You might have missed it: from June 29th on Google Analytics, organic traffic coming from the search engine 360 (so.com) started to be split between the Organic Search and Referral channels, thus causing some fluctuations in your reports.
You might have missed it: from June 29th on Google Analytics, organic traffic coming from the search engine 360 (so.com) started to be split between the Organic Search and Referral channels, thus causing some fluctuations in your reports.     If on the one hand, this change could appear trivial given the limited market shares of 360 Search (below 10%), but on the other hand, it also highlights the necessity for marketers to maintain their tracking up to date to take relevant decisions - if such change had happened on Baidu, no one imagines that consequences could have been potentially much more important… However, while today most organizations have deployed analytics solutions to measure their digital activities, only few operate regular data integrity maintenance often by lack of awareness. In this article, we therefore propose to introduce the different facets of the data integrity challenge through concrete solutions for Google Analytics at the occasion of the 360 search engine issue. What elements affect data integrity? Based on our experience at altima° China, we dressed up a list of the 5 most recurring causes of data breaches: Release of marketing campaigns without relevant tagging – any PPC campaigns on Chinese search engines will, for instance, appear under the Organic Search channel in the absence of UTM parameters Analytics hacks – sadly, several companies promote their own services by generating fake traffic on Google Analytics, especially within the Organic Search and Referral channels Bug in the analytics tracking – because we're all humans after all Website’s policy/technical evolutions (mostly search engines) – we'll go more into details on this point later in the article Google Analytics adjustments – not frequent but not well announced too Which KPIs to monitor data integrity? At first sight, tracking abnormal data may turn very time-consuming given the high number of metrics & dimensions available among the Google Analytics reports. To keep the monitoring accessible, we defined a batch of generic KPIs to detect easily and efficiently any sudden loss of data accuracy: # Metrics Number of sessions Bounce-Rate -Number of macro conversions (purchases, leads, contact inquiries…) # Dimensions Common marketing channels (Organic Search, Paid Search, Referral…) ‘(Other)’ marketing channel (i.e. the channel listing all traffic that couldn’t be recognized and classified among the existing marketing channels) In the case of the 360 Search problem, we isolated the issue by analyzing the sessions of the Referral channel and noticed the new occurrence of the search engine so.com. How often monitor data integrity? While this appears as a very legitimate question, the answer still highly depends on the richness of the marketing campaigns (in numbers and types). As a basis reference, brands investing simultaneously and continuously in several promotional activities (e.g. PPC, display, RTB, affiliation, emailing, social) may require a weekly monitoring. At the opposite, brands investing both occasionally and in few marketing campaigns may only require monthly follow-up. How to fix data integrity issues? Google Analytics, one of the most flexible analytics tools available on the market, offers simple solutions to adjust tracking from its interface. We summarized the different features below. # Filters The Filters features allows to modify the tracking before data are processed on Google Analytics. When used for data integrity purpose, filters usually serve at overriding mediums (e.g. transforming the referral traffic of so.com into organic traffic) or simply excluding non-relevant traffic. # Channel Settings Less radical than filters, the Channel Settings feature allows to customize the default Channel Grouping settings of Google Analytics by modifying existing channels (e.g. adding traffic from a bespoke medium to an existing channel) or creating new ones (following your needs). # Organic Custom Sources Largely forgotten by the marketers, the Organic Custom Sources feature facilitates the addition of extra search engines among the Organic Search report and thereby retrieving precious keyword information (even if more and more search engines tended to block it recently). Note that none of these features are retroactive – past data will therefore not be reprocessed following the new settings. Now, what about the 360 search engine issue…? As showed in the initial graph, a part of the 360 search engine traffic still continues being driven in the Organic Search channel, implying that user’s queries may be addressed from another location, most likely happening to be the other products of the brand such as the 360 antivirus software or the 360 web browser. However, as this audience is still correctly tracked, no further action is necessary. Besides, deeper analysis of the new referral medium highlighted that the most of the traffic was generated via Desktop devices, so most probably through the desktop version of the 360 search engine (www.so.com). Our first action naturally aimed at declaring the domain so.com as a custom organic search source. However, additional tests continued to return our organic searches as referral traffic, supposing that the origin of the issue may be either a technical change among the search system or an update of the search engine privacy policy aiming at locking user’s searches (just like Google does). Our second action therefore consisted into forcing Google Analytics to override the medium referral into organic through the creation of a bespoke filter: As a result, all traffic from the domain so.com appears tracked again in the Organic Search channel.
