Big Picture Analytics and A/B Testing

Roy McClean
Feb 18, 2014

I recently had the pleasure of presenting at the 1st Unbounce Meetup in Vancouver. My topic was "Big Picture Analytics and A/B Testing". The "force" was with me and I wish to thank Yoda and his crew for help with this presentation. ;-)

First learn a little more about the Meetup.

Then check out the slide deck. Notes for each slide are shown below.


OK, Vancouver Unbounce Meetup... are you ready to rumble? My name is Roy McClean and I am the Founder & Managing Director of Custom Fit Online... a digital consultancy operating out of Whistler and Pemberton.  We build websites, we market them, we play in the digital space utilizing inbound marketing, and such. And do a lot of stuff that so many of you in this room also do.

But before I go on any further with that I need to tell you of my beginnings..... with a little help from a small, green friend of mine.


My story begins in a decade far, far away. Back in 1995, when some of you were likely still in diapers I founded a company called Custom Fit Communications Group. That was back in the day.

Remember dial-up? AOL? Windows 95? We wrote marketing plans. We developed branding campaigns. We designed logos. But the force was not always with us as we worked away. So we turned to the World Wide Web. And we began, as we can clearly see today, building some of the most hideous websites ever leashed on mankind.  Shadows. Image based navigation. Microsoft Front Page. The good things is many of our competition weren't much better.

So we were building stuff. Yet, a tugging at our hearts remained.

Why was this you may ask? Our marketing planning and research design backgrounds had us yearning for quantitative data. How could we prove that are online offerings were actually impacting our clients' business in a positive way.

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"All for nothing, if measure is not" That pretty much says it all.  We decided that we would use for the force of digital analytics for the common good of our clients and Custom Fit Online.  And our digital analytics journey officially began!

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"Learn to track, we must, hrm?" Looking for solutions, I scoured the web researching some answer to this problem. And after turning over many stones, the force led us to CLICKTRACKS as our first analytics tool!

OH YES... analytics. The sound of that word alone made the birds sing a little sweeter, the stars shone brighter and our light sabers were just a little lighter and more manageable.

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For a few years, we plied our trade using Click Tracks and other tools to slice and dice our visitors' website traffic in almost every way possible. And yet we still yearned for more.  The earth shook under my feet the day I learned about the first Digital Analytics course being offered at UBC. A well-respected institution of higher learning actually offers a course about ... Analytics? I enrolled and jumped in with both feet!

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We came to know of a Jedi analyst called Avinash Kaushik who spoke of wise things such as segmentation, click stream data, voice of the customer. He spoke of his journey from being a Padawan / Newbie to a Master Digital Analyst.  Avinash and other colleagues such as Dr Stephane Hamel, Eric Petersen and others taught us the way of analytics.

This being of one of a process... one that involves the process of continual improvement whether it be tools, company culture, corporate buy-in using a metric model central to a businesses' core strategy.

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As course materials rolled out I came to know... this was Jedi Training for the web analyst!

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We first began applying our digital analytics training at companies such as

Our mission?

  • show tracking for visits from campaigns such as pay per click and email marketing 
  • did people get to their website from such campaigns
  • what did they do when they got there
  • did they search for vacations?
  • did they get to the booking funnel?
  • did they book online or leave a request on a form?

Looking back these was simple tracking but far, far beyond what had been done before!

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Working with clients, even our "larger" ones taught us a value lesson jumping into digital analytics, even at what we perceived as a basic level, was often a bigger jump to our clients that we thought it might our studies at UBC brought us in touch with the work of Dr. Stephane Hamel and his web analytics maturity model this brought us peace knowing that what we were going through was a natural process of the "force".

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So what are the first steps of analytics maturity? Clickstream analytics tools became our first "light sabre". We use Adobe Marketing Cloud with corporate clients that have budget like Whistler Blackcomb. We love KISSmetrics for applications such as member sites where you can track people's behavior that "sign in" to a website and the FREE light saber for everyone... Google Analytics.

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Using such clickstream tools along with Google AdWords at a basic level provides you with the WORTHY designation of a "Padawan" or what Avinash Kaushik calls the "toddler" analytics stage. Tracking includes: total clicks, average CPC, and a key performance indicator like cost per acquisition gets you well on the way to utilizing the power of analytics.

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As your light sabre / click stream analytics skills increase you can quickly move to the next phase of analytics maturity. The apprentice phase: here you can add in more lofty tracking such as leads, sales, and revenue. These may be referred to as MACRO or higher level conversions. Generating a KPI such as revenue per acquisition put you firmly at another level in your analytics maturation.

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As your progress through level of analytics maturity you then add in what Avinash Kaushik refers to a the "VOICE OF THE CUSTOMER". Clickstream analytics tools allow you to track the WHAT HAPPENED. Now you jump the chasm of the analytics realm to determine WHY things happen. Your challenge moving to the next level is figure out the WHY!

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You are then ready to move into the MASTER level on the maturity model of analytics not only tracking MACRO CONVERSIONS such as sales, leads, and revenue. You also have the AUDACITY to recognize that MICRO CONVERSIONS such as social media engagement, email marketing subscriptions, blog commenting, recency and repeat visits all have meaning and an impact on your overall LIFTIME success in the online world. Getting to the point of tracking KPIs such as value per acquisition firmly puts in you on a MASTER's level.

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Another IMPORTANT tactic to be mastered for the next level of Digital Analytics? ALWAYS BE TESTING!

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While you may have the urge at this stage to run multivariate tests we suggest you refrain from this use awesome tools like Unbounce and Visual Website Optimizer to A/B test. Test web page headlines - one black, one blue; test featured photos - one with a person, another without; test price points - one with bundled pricing, the other not; the world is your Oyster.

Visual Website Optimizer and other tools allow this testing on your website, and of course
UNBOUNCE, and it's amazing drag and drop interface allows you to build, deploy and test landing pages so easily!

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By using the power of clickstream data to determine what's happening including goals and objectives by determining the VOICE OF THE CUSTOMER using qualitative tools and by TESTING using Unbounce and other awesome tools you too can experience THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF ANALYTICS

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It's helped us maintain relationships with clients for decades!

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By using the power of:

  1. Clickstream data to determine what's happening including goals and objectives
  2. By determine the voice of the customer using qualitative tools
  3. And by testing using UNBOUNCE and other awesome tools... YOU can harness the FORCE of Digital Analytics

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Take in the way of the Analytics Force and you took can achieve the Master's level it is not always the easy path but it is a noble and successful way. MAY THE FORCE OF DIGITAL ANALYTICS ALWAYS BE WITH YOU.

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