AD Blockers and Site Analytics

Today we’ve traveled to the Search Analytics and Social Conference at Manchester University. There’s been a number of good sessions so far but one in particular has led to the creation of this post.  The  session covered the topic of AD blockers  and the knock on effect to Analytics programmes.

If we look at the Google trend data shown in figure 1 for the term AD blocker we see a major increase in search traffic against the term and there popularity is only going to increase as businesses try to capture our attention on websites and search engines to return to their websites.

AD BLocker Google Trends Data
Figure 1: UK Market search data for term AD Blocker

The article from Deliberately Digital provides an overview of the issue and you can read the authors thought here.  If Pierre Far is correct then Google Analytics tracking code is being blocked by a number of the key pieces of software in this space, giving inaccurate results in the analytic data.

A quick Google search for the topic comes back with a number of articles with methods to identify the percentage of visitors to the website that make use of AD Blocking software.  To effectively measure effectiveness of website traffic and actions understanding the difference between visitors will become increasingly important as AD blocking software becomes more widespread.

To read how to split the traffic and filter in Analytics see this article from  BuySellAds.

I’m currently integrating into a number of websites to see how it works.  Once we have some useful data we’ll post the results.

Gender recognition changing the buyers proposition

Imagine the ability as a retailer to identify the gender of a buyer and change the messages within the store to match them. All a dream, apparently not – retailers are now starting to test and implement the technology.

I spent yesterday evening having dinner with a small group of CIOs from a range of large retailers in the UK. To be honest it was a little bit strange to have been invited but it was good to listen and join in the conversation. It was an experience to sit and listen to the issues they’re facing with implementing technology into both the online and offline environments.

The conversations touched on all areas of IT within a business from ERP systems on a global basis (and the issues this causes when your going across national barriers and when the business grows through acquisition and not organically) to Mobile apps. The mobile apps discussion was enlightening because of the perceived delay in entering the market, due to a miss understanding of the target market, a belief within the business that the customer base was not actually wanting to engage through this media because they we’re deemed to be the wrong demographic to be using mobile phones and devices. After receiving feedback from the customer they are now moving ahead with implementing mobile apps.

In relation to social media one of the businesses fully engaged with this media have identified that it enables them to have a much faster route to the customer enabling them to quickly resolve issues and manage the customer relationship a lot faster and provide a better experience of the brand to the customer. Some of the organisations are still at the point of taking full advantage of CRM to gather customer information from the online market space.

What I’ve learnt from the evening is even though these companies have a much bigger budget they still have to convince the business to forge ahead with technology and also that they may not fully have the answers and be doing it correctly, but they recognise the need to improve in order to stay competitive.

In relation to gender recognition one of the companies was currently carrying out in store testing to identify the gender of the customer and then change the marketing message being shown on in store visual displays. With more work and the ability to sense or suggest the users buying intent, this could lead to providing a much better lead in for the sales representative. Still in it’s infancy, it apparently has issues with women with very blond hair – apparently it makes them look like they are bald and therefore male….. I won’t have much problem with that one as I’m definitely bald and I’m clearly a man.

Gadgets they are more than toys….

All men enjoy buying gadgets, we use excuses in order to justify the purchase. But what are the best 5 gadgets you’ve purchased and were they useful and are you still using them. Be honest whilst making your list, chances are no one will every see it.

Here’s my list …..

1. Apple iPad 2
Worth every penny. To be honest some would say go for Android and get something cheaper, but to be honest I made the right choice. Went for the 3G version, connect anywhere. Problem is everyone in the house now wants to use it……

2. Line 6 XT-Live
I have a number of guitars collected over the last 30 years, including a 1970 reissue Japanese Fender Stratocaster, add to this the two amplifiers stored in the attic – Peavey Valve amp and a Marshall. However one of the best investments the Line 6 POD – every amp and effect you could ever need, straight forward and simple to use.

3. Apple iPhone
Work phone honestly, great though syncs to everything, computer, google and even works in the car direct to the stereo. Problem is can never put it down. getting email all the time and having access to Facebook really is not a good thing. I have friends with Blackberries but honestly, how do they cope, difficult to use and really is it a sign they couldn’t afford the iPhone. By the way that last comment is a joke…

4. Tom Tom One
The purchase that was really good at the time but just sits in a draw as the phone does it all for free. Sat Nav devices have changed how we drive, many years ago you remembered the way to places a bit like remembering everyones telephone number, but we’ve all forgotten that skill. How often do you have to pull up your own name on your phone to give someone your number or call them…..

5. PS3
Not really for me though, purchase for my son – or that’s what most of them say I expect. Games are great, graphics brilliant and the blue-ray player amazing. We’ve just made a change and moved the 45inch LCD TV into the bedroom for my son to put the PS3 through and it’s brilliant. Very over the top but why not!

I’ve got lots more of bits and pieces but these are just the ones that have been great and met the purpose.

Managing your website is it really that easy…

Content Management Systems are becoming all the rage. Everyone I come across believes they should have one to run their website and I agree completely. The problem is there are so many different ones available from free to bespoke tools and they all offer completely different solutions and functionality.

I typically opt for Joomla, WordPress or an Opensource Ecommerce solution, but each to there own. This morning I was working with a client on Umbraco, an ASP.net solution. Fairly straight forward but not as straight forward regards the SEO aspect of a website. Which very often is not even in the bounds of most CMS tools. generating page titles generally is based on the Page name and doesn’t allow for the creation of focused keyword rich page titles.

The client had mentioned how it was difficult to use and it taking ages to create pages and get them looking correct. On further investigation it’s not down to the toolset but more the way the site has been built. In this instance the majority of issues relate to badly created stylesheets preventing content from displaying correctly on the public side of the website. An evenings work to identify the parts of the stylesheets that need to change for the developer to adjust.

Coming back to a CMS system, I’m reminded that it’s great to have one but in reality how many of you actually make changes at regular intervals to a website. We all think it’s great to use a CMS system as it gives us the flexibility to actually create content, yet most of use never do it. Add to this the fact that most of us are not developers and remembering how to do things and add additional styles means we can never fully utilise the flexible areas of CMS to make our sites look great.

Returning to my client this morning the site also showed areas of badly created code, where blocks were not closed off properly meaning that online styles needed to be inserted to pages to get them to behave properly. To a degree this means the need to have a technical expert assist with building pages as the supposedly simple CMS toolset now requires a GEEK to add pages and make them look great.

If your website is not working for you then please contact us to see how we can help.