Our colleague and Data Analytics Expert, Victor, had the great opportunity to participate this month to the SalesForce Commerce Cloud conference in Hong Kong to introduce the use of data-visualization in today's digital marketing world. Here, we've wrapped up the presentation and summarized its content for you readers.
Our colleague and Data Analytics Expert, Victor, had the great opportunity to participate this month to the Salesforce Commerce Cloud conference in Hong Kong to introduce the use of data-visualization in today's digital marketing world. Here, we've wrapped up the presentation and summarized its content for you readers. Introduction Be data-driven. You've heard that. As a digital marketer, you are meant to carefully listen to the divine voice of… data. And yes, being able to collect and leverage data is indeed key when it comes to make the most objective and efficient decision. But, let’s be blunt: raw statistics can be boring, sometimes frustrating, and more than often, very confusing. Besides, the China digital world with its very various platforms and channels, complex and long user journeys, does not really help gain visibility to make the most of data. You Need a Hero Fortunately, digital marketers have been able to powerfully overcome this difficulty by leveraging data-visualization and offset most related challenges. Data-what? "'Dataviz' is about communicating numbers or raw information, by transforming them into visual objects: dots, bubbles, bars, curves, maps. […] It is the art of showing figures in a more creative and appealing way, where Excel tables can fail.” says Charles Miglietti, Co-founder of Toucan Toco. To say it differently, the main goal of data-visualization is to communicate information clearly and effectively through graphical means.  If the use of an analogy was needed to illustrate what all of this is about, we could simply say that data-visualization is to data, what "photoshopping" is to models: a very useful way to make the unattractive look very attractive:  Yet, in data-visualization, it is important to find the right balance between form and function, to avoid the pitfall of creating gorgeous data-visualizations for the sake of aesthetics which in the end fail to serve their main purpose: to communicate information.  By the way, has data-visualization been invented by digital marketers? Back to where it all begins No, the concept of data-visualization has not been invented by digital marketers willing to impress their team mates with awesome illustrations, or their clients with story-telling dashboards. Although, great pieces of graphics will sometimes impress your comrades, and will definitely help make decisions, the graphic portrayal of quantitative information has deeper roots, reaching into histories of thematic cartography, statistical graphics, and are connected with the rise of statistical thinking up through the 19th century. The birth of statistical thinking was followed by a rise in visual thinking: diagrams were used to illustrate mathematical functions, various graphic forms were invented to help calculations, etc.  Digital marketers didn't invent anything here, but have instead simply participated in extending data-visualization's application scope to the communication of digital marketing information, using advanced tools: software solutions. short selection of data visualization software products (which will be further introduced in a future dedicated article) Dataviz is everywhere Digital marketers didn't invent data-visualization, neither do they have the monopoly of its use. Dataviz' is everywhere and everyday in your life: on your bank application, your fitness tracker, your user account in your favorite ecommerce site, in social media, etc.   And that's a good thing, as visual beings we are much better at understanding and seeing patterns and trends when the data is visualized. Use & Challenges But then, how could a digital marketer more specifically and efficiently leverage data-visualization? Clarifying information through the use of data-visualization, in the case of digital marketing, is a three-steps operation, which consist of: Combining data to unify views when multiple sources are exploited Transforming raw data into clear and appealing graphics Adapting dashboard visuals to the different audiences you speak to The purpose of a dataviz' solution has to go beyond the creation of nice visuals. Yes,transforming raw data into clear and beautiful graphics is cool. And, it is a key step to help gain visibility from illegible endless Excel spreadsheets. However, the transformation itself will not bring you enough clarity if you are not able to provide a unified view of these data when they are residing in different sources (Website, Wechat, Marketplaces, etc.). Besides, depending on the audience you are speaking to, you will have to select the most relevant information and adapt the way you introduce it.  