Archive for May, 2011

Amazing news from Analysis Exchange

UPDATED: We got great quotes from the Vice President of Human Resources who hired Jan Alden Cornish that clarify how Analysis Exchange is making a difference when it comes to hiring web analysts.  See below!

If you’ve worked in web analytics and digital measurement for long, or if you’ve ever tried to hire an experienced web analyst, you know that there are not enough qualified, experienced, and well-trained web analysts in the world. What’s more, for the majority of our sector’s development there was literally nowhere someone new could go to get the kind of hands-on education and experience that most hiring managers are looking for. Considered together the web analytics industry has been stuck in a “lose/lose” situation.

The training gap was the central problem we set out to solve in 2009 when we launched the Analysis Exchange. Our goal was to bring “student learners” together with experienced mentors to provide guided education and work to ensure that entry-level analysts were familiar with both the theory and practice of web analytics. Analysis Exchange was designed as a logical “next step” for people who had read books, followed blogs, or taken online training from great groups like the WAA via their University of British Columbia coursework.

What’s more, so that our students would learn to “tell a story with data and analysis” we opted to work with nonprofits from around the globe — a traditionally under-served group when it came to site analysis and insight generation. This turned out to be a great idea, and we are honored every week by a handful of organizations who are willing to help us create valuable training opportunities for our community.

I set a lofty goal for Analysis Exchange when I first announced the effort was open to everyone at the Emetrics Summit in San Jose last May — I wanted to help 1,000 nonprofits and create training opportunities for 500 students. Unfortunately we didn’t meet that goal … but we have made amazing strides, a few of which I’d like to share with you today:

  1. We have grown to over 1,250 members around the world, including 205 nonprofit groups and nearly 650 students. Following the Web Analytics Association we believe Analysis Exchange to be the single largest group of individuals interested in the subject of web analytics in the world — and we’re pretty excited about that!
  2. Our members have completed over 100 projects in the past year. What’s more, our students and mentors have earned awesome scores with an average “likelihood to recommend this mentor/student” score of 9.5 and an average rating for each member’s work of 9.4 (both out of 10.0)
  3. We won a prestigious award from the Web Analytics Association. Analysis Exchange was recognized as the “Most Influential Agency or Vendor” by the WAA at this year’s awards event.
  4. IQ Workforce has just agreed to help us grow and expand our efforts. Given our commitment to incubating new talent within the web analytics community this sponsorship makes great sense (read more about it here) and we’re delighted to have Corry Prohens and his team helping our mentors and students expand their horizons.
  5. We recently had our first student get a full-time job working in web analytics. This more than anything excites me … the fact that Analysis Exchange is working “as designed” for the web analytics community, helping individuals get the experience they need to bridge the gap between “knowledgable” and “employed.”

On this last point I wanted to share a little more detail. We have some pretty motivated mentors and students in the Analysis Exchange. One of our students is Jan Alden Cornish from Carmel, California. Jan has done three projects with us and in one case stepped in and helped out at the very last minute. He’s bright, articulate, and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet … so when he called and asked me to provide a reference for him on a job interview I was more than happy to help.

According to Jan:

“Completing three projects with the Analytics Exchange afforded me a rare opportunity to work side by side with seasoned practitioners. Each project had it’s own unique set of challenges. Nothing can replace hands on experience with real data and a need to solve real problems. Digital marketing doesn’t take in an organizational vacuum. These projects also provided me an understanding of organizational context in web analytics takes place.”

We also heard from the Vice President of Human Resources who hired Jan, Cynthia Nelson Holmsky:

“As a major e-commerce website we were recruiting for an E-Commerce Analyst and found an alumni of Analysis Exchange.  While the candidate had many years of business and software analytics, his only web experience was through Analysis Exchange.  However that Exchange experience provided just enough applied web analytics to win him the interview.  During this recruitment I met other candidates with strong business analysis backgrounds who lacked any web experience, and I referred all of them to Analysis Exchange as a great place to learn web analytics and expand their career potential.”

Cynthia clearly understands the challenges facing recruiters and HR specialists looking for web analytics talent (emphasis mine):

“Web analytics is still a young discipline.  Many individuals and businesses want to develop competencies in web analytics, but wonder “Where do you go to develop expertise?”  Many colleges and universities have yet to integrate web analytics into their curricula, or what they cover is not hands-on, so Analysis Exchange is meeting a key need in the marketplace for individuals who want real world experience, while at the same time building supply to meet the demand for web analysis talent in the tech job market.  Plus, the Exchange is meeting the needs of non-profit organizations that normally could not tap into this type of expertise.  Analysis Exchange is a  great idea, and a win-win-win model.

Hopefully Jan will continue to support the Analysis Exchange — as a mentor, now that he is working professionally in the field. I also hope those of you reading this post will consider joining Jan in the Analysis Exchange. Signing up takes less than a minute and there are plenty of projects looking for mentors and students available right now.

