Those pesky users and their plethora of devices

Remember the heady days of just tracking

Devices2 websites?

The questions you were asked were:

  • Do you support Browser X?
  • Do you support the latest version of Browser X?
  • What happens if I have iFrames on the page?
  • What’s the difference between log files and javascript tagging?
  • What difference does it make if I place my tag at the top of the page instead of the bottom?
  • Will this tagging malarky slow down my pages?
  • Do you see dead people?

As “The Web” evolved, you had to evolve with it.  You make sure that someone in the office has a Mac so you can investing in cryptocurrency check that Apple fan-kids can be tracked effectively.  You download the new browsers and test new versions.  You test different kinds of sites.  You test page load speeds on different kinds of internet connections.

Remember that?  Remember how “challenging” it was to keep up with all that?

THOSE WERE THE DAYS, MY FRIENDS!  And boy, how they have ended!

Go on, you know you want to read more…

Who do they think you are?


During a discussion on online targeting yesterday, I began to think of the profile I build for myself on sites where likes, dislikes etc should theoretically be more easily determined – for example shopping sites.  I show shopping sites whether I like to browse a type of good or whether I go straight for a particular item.  I show them whether I look for the cheapest item or the one most highly recommended by other shoppers, regardless of price.  And I open wide the door into my life and family, based on my purchases.

You’ve probably heard the story about the store that could target new mothers how to invest in bitcoin in south africa based on their purchase of things like stretch-mark creams in the previous few months.  To some, this is a fascinating business opportunity, to others, the dawn of a frightening new world.

Then again, the evolution of online shopping services has meant that the profile you build of yourself can become very muddied.

Here’s an example.:

This is a sample of items recommended to me by  There are items here that were recommended because of my studies, because I like photography and because I went diving on my honeymoon.  Then there’s a slushy DVD, bath salts, toys, jewellery – and a book by Jojo because I like a lass called Jojoba?

Go on, you know you want to read more…

Cookie me Freely

Interesting to see the recent applications of the EU Privacy directive (soliciting consent from visitors to a website to set cookies or other tracking methods).  Just thought I’d collect a few here (click any of the images to see full size).

Note – I’m updating this post periodically with new examples.

Go on, you know you want to read more…

Rachael Gerson – Lovely Woman

“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You invest in bitcoin killed my father. Prepare to die.”


Today, we speak to the delectable Rachael Gerson.  Ask her to do supercalifragalisticexpialidcious next time you see her.  Tell her I sent you.

Tell us all about Ms Rachael Gerson.

I am a total internet/technology addict, but I’m also a voracious reader, often with 4-6 books going simultaneously.  A better question than “did you read ___” is to ask me if I finished it, since the books I really enjoy get finished quickly and the ones I find useless may be doomed to hang out on the pending list for months.

I live in a Philly suburb with my husband, and adorable dog, Cooper.  By the way, Coop is the only dog I’ve ever seen who loves flossing, brushes his own teeth, and can climb a ladder. When I’m not hanging out with him, I work at SEER Interactive, an internet marketing firm in Philadelphia specializing in SEO, paid search, and analytics.  If there’s any time left over, I help out in the Google Analytics forums and have written for a couple sites, but time’s been a little short lately!

Go on, you know you want to read more…

Elizabeth Eckels – Smalls Woman

“Pussycat pussycat, where have you been?”
“I’ve been to London to visit the Queen.”
“Pussycat pussycat, what did you there?”
“I frightened a little mouse under her chair”

It’s time to turn the magnifying glass of wonder on Elizabeth “Undies” “Smalls” Eckels.

Tell the folks at home all about Elizabeth “Smalls” Eckels

Hrm, I don’t much like talking about myself, so I’m going to copy/paste a bio, pic is above:

Rock star web analyst in training, graduated cum laude in finance & marketing. Real life experience includes web marketing, sports marketing, retail and door-to-door sales, computer repair, customer service, legislative, and design roles. The industries I have worked in are education, retail, computer hardware & software, athletics, government, & interior design.   My love for numbers began when I was 5, received my first abacus, and counted and compared (then shared my findings of) everything I could.
My introduction to web analytics began with Omniture products, specifically SiteCatalyst, Discover, Data Warehouse, and Test & Target. My experience has been focused on implementation, configuration, reporting, and business analysis. Documentation has been a byproduct of these efforts.
I am certified in Google Analytics and have further developed my abilities to provide insights based on the data. A consistent goal is to provide valuable business recommendations based on correct data.

