Why Data Mining Is the Next Frontier for Social Media Marketing (via mashable)

heavy stuff. companies don't need you to want a relationship to have one...


Most companies approach the problem of finding customers on social sites through the slow, arduous and expensive process of participating themselves. On Facebook, for example, businesses can gain access to the profiles of anyone who clicks the “Like” button on the company’s business site (depending on each customer’s privacy settings). With the right pitch, offer or game, companies can gradually gain an enhanced understanding of a subset of their social customer base.

With new matching technology that’s now available, the process is faster and more comprehensive. For example, matching technology uses artificial intelligence to figure out whether a given “John Smith” in a company’s customer database is the same individual as a particular John Smith on Facebook. The algorithms that accomplish this are extremely sophisticated, and they work. In fact, matching technology has been successfully used by law enforcement agencies to locate criminals.

If a company has one or two key pieces of information about its customers — e-mail address is often the most important — that company can accurately identify them on a social site and extract a substantial amount of data, including both profile data and transactional data that can reveal relationships important for marketing purposes. (Again, the amount of data available for any given customer depends on that customer’s personal privacy settings.)


3 Userscripts That Make Google Analytics Eleventy Billion Times Better (via blind five-year-old)

If you spend a lot of time in Google Analytics you may quickly find yourself frustrated with the user experience. Here are 3 userscripts that make using Google Analytics way more efficient.

What are Userscripts?

Userscripts are small pieces of JavaScript code that tweak or provide additional functionality to your web experience. You install userscripts as a simple add-on in Chrome, Firefox (requires Greasemonkey) or Internet Explorer (requires IE7Pro).

In a nutshell, userscripts make things better. A lot better.

Cleaner Profile Switching

This userscript lets you switch from one Google Analytics profile to another and see the same report. It also gives you the option of opening that new profile in a separate tab.

Cleaner Profile Switching Userscript

This is a huge time saver if you’ve got multiple profiles (which you should) since you won’t have to build the report from scratch each time.

Get it: Cleaner Profile Switching

Absolute Conversion

This userscript calculates and displays the number of conversions next to the conversion rate.

Absolute Conversion Userscript

So instead of navigating to the Goals menu or doing some math in your head, you can quickly see your conversion numbers. Please note that while this is a handy userscript, it breaks when Google Analytics samples data.

Get it: Absolute Conversion Userscript

Accordion Menu

This userscript makes all of the top level Google Analytics menus expandable without waiting for the browser to reload.

If you use Google Analytics often, you probably get tired of clicking on main section report titles, only to wait for it to load so you can click on sub-reports. Think about it, how many times have you clicked on “Traffic Sources” with the full intention of clicking on “All Traffic Sources” as soon as possible? Or “Content” just to get to “Top Content”.

This userscript is a massive time saver.

Get it: Accordion Menu Userscript

Using Userscripts

I should warn you that userscripts can sometimes be janky and cause problems. In fact this post was originally going to feature four userscripts until I noted a problem with one of them. Don’t let this keep you from trying them out. Userscripts are super easy to uninstall and many of the creators are eager to get feedback on how to improve them.

Give these Google Analytics userscripts a try and let me know if you have any others you swear by.

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Tracking scroll depth to reveal content engagement in Google Analytics (via run tings proper)

This article investigates a way to track content engagement on your site. By monitoring how far down the page a visitor to your site travels and then recording the data in Google Analytics you can discover how many of your visitors are reading your content all the way to the end.


When browsing through your Google Analytics reports you will find a massive selection of data at your fingertips. You can find how many people visited a page, how long they were there, what country they were from, if it was their first visit, if they bought something from your site and so much more. If you're reading an article like this then I doubt that I need to sell you on what a great piece of kit it is.

Part of what makes Google Analytics a great package is that it provides a JavaScript API which lets you mould the functionality to your requirements.

It occurred to me that I would be interested to know if visitors to my site were reading all of my articles or if they were just bouncing in & out registering page views for content that didn't fit their needs.

I decided that a good metric to decide if the visitor has read my content is that they scroll past 90% of the total height of the page. When this scroll depth is detected I will use _trackEvent() to record the information in Google Analytics.

What is Event Tracking?

Ham Wars: How Search Impacts Your Dinner Table (via Search Engine Watch)

Food is big business, maybe the biggest. I can't think of a more routinely asked question than "What should we eat?"

