Thursday, January 29, 2009

Omniture Gets Cozy with WPP

Omniture dropped news today of its newly minted partnership with the WPP Group. WPP is the second largest media conglomerate on the planet and not a bad dance partner for OMTR.

The partnership involves three key facets:

    1) An investment by WPP into Omniture to the tune of $25M. This gives WPP a 3.5% stake in Omniture.

    2) A commitment to joint development of new technologies and integration of existing solutions. This will include integration of some WPP assets into the Genesis platform and potentially new offerings.

    3) An educational component that includes training 500 WPP consultants on OMTR products.

Here are a few thoughts on why this is a strong play:

It’s good for Omniture because:
  • WPP brings marquee advertising brands like Gray, Ogilvy, Y&R Advertising and Wunderman which will all have exposure to Omniture’s suite of optimization products.

  • They have the opportunity to train 500 new consultants on their products; thereby elevating the accessibility of OMTR trained experts.

  • Omniture just gained 130 new resellers.

  • Their visibility into advertising analytics just increased exponentially with a slew of new integrations to the Genesis platform.

  • WPP derived $4 billion worth of revenue from consumer insights. If OMTR gets even a sliver of this business, expect their market cap to rise.

  • It reaffirms their solid placement as a leading vendor in the optimization space, despite their recent hiccups and bad press.

    It’s good for WPP Group because:
  • They can benefit from the increased knowledge of customer insights that OMTR provides.

  • It expands their research capabilities by incorporating the business optimization intelligence that OMTR delivers.

  • It brings a foundation for measurement and accountability to marketing activities conducted by agencies. Clients can monitor success through a hosted 3rd party tool that is configured to demonstrate results.

  • It provides a foray into new business opportunities for WPP companies.

    It’s potentially good for the Marketing industry because:
  • We may start to see some common analytics definitions and standards that both advertisers and site operators can agree on.

  • It elevates the practical use and understanding of optimization technologies to a wider audience. This offers the potential for more companies to reach out to their agencies for help performing analysis and making the jump from data to action.

    Okay, so when you tally it all up, it appears that Omniture should be all smiles about this deal. And they are…

    I had the chance to speak with Aseem Chandra today (Omniture’s SVP of Product Marketing). When I asked…”Why the $25 mil? From an outsider’s perspective, it seems like you could have established this partnership without any financial terms.” He responded that the investment was proof of commitment to ensure that WPP had some skin in the game. Aseem went on to say that the investment also ensured that both parties would advance the partnership and develop mutually profitable solutions that would in turn aid their clients in achieving success. He was clear that the partnership does not preclude Omniture from forming relationships with other agencies, so the door is still open for more expansive agency relationships. That said, WPP retains the option to purchase more shares if undisclosed performance goals are achieved.

    So, congrats to Omniture and let’s hope this new partnership bears innovation that benefits the entire analytics industry and moves us forward.

  • Friday, January 23, 2009

    Red Hot Social Media Measurement

    Social media measurement is sizzling. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Twitter, the Blogosphere, Facebook, YouTube and other burgeoning forms of social media are exploding. While 2008 may have been the year for “experimentation” with social media, 2009 will be the year of “measurement”. Whether you deem social media as fun & frivolous or ripe with opportunity…I’m here to tell you that it’s real marketing…so capitalize on it.

    Here are a few thoughts on how:

    Get specific. As with most endeavors, trying to measure everything without calibrating your focus can prove unprofitable. Think about social media measurement in terms of three distinct categories: 1) Individuals, 2) Content, and 3) Exposure. Once you establish these independent lenses for measurement, you can get fancy with your analysis. There’s a great tool for measuring Twitter influence of individuals that can shed light on social media impact and opportunity for exposure. Content is the lifeblood of your marketing and something you do have control over, so understanding which social tools are referring traffic to content and what types of content resonate (or go ChaChing!) with different audiences is extremely valuable. Finally, Exposure incorporates all that branding and PR that you work so hard to get out there as well as the buzz generated from it. Understanding your reach, the conversation, overall pick-up and redistribution will help you get more tactical about reaching your target audiences via social channels.

    Don’t reinvent. By this I mean - as much as possible – use established reporting methods and familiar tools for communicating metrics. This will help you to ingrain social metrics within standardized reporting without requiring your old dog colleagues to access new interfaces and learn new tricks. Just this month Tealium announced its new measurement service for tracking social media. These former Visual Sciences entrepreneurs have tapped into the ROI of social media by enabling measurement through popular Web analytics tools. Their solution can report metrics about YouTube referrals, blog mentions and even PR exposure. They make this insight available through plug-ins to popular analytics tools like Google Analytics, Omniture Site Catalyst, Unica NetInsight, WebTrends and Coremetrics so your Web analysts get more information in their existing tools. I’m eagerly looking forward to my demo next week…so stay tuned for more.

