Digital Analytics | Web Analytics

Is your web marketing MIA?

by Kelly Kubrick on February 3, 2008

Calling all Ottawa home builders, renovators, designers, trade contractors and suppliers! Have your Internet marketing efforts gone missing in action?

If so, GOHBA (The Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association) invites you to get your Internet marketing on track. Learn how to use the Internet to your advantage through improved customer service that remains accountable to the bottom line.

Join Kelly Kubrick of Online Authority for a web marketing breakfast workshop on Tuesday February 12th, 2008 from 8:30 to 11:30 AM at the Cleo Banquet & Convention Centre located at 156 Cleopatra Drive, Ottawa, Ontario.

To register, please contact Stephanie Norbury, Event Planner / Office Manager at GOHBA at or call (613) 723-2926.

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Kelly KubrickIs your web marketing MIA?

Jim Sterne is coming to Ottawa!

by Kelly Kubrick on January 22, 2008

If you are in marketing or communications, private or public sector, and responsible for your organization’s website, you need to make room on your calendar on February 7th, 2008, as Jim Sterne, Chairman of the Web Analytics Association, Founder & Chairman, eMetrics and all around web analytics guru, is speaking in Ottawa on February 7th, 2008.

His session is called “An Industry in Transition: Web Analytics to Marketing Optimization” and as per OCRI‘s recent email, the session overview is:

  • “Keynote presenter Jim Sterne will deliver insight into the maturity of the web analytics industry, the level of expertise among practitioners today; challenges and opportunities; and the role we – web managers, marketers and analysts – play as companies adopt the continuous improvement method of marketing optimization.
  • Jonathan Levitt of iPerceptions will follow with a 20-minute case study showcasing the benefits of capturing and measuring the perceptions and attitudes of your website visitors and customers.
  • Alex Langshur of PublicInsite will complete the event by delivering a 20-minute case study featuring the benefits of web analytics at work.”

Event details

Date: Thursday, February 7, 2008

Time: Registration 7:00 a.m. – 7:30 a.m, Breakfast & presentation: 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m

Location: Sheraton Ottawa Hotel, Rideau Room, 150 Albert Street

Cost: Early Registration: $35.00 – OCRI / WAA members* (plus 5% GST), $60.00 – Non-members (plus 5% GST), late (after 5:00 PM February 5th) / on site: $45.00 – OCRI / WAA members* (plus 5% GST), $70.00 – Non-members (plus 5% GST). *WAA members please email to register.

Register online or contact Allison McManus, Conference Administrator, tel 613-828-6274 ext. 224, fax: 613-726-3444 or

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Kelly KubrickJim Sterne is coming to Ottawa!

Measure for Measure: CASLIS Ottawa

by Kelly Kubrick on January 22, 2008

Are you a member of the Canadian library and information community? Are you interested in how to measure and communicate the value of your specialized library’s website?

If so, please join Kelly Kubrick of Online Authority on Thursday January 24th, 2008 at by registering for the 2008 CASLIS Ottawa Seminar held at Library and Archives Canada (395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario).

Kelly will present “Measure for Measure – an Internet Comedy of [T]errors: Web Performance Measurement” from 1:30 – 3:00 PM. She’ll discuss:

  • What Internet performance measurement means;
  • Why to bother with it; and
  • How to develop an Internet performance measurement framework

The seminar is hosted by CASLIS Ottawa, the Ottawa chapter of the Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Services (CASLIS), a division of the Canadian Library Association / Association canadienne des bibliotheques: “An award-winning not-for-profit organization, serving as the national voice of the Canadian library and information community and delivering a range of value-added services to professional librarians, library technicians, and the organizations that employ them.”

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Kelly KubrickMeasure for Measure: CASLIS Ottawa

Deciphering Web Analytics

by Kelly Kubrick on December 17, 2007

By Kelly Kubrick – first printed in HomeBuilder Magazine, Vol.20 No.6, November 2007, reprinted with publisher’s permission.