Can a software help achieve that? Yes, Google Data Studio does. It is not the only one, but a great one. A beta version of Data Studio was released last year by Google, in March 2016, and made it free to use without much limitation. As a dataviz' software, Data Studio gives you everything you need to turn your analytics data into informational, easy-to-understand reports through data-visualization. Reports are easy to read, easy to share and customizable to each of your audience. Data Studio goes beyond just providing pretty dashboards, it allows to pull in more than just Google Analytics data, as it offers the possibility to import data from other sources via the use, among other methods, of Google Sheets. Social Media & Ecommerce data can for instance co-exist and show up in the very same reports without requiring too many manual interventions.   And when there's an update to the data source, the updated/new information automatically shows up on any reports that reference the source. In other words: your dashboards become dynamic.  Additionally, the reports are shareable, which will help give different accesses to different dashboards according to the audience you wish to convey information to. Oh, but yes, you'll need a VPN to access it from China, but it is worth all the pain.  Conclusion Being data-driven is essential when it comes to decision making, in particular in the field of digital marketing. Yet, to achieve that, you've got to get equipped with the right weapons. This is precisely where lies the purpose of data-visualization: it provides you with the right tool to accomplish the right mission. So, if you don't want to look like the guy below, we strongly suggest that you quickly get started with the use of dataviz' solution . To download the full presentation, click on the picture below:
Our colleague and Data Analytics Expert, Victor, had the great opportunity to participate this month to the SalesForce Commerce Cloud conference in Hong Kong to introduce the use of data-visualization in today's digital marketing world. Here, we've wrapped up the presentation and summarized its content for you readers.
Our colleague and Data Analytics Expert, Victor, had the great opportunity to participate this month to the Salesforce Commerce Cloud conference in Hong Kong to introduce the use of data-visualization in today's digital marketing world. Here, we've wrapped up the presentation and summarized its content for you readers. Introduction Be data-driven. You've heard that. As a digital marketer, you are meant to carefully listen to the divine voice of… data. And yes, being able to collect and leverage data is indeed key when it comes to make the most objective and efficient decision. But, let’s be blunt: raw statistics can be boring, sometimes frustrating, and more than often, very confusing. Besides, the China digital world with its very various platforms and channels, complex and long user journeys, does not really help gain visibility to make the most of data. You Need a Hero Fortunately, digital marketers have been able to powerfully overcome this difficulty by leveraging data-visualization and offset most related challenges. Data-what? "'Dataviz' is about communicating numbers or raw information, by transforming them into visual objects: dots, bubbles, bars, curves, maps. […] It is the art of showing figures in a more creative and appealing way, where Excel tables can fail.” says Charles Miglietti, Co-founder of Toucan Toco. To say it differently, the main goal of data-visualization is to communicate information clearly and effectively through graphical means.  If the use of an analogy was needed to illustrate what all of this is about, we could simply say that data-visualization is to data, what "photoshopping" is to models: a very useful way to make the unattractive look very attractive:  Yet, in data-visualization, it is important to find the right balance between form and function, to avoid the pitfall of creating gorgeous data-visualizations for the sake of aesthetics which in the end fail to serve their main purpose: to communicate information.  By the way, has data-visualization been invented by digital marketers? Back to where it all begins No, the concept of data-visualization has not been invented by digital marketers willing to impress their team mates with awesome illustrations, or their clients with story-telling dashboards. Although, great pieces of graphics will sometimes impress your comrades, and will definitely help make decisions, the graphic portrayal of quantitative information has deeper roots, reaching into histories of thematic cartography, statistical graphics, and are connected with the rise of statistical thinking up through the 19th century. The birth of statistical thinking was followed by a rise in visual thinking: diagrams were used to illustrate mathematical functions, various graphic forms were invented to help calculations, etc.  