Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Web Analytics Interview w/ Rich Earle from Tokens

A few months ago I did a web analytics interview with my good friend Rich Earle who is the blogger for the business blog "Tokens".

Tokens is a blog that provides "impactful tools, tips, and thought provoking messages that provide value in the way you ultimately view, conduct, or renovate your sales, client service and marketing processes." (select the 'Web Analytics' link under 'Categories')

Monday, June 25, 2007

"Analytics, Appetizers, & Ales"

I invite you to join myself and the Yahoo Analytics team on July 11th at BJ's Brewhouse in Burbank, CA for a Web Analytics Wednesday event.

The event starts at 6pm.

107 S 1st St
Burbank, CA


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Yahoo! 'Assists' Their Advertisers On PPC Bidding

For those who have explored Yahoo's latest web analytics options, you have most likely come across the 'Assists' report and wondered what the heck it is. Even more so, you may have asked yourself, "How am I supposed to use it?"

First let me break down what Assists are. Assists are simply keywords that played a part in assisting other keywords in getting a conversion.


Ok, here's an example:

Let's say I'm a visitor looking to purchase a computer. I go to and run a search using the term "computer" . I decide on clicking the Sony sponsored search ad for computers. I dig around on the web site but end up not purchasing anything. I then come back 14 days later and use the search term "Laptop" on But this time I decide to click on a different Sony sponsored search ad....for laptops. I reach the same site and I finally decide to make a puchase (conversion).

The results in Yahoo....

The term "computer" will be counted towards an Assist
The term "Laptop" will be counted towards a Conversion

1. Assists are tied to conversions for up to 45 days. If my first search was "computer", that term will be counted as an Assist as I long as I convert within 45 days following that first search.
2. The visitor must click through one or more of the same advertiser's ads before the Assist will be tied to the Conversion. For the above example, the visitor clicked on the Sony ad for 'computers' and then came back and clicked on the Sony ad for 'laptops'.
3. The advertiser must be using Yahoo's 'Conversion Only' analytics tag or Yahoo's 'Full Analytics' tags on their confirmation/thank-you page.

Great description Matt, but how do I make use of Assists for bidding on my keywords??

Let's first take a look at what the Assists report looks like in Yahoo...

When looking at the keyword level in your Yahoo reports (in this case it's called 'Marketing Activity') you see that the keywords are broken down into Leads (# of times visitors reached your landing page), Assists, and Conversions (# of visitors who reached your confirmation/thank-you page).

With traditional analytics reporting, advertisers will typically look at the keyword to see how many conversions it received to determine how they want to bid on that keyword. In this case, they would see that "Raiders Tickets" had received zero conversions (I am a Raiders fan, so this was a tough example for me to cough up!). With no conversions, typically the advertiser would either lower the bid on the keyword or completely dump the keyword as a "non-performer".

However, having an Assists column adds a whole new dimension to the way we traditionally think about bidding on terms. You'll notice that while the term "Raiders Tickets" didn't convert, it did drive 33% of the Assists. This means the term "Raiders Tickets" played a part in assisting other keywords in getting a conversion.

Think about it in basketball terms. A point guard might get 20 assists but no points (conversions) in one night. That's still a pretty productive night for the point guard! Are you going to bench your point guard after he dished out 20 assists and helped the other players score 40+ points?!?! No way! That point guard is valuable to the team.

Same theory goes into thinking about your keywords. Before you lower the bid on a particular keyword you should ask yourself, "Just because this keyword didn't convert well for me, did it help other kewords convert? If so, do I really want to lower the bid on a keyword that drives a high percentage of my total Assists?" Probably not. More likely, you'll want to continue to bid on this keyword as it's helping drive conversions and brand awareness.

So really, Assists help out on two fronts:

1. They Assist other keywords in converting and

2. They Assist YOU, the advertiser, in making smarter bidding decisions.

You can also find a great post on Yahoo's Assists at: