Cookie consent law is breathtakingly stupid

For years I've written about why the public shouldn't be afraid of cookies except for the calories in the ones people eat. Despite my efforts, fear has continued to grow in part spurred on my anti-virus software companies that look for tracking cookies.

What most people don't get is that effective ecommerce web sites need cookies to operate. Web analytics software need cookies to create more accurate statistics of user behavior to conintually improve the sites usability and improve marketing campaigns to better convey message to their target audience.

So I'm shocked, but not surprised that the EU is passing a law that will effectively ban the use of cookies on EU based web sites without specific user permissions.

For all the details on this new law and all the stupid impacts please read http://www.techradar.com/news/internet/cookie-consent-law-is-breathtakingly-stupid-648740 from TechRadar.com


Tracking Phone Calls in WebTrends

About 8 weeks ago I was contacted by Mongoose Metrics.

The purpose of this contact was two fold. First they wanted to demonstrate their product. Mongoose Metrics is an web/marketing analytics tool for tracking and attributing on-line phone calls back to the referring on-line marketing campaign.

The product works simply: by adding some java script to you page and a bit tagging. The result is that everyone who comes to your site sees a different toll-free number. This number is recorded in a cookie along with information about the referrer. If they came directly to your site, the visitor sees the default number.

The cool thing happens when a web site visitor decides to call because they need more information or to place the order over the telephone. The software then very cleanly capatures all the referrer information and displays it to you in a easy to read report format. With a bit of advance set-up you can even break it down by different marketing programs.

Now the exciting part and the second reason Mongoose contacted me. They wanted to see if it was possible to integrate their data automatically into WebTrends. After a bit of trial and error, I developed the framework for the integration and Mongoose quickly developed the code on their end to make it possible.

So what does it mean to the average WebTrends web analytics team. With a bit of effort and creation of some WebTrends Custom Reports, you can now know which campaigns (and any variable within your campaigns translation file) drove people to call in. This conversion point is no longer a mystery.

During our tests we were able to successfully monitor calls generated by a Twitter post (tweat), a link in a Facebook status, traffic from organic and paid search including which keyword phrases generated the calls.

The method was successfully tested with both WebTrends OnDemand and an locally installed version of WebTrends (must be using the SDC feature). Beyond passing a conversion point, the configuration also allows for you to set a dollar value to be assigned to each call. While this value is fix in your configuration right now, plans are being made to develop a way to make the value of call arbitrary and in control of the person who took the call. This feature is still under development and no time line has been provided. However, even with assigning an average call value, better quality ROI calculations can be made to better optimize your campaigns.

Below are some sample reports from WebTrends

Paths to and from the call

Orders By Campaign ID (in this case the order is a phone call)

We are still conducting tests, but I expect this feature to be available to the general public before the end of year. If you'd like more information please let me know and I'll be glad to make the appropriate introductions.