Last issue, we discussed the need to review your web analytics reports so that you can understand the value your website offers you and your visitors.

The first time you look at your web analytics reports, you may find yourself overwhelmed by unknown language, incomprehensible charts and graphs and contradictory numbers. In fact, this may be the case the first couple of times you look at the reports. Hang in there – all will eventually become clear!

Speak to your webmaster about how you can access your web analytics reports. Typically, you’ll be given a website address or URL to go to, and also a name and password so that you can access your confidential data. However, before you log into your web analytics tool, it helps to know that there are generally four categories of information available to you:

1. Volume of traffic
2. Source of traffic
3. Content consumed
4. Activity levels

This month, we’ll focus on volume; how much traffic are you getting in a given period? Critical metrics are “visitors” and “visits”. Ignore “hits”. Hits are not an accurate measure of demand; instead, they are a technical metric and irrelevant to a business analysis.


Think of the number of visitors as a very rough proxy for the number people arriving at the site. Rough, because there are several factors which may skew the number one way or another, but for now, stick with people. So, how many visitors did you have last month? Is that more, less or the same since last month? Any theories why?


Next take a look at your visits; these tell you the number of times you see a visitor in a given time period. As an example, let’s assume a prospective customer (visitor) arrives at your sales centre on Saturday and again on Sunday. According to web analytics, for that week, you would count one visitor with two visits. So, how many visits did you have last month? Is that more, less or the same since last month? Any theories why?

Typically, you will see more visits than visitors, simply because of Internet consumer behaviour in our increasingly high-speed environment. In the early 1990s, researchers from PARC (Palo Alto Research centre) coined the term “information snacking” to describe this trend. Given the increasing availability of, and decreasing cost of broadband connections, we now see that website visitors ‘snack’ on information versus during “the dial-up days”. Today, visitors spend less time on any one site, but visit more frequently, for a shorter time, and to answer a specific question.

Depending on the web analytics tool your company is using, you may find slightly different names for the various metrics. For example, you may see “sessions” instead of visits. You may also find that you can’t find the “visitor” report. This means that the web analytics tools is not as good as it could be, and that’s a problem. You need to be able to understand demand for your website, and you’ll do that best with a combination of visitor and visit reports.

On the other hand, some of you may find other reports such as “new versus return visitors”, which can tell you if the majority of your traffic comes from people you’ve never seen before or people you’ve seen regularly. Think about how you treat prospective home buyers – you speak to them very differently the very first time you meet versus when they come back to purchase their second home through you. However, if you don’t remember that returning customer or his or her particular needs, you can damage the relationship – and potentially lose the next sale.

The same thing applies to website visitors – how would you communicate differently to someone if it’s the first time they see your home page versus the fifth, or fiftieth time they see it? Yet, we often leave the exact same messaging up on our website for years at a time, regardless of who’s looking at that page, or how often they’ve been there. Your web analytics reports can offer a wealth of information about your potential and actual customers; review them and begin quantifying the reach your website is delivering.

Kelly Kubrick is former Director of E-Commerce at Time Warner in New York, now President of Online Authority, an Internet marketing consulting firm.

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Kelly KubrickDeciphering Web Analytics

How Much Is Your Web Site Worth?

by Kelly Kubrick on November 2, 2007

By Kelly Kubrick – first printed in HomeBuilder Magazine, Vol.20 No.5, September 2007, reprinted with publisher’s permission.

Last month, I discussed why home builders need to invest in a credible Internet presence and suggested a process to follow in order to ensure you do build a profitable presence. Curious about where to turn your attention next?

Today, best practices in Internet marketing assume that “web analytics” – or the analysis of traffic to and through your web site – is a core part of your decision making process. Why? Essentially, it’s because times have changed; at first, companies felt compelled to have a website – good, bad or ugly – but nowadays, companies need to know how much value the website actually generates.