Digital marketers didn't invent anything here, but have instead simply participated in extending data-visualization's application scope to the communication of digital marketing information, using advanced tools: software solutions. short selection of data visualization software products (which will be further introduced in a future dedicated article) Dataviz is everywhere Digital marketers didn't invent data-visualization, neither do they have the monopoly of its use. Dataviz' is everywhere and everyday in your life: on your bank application, your fitness tracker, your user account in your favorite ecommerce site, in social media, etc.   And that's a good thing, as visual beings we are much better at understanding and seeing patterns and trends when the data is visualized. Use & Challenges But then, how could a digital marketer more specifically and efficiently leverage data-visualization? Clarifying information through the use of data-visualization, in the case of digital marketing, is a three-steps operation, which consist of: Combining data to unify views when multiple sources are exploited Transforming raw data into clear and appealing graphics Adapting dashboard visuals to the different audiences you speak to The purpose of a dataviz' solution has to go beyond the creation of nice visuals. Yes,transforming raw data into clear and beautiful graphics is cool. And, it is a key step to help gain visibility from illegible endless Excel spreadsheets. However, the transformation itself will not bring you enough clarity if you are not able to provide a unified view of these data when they are residing in different sources (Website, Wechat, Marketplaces, etc.). Besides, depending on the audience you are speaking to, you will have to select the most relevant information and adapt the way you introduce it.  Can a software help achieve that? Yes, Google Data Studio does. It is not the only one, but a great one. A beta version of Data Studio was released last year by Google, in March 2016, and made it free to use without much limitation. As a dataviz' software, Data Studio gives you everything you need to turn your analytics data into informational, easy-to-understand reports through data-visualization. Reports are easy to read, easy to share and customizable to each of your audience. Data Studio goes beyond just providing pretty dashboards, it allows to pull in more than just Google Analytics data, as it offers the possibility to import data from other sources via the use, among other methods, of Google Sheets. Social Media & Ecommerce data can for instance co-exist and show up in the very same reports without requiring too many manual interventions.   And when there's an update to the data source, the updated/new information automatically shows up on any reports that reference the source. In other words: your dashboards become dynamic.  Additionally, the reports are shareable, which will help give different accesses to different dashboards according to the audience you wish to convey information to. Oh, but yes, you'll need a VPN to access it from China, but it is worth all the pain.  Conclusion Being data-driven is essential when it comes to decision making, in particular in the field of digital marketing. Yet, to achieve that, you've got to get equipped with the right weapons. This is precisely where lies the purpose of data-visualization: it provides you with the right tool to accomplish the right mission. So, if you don't want to look like the guy below, we strongly suggest that you quickly get started with the use of dataviz' solution . To download the full presentation, click on the picture below:
With a population lately estimated around 720 million netizens and active at 85% every day, China internet has now become a gigantic node of interactions that brands need to constantly monitor to catch the latest trends and continue delivering successful services & products. At the heart of this new challenge: the tracking of quantitative and qualitative data.
With a population estimated around 720 million netizens and active at 85% every day, China internet has become a gigantic node of interactions that brands need to constantly monitor to catch the latest trends and continue delivering successful services & products. At the heart of this new challenge: the tracking of quantitative and qualitative data. Upon this inaugural article of the analytics series, we will dress up an overview of the Chinese analytics market over its different facets: characteristics, trends, challenges and tools. #1 Paid media concentrate most of attention Paid media (PPC & Display) historically dominate advertising digital investments, driven by the needs of reaching the masses and catching a maximum of visibility. However, while related technologies have gradually improved along the past years, allowing to target much more precisely specific audiences (e.g. programmatic buying), lots of marketers have continued to pilot their campaigns through generic KPIs, originally around ad centric measurement (impressions, clicks, CTR), but also more recently around site-centric measurement (pageviews, bounce-rate, conversions). In addition, Chinese paid media market also includes lots of fake traffic (robots) perturbing global analysis. As a direct consequence, the measure and