Empirical Blog

Empirical Blog is our roughly weekly take on web analytics, market research, and online marketing, plus interesting nuggets from our alliance partners and past, current, and future clients. Subscribe here.

Analytics audit evolves


The times, they are a-changing, and so must our key services.

web-analytics-auditAfter delivering dozens of web analytics audits -- and having them cited as a best practice -- in the past three years, this service is evolving to keep pace with advances in the capabilities and complexity of Google Analytics, Webtrends, Coremetrics, and SiteCatalyst. We've also revamped the pricing for our most popular offering so that every client can be sure that fundamental website visitor behaviors are tracked accurately.

For instance, the Basic Audit ($3,000 for the free Google Analytics, $3,000 for premium tools) now includes a checkpoint once reserved for the Advanced Audit: "Ensure all social sharing tools, downloads, and exit links are tracked." Many not-for-profit clients -- the target for the Basic Audit -- rely on downloadable PDFs, so we now test their sites and reporting to make sure file downloads are recorded.

Social media plugins from AddThis, ShareThis, and Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn et. al. allow clients of any size to encourage content sharing, and Google Analytics has a standard report dedicated to it. So we make sure this word-of-mouth marketing is captured so clients know how to get more of it.

The Basic Audit got another upgrade: Empirical Path will now "Confirm that conversion paths and confirmations are counted as funnels and goals for more detailed reporting." In the past, the Basic Audit excluded revenue-generating conversions, since the Advanced Audit addressed full-on ecommerce tracking. But those not ready for ecommerce measurement still want to know how often the cash register rings, and what traffic sources, landing pages, and geographies ring it.

Likewise, the Basic Audit now looks at exit links, which when tracked can be a poor man's cross-domain tracking, another checkpoint in the Advanced Audit. Even if a college, for example, is not ready to invest in cross-domain tracking to roll up all domains and de-duplicate visits that span domains, it wants to know at least when domain A sends a visit to domain B, and vice-versa.

Both tiers share the same deliverables: We "document audit findings and recommendations in writing, then review by phone for as long as needed" and "recommend improvements to dashboard layouts, summaries, sharing, and underlying reports." Contact us for a sample report to see the detail we provide.

So what's left in the Advanced Audit ($6,000 for the free Google Analytics$7,000 for premium tools), beyond validating revenue, product and item reporting, and cross-domain tracking that connects conversions on one site to campaigns on another? As before, we:


HTTQ hosts "Track, Report & Optimize" talk

User Rating: / 4

web analytics presentationsUPDATE: please see the slides here; HTTQ is now ABQ Web Geeks.

Empirical Path founder Peter Howley will deliver a talk on how to "Track, Report & Optimize Your Web Creations" to HTTQ on May 1 at O'Niell's Pub, in Albuquerque's Nob Hill. Howley admits to being one of the "green-eyeshade-wearing bean-counters" in the summary below:

"You create a cool web experience using cutting-edge tools and techniques.  Then some green-eyeshade-wearing bean-counter — who admittedly paid for it — inevitably wants to know if anyone’s using your site/app/feature, and how it can do more for his bottom line.  That’s where web analytics and conversion optimization come in.  Peter Howley from the ABQ office of Google Analytics Certified Partner Empirical Path will present techniques to track visitor interactions with rich user experiences that don’t follow the traditional URL-to-URL path. He’ll review how to roll up, segment, and deliver that tracking as reports that a marketer and accountant can understand.  And he’ll show techniques to get more widgets/signups/donations/shares from key pages on sites and apps via split testing."

All HTTQ events are free, but space is limited. Sign up here!

HTTQ "is dedicated to supporting the growth of web professionals in the broader Albuquerque area.We strive to promote knowledge across all facets of web creation while embracing the open nature of the medium." Get more details at the HTTQ site.

Please contact us to learn more about Google Analytics and other web analytics and split testing tools.  And see our other speeches and webinars here and here.

New Analytics features revealed


Performance enhancing drugs have no place in marketing, but performance enhancing measurement can give marketers a legitimate edge on the competition.

That's why our Jim Snyder presented a webinar, "Google Analytics on Steroids - New Features: What You Need to Know," with one of our agency partners and clients, Seattle search engine marketing firm Point It.