    Another Web analytics vendor Lyris HQ just gave me a preview yesterday of their new social media measurement capabilities adding more steak to the sizzle. They’ve added social media tracking to their analytics solution to identify referrals from various social marketing efforts as well as the opportunity to create segments from social media channels to identify opportunities. Expect a press release to drop on Monday.

    Really measure. Clearly there’s been a lot written about Social Media Measurement already, so I’m not breaking new ground here. However, I am excited about the progression beyond buzz monitoring and aggregate dashboarding of social metrics (not that these tools aren’t valuable…they are), but most lack real analytical chops regarding the ROI of social marketing. The recently published The Forrester Wave™: Community Platforms, Q1 2009 (here’s Jeremiah’s take) identifies analytics as a critical component to monitoring a successful community. Yet, many of the Strong Performers identified in the report still fall short on their analytical capabilities. Listening is the first part of the solution, but taking action is where I see most companies stumble with analytics.

    Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    Moving Analytics Forward, Collectively

    It’s a shame that Brandt Dainow couldn’t have been a bit more copasetic regarding his views on the Web Analytics Association’s standard definitions because he does make a few salient points. But his words and my unpublished retort forced me to think about what each of us can do to move the Web analytics industry forward. We are, after all, a relatively nascent industry and we will shape our own destiny, whether we like it or not.

    Yet, this presents a problem: Web analytics is inherently an introverted exercise. Individuals within their respective organizations can apply insight, rigor and analysis to data in hopes of improving the realm over which they control. We may share ideas or tactics for individuals to take back to their own data sets and poke and prod with hopes of finding efficiencies and improvements. Sure, you can pay a hired gun to implement process, develop strategy or create sexy dashboards, but ultimately they are helping analytics practitioners to improve individual companies. Vendors facilitate advancement by acting in the best interests of their customers and shareholders to develop and deliver innovative products. But again, the application of these solutions is up to the individual organizations.

    Where we break free from the shackles of analytics solitude is in our network and thriving community of evangelical data savants. Findings from the most recent WAA Member survey show that 41% of members surveyed consider themselves champions for Web analytics. We champions sing the praises of Web analytics. We identify problems and attempt to provide solutions. We talk to each other to commiserate about the shortfalls with technologies and lack of comprehension by the rest of the world. We network and blog [and tweet] in hopes that the persistent din of our ramblings captures an audience. But we accomplish this collectively.

    So, instead of detracting from Web analytics with grievances and diatribes, here’s how I encourage those vested in Web analytics to move forward:

    Expand your network. If you haven’t noticed it yet, Web analytics people are social and welcoming creatures. In my experience nearly every person that I’ve ever reached out to in our industry is responsive and genuine. And there’s lots of opportunity to meet new people. Attend a Web Analytics Wednesday event, sign-up for an eMetrics conference, trade big ideas at XChange or tune into the conversation on the Yahoo! User Group. These are just a few of the many resources available today in Web analytics.

    Give back to the community. So this is where my thoughts for this post originated. The WAA, despite its shortfalls, is an extraordinary organization. Comprised of nearly 100% volunteers, active participants are pushing the industry forward by tackling monumental tasks such as attempting to establish a common vernacular for Web analytics with their standard definitions. Further, the recently published Outlook 2009 findings provide some fantastic insight to where we’re headed and what’s in store. This information would not be available without committed individuals giving back to the community. And by no means is the WAA the only method of contribution…host an event, attend one…share a revelation…just spread the good vibe of what you do.

    Communicate with conviction. A recurring challenge that I’ve heard over the past few weeks is our need to elevate awareness of Web analytics to senior management. This challenge isn’t new; but the urgency is reaching a crescendo. Thirty-two percent of respondents to the WAA Outlook survey listed this as the second greatest hurdle they will face in 2009. Here is where I think Dainow was onto something…by creating computing standards…will we finally be accepted? Perhaps, but the process of gaining consensus on definitions is a necessary step in the progression. In the interim, communicating Web analytics in tangible terms is paramount. This will mean different things to unique organizations, but I offer replacing complexity with accountability as a starting point. Communicate in terms that resonate with management by avoiding the esoteric. Then relay your successes to your fellow champions.

    Thus, in the spirit of moving Web analytics forward, I offered these few thoughts. More will follow, yet I am just one individual in our collective environment.

    Are you a champion for Web analytics? If so, what are you doing about it?