Monday, December 22, 2008

How different is advertising on a portal homepage across the world…

In today's world, there are multiple versions of Yahoo! homepage (USA, India, Australia, UK…) and in various languages. All of these pages have ads and as one would expect the performance of placing ads on these pages in different countries varies dramatically.

It is very fascinating to measure the impact of the same creative with similar message placed on the homepage of the same portal like Yahoo! or MSN. The performance varies dramatically – why? Few major reasons that would cause this are:

  1. The difference in the audience on the homepage in different countries. One particular country might be reaching business users vs. the other countries might be reaching to the average 25-45 year old women.
  2. The differences in the reach and frequency. The average number of times an average user is exposed to the ad affects the likely hood of a consumer interacting with the ad. Also, the number of consumers reached also affects the performance – the less the number of consumers reached, the less the awareness of the product.
  3. The type of creative could also make a lot of difference. Expandable banners could increase the performance in one country vs. the expandable ads in the other country might not attract the consumers as much.
  4. A particular message could attract more consumers in a country vs. the other.

It should not be assumed that if a Yahoo! homepage ad performs very well in USA, then it will perform as well in India or Australia or Japan. The performance can and will vary. Historical results must be used to make the decision of placing the ad.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Increasing customer lifetime value

Every marketer wants to increase the lifetime value of their customers. One of the best ways is to make sure that the consumer only thinks about your brand/product/service/store/e-commerce store before making a purchase.

Amazon prime is a perfect example of a service which can be used to increase the lifetime value of consumers. This service is a one-time annual fee and provides free 2-day shipping and next day shipping for only $3.99 on most of the products sold on

By providing such a service for a minimal fee, Amazon has secured all the consumers who have signed-up for this service. Amazon is one of the largest collections of products across all categories – household products, baby products, electronics, books, tools, clothes, grocery, and apparel. Therefore, the chances that you will not find a product on Amazon are very few.

They have also made sure that a consumer, when is ready to buy a product, uses only to find the product and checkout.

A consumer previously would have done a lot of research on various comparison shopping engines like or and put in a lot of time to find the best deal. Now, the same consumer who has signed up for Amazon prime would just go to Amazon, find the product and check out. This would save a ton of consumer's time and the consumer would also get the product delivered to their doorstep in 2 days or even next day if they pay $3.99.

I have been using this service over the last few months and have ended up make more and more purchases from Amazon. It all started with monthly diapers, then I ordered a multi-function printer, then I got a car seat for my son, then comforters, duvet cover and the list goes on. Living in the city of Chicago, I save on 10.5% sales tax and get the product gets delivered to my doorstep in a day. I used to order only a few products annually from Amazon but now, I order a product almost at a weekly level. Guess what! I also have the Amazon rewards credit card now, which has hooked me to Amazon. I have even ordered products from Amazon using my phone, as I was at a physical store which didn't have the actual product I was looking for.

From a marketing analytics ROI point of view, if I was running the Amazon prime program, I would love to do the analysis of shipping cost vs. the increase in the consumer lifetime value. As the service has been available for a few years, I am assuming they have a positive return and is helping increase profits.

This indeed is a classic case of increasing consumer lifetime value.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Page Depth, Bounce Rate: Are they actionable?

Page Depth and Bounce rate are two very basic web analytics metrics. Page Depth is the average number of pages visited during a site visit. Bounce rate is defined as the percentage of users who land on a webpage and exit the website.

How actionable are these?

Not a whole lot.

Page depth would provide the avg. number of pages viewed in a visit – it could be the same page refreshed 10 times and show a page depth of 10. However, this page could not be providing any business value. A consumer who views 2 pages with very high business value would have only a page depth of 2. Thus, from a business point of view, the consumer who had a page depth of 2 is more valuable. Page Depth – Didn't provide the correct picture.

Now, let's talk about the bounce rate. A segment of consumers land on a web page, consumes the content, and exit the website, yielding a bounce rate of 100%. However, this webpage is able to provide all the information the consumers are looking for and leaving the website. Thus, if you look at the bounce rate metric, it doesn't provide the correct picture.

The better way to measure the effectiveness of your website, is assigning business value to various pages/activities of the website. Calculate an average value per consumer visit and improvise the website to increase the avg. business value per visit. Analyze the click-stream (pathing analysis) to help increase the business value per visit.