Monday, May 25, 2009

Small Change with a Huge Impact

Recently I was involved in changing the layout of a website and measuring the impact of that change. We changed the Top navigation on this website and changed the color of a link to Red/Bold. It was a very minor change with respect to the whole website as the Top navigation menu only contributed to less than 5% of users engaging in the website. We wanted to make this change to enhance the Top navigation and entice more clicks on the edited link (Coupons). P.S. We leveraged Google Analytics to measure this change. Below is a screenshot of the previous Top Navigation menu:

After a week, I pulled the ‘Top Content’ report and filtered on the Top menu Coupons link. I was pleasantly shocked to notice the results. There was a 65% increase in User Engagement (Clicks) on the Top navigation Coupons link clearly due to changing the link color to Red. From the context of the website, this page amounts only to a small proportion of traffic but this change has paved the way for similar changes which can be replicated on others pages in the future. Below is a screenshot of the change we made on the Coupons link:

Immediately after noticing this change I sent a tweet in excitement: ‘Wow! Top menu navigation link text change resulted in over 60% increase in user clicks. Changed the font of the link to Red/Bold #ga #wa’. Surprisingly, I got a response from a Twitter user: ‘So funny. We also changed the top nav to red/bold in Dec 07 for commerce promo. It stuck.’ The user mentioned that Nationalgeographic also made a similar change back on 2007 and they too noticed an increase in clicks on the button. Isn’t it coincidental?

Going forward we plan to replicate the same exercise on the Side menu. We will also be performing AB Tests on the Top navigation menu and compare it with newer menus. P.S. It is always a good practice to add a query string parameter in the URL. E.g. Add ‘menu=top’ ( to distinguish this URL as a Top navigation link.

Hope you like this article. Please comment and let me know if you’ve done similar exercises and noticed a considerable impact.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My take on Social Media Analytics

Social Media is one topic which I haven’t written about in the past. I am still coming to grips with Social Media as there’s so much to learn but am convinced that it is something which just cannot be ignored. I say this because websites like Facebook with 200 Million active users (Source: Facebook), LinkedIn with 39 Million users as of May 2009 (Source: Wikipedia) and Twitter with 7 Million users as of Feb 2009 (Source: Nielsen) are at the peak of their popularity with more users being added by the hour. P.S. Population of United States is 304 Million as of May, 2009. In this article I will write about my experience with Social Media Analytics and the mediums to track it. Twitter will be covered in detail.

Social Media measurement:

1) Twitter Campaign Analytics: It is very easy to measure traffic from Twitter with Campaign Tracking parameters. There is an article which I wrote on Email Marketing which brushed on the concept of Campaign tracking. Here is an example of a Twitter Campaign URL which can be measured in Google Analytics: This URL was created from the Google Analytics URL Builder. These campaigns can be attributed to Web Analytics metrics like Bounces, Time spent on Site, Visitor Type and Conversion once we start getting traffic from Twitter.

2) Short URL Analytics: There are also various short URL websites which can shorten the campaign URL to be placed on websites like Twitter (Maximum Twitter Tweet length is 140 characters so short URLs are very efficient). One of the websites is which offers you an interface where you can easily create campaigns for Google Analytics, Omniture and WebTrends. This tool will allow you to create a custom campaign URL string and will shorten it. I leveraged this tool to shorten my Twitter campaign URL to Other short URL websites are tinyURL, etc. Some of these websites will also report the total clicks, referrers and location of the users who clicked on the short URL along with measuring metrics on the destination website.

3) Reputation tracking tools: A new variety of tools have appeared which allow companies to analyze what consumers are saying about their brand (Customer Sentiment). I tried my hands on Radian6 and SM2 which offer a great interface built out of data captured from blogs, forums, review websites microblogging and news websites. These results are captured based on the keywords which users or companies search for. SM2 has a great graphical interface whereas Radian6 shows keyword search results via Widgets. For e.g. Microsoft can search for ‘Zune’ and analyze consumer feedback/mood for this product. The possible data points available from this search keyword can be segmentation of Media type with the location, sentiment and engagement. Based on this data, companies could even contact sources/people that have a negative taste about the brand to improve their reputation. Other reputation tracking tools are Buzzlogic and Buzzmetrics.

4) Twitter specific tools: As Twitter is the hottest from of Social Media today, companies are putting in more effort to know about their competition and the most popular trends in real time on Twitter. Some tools which I have used and report data from Twitter are Tweetvolume (Competition comparison tool) and Twitscoop (Current buzz on Twitter). There are some websites like Tweetvalue which even assign a price to your Twitter profile and offer to buy your Twitter account (I haven’t really tried selling it yet).

5) Widget Analytics: Another form of Analytics which comes under the Social Media umbrella is Widget Analytics. Widget is a snippet of code which can be embedded in Web pages and can be used to display Videos, Ads, News, and Weather etc. Widget integration has recently exploded with Social networking sites, blogs, and Ecommerce websites etc. Some metrics which can be measured on Widgets are clicks, impressions, install conversion, widget stickiness, installs by country and time spent on widget etc. Some tools which provide widgets and an interface to measure them are Gigya and Clearspring etc.

Through this article I am able to share my experience with Social Media measurement but there are lots of other tools which I haven’t used or mentioned. Please let me know if I need to add any more tools as many might have been missed. I will be writing more about Social Media in the future.