As with any asset, value is a function of performance. Was it worth the dollars spent? Will it continue to generate a return? In the case of the Internet, this is all the more important as the website may now represent an opportunity cost; dollars you might have otherwise spent elsewhere. Increasingly, companies are pondering the question of marketing budget allocation. Typically, marketers debate how many dollars should be spent on outdoor signage versus print literature, print and broadcast advertising vs. direct mail. Ideally, the allocation is based on the most efficient spend – the one that brought the highest return for the dollars invested.

What happens when you throw the Internet into that mix? The first issue that crops up is that unless the marketing budget is on the rise, spending on the web generally assumes a reduction in spend in other channels. So – what gives, and by how much?

To facilitate that discussion, you need to clearly understand the value of your website relative to other channels. To do that, let’s return to web analytics. Officially, web analytics refers to “the objective tracking, collection, measurement, reporting, and analysis of quantitative Internet data to optimize websites and web marketing initiatives.”

Sounds great – but where is that data? And how can you get your hands on it?

By virtue of having a website, the computer – called a web server – that hosts your site, generates the data. This is what makes the Internet unique from other channels – it’s highly measurable. By virtue of a visitor requesting to see one of your web pages, a stack of data is generated to record that transaction. It’s like visiting the bank – your teller will ensure you have a record of all information relating to each transaction – the date and time, the source or location where money was withdrawn from or deposited to, etc. The web offers the same kind of data – and in fact, so much data, that the bigger problem is acting on it.

There are a variety of web analytics tools available to see the data your web server generates. As always with marketing tools, they can be found for very little cost (if any in some cases), to thousands of dollars per month. Ask your webmaster which tool you use and how you can access the reports. If there is no such tool, you have a bigger concern to address first – you need to investigate why the web server data is not being captured and processed for your use. For, as some old wise sage said, you can’t manage what you can’t measure.

Assuming that all is well however, the metrics you should focus on at first are visitors, visits (sometimes called sessions), sources of visitor traffic, and content consumed during visit. Each one of those metrics will tell you something about the value your site is generating. For example, how much use the site is getting, by how many people? You can also learn how those visitors found you. With that information, you can begin to compare the Internet to your other marketing channels – is the web generating more prospects than print? Or of a different quality? For more or less cost per lead? What does that imply about future marketing efforts?

As a final comment, notice that the list of metrics does not include ‘hits’. This is of critical importance – hits are not included because they are not an accurate measure of demand. Repeat that – “hits are not an accurate measure of demand”. Unfortunately, many web site owners talk about ‘hits to my website’ as if that represented the number of visitors arriving at their site. Instead, hits refer to the weight of a given web page. That’s right – the weight. That’s like measuring how many kilograms of prospects came to your sales center instead of the number and value of prospects who visited. Not particularly useful – and neither are hits.

Instead, think about value – what is my website doing for me today? Could it be doing more? The likely answer is yes – but you won’t know until you take a look at that data. Next on the agenda – what the numbers mean and what you should do about them.

Kelly Kubrick is former Director of E-Commerce at Time Warner in New York, now President of Online Authority, an Internet marketing consulting firm.

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Kelly KubrickHow Much Is Your Web Site Worth?

OHBA Collingwood Conference

by Kelly Kubrick on August 31, 2007

On September 27th, 2007, Kelly Kubrick will be presenting “Tips for Website Effectiveness” at the Ontario Home Builder’s Association (OHBA) Collingwood Conference 2007. The OHBA is the voice of the residential construction industry in Ontario and their 4000 members produce over 80% of the housing stock in Ontario. They represent every aspect of the residential construction industry. We’re looking forward to the event!

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Kelly KubrickOHBA Collingwood Conference

Build A Profitable Web Presence

by Kelly Kubrick on August 31, 2007

First appeared in HomeBuilder Magazine, July 2007; published with permission.

