Category Archives: Web Analytics

Free Google Analytics Workshop Oct 3rd at #Chicago Small Business Entrepreneur Expo @CHIbizexpo

Pierre DeBois - Zimana

Pierre DeBois of Zimana will be conducting a free web analytics workshop at the City of Chicago Small Business Expo

Are you based in Chicago and need a brief overview of how to use Google Analytics effectively? Well you are in luck!

Zimana founder Pierre DeBois is conducting a free overview workshop of Google Analytics. Learn how to make the most of the key reports, as well as how to best organize your business resources and digital media to leverage Google Tag Manager and Google Webmaster.

The workshop will be at the 2014 Chicago City Treasurer’s Small Business Entrepreneur Expo, held at the University of Illinois Chicago Forum, on Friday, October 3rd. The workshop will start at 12:45pm (The expo is free to the public from 8:30 am to 3:30pm).

The expo is sponsored by the City of Chicago Treasurer’s office and features a host of resources and panels to aid the small business community in Chicago.

To learn more about the expo and register, go to Also feel free to follow the official Twitter feed at @CHIBizExpo.


Analytics Tip: 6 Simple Installation and Maintenance Tips To Reduce Analytics Errors

Adding an analytics solution can be simple or complex depending on the site structure.  That complexity can be enough to have more than a few hang ups occur. Is the site an e-commerce site?  Are there cross domains? What about adding custom dimensions or event tracking for specific objectives? Even the easiest solutions can become an organizational nightmare when conducting a quality assessment.

But for simple sites, adding a analytics tag to a website can seem pretty easy  – if you have a five page site, adding Google Analytics, Piwik, Woopra or another solution can be done with a text file editor.

In these cases, you have a few options to check if you have installed the tracking code and no data is being seen. Check out the possible reasons below and see if these fit the bill (Note: Some of the tips are focused on Google Analytics, but the protocol is sound enough for most analytic solutions.  Check your analytics solution to learn of slight differences in implementing these tips).

Ensure the correct tracking code is installed 

If you have not updated a site in a while, you may be using an outdated version of an analytic solution. That can happen if you are hosting the ga.js file locally, or using a solutions that is no longer supported, such as Urchin – the original version of Google Analytics which was discontinued in March 2013.

Verify that you have the most up-to-date version of your analytics solution.  You can click the “Check Status” link on the Analytics Settings page to find the new code.

Verify that Script Interference does not exist….

Other scripts on your pages could be using some of the same variables as the ga.js file, and therefore interfering with the tracking code execution. If you’re using additional scripts on your pages, consider moving the tracking code into the <head> section of the page. This way, the tracking code will work correctly, and it won’t interfere with the rest of your scripts.             

Also verify that pages load correctly.  Packet sniffers can verify the loading sequence, providing a cascading graph of calls to the hosting server.  Charles and Fiddler are among the most widely used among analytic practitioners, but cloud page optimization solutions like Pingdom are also useful.

…and ensure data is correctly reported.

The most common reason for missing report data is because of a tracking code error. Copying the tracking code from your account to a word processor may add an extra space or change the quotation marks in the tracking code by the time you paste it to your website. Try copying the code again, then pasting it directly onto your website with a dedicated text tool.

A proper editing tool like BBEdit will let you compare lines of code and search for errors.  For a list of suggested tools, give this Zimana post a tryThe Google Analytics tracking code is account- and profile- specific, so verify that the tracking code installed on your website matches the code shown in the account.

Make sure the filter settings are correct

Incorrect filter settings can affect the data you see, and may unintentionally filter all of your data from your reports. This happens most frequently due to multiple inclusion of IP filters. Keep a basic profile with no filter for comparison. Verify your IP settingAlso consider using the bot filter to remove the question of bot interference in the data.

Journal the progress of site updates….

Google Analytics Annotation

Use the annotation matrix to keep track of changes to a site.  Each annotated message includes a date and permits users to add their name – useful if multiple users have access to a Google Analytics account.  Also use alerts to note significant rises or falls in metrics that are of interest to your strategy.  Assume a 10% increase or decrease for an alert, then adjust as volume and strategic needs change over time.