Where I come from “Smalls” refers to underwear.  Why is this your nickname, rather than, say, Ickle Eckles?

Underwear – that’s intriguing, but I am not underwear.  Not that I know of at least. :)
Smalls is my nickname because of my petite stature.  I’m just barely 5’1″ and I’m not sure I’ve ever been present on the growth chart. And that’s tough for me, because I really like charts.  The nickname was given to me in college by a group of friends as a play on the quote in the movie Sandlot when Ham says to Scotty (Smalls) “You’re killin me Smalls!

Phil Mui – Hotshot Man

‘O stand, stand at the window As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour With your crooked heart.’
It was late, late in the evening, The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming, And the deep river ran on

Dear old Auden.  His name rhymed with… not much really.

And now it is time to sit back, relax and hear briefly from Phil Mui, a man of few words, but with many fans.


Phil Mui

Who is Phil Mui and how is your name pronounced?

“Feel – Muy”


You are a member of the Digital Analytics Association.  What do you think is the main benefit of this membership?

Being a member of DAA is its own benefit.


Previous to your current job at a reasonably well-known interweb company, you were a senior research developer at the Stanford University School of Medicine.  What should I do if my knee hurts every Tuesday after a mushroom cup-a-soup?

Visit your doctor.


Do you get do actual analysis in your day job?

Yes!  We use Google Analytics on Google Analytics usage!


If you moved to a small village in rural Scandinavia without internet access, what job would you do?

Work on getting internet access for the village!  There are satellite based connections, right?


Who is your superhero-sans-cape in the analytics community and why?

Avinash Kaushik for his tremendous thought leadership to the industry & to GA.


What was your very third job?

Not sure what this question means.


Do you think that being on the vendor side of the digital analytics industry makes it easier or harder to fit in at dinner parties?

Definitely easier as long as I know that I have something worthwhile to share.  I don’t wish to be part of a vendor which is not a thought leader.


What is your wish for the remainder of 2012?

The world does not end this year (per the Mayan prediction).


Tell us something about you that you think is interesting.

I used to be a competitive marksman, and WAS a collegiate affiliate member of the NRA.

A rose by another name is apparently sweeter – eMetrics goodies

Be the change you want to see in othersLast week, as part of a trip to visit the Yahoo! mother-ship in Sunnyvale and other goodness, I attended the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit in San Francisco.  This was my second time attending eMetrics in San Francisco, a city that is getting up there with potatoes on my list of “Things Wot Emer Thinks Are Neat”.

As the opportunity to attend eMetrics succeeded my travel arrangements, I sadly missed part of the first day, thereby adding to the list of “Things Wot Emer Should Have Done Wot Didn’t”.  I missed Peter Fader, who was part of a keynote panel called “Data Driving for a Good Cause”.  This is the second time I’ve missed the opportunity to see Peter “Nerd Crush Time” Fader speak, so I must concede that he is trying to avoid me.  This is understandable.

The first presentation I saw was by the lovely Hila Strong from Keystone Solutions.  Hila’s topic was “How I find Optimization Opportunities by Cheating on my Web Analytics Vendor” during which she illustrated how to simply find optimization ideas.  This included videoing her adorable (and sharp) son testing site usability in sites relevant to his age-group.  This and other videos of users interacting with site functions really resonated with the audience and it was mentioned to me several times as a key takeaway for usability optimization over the next couple of days.  At scale, this may have its difficulties (in that it is, as Hila said, time-heavy activity) but it is a great way to understand what elements of your site are losing you conversions or impacting your brand.

– If you are planning to present – find a way that humanises you and moves away from  standard slides –

Following Hila was a great panel discussion on “Making a Career in Big Data”, featuring Bob “I’ve got earrings” Page, Joe “My name is a short poem” Megibow and John “Thank goodness I don’t have a nickname yet” Elder.  This was fantastic because it featured people with real experience in the industry who have caused actual positive change to business success.  These boys are titans.  There was nerd-swooning everywhere – it was like The Beatles had been reborn as nerds.

– Before you talk about working successfully in the industry, change the industry! — Go on, you know you want to read more…

WAA Awards for Excellence 2012 – get nominating!

Click to visit the WAA site


Last March, I enjoyed a merry old time at the Web Analytics Association (WAA) Awards for Excellence Gala – a celebration of contributors, vendors, technologies and more in the digital analytics space.  This year, it’s happening all over again and it’s going to be better than ever.  But you need to act quickly – nominations close on February 1st 2012.

What’s it all about?