Thankfully we now have technology -- namely search -- to help us answer that question so we don't hurt our brains thinking too hard. Although we've probably all used the Internet to help us find a local restaurant or order a pizza, the vast majority of our eating is done inside the home and the food is procured the old fashioned way -- from a visit to your local grocery store.

Impulse decisions aside, grocery shoppers tend to be an informed (and often thrifty) bunch who turn to the Internet in increasing numbers to research and prep for their trip to the store. ComScore's latest search data sheds some light on how consumers and manufacturers are making the most of search with this ubiquitous consumer behavior.

Just how important is search to the food industry? In the fourth quarter of 2010, food related websites attracted nearly 400 million visits from U.S. internet users via search, a number that has grown 22 percent in the past year and shows no signs in slowing down as more opportunities to "play with your food" become available online.

Paid Search for "Recipes" is Huge

Some Important Things You Can Learn From Your Facebook Insights (via inklingmedia.net)

We hear a lot about ROI, analytics, and the like, but unless you know what you’re measuring or looking for, all the numbers in the world won’t help you.

And even if you aren’t the best numbers person, there are a few key things you learn by looking at your Facebook insights. Note: This is not a comprehensive tutorial on how to use and analyze your insights. This is merely a quick look at how some of these metrics might be able to help you as you move forward.

First, to get to your insights, go to your Facebook business page, and over in the left hand column and in the “insights” section click on “see all”.

This will take you to the main insights area which includes two sections: “Users” and “Interactions.” Both of these area have multiple metrics that you can view. There is also a link near the top that says “view old page insights.” Even though these are the “old” insights, there are some different metrics there that are useful.

Here are a few things you can look for

1. Demographics – This area gives you the basic gender and age breakdown of your fans. As you can see in this case, the audience is predominantly female, and heavy in the 25-44 age range. Note: Facebook tends to skew towards women a bit, and women also tend to be more active users, so take this into consideration as you analyze your demographics.

Facebook Insights Demographics

Look at the breakdown and determine two things: a) who are your fans, and b) do they match who you THINK your ideal customers should be? If you’re target market is teens and you’re heavy on an older audience, you’ll need to figure out a few things.

Also, you’ll note the locations of your users. This is something to look at, but you’ll need to understand that there are some imperfections in the system. This particular business is based in Lancaster, PA and most of the fans are in Lancaster, even though it shows up as Harrisburg. Sometime last year Facebook tweaked something and many Lancaster users were listed as being from Philadelphia. Early this year, another tweak sent them all to Harrisburg. The point is, especially for local businesses, don’t read TOO much into this particular area.

2. Daily Story Feedback – This is where you start to see some of the engagement that takes place on your page. When you post an update or upload some media, this is where you see how people are interacting with you.

Facebook Daily FeedbackWhat you’re particularly interested in here are the peaks and valleys. On which days did you see more engagement, i.e. “likes” or comments? The reason you want to know this is so that you can determine which activities get the most engagement from fans. Do certain types of posts do better than others? Perhaps asking a question does the trick. But you need to keep up and find out which things get people motivated, and which just sit there and die. By analyzing this, you’ll have an idea of what works and what doesn’t as you move forward.

Note: the purple line is for “unsubscribes”. These aren’t people who “unlike” your page, but instead they decide they want to “hide” your updates from their news feed. So while they are still fans, they no longer see your updates. Keep an eye on this as well and look for major peaks.

3. Media – This is important, especially when taken in tandem with the daily story feedback insights above. As you look at this chart, you’ll notice that some of the peaks, especially on the right side, somewhat mirror the peaks on those same dates in the previous chart.

Facebook Media Consumption StatsIn this particular case, adding photos is what drove a lot of the daily interaction. When thinking of posting things to your business page, don’t just think in terms of status updates. People love photos and video. Any time you add some sort of media, you’ll generally see an increase in engagement. This is particularly true if you “tag” people in the photos. Photos and videos can be a great draw, as can be seen in the above graph, with more than 750 photo views on October 7th alone.

4. Likes and unlikes – The best place to find this info is to go to the old page insights section. The idea is to see how your page is growing, and if there are any areas for concern.

This first graph shows your total growth over time:

Total Fans

The blue line indicates the number of “likes” or fans you have, while the orange line shows how many people have “unsubscribed” or hidden your updates from their news feed. This graph is somewhat typical in that you see steep grown in the beginning, which is natural as you are going from zero to some number rather quickly when you first publish the page. After that, the growth is usually rather slow and steady. Look for peaks and valleys in the blue line. A valley is a net loss of fans, while a sudden increase means that something has happened to cause a large group to join at a particular time.  In this case you’ll notice a large spike sometime in March or April of 2010. When you see that, find out why! In this case, it was the result of just ONE of this pages fans spreading the word. This one fan used the “suggest to friends” function, and many of those friends checked out the page and “liked” it. This should give you a hint as to the power of word-of-mouth, and your job is to engage your customers in ways to get them to spread the word.

If we dig deeper, you can isolate more of this info on a more regular daily basis with the “new/removed” fans graph:

New and Removed fans

On this chart, the blue graph represents how many new “likes” or fans you got each day, while the orange graph represents those who “unlike” your business page and leave. A few things to note here:

  • On the whole, as long as your blue peaks are consistently higher than the orange peaks, you’re in good shape. This means you are seeing a net growth, rather than loss. If you’re not seeing this, you need to reevaluate what you are doing on your page.
  • I tend not to worry too much about a few people leaving or “unliking” a page from time to time. My thoughts are that if someone leaves, they probably didn’t have too much invested in your page or business in the first place. While numbers are important, what is more important than having a lot of fans is having engaged, loyal fans.

If you then click off the “new likes” button you can isolate the “unlikes” and see some trends. In this particular case there are no major spikes, but a few smaller spikes where the page lost 4 or 5 fans on a given day. You’ll have to match this up with your total fan base to see if this is cause for alarm.

Facebook Unlikes

When you see a spike like this, or larger, go back to that day and figure out what you did to cause those people to leave. In some cases, it might just be that you posted TOO many updates. Or perhaps you said something to alienate people. Either way, figure out what causes people to leave and determine whether it needs to be fixed or not. Some attrition over time is natural.

There are a lot of other insights available to you on Facebook, so play around. See what they offer and see what kinds of lessons you can learn from them. The goal is to use them to isolate the good and the bad, and learn from both of them.

End of Dumb Tables in Web Analytics! Hello: Weighted Sort (via Occam's Razor)

avinash kaushik knows analytics. he's got a big crush on a new google analytics feature called weighted sort. if you like people to come see what you're writing, you ought to read it - I know I am!


The Problem.

We have a very long tail of data in web analytics. Tens of thousands of rows of keywords in the Search Report (even for this small blog!). Hundreds and hundreds of referring urls and campaigns and page names and so on and so forth.

Yet because we are humans we tend to look at just the top ten or twenty rows to try and find insights. The problem? The top ten of anything rarely changes (except in rare circumstances like a sale or on a pure content – think news – site).

Hence I have persistently evangelized the need for true Analysis Ninjas to move beyond the top ten rows of data to find insights.

How? Advanced table filters, tag clouds and keyword trees are a good start.

But we need more.

One more problem though.

As if massive data we have is not enough of a problem, we also rely on Averages, Percentages, Ratios and Compound/Calculated Metrics in a profoundly sub optimal way, as a drunken man uses lamp-posts – for support rather than for illumination.

Take a percentage, for example Bounce Rates. The top ten won't change.

bounce rate normal table view

Hmmm. what to do. what to do?

You know what I'll try to  find the keywords with the highest bounce rates and fix them! After all I don't want to have all those visitors say: "I came. I puked. I left!"

Ok analytics tool: Sort descending!

bounce rates descending

Arrrrrh! Useless!

See all those single visits? Would improving these bounce rates have a huge impact?

Ok maybe I should learn from keywords with low bounce rates so I can perhaps take the lessons from my awesomness and apply it to others. Tool: Sort ascending!

bounce rates ascending

Arrrrrh! Again! Useless.

What could I possibly improve by focusing on these keywords with so few visits? Nothing.

So to recap:

  1. We tend to only understand the top ten rows of data, because that's what is easily visible.
  2. Gold exists beyond the top tend rows.
  3. Using percentages, averages sub optimally makes it impossible to find the Gold!

Yet gold I must find if I want to improve the outcomes for my web business (for profit or, as in the above example, non-profit).

The Solution!

The Google Analytics team has built a innovative and mathematically intelligent new feature called Weighted Sort to precisely solve this problem.

Now when you sort the data off a percentage or a ratio, like in the above case, you'll see this on top of the table.

weighted sort option google analytics

When you press this unassuming checkbox something magical happens. Google Analytics brings back for me the rows of data I should analyze further to have the highest possible impact on my business.

It looks like this. . .

search keywords weighted sort google analytics


Notice that the Visits for these keywords are sorted in an "odd" manner, as are the bounce rates.

That is the magic.