….and insure associated accounts and feature settings are set

             Increasingly Google Analytics has added a number of easy ways to combine data sources within its user interface.  You can link an Adwords account to incorporate Adword accounts and use additional metrics to gain insights about conversion.  Since the introduction of the Adwords features, there have been other linking features, such as BigQuery, Webmaster Tools and Adsense. On top of that, there’s the setting the E-commerce reports and data import, not to mention a data layer used by Google Tag Manager to manage event tracking.

In all, make sure the right accounts are linked and that features are set. Make a check list, then add an annotation note in the matrix as a record that the accounts and features have been checked.

Automated Insights names Pierre DeBois of Zimana one of 50 Follow Worthy Marketing and Analytics Experts

Pierre DeBois

Pierre DeBois of Zimana (right) was named one of 50 Follow Worthy Marketing Measurement and Digital Analytics Experts by Automated Insights

The analytics firm Automated Insights named Pierre DeBois, founder of Zimana, one of 50 “Follow-Worthy Marketing Measurement and Digital Analytics Experts”.  The list was compiled by Automated Insights, a multi-disciplinary team consists of experienced technologists, business professionals, and writers.  The company produces Wordsmith, a big data analytics platform that spots trends then translates the correlated data into text.

The 50 Follow Worthy list included some great names in analytics as Aurelie Pol, one of the architects of Mind Your Privacy; Jim Sterne, founder of eMetrics (and author of Social Media Metrics; Justin Cutroni, Google Analytics evangelist (whom I met and taught me during an epikOne training course back in 2006), and Gabrielle Endress-Balhiser of Endress Analytics, a well-respected firm that specializes in Adobe Analytics.

“I am pleased to be selected among a terrific gathering of professionals dedicated to the analytics space,” says Zimana founder Pierre DeBois. “I am truly grateful for the recognition from an advanced analytics team such as Automated Insights.”

You can view the who list and read the selection criteria at the Automated Insights site.

Cloudcamp – HIPAA, Self Care, and applying Internet of Things for personal health care

Healthcare Internet of Things - Chicago Cloudcamp


Chicago Cloudcamp HIPAA Healthcare Panel

The panel discusses healthcare concerns in the age of data sharing

Cloudcamp in Chicago is an interesting mix of presentations on technology. Presenters are usually from the same industry, and are timed to keep presentations at 5 -10 minute lengths.

I attended the September 3rd, 2014 gathering at TechNexus, an incubator in Chicago which recently moved to the upper office floors of the Opera House. Four healthcare professionals spoke about technological trends and highlights from their industry, specifically about security (HIPAA), the Internet of Things, data security, and health service development from startups. This set of presentations included:

  • Security and Sanity in the HIPAA compliant workplace, Alex Connor, lead architect (@HiTizen)
  • We are doctors who take care of patience. What can technology do?, Dr Griffin Myers, Co-Founders and CMO, at Oak Street Health (@OakStreetHealth)
  • QS and BioHacking Movements, Mark Moschel (@markmoschel), Chief Technology Officer of Factor 75
  • Removing silos in Healthcare Data, Carol Zinder, Vice President, Client Experience at CareMerge

All had fascinating looks at their related issues.

Mark Moschel (@markmoschel), Chief Technology Officer of Factor 75 caught my attention the most with his presentation, QS and Biohacking Movements. His presentation focused on the behavior that has arisen from the budding internet of things era. He spoke about the self-care movement.

You may not have heard of it, but you’ve seen hits of it thanks to consumer-available tech devices that measure glucose levels, heart beats, and other personal metrics. There are two groups of tech enthusiasts that have risen from the self care movement.

One is the Quantified Self Movement. QSM is a belief system of “self knowledge through self tracking”, that users manage aspects of their health through the data they collect.  According to Mike, Users:

  • collect data
  • visualize
  • learn about themselves

Users also talk about what they discovered with others, usually in small groups. Mike showed an image in which several execs and well-known technologists, including Wired magazine editorial founder Kevin Kelly, talking to each other about their own experiences with data collection.

The second group are called the Biohackers. The description sound similar to the first, but in the QSM example, practitioners are seeking ways to manage their health. Biohackers seek to improve themselves. Mark calls this system thinking to control and upgrade their own body. Most of the biohacking occurring centers on novel aspects of health, but the outcome is being better able to track posture, heart, mood, blood  glucose.  The tech that allows for these metrics are include implantable glucose monitors and digestible pills.

The slides for this presentation and all the others are available on the Cloudcamp Slideshare  page  – shown below is an embed of the presentation.


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.