Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Winter 2008 OWAC

Its only been a few days since the Omniture Web Analytics Competition ended and I am already suffering from SiteCatalyst withdrawals. The competition this semester was great and I think I learned more this time around then last time.

This semester my team started by defining the key business requirements (KBR). Once we had these KBRs we defined key performance indicators (KPI) to measure them. Our primary KPIs were Conversion % (Orders to visits), Average Order Size (AOS), Average Order Value (AOV), and Yield (revenue per visit). We then compared and validated these KPIs to the metrics Revenue, Visits, and Orders.

Our next step was to take these KPIs and use them to compare all of the marketing channels. This simple analysis became the backbone of our presentation. Just by looking at the marketing channels report we could immediately see areas for improvement and where we should look for additional analysis. For example, we could see that Paid search's conversion rate was well below the site average. By knowing this we were able to focus in on why this happening and we found that the process of going from search term to landing page was misaligned.

Once we had the main marketing channels, we decided to focus on three of the channels for the initial presentation. We focused on shopping search, paid search, and email. We selected these channels because we felt that they had the most actionable analysis. We also wanted to conclude our presentation with a bit of checkout analysis since this affects all of the major marketing channels.

We added a few more KPIs and metrics when analyzing the paid search channel. First we replaced the currently used KPI Return on Advertising Spending (ROAS) with two custom metrics Gain/Loss per Click (GLPC) and Margin. We decided to use these new metrics because we felt that they better represented how much money was gained or lost by each paid search campaign. So for paid search GLPC and margin became our KPIs and we compared these KPIs to several other metrics such as cost per click (CPC), average position, and clickthrough rate.

As we conducted further analysis on these marketing channels we set goals for improvement for each channel. For example, with shopping search we wanted to raise the average order size from its current value to the site average. This allowed us to calculate a potential uplift and helped focus our recommendations to obtain the goal. We found this method to be quite useful and it resulted in very focused recommendations to improve the weaknesses of each channel.

Our initial presentation went great. We practiced it quite a bit and cut it down to 7 minutes (our initial practicing showed it to be about 11-14 minutes long so we had to cut out quite a bit). Our efforts payed off and we made it to the finals!

For the finals we began by bringing back much of the material that we had to cut out in the first round. We also added some analysis of the ODAT marketing channel (One deal at a time). Lastly, we ended our presentation with a analysis of the main page layout.

We had to take a bit of a different approach for the page layout section since the data for this was not in our initial marketing channels report. We began by looking at the layout using clickmap and next page flow reports. From these reports we determined that the majority of customers would be finding product either by using the internal search or the category pages. At this point we used SiteCatalyst to analyze the two methods and found that search was converting better than the category pages. We analyzed this further and discovered that search got customers to product pages much more quickly than category pages typically did. At this point we made recommendations to optimize the category pages so that customers could get to the product pages in only a few clicks. We then calculated a potential uplift that would occur if the category pages were able to convert at the same rate as the search pages. This worked well and ended up being an excellent conclusion for our presentation.

The hours of work payed off in the end as our team, "Three Performance Vindicators" took first place in the competition!

I enjoyed the competition and I enjoyed working with my teammates Chris Haleua, and David Woolsey. They both presented excellent insights on numerous occasions and I'm confident that our presentation worked so well because of the many refinements provided by our "discussions." In addition, Chris has some mad PowerPoint skills!

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