UPDATE: Point It hosted another webinar featuring Jim's walk through of Google Analytics' attribution modeling, Universal Analytics, and split testing in September.

Jim and Point It's Preston Parshall taught attendees:

  • Powerful new features in Google Analytics and why they're important to you
  • How to get actionable, impactful data out of Google Analytics
  • How to integrate data into Salesforce and other CRMs
  • How to use attribution modeling & remarketing in Google Analytics
Slides are available here. And please see the webinar recording below, where you can fast-forward to these specific topics:

Great year caps first decade


It's our tenth anniversary as a business -- and third as an LLC -- but please don't send tin or leather, the traditional presents.  The past year was gift enough.

experienced web analytics consultantThe firm more than doubled revenue and completed large web analytics engagements for new clients Dice.com, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and the General Services Administration. We delivered yet another market research project for one Fortune 100 client. We inaugurated mobile measurement for retail and insurance clients. And Empirical Path deepened its Google Analytics Certified Partner relationship by jointly publishing a case study on Content Experiments, certifying our DC office, and partnering on Google Tag Manager.

Empirical Path started in 2003 as a Washington, DC market research consultancy, and is now a team of experts in marketing measurement and split testing with offices, clients, and partners around the country and the world. In January 2010, we changed our legal structure from a sole proprietorship to a Limited Liability Company to enable a geographic and leadership expansion. We've achieved more in the past three years than the previous seven thanks to the addition of Jim Snyder to lead our web analytics practice. Jim cemented a partnership with Google Analytics that has made us to thought leaders and kept us on the cutting edge of the digital measurement field.

In the past 12 months, Empirical Path also:


Metrics key to integrated marketing

User Rating: / 5

No one wants dis-integrated marketing, so we were happy to help an agency partner make the case for integrated marketing at an event last August. integrated marketing analytics

Longtime agency partner McKee Wallwork & Company put on a two-day Integrated Marketing Symposium for its client The Dwyer Group, the parent company for seven service-based franchise companies, including Franchise Times Magazine "Top 200" awardee, Mr. Rooter. The agency's "Stalled, Stuck or Stale" blog explains integrated marketing:

"...the best way to develop and foster an ongoing relationship with a customer is through a seamless experience with the brand. Integrating tactics across the Four Ps and ensuring each stage of the customer life cycle is addressed are crucial to a brand’s success. Integration is possible – but not always easy to execute – because it requires consistency, continuity, perseverance and patience across the entire organization."

Consistency and perseverance are also critical to measuring marketing, so our presentation detailed a number of best practices for counting conversions, segmenting audiences, and sharing insights.


Washington DC office certified


All roads may lead to Rome -- Washington, DC these days -- but our path to the capital was circular.

washington dc maryland virginia google analyticsWe're pleased to announce that our partner Google Analytics has "certified" our Washington office and listed it among their Certified Partner locations, joining our Atlanta and New Mexico offices. In one sense, this is just a formality, as we've served Google Analytics clients from the DC office for years...hell, Empirical Path started in Dupont Circle in 2003, with one client in Georgetown.

That's why, in another sense, Google's certification means a lot to us: Jim and Peter hail from Virginia and Maryland, respectively, and Peter started his .com career at washingtonpost.com and Advertising.com. Our campaign measurement expert Daavi Zain is based in Rockville. We hosted a Web Analytics Wednesday in the District last year and will do so again. We led a volunteer Analysis Exchange project for a not-for-profit in DC as well.

And on the less warm-and-fuzzy side of the ledger, we want to build on our great history of direct and agency partner clients in Maryland, DC, and Virginia: media players like The New Republic, commercial businesses like 2U and EZShield, communications firms like Noral Group and Sage Communications, and of course government agencies, including Peace Corps, Health & Human Services, GSA, and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

So we're proud to deepen our Google Analytics Certified Partner relationship, which has grown -- since we were chosen as the first GACP to co-present a webinar with Google -- to include Google Tag Manager certification and joint case studies on video measurement and split testing.

And if you're in Bethesda, Arlington, Germantown, or McLean and need your markets or marketing measured, please call Peter at 703-629-9929 or Jim at 202-656-0702. Or contact us via email to see if we can help.

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