comparison of the performance (ROI) between the different acquisition channels often remain unclear while efficient solutions actually exist (we will describe one below). #2 The Chinese internet: a complex terrain From a technical perspective now, the Chinese internet remains a constant challenge for digital analytics for two main reasons: Market is split between different ecosystems At the opposite of the West standards, China internet appears to be vertically organized around three pillars: Social media platforms (Wechat, Weibo, etc.) answering specific Chinese needs for feedbacks and interactions with brands Marketplaces (Taobao/Tmall, JingDong, etc.) concentrating most of online shopping activities Third-party websites (brands, portals, etc.) serving the informational needs about products and services And, as no bespoke user-centric analytics solution has been available on the market so far, data need to be aggregated manually from separate sources in order to draw the most accurate picture of the digital property, at the cost of a tedious (and time consuming) work. But one more time, solutions exist. Market is quickly evolving As many already know, China is a place where everything is used to going a little faster than anywhere else in the world. This characteristic is especially true on the Internet where technologies drive constant new usage and ease. 2016 has therefore been the year of the mobile with a penetration rate of over 90% of total Chinese netizens. Here also, this new trend came along with some tracking technical issues such as the accurate recognition of “phablets” (huge smartphones between mobile and tablet devices that knew a certain success in China). #3 Latest analytics trends On top of the specific market & technic issues mentioned above, China digital analytics will also face more global challenges in 2017:     - Attribution: understanding the relations between the different acquisition levers that lead to the final conversion, to optimize advertising investments. - Conversion Rate Optimization: optimizing on-site user experience to maximize conversions without massive increase of investment. - Data visualization: drawing performance report through clear indicators to detect trends ahead and smooth decision-making process. #4 Web analytics tools Originally existing through a myriad of tools developed either by brands or web agencies and mainly based on server logs, Chinese web analytics tools remained for a long time limited to basic tracking only. However, rapid developments in the digital landscape helped revamp the offer. Below is a list of what we believe are the most representative tools on the market today. Google Analytics, the reference Often falsely accused of perturbing page loading time when not of being totally blocked (as is the Google suite in China), the tool still appears as one of the most effective solution available on the market and is often quoted as much for its tracking flexibility (making possible to track international campaigns over different sources and mediums - e.g. PPC, affiliation, programmatic buying), as for its flexible reports allowing to cross metrics and dimensions together, and therefore accessing data at an unprecedented level, eventually driving analytics to its latest extensions: bringing UX and technical insights. Baidu Tongji, the complementary tool As often in China, local competitors imitate leading products: Baidu Tongji is probably the most emblematic example. However, if Baidu Tongji mostly focus on chasing after Google Analytics - but always a bit behind the times, marketers still refer to it for local search campaigns as the tool is, for instance, the unique way to retrieve Baidu SEO keywords. Google Data Studio, the game changer Newcome of the Google suite, Data Studio aims at providing powerful reports that talk to their target thanks to a simple and intuitive layout. While the tool was initially conceived to dynamically retrieve data from Google Analytics, it also supports manual imports allowing the display of data coming from other channels (social media, etc), which turn it into a well-adapted tool for the Chinese market situation, Also: read our detailed introduction of Google Data Studio. Conclusion In 2016, while the Chinese internet has finally found its DNA, China slowing economy has led brands to develop sustainable growth, and yet, only a few of them have chosen to take advantages of the (numerous) analytics benefits, mostly for lack of knowledge. In the next articles of this series, altima° China digital analytics experts will share concrete insights to help you better understand and handle this critical phase in your digital adventures. Stay tuned.
With a population lately estimated around 720 million netizens and active at 85% every day, China internet has now become a gigantic node of interactions that brands need to constantly monitor to catch the latest trends and continue delivering successful services & products. At the heart of this new challenge: the tracking of quantitative and qualitative data.
With a population estimated around 720 million netizens and active at 85% every day, China internet has become a gigantic node of interactions that brands need to constantly monitor to catch the latest trends and continue delivering successful services & products. At the heart of this new challenge: the tracking of quantitative and qualitative data. Upon this inaugural article of the analytics series, we will dress up an overview of the Chinese analytics market over its different facets: characteristics, trends, challenges and tools. #1 Paid media concentrate most of attention Paid media (PPC & Display) historically dominate advertising digital investments, driven by the needs of reaching the masses and catching a maximum of visibility. However, while related technologies have gradually improved along the past years, allowing to target much more precisely specific audiences (e.g. programmatic buying), lots of marketers have continued to pilot their campaigns through generic KPIs, originally around ad centric measurement (impressions, clicks, CTR), but also more recently around site-centric measurement (pageviews, bounce-rate, conversions). In addition, Chinese paid media market also includes lots of fake traffic (robots) perturbing global analysis. As a direct consequence, the measure and comparison of the performance (ROI) between the different acquisition channels often remain unclear while efficient solutions actually exist (we will describe one below). #2 The Chinese internet: a complex terrain From a technical perspective now, the Chinese internet remains a constant challenge for digital analytics for two main reasons: Market is split between different ecosystems At the opposite of the West standards, China internet appears to be vertically organized around three pillars: Social media platforms (Wechat, Weibo, etc.) answering specific Chinese needs for feedbacks and interactions with brands Marketplaces (Taobao/Tmall, JingDong, etc.) concentrating most of online shopping activities Third-party websites (brands, portals, etc.) serving the informational needs about products and services And, as no bespoke user-centric analytics solution has been available on the market so far, data need to be aggregated manually from separate sources in order to draw the most accurate picture of the digital property, at the cost of a tedious (and time consuming) work. But one more time, solutions exist. Market is quickly evolving As many already know, China is a place where everything is used to going a little faster than anywhere else in the world. This characteristic is especially true on the Internet where technologies drive constant new usage and ease. 2016 has therefore been the year of the mobile with a penetration rate of over 90% of total Chinese netizens. Here also, this new trend came along with some tracking technical issues such as the accurate recognition of “phablets” (huge smartphones between mobile and tablet devices that knew a certain success in China). #3 Latest analytics trends On top of the specific market & technic issues mentioned above, China digital analytics will also face more global challenges in 2017:     - Attribution: understanding the relations between the different acquisition levers that lead to the final conversion, to optimize advertising investments. - Conversion Rate Optimization: optimizing on-site user experience to maximize conversions without massive increase of investment. - Data visualization: drawing performance report through clear indicators to detect trends ahead and smooth decision-making process. #4 Web analytics tools Originally existing through a myriad of tools developed either by brands or web agencies and mainly based on server logs, Chinese web analytics tools remained for a long time limited to basic tracking only. However, rapid developments in the digital landscape helped revamp the offer. Below is a list of what we believe are the most representative tools on the market today. Google Analytics, the reference Often falsely accused of perturbing page loading time when not of being totally blocked (as is the Google suite in China), the tool still appears as one of the most effective solution available on the market and is often quoted as much for its tracking flexibility (making possible to track international campaigns over different sources and mediums - e.g. PPC, affiliation, programmatic buying), as for its flexible reports allowing to cross metrics and dimensions together, and therefore accessing data at an unprecedented level, eventually driving analytics to its latest extensions: bringing UX and technical insights. Baidu Tongji, the complementary tool As often in China, local competitors imitate leading products: Baidu Tongji is probably the most emblematic example. However, if Baidu Tongji mostly focus on chasing after Google Analytics - but always a bit behind the times, marketers still refer to it for local search campaigns as the tool is, for instance, the unique way to retrieve Baidu SEO keywords. Google Data Studio, the game changer Newcome of the Google suite, Data Studio aims at providing powerful reports that talk to their target thanks to a simple and intuitive layout. While the tool was initially conceived to dynamically retrieve data from Google Analytics, it also supports manual imports allowing the display of data coming from other channels (social media, etc), which turn it into a well-adapted tool for the Chinese market situation, Also: read our detailed introduction of Google Data Studio. Conclusion In 2016, while the Chinese internet has finally found its DNA, China slowing economy has led brands to develop sustainable growth, and yet, only a few of them have chosen to take advantages of the (numerous) analytics benefits, mostly for lack of knowledge. In the next articles of this series, altima° China digital analytics experts will share concrete insights to help you better understand and handle this critical phase in your digital adventures. Stay tuned.

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