Trying to market without a website? Bad idea. In August 2006, Statistics Canada reported that Internet access rates in Canadian metropolitan areas ranged from a low of 68% in Montreal to a high of 77% in Ottawa-Gatineau and Calgary. Given those numbers, one hopes that few home builders have yet to be convinced on the value of Internet marketing today.

Yet, Statistics Canada also reports only 29% of construction industry enterprises (including residential home builders) have a web site. The good news? We outperform Agriculture at 11%; but the bad news is that industries, such as Information & Culture are at 82% . Ironic, considering how much information the average Canadian home builder could offer to convince potential buyers of their value versus the competition – your  unique geographic benefits, intelligent floor plans, and established reputation?

If your company lacks a credible Internet presence, you may as well try and market with an unlisted phone number. Consider the fact that back in 2003; BBM Analytics reported that 91% of Canadians Internet users search for product and service information – like yours – versus other activities. As a home builder, consider that the Internet is now a standard tool for communicating with prospects and customers – not necessarily for direct sales, but to validate your company’s existence before picking up the phone or dropping by your sales centre. Knowing that, does your Internet presence reassure potential buyers by answering questions such as:

  • Does this home builder have customers like me?
  • Have other customers like me done business with them?
  • Do they offer the kinds of things I value?

If not, assess whether your Internet presence could. In the process, it will begin to do more for your company and the needs of your target market.

When considering an investment in Internet marketing, start with a clear definition of your Internet strategy. Do you plan to drive awareness of the website to new markets? Or  to increase usage of the site within your existing markets? Answer the question relative to your business strategy this year.

Now you can now define the purpose of the investment and ensure it lines up against your business strategy. For example – is the purpose of your website to generate leads for your sales team? Or reduce costs through self-service customer service? Or something else?

Next, establish your Internet marketing budget. Sound obvious? You’d be surprised – most companies know their web site operation costs but far fewer know what they’ve allocated to promote the web site. If you are one of those, start with your annual marketing budget and decide what percent you are willing to test on Internet marketing. Five percent? Fifteen percent? That gives you a baseline of available dollars to rank against other planned marketing expenses for the year. Where does the Internet fit compared to media spending, sales office expenses, and signage or printing brochures?

If there is room, you’re now in good shape. You know why you’re going to invest in the Internet and  how much you’re willing to spend to do so. However, before writing any checks, how will you measure success? What goal will you set for the web site? Let’s say your company decides that the Internet investment strategy is to build awareness in new markets, and that the website’s purpose is as a lead generation tool. A possible goal might be a 15% increase in leads generated this year over last. Now, you’ve got something concrete you can hold the investment accountable to. Last step – what indicators will you monitor over the next year to ensure the goal is achievable?

Start with your web site traffic or web analytics reports – your IT staff or Internet Service Provider (ISP) will tell you how to access them. If you have none, kick up a fuss. How will you monitor what you can’t measure? Now, take a look at the numbers. Are your visitor numbers growing, flat or falling? Does it appear as though there are enough gross numbers to convert into the number of leads you are anticipating? If not, what can you do to improve the situation?

Before you know it, you’ve got an action plan to make sure your Internet investment will provide you with a measurable return on investment. Can you say the same thing about your other marketing expenses? If not, take a harder look at how the Internet might fit into your overall marketing efforts.

-Canadian Internet Usage Survey, August 2006, Statistics Canada,
-Business and government use of information and communications technologies, Statistics Canada
CyberTrends, ComQuest Research, Winter 2003

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Kelly KubrickBuild A Profitable Web Presence

Web analytics defined

by Kelly Kubrick on June 15, 2007

While reading Avinash Kaushik‘s new book “Web Analytics – An Hour A Day“, I was pleased to note that Avinash references the Web Analytics Association‘s proposed definition for our industry, which I think others might find of value as well:

“Web analytics is the objective tracking, collection, measurement, reporting, and analysis of quantitative Internet data to optimize websites and web marketing initiatives.”

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Kelly KubrickWeb analytics defined