Archives for category: Data | Analysis & Visualization

Why are C-levels still focused on Page Views and Hits? Because other C-levels are. When bosses are told Page Views are important, that is what they will consider important even if page views aren’t germane to their business goals.

I have never hidden the fact that I am a professional wrestling fan, and have been since I can remember. This may embarrass my parents, colleagues, ex-girlfriends and future ex-girlfriends, but I unapologetically love professional wrestling.

Currently fans of wrestling are complaining about WWE’s “Did You Know” graphics during the commercial breaks.

What follows is an innocuous factoid, usually about the vastness of WWE’s viewing audience (branded the WWE Universe). On the 900th episode of Monday Night RAW, one of the factoids shown from the “Did You Know” Graphic was:

WWE is watched in over 40 countries. WWE.com gets more hits every day than ESPN.com, MSNBC.com and CNN.com.

Traditional WWE fans seriously hate this. They believe that WWE owner Vince McMahon is so insecure that these graphics appear only to stroke his ego; he wants to be accepted as a cultural institution rather than just a pro rasslin’ show.

What fans don’t realize is that these bumpers are not because McMahon needs to tell himself how great he is; they are a not so subtle B2B marketing campaign. They are looking for new advertisers, screaming “Look at all our traffic! You should advertise with us!” McMahon is hoping that during their broadcasts, influential executives with deep pockets will be watching and think, “holy shit, that’s a lot of hits! Get me all the banner space on WWE.com!”

These decision makers are told “hits are important,” regardless of website type. If they are told hits are important on websites, then hits must be important on their website.

Changing the conversation:

CEOs are told that Internet Marketing is a War; a battle that if they aren’t winning they must be losing. How do you win the internet? Obviously it must mean being number one on Google for everything. How do you win Facebook? You have the most followers. The chart has to always be moving up, all the time. As internet marketers, we know traffic is cyclical. Most websites aren’t going to have must-see content all the time. Not everyone is going to like your brand always.

And it’s something we perpetuate. Instead of focusing on sustainable business, we have companies whose names imply higher search engine placements, our job titles imply we know the mysterious ins and outs of social media, or that we have millions of followers because we have a dynamic, in-your-face personality.

We are the ones that present industry as a war, and only we can navigate the smoke and mirrors, and then chastise our clients for not getting it. And when we imply the idea of “always more” to CEOs that are still fixated on hits, company strategy becomes based around that, not sustaining business goals via their website.

Until we are willing to stop perpetuating culture of more by acquiescing to routine data pulls and promising ever increasing gains we will always be wrestling with “hits.”

The peeps over at the Local Search Powerhouse, Yelp announced Monday that they have added mobile usage stats for business owners who have claimed their free Yelp business tools profile. This data will be made available via their weekly business roundup emails. The data being included consist of:

  • How many people looked at a business page from the Yelp app
  • How many people called a business from the Yelp app
  • How many people generated directions to a business from the Yelp app
  • How many people “checked in” to a business via the Yelp app

Additionally, a few weeks back, Yelp released a few impressive aggregate statistics. Aside from the relatively obvious stat that the iPhone app was turning in some impressive numbers, the stat that really stood out to the Words Go Here team was the volume of phone calls the Yelp mobile app has helped facilitate. Yelp has declared that (averaged out) every 5 seconds, someone is using their mobile app to call a local business.

This is a significant moment for those of us dedicated to local search. We are starting to see, thanks to actual and valid usage data, the transition of local search from the traditional experience of a computer and browser to the ‘right information at the right time’ notion of information retrieval synonymous with mobile browsing. This new data, though simple, is going to enhance our abilities to suggest the right types of promos and specials as well as be transparent and accountable for the quality and success of those suggestions.

If you work with a brick and mortar SMB that has a retail experience, now is the time to really be considering how to position them on Yelp. There has yet to be a more compelling reason for claiming a free profile as this new development.

Last week, Experian Hitwise US issued a press release declaring “Facebook” as the top searched term in organic search across the three major search engines for March 2010. If you combined the relative terms, Facebook terms make up 4.45% of total search volume on Bing, 3.03% on Yahoo, and 1.75% on Google. There is no doubt that this is impressive. Getting your brand as the most searched across the major three search engines is something that most marketers would _insert your words here_ for.

Hitwise Top Organic Queries

While the data of this press release is spot on, its important for us to take a minute to read between the line.

As I reviewed this data, I began thinking about how I interact with Facebook. If it is not through Tweetdeck, I will commonly ask Google’s box to find Facebook for me by requesting “Facebook”. Except for a few of the pro cycling news sites I frequent (which I used way before twitter and shortened URLs came along), I started realizing that I rarely use a URL/direct type. All of the trips I’ve booked in recent history have originated from search, not a direct type. All of the online orders I’ve made in recent history originated from a search, not a direct type. Why this matters – it is navigational oriented information retrieval at its finest. (quick refresher on the taxonomy of web search and user informational retrieval needs here)

All of this brings to light a few simple facts:

  • Facebook has a lot of flipping users
  • The data really exposes more about search behavior than anything else

While huge, this does not mean that Facebook owns the internet. It does however expose that Facebook has some serious brand affinity. It also suggest that we as SEO’s should ensure that we are not missing the obvious because of our constant pursuit of the long tail. If our client’s brand is not driving the lion’s share of the visitor volume to their site, we might be doing them a disservice. Though conversion rates are the end game, what good does that KPI provide if we’re missing half of the intenders because they can not find the brand? Jump into your analytics suite and start benchmarking. You will likely be surprised by what happens when you move the needle a few basis points for branded search traffic.