reporting to territory to better track sales by currency 

It is best to have a profile for each country in which you intend to operate. The reason is currency differences. Most analytic solutions have no means to combine currencies within one profile. So to make retail reporting easier, establish an analytic profile that contains data for local websites serving a specific region.

Watch for discrepancies in the visitor data 

Some decay in data can occur as traffic is examined from a click of a tagged form to a conversion goal. This error is usually represented as a difference between visits and orders forfilled. The error comes about due to tracking concerns. Browser settings, blocked cookies, and multiple clicks within a visit increases the likelihood of an error count. Users can use Charles or Fiddler to confirm that there are no consistent client-server issues with the website that could be causing the error. Errors over 10% are a concern worth seeing a correction.

Check the item details that go into the E-commerce Javascript tag

Details such as SKU codes are usually required in the Javascript tag. These details are necessary for the E-commerce analytics reports to capture metrics and data. Make a list of what should be included

Check Javascript syntax where possible

Another area to check in the syntax used in the Javascript tag.  Watch for unique symbols that do not work well in a Javascript syntax, such as currency symbols. Sometimes a symbol is not interpreted in the script well, causing a misfire of a code.

To make an inspection easier, set a master profile where unfiltered data can be examined.  This can provide a check for setting changes and help validate proper code.  A web developer can verify and dig into the code details for errors or possible mismatch within the Javascript syntax.

Maintain a roll up account

Just as with filters, where maintaining an “unfiltered” account is important, E-commerce should maintain a roll up account that covers all related e-commerce reporting. This is particularly useful when purchases are handled through various territories and there needs to reporting unfiltered to detect reporting and in some cases diagnostic concerns.