Here’s the blurb:  ”Are you or one of your colleagues a digital analytics pro who deserves recognition? Do you know of a company worthy of appreciation? At the 2nd annual Web Analytics Association Awards for Excellence, the WAA will celebrate the outstanding contribution to our profession of individuals, agencies, vendors and practitioners. Here’s your chance to get out from the shadows and into the spotlight with other industry luminaries.”

Who won last year?


What are the categories this year?

Jeez, you’re needy…

Ok, they’re:

  • Web Analytics Rising Star (individual award)
  • Practitioner of the Year (individual award)
  • Most Influential Industry Contributor (individual award)
  • New Technology of the Year (group award)
  • Most Influential Agency, Vendor or Group (group award)

Go on, you know you want to read more…

Ted McDonald – Procrastinator Man

“As I drew in my head, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.”

If Papa Cringle has a Naughty but Nice list, it’s probably the same as the Silly Series list.

And now, for a snack to go with your eggnog, it’s time to turn our attention to Ted McDonald, a man who took six months to answer the silly questions below, bless him.

Tell the nice reader peoples about Ted McDonald.

I’ve been a full-time web analyst for almost 6 years, working for interesting brands like Nat Geo, Carfax, and now Verisign. Prior to that, I always made it a large part of my job, even if that meant sifting through log files for tracking codes used in that special email campaign. I really got the taste for web analytics when I got my hands on SiteCatalyst back in 2004. After several years of toiling as a jack-of-all-trades marketing type / entrepreneur, where web analytics was headed at the time seemed like the perfect blend of marketing, math, and web that you couldn’t find anywhere else and I never regret making the career move.


You have triplets.  How did you tell them apart when they were babies?  Did you secretly have no idea which was which?

You got me…I could not tell them apart for quite a while.  They were very tiny at first – under 3 pounds.  Even the doctors could not tell them apart when they were first born.  We wanted to name the two identical Ben and Zach, but no one knew which was which until after a blood test, so the identical are now Ben and Nick.  I had to use blue nail polish on one of the little guys’ thumbs for several months until we definitely knew who was who.


That’s lovely picture of you in a Jim Sterne t-shirt.  How many hours a day do you spend crouched in his garden watching him?

None. I’ve moved on to other targets. Muahaha!

Go on, you know you want to read more…

Petri Mertanen – Hockey Man

“And out of all the windows, No matter where we went, The merriest eyes would follow me And make me compliment.
There were a thousand windows, All latticed up and down. And up to all the windows, When we went back to town,
The queer folk put their faces, As gentle as could be; ”Come again, little girl!” they called, and I Called back, “You come see me!”"
Edna St. Vincent Millay, especially for my friend JayDaisy and her daughter Foxylocks.  If that isn’t a metaphor for the website/visitor relationship, I don’t know what is!

It is time to turn our jingle bells to Petri Mertanen – a man who’s always in the dark 


Tell us all about Petri Mertanen.

I have been interested in the Internet since my marketing studies started in 1995 at North Carelian University of Applied Sciencies.  The school was in Joensuu, which is my original home town in eastern part of Finland. I finished my BBA degree with a final paper about eCommerce, right after I moved to Helsinki area in 1999.  During my career I have been involved all the time more or less with web-related software and projects in various positions. In the beginning of 21st century, web analytics came along with some server log based systems and I was hooked.

It was a bit of accident that I became an entrepreneur later on and I found myself as a managing director of NXC Finland, previously Naviatech Solutions) in 2005. Since then I started studying more analytics business and got involved with the Finnish community (Kalle Heinonen, Steve Jackson and the rest). It paid off because I was selected by these gentlemen as a chairman of WAA Finland in 2007.  Today, I’m a free agent and looking for the next challenge.

Your sister has an Olympic bronze medal.  What was that for, and are you a little bit jealous?

Yes.  Maybe I have to admit that my sister is a better hockey player than me.
Or not.
At least I’m hearing that a lot in our locker room.  I have been playing for 26 hockey seasons [profile and career stats] so of course I’m very jealous about that Olympic bronze medal from Vancouver.  And couple of World Champ bronze medals as well.
Yeah, maybe I was some kind of role model for my sis when I played in first division in Finland (second level) – at least she is saying that so I could feel better. As revenge I invited her into field of web analytics so we have to share same passion and punishment.

If you wrote a book on web analytics in Finnish, how many sales would you make in the first week?

I have very large fan group in Finland so I guess that during the first week I could sell 5 copies (parents, both sisters and me).
Actually I have been asked to write a book couple of times, but so far I enjoy just writing to my blog every now and then.

Go on, you know you want to read more…