Move Away from Old Analytics to Smart Analytics!

Second day at the Google Analytics Summit here at Google and I am surrounded by some of the brightest and most intelligent gents and ladies in the industry. Avinash Kaushik, Google Analytics Evangelist, is the keynote. The topic is titled “crime against humanity”! :)

With his usual charisma and humor, Avinash covered a number of areas including the process of making decisions and smart analytics. I’ll summarize a few points in this post. This is not meant to be comprehensive so to get more, buy Avinash’s new book! :)) .

  • Websites are not the center of the universe anymore and neither is centralized analytics tagging. The model used to be Content Creation  —>  Content Distribution  —>  Content Consumption. This model is changing. The way we create content, the way we consume it is changing (blogs, tweets, etc.); marketers and analysts don’t think about this issue enough. Just looking at your site analytics is not going to be sufficient. The data that we need to make marketing decision effectively is more distributed and not in one centralized place.
  • The challenge is going to be to figure out how to integrate all this data from all different systems automagically :) as Avinash put it; pull the data in, scrape, integrate, and then correlate and compute.
  • Vendors, practitioners, and consultants should start thinking beyond existing (read this as old) metrics: (visits, pageviews, time on site, etc.), and look into things like engagement, reach, velocity, demand, network strength, and activity. As we have moved away for hits (hits = How Idiots Track Success :) ), we need to move to smart metrics.
  • An example of smart analytics for measuring twitter. Move beyond just number of followers, look how my message that I am communicating is amplified. Look for number of retweets per thousand followers. Twitter is not an ad – it’s about conversation and not shouting. Conversion rate is another cool metric. Numbers of replies sent/day and replies received/day indicate you are communicating with people.
  • Another example for measuring a success of a blog. Go beyond pageviews! RSS/feed subscribers is much more important than visits or visitors. Metrics such as conversion rate per post, words in posts, words in comments all are very insightful.
  • And finally think of outcomes and behavior that adds value to business.

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