Published on May 17, 2011 under Analysis Exchange, General Web Analytics, Web Analytics Association

Demystified Days has been postponed

Unfortunately Web Analytics Demystified has been threatened with costly litigation over our Demystified Days event series. Out of respect for our current partners, our sponsors, and the entire community we have decided to postpone theses events for the time being.  We are certainly disappointed by this situation, but we remain committed to:

Now that Analysis Exchange has real momentum, our hope was to take this effort to the next level and begin to make real investments in the nonprofits that honor our efforts to train future web analysts through their participation. Our goal for this coming Fall was to donate $10,000 each to six different nonprofit participants in the Analysis Exchange in San Francisco, Atlanta, and Boston. Sadly we have been prevented from making those donations.

Such is life.

At Web Analytics Demystified we truly do believe in the community — be it the Analysis Exchange, the free web analytics documentation and content we all produce, John’s participation in the Web Analytics Association, my founding of the Web Analytics Forums in 2004, or Adam’s contribution to the award-winning Beyond Web Analytics podcast series. While we regroup and refocus our efforts expect to see us supporting Emetrics, the Web Analytics Association, Analysis Exchange, Web Analytics Wednesday, Beyond Web Analytics, and any other event or organization that is sincere in their investment in the web analytics community.

Published on May 6, 2011 under Analysis Exchange, Demystified Days, Web Analytics Association, Web Analytics Wednesday

 


Recent Blog Posts

How Google and Adobe Identify Your Web Visitors
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A few weeks ago I wrote about cookies and how they are used in web analytics. I also wrote about the browser feature called local storage, and why it’s unlikely to replace cookies as the primary way for identifying visitors among analytics tools. Those 2 concepts really set the stage for something that is likely to be far more interesting to the average analyst: how tools like Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics uniquely identify website visitors.

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Demystified's Data Governance Principles
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In digital analytics, "Governance" is a term that is used casually to mean many different things. In our experience at Web Analytics Demystified, every organization inherently recognizes that governance is an important component of their data strategy, yet every company has a different interpretation of what it means to govern their data. In an effort to dispel the misconceptions surrounding what it means to truly steward digital data, Web Analytics Demystified has developed seven data governance principles that all organizations collecting and using digital data should adhere to.

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Three Foundational Tips to Successfully Recruit in Analytics
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Hiring in the competitive analytics industry is no easy feat. In most organizations, it can be hard enough to get headcount – let alone actually find the right person! These three foundational tips are drawn from successful hiring processes in a variety of verticals and organizations.

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Slack Demystified
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Those of you who follow my blog have come to know that when I learn a product (like Adobe SiteCatalyst), I really get to know it and evangelize it. Back in the 90′s I learned the Lotus Notes enterprise collaboration software and soon became one of the most proficient Lotus Notes developers in the world, building most of Arthur Andersen’s global internal Lotus Notes apps. In the 2000′s, I came across Omniture SiteCatalyst, and after a while had published hundreds of blog posts on Omniture’s (Adobe’s) website and my own and eventually a book! One of my favorite pastimes is finding creative ways to apply a technology to solve everyday problems or to make life easier.

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Profile Website Visitors via Campaign Codes and More
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One of the things customers ask me about is the ability to profile website visitors. Unfortunately, most visitors to websites are anonymous, so you don't know if they are young, old, rich, poor, etc. If you are lucky enough to have authentication or a login on your website, you may have some of this information, but for most of my clients the "known" percentage is relatively low. In this post, I'll share some things you can do to increase your visitor profiling by using advertising campaigns and other tools.

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A Primer on Cookies in Web Analytics
Josh West, Partner

Some of you may have noticed that I don't blog as much as some of my colleagues (not to mention any names, but this one, this one, or this one). The main reason is that I'm a total nerd (just ask my wife), but in a way that is different from most analytics professionals. I don't spend all day in the data - I spend all data writing code. And it's often hard to translate code into entertaining blog posts, especially for the folks that tend to spend a lot of time reading what my partners have to say.

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Excel Dropdowns Done Right
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Do you used in-cell dropdowns in your spreadsheets? I used them all the time. It's both an ease-of-use and a data quality maneuver: clicking a dropdown is faster than typing a value, and it's really hard to mis-type a value when you're not actually typing!

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The Downfall of Tesco and the Omniscience of Analytics
Michele Kiss, Partner

Yesterday, an article in the Harvard Business Review provided food for thought for the analytics industry. In Tesco's Downfall Is a Warning to Data-Driven Retailers, author Michael Schrage ponders how a darling of the "analytics as a competitive advantage" stories, British retailer Tesco, failed so spectacularly - despite a wealth of data and customer insight.

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Creating Conversion Funnels via Segmentation
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Regardless of what type of website you manage, it is bound to have some sort of conversion funnel. If you are an online retailer, your funnel may consist of people looking at products, selecting products, and then buying products. If you are a B2B company, your funnel may be higher-level like acquisition, research, trial and then form completion.

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10 Tips for Building a Dashboard in Excel
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This post has an unintentionally link bait-y post title, I realize. But, I did a quick thought experiment a few weeks ago after walking a client through the structure of a dashboard I'd built for them to see if I could come up with ten discrete tips that I'd put to use when I built it. Turns out…I can!

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Exploring Optimal Post Timing ... Redux
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Back in 2012, I developed an Excel worksheet that would take post-level data exported from Facebook Insights and do a little pivot tabling on it to generate some simple heat maps that would provide a visual way to explore when, for a given page, the optimal times of day and days of the week are for posting.

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What I Love: Adobe and Google Analytics*
Tim Wilