Finding a blogging voice


callas.jpgI’ve been playing around with blog stats in order to gauge interest and readership of the different posts we’ve rolled out over the past year and wanted to share some reflections. These findings and ideas thus stem from a simple copy-paste of blog stats for the last 365 days of this blog. I actually did this following a question asked by Chris Gemignani at the Emetrics’ blogger table about our blogging voice and if we had trouble finding it.

I do.
Maybe because I share this blog with my husband and the rest of my team.
Maybe just because I’m not always certain what people are actually interested in reading and how I could best optimise the time they graciously share with us by reading this blog.
And certainly because there are some wonderful Web analytics bloggers out there (too many to name and please watch René’s next blog post on the bloger table to get a list of very fine and smart people talking about fascinating Web Analytics related things).

So, in order to reach out to my blogging voice (again), I fist stumbled upon a post René wrote more than a year ago intitled “Why this blog?”.
The last 2 paragraphs are of interest and actually still apply and I will not comment on my waking up my husband at 2 AM… It goes like this
Our aim is to make the market going forward and adopt Web Analytics. The era of websites seen as purely cost centers is over. Now we need to define business objectives and measure in order to report the ROI on the one hand and optimize the online initiatives on the other to maximize the returns.
We are also conscious that the Web Analytics learning curve is long and this is why we try to feed our clients with our knowledge to help them reach self sufficiency

Yeap, this still applies, right on!
The only thing I’d add would be “the ambition to support an accountability mind-set within our client’s/partner’s company philosophy”.
And as Avinash recently stated on his latest podcast, brought by Jeremiahs’ fine PodTech, web analytics should not be seen as a cost center and can be turned around.
Defining business objectives and reporting on KPIs in order to assure Return on Investment is something that Eric Peterson with The Big Book of KPIs has been working at. And as our top post is “Top 10 Web Analytics KPI”, I would like to invite my readers to invest 19.99 $ in the acquisition of the book in pdf format. Please also note that Eric has been working a lot on processes lately but I’ll leave that for another post, for now.
The learning curve is indeed long and sometimes steep so we try to educate our clients as best we can through the delivery of white papers, presentations, informal discussions but also by talking to them about the Emetrics summits. I hope my clients are readers because yes, it’s often more than 10 pages long, sorry, but worth the read, in my humble opinion!
I would also like to invite companies that are serious about implementing and using, thus staffing at some point, web analytics to join the next European session of the Emetrics to be held in Stockholm, somewhere after the summer so you’ve got time to prepare and subscribe through the website in order to be informed first hand!
The last step is self sufficient, which is also covered by my friend Eric Peterson as he recently announced WebAnalyticsDemystified Inc.’s first partnership with Aquent in order to provide an innovative “strategy plus staffing” offering built around his experience in the field.

So, what’s missing out there in the blogosphere or eco system? and how can we contribute?
I wouldn’t want to be responsible for additional noise as there are already so many good things out there and garbage in always means garbage out so it’s inevitable to think about the blogging voice and our contribution to the community.
I’ll share something with you, except for the Top 10 Web Analytics KPIs we reported about, following London’s Emetrics last year, I’ve got 2 other top posts. Both about vendors: Omniture and Visual Sciences. Interestingly enough, these posts are more of interest to financiers who might be speculating on the stock exchange ratings of currently traded companies. Posts about purely functional usage of products sold by these brands get far less viewings.
Unfortunate, or is it?

To do with the price of fishI entered the web analytics sector as an econometrist. I consider perfect markets to be the ultimum equilibrium in our markets in order to assure maximum utility to all human beings living on our planet. As this recent article from the Economist shows, increase in symetries of information, brought by technologies such as mobile phones, promotes economic growth.

Those fine Wall Street based financiers certainly also play a part in our economy by, hopefully, allocating efficiently capital to the needed industries.

So, that’s one of our readers personas I suppose but is it all about the stock market?
As Omniture’s IPO showed, it does help. I’ve attended multiple events held by vendors over the past few months and must admit I was bluffed by the Omniture Summit held in Paris some weeks ago. Not only for the positioning, near the richissime Place Vendôme but also by the beautiful settings of the hôtel, the eye for detail by the organisors – loved the green cocktails! – and the team as well as product presentations. Hell, even Matt Belkin got my approval there!
On the other hand, Omniture suffers, like all vendors from insufficient support in order to assure actual long term use of their products.

It’s just such a pity that so many companies still base their results on quarterly sales. Surely sound financing should require making decisions also based on long term growth, no? Even though I have the feeling that switching between solutions is no longer really an issue as the market has come to the concensus that the likes of WebTrends, Omniture, Visual Sciences and Coremetrics, remain quite close in terms of currently used functionalities, the market is still acquiring tools. I see it everyday with customers here in Europe: either an RFP goes out – usually from IT – in order to chose a product or some intelligent guy or gal installs a Google Analytics little tag and works from there.

So, in order to assure that we’re not only talking to financiers and in order to allow intelligent readers of this blog to make intelligent decisions about which products to acquire, I’ve taken a look at how many posts had actually been written about the different vendors and it’s about 1/6th of our content, for 1/5 of views but then again, skewed by the financiers. We should definitely write more I think about what we like about some products and put them into context in terms of usage. I wonder if I’ll be able to enforce this within my Web Analytics European Dreamteam, should to talk about it to the boys I suppose 😉
There are also what I call peripherial products to web analytics that we should talk about as too many companies are still not aware of these products that do help web analytics quality control and report distribution within companies.

Last but not least, in my top blogs, I still see “Packet Sniffing”. Hum.
Our position has not changed regarding this technique but we remain open for discussion. We’ve only encountered situations, up until now, where packet sniffing needed also tags to get more specific and accurate data on what was reported upon. I did however hear a mention of packet sniffing in San Francisco so I’ll investigate that.
Interesting as for me, anyone interested in packet sniffing would be more IT minded. Marketeers rarely note this technique as their are not familiar with how the www actually works.
Jim Novo mentioned at the Emetrics a couple of times that IT Managers were showing more interest in Web Analytics.
We’ve also encountered Marketing responsibles that intially come from an IT background. A new evolution?

I’m not sure that following this prose I’ve actually found my blogging voice. I can only state that I keep wondering about what would be best to write about, in the light of contributing to this community.

Please let me know of your thoughts and if there are specific subjects you would want us to discuss, don’t hesitate.

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