Web Analytics Wednesday

Great time as usually.  Interesting, more and more familiar faces; more and more interesting concepts; more and more in-depth conversations…  I was surprised to see few junior analysts and more people who have been in the field for a while. The turnout was great – congratulation, Jennifer!  Though I am still surprised not to see more people – web analytics is a vital topic and Eric Peterson is an industry celebrity.

Notes from the event:

  • Yes, it is typical: business units will ask for access to the analytics reports and will be excited to have them…  but WOULD NOT look at the reports...  It is consistent with everybody’s experience and my own. What is the option to entice business units to look at the reports?  Include metrics review into the questions their boss asks during regular meetings…. 🙂
  • Common script used by IT to add different analytics code to several web sites from one location has its detriments: if not maintained religiously, some sites traffic can be accidentally added to another site traffic and some site sections on different domains can be overlooked.  Recommendation is to keep code for specific web site in its individual include.
  • PDF tracking in Google Analytics: should we use Page View or should we use Events?  General opinion of a trusted and respected professional in the field (I agree!) that PDF is technically a page, and should be tracked as such… Even Tracking allows to avoid inflating of page views when tracking clicks on specific buttons or Flash portions, but PDFs can be easily contend as pageviews…
  • Companies (b-to-c and b-to-b) see iPhone as main mobile device accessing their web sites…  Where are the Blackberries?  🙂  RIM shell decline…
  • We analytics should start paying attention to traditional business analytics, and this is the skill of the future we need to develop (if we lack it). Both analytics approaches will eventually “play nice together.”
  • Eric Peterson mentioned 5 seconds test again 🙂  It is a useful feature…
  • Privacy, privacy, privacy…  what happens with our analytics if people will start “opting out” from tracking and deleting cookies en mass?  Eric Peterson believes it won’t be a problem “we are working with 95% sample now – we will work with 85% sample – we will be OK – what sample size Nielson has – 3%? “
  • Real-time analytics…  Do we need real-time dashboards?  Eric Peterson asks a counter question: does anybody work for a business that makes decisions in real time?  Everybody is quietly drinking beer  in response…  Twitter as a business does not make decisions in real time…  nor do we.  We do not need real-time dashboards.  If management insists – arguments of cost can be made and a gradual transition can be proposed – when the business is using its monthly dashboard, the transition can be made to weekly, etc.
  • Success of web analysis as a business initiative does not depend on the specific analytics software, but on the knowledge of the people who are using the software…  “Everybody has Omniture  calculated values…  how many people are using them?”  Oh – have to confess – when I was working with Omniture, I may be used calculated values twice… [guilty face goes here].
  • Main challenge of analytics approach is proper implementation…  Too many companies does not get much benefit from their analytics package because of poor implementation.  (I guess, my argument that it is better to have a free analytics package and spend through the nose on proper setup makes sense… )
  • Don’t be a thermometer – be a thermostat” – every analyst should strive for a time when business comes to him or her BEFORE starting a new initiative looking for advice. Usually, businesses implement the initiative and come to the analyst after the program was completed to see the results.  I think it is a great point – from my own experience it was very rewarding to provide business with the information before the campaign, than just measure the results…  worse yet to be asked to measure the results of an unknown campaign that has not been tagged… 🙂

The event was sponsored by SiteSpect, who seem to have a testing solution for everything including CSS and Java Script…  interesting…