Why I don’t worry about Hitwise

As the CEO of a Group Buying business in the nascent and burgeoning category it was critical that I had a very clear view of marketing effectiveness, with Audience Engagement being the key indicator. There were a number of sources available to the team that purported to provide reliable Audience measurement and insights however I only depended on two to provide an accurate view, Omniture and Nielsen.

Alternative sources included Hitwise, Google Analytics and Alexa – Google Analytics is cheap/free but pretty unreliable and Alexa provides a Relative view only. Hitwise is the worst of the bunch though given their data collection methodology means it doesn’t represent the broader online population and worse still, it doesn’t necessarily reflect human activity!

Here are the two main issues with Hitwise data:

1. Hitwise does not measure individuals – it measures traffic.

This effectively means you could hit your website with bot traffic to boost your numbers and it would show as traffic in Hitwise. Nielsen Australia removed 50% of GroupOn Australia’s traffic in March because that traffic consisted largely of unsolicited clicks, meaning popups that appear as you close scurrilous ads (Congratulations, you have won $1,000,000!!!!!) – those clicks are still counted in Hitwise.

2. Hitwise doesn’t include key ISPs

Hitwise harvest data from partnering ISP’s, however Australia’s two largest ISP’s BigPond and Optus don’t participate. This is major a concern as a large proportion of internet users (about 58%) are not reflected in their data. This is a particular problem for a business like Cudo given its mainstream audience, and mainstream Australia do not typically use fringe ISPs.

Nielsen was recently selected as the official measurement partner of the Australian IAB, in their press release they said:

With the endorsement of Nielsen Online Ratings, IAB Australia is identifying people-based metrics, as opposed to browser-based, as the best and preferred online audience measurement system for the Australian online advertising industry.

This is the nub of the problem. TechCrunch called it out almost two years ago.

At Cudo we didn’t care about browsers for obvious reasons, we cared about people, they still do, like the 1,000,000 plus Australians who go to cudo.com.au each and every month, I couldn’t give a monkeys how many Bots swing by!

EDLP or not, retailers are out of control!

What’s wrong with the picture below?


The clue is in the row of heads above the shelves of candy.

This discount retailer has positioned hundreds of impulse items along two sides of this isle designed to tempt shoppers while they queue for a checkout.

By my reckoning, the shopper you can see at the top of the picture has a 15 minute wait ahead of them, providing lots of opportunity for the retailer to maximise Basket size.

The longer the queue, the greater the likelihood folks will be upsold. This retailer has knowingly implemented a strategy to reward themselves for poor service. That is broken.

Regardless of their EDLP strategy, poor service shouldn’t be part of it. Institutionalising crappy service is outrageous, deriving benefit has to be the shortest of short term views.

Personalisation–based on 57 signals

I changed the name of my blog having been struck by the notion that there are 57 signals to indicate a Consumers preferences, and that each of those signals or cues can be read at the point they reach your site.

This is a powerful notion and should underpin much of what we do at Cudo, given the goal of any Consumer is to find the shortest possible route to their desired outcome; from browsing offers, purchasing, making a recommendation, checking their account status, Social Sharing or even unsubscribing.

Identifying the individual cues is not hard, the smarts are in connecting multiple cues to the customers intention and adjusting the experience accordingly.

This is a subtle change in how we think about personalisation, which has hinged on Consumers being signed-in until now, that will result in a significant improvement in the experience for everyone who touches the site.

Better get moving.