Tag: Big Data

Our Connected World & the Exponential Growth of Data

Today, American homes have more internet-connected devices than people. (NPD)

As the number of devices are expeditiously increasing, so too are the technological convergences they provide.  The tendency to use different technological systems (such as voice, data, and video) have become streamlined to interact with each other synergistically.  Through this technological advancement of connectivity, we have found that these global, industry agnostic solutions are altering the way our world works, lives, and operates.  The Financial Times states, “everything today is becoming more smart,” and righteously so.  Daniel Thomas, telecoms correspondent reports this for a FT video from the 2013 Mobile World Conference in Barcelona. 

As our devices are becoming more seamless, so must our marketing strategies.  The way we measure, monitor, and determine the success or failure of our marketing efforts has become a more complicated task than ever before.  We are being bombarded with the words, “big data”.  It’s hugely active, relevant, and wide spread.  According to a study from IBM in 2011, today we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data.  This is so much that 90 percent of the world’s data has been created in the last two years alone.  Think on what it must be today, in 2013?!

The difficulty we face is how do we analyze these massive quantities of data?  David Lewan VP of Sales Operations at ForeSee recently said, “you can’t monitor something you don’t measure,” – and he’s right.   We ask ourselves, how are we, Data Driven Marketers, going to break the topic of big data down to manageable, bite size pieces?  – Pieces that will point us in the direction to properly gain customer-centric insights that will improve our strategies and the way we do business to ultimately strengthen our businesses for our customers.

Some say that the smart integration of data, “requires a multi-pronged approach that aligns technology, company teams, and the various channels, then data to work toward common marketing goals,” (Media Postand perhaps they are right.  But either way, as we are advancing into the future and the data explosion continues to boom, we must become more prepared.

In a study conducted by IBM, when asked, “how prepared they were to manage the impact of the top 5 market factors that will have the most impact on your marketing organization over the next 3-5 years,” more than 1,700 chief marketing officers, spanning 19 industries and 64 countries 71% felt the most underprepared to handle the data explosion.  This was the highest concern of all predicted market changes surveyed.

IBM Institute for Business Value
IBM Institute for Business Value

 

Forbes among many other resources are reporting that programs such as SAS make data analytics more useful.  As it is, data analysts are needed and are in extremely high demand.  One can only predict what will continue to become become in higher demand as our technological capabilities continue to explode.

So, for those interactive marketers who have not jumped on board the big data bandwagon, I ask you – what are you waiting for?

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Where is YOUR Google Analytics Tracking Code?

The Google Analytics Asynchronous Tracking Code, where should you put it on your site?  Well, for starters lets have a look by checking out Google’s official recommendation for web developers…

The Analytics snippet is a small piece of JavaScript code that you paste into your pages.  It activates Google Analytics tracking by inserting ga.js into the page.  To use this on your pages, copy the code snipped below, replacing UA-XXXXX-X with your web property ID.  Paste this snippet into your website template page so that it appears before the closing tag.

Google Analytics Tracking Code

Right… so regardless of what Google’s official recommendation is – huge websites for really large companies seem to still have  (inserting a tracking code at the bottom of a page was once Google’s recommendation a long time ago) their tracking code at the bottom of the page.

Take Allure as an example.  (Open up Google Browser, At the top of the page click on the tool icon, highlight tools, click on view source, and then ctrl +f and search for Google).  Their tracking code is at the bottom of the page!

You see it?  Ok, let’s hope you do.

Anyways, what I find pretty surprising is how a large, high powered company (and there are many) such as Allure wouldn’t currently be using Google’s best practices.  Especially, when proper placement tracking code would be in their best interest.

Let’s take or Allure again for example.  When you visit the site, one can see that Allure.com features advertisements.  Some of these are from  DoubleClick (a subsidiary of Google which develops and provides Internet ad serving agencies).

So here we go… I think I’m ready to explain this…

So, say Allure.com runs a banner ad at the very top of their website.  And say, Allure has content on their site below the banner ad (such as a rich media file) that takes a long time to load (say 10 seconds or so) and the visitor to the site gets impatient and exits the site.  At this point in time, it is possible that because the tracking code was placed at the BOTTOM of the page, the tracking code did not load and thus, it was not able to count the visit.  However, while Allure.com was not aware that there was even a visitor on the page – the ad from DoubleClick was still served and received an impression.  This information would be valuable to a publisher.  Especially when they are getting paid for these Ad’s to be displayed.  Right?  Profit is in the numbers and it doesn’t hurt to make them as accurate as possible.

So, that’s my point on why it’s important.  Here’s a bit of a brief history on the new vs old code:

Google once had a non-Asyhchronous (aka: traditional) tracking code (prior to the 1st of December 2009), which was to be placed at the bottom of the page.  (As I mentioned above, they’re now recommending users to put the code into the portion of the code (the top of the page).   The non-Asyhchronous code essentially operated as any basic JavaScript code (think line by line).  So, with this – if Google code was placed at the top of a page and Google took 8 seconds to send that tracking code out it would take your site already +8 seconds before the actual website content could load for the viewer.  However, with the new Asychronous tracking code it no longer has to complete line one before taking on line two.  With the Asychronous code, multiple lines can be read at the same time.  (Keeping in mind cases like the Allure/DoubleClick example can sometimes occur).  Another perk of the new code is that it is served from your Cache (so it’s downloaded only once from Google and saved on your computer) – this also helps the code load much faster.

So, even if you are not using Ad serving agencies; from an SEO perspective, with Google organic search now penalizing websites with a slower load time, it’s important to keep your site running up to speed (if you want to remain at the top of that SERP).  Additionally, for those of you using Adwords the new code is also said to lead to a 100% accuracy in tracking data.

So, for those using the traditional code, I suggest jumping on board with the new.  (Though funny enough, spy on my source code, and you’ll see I’m missing Google Analytics entirely) I probably need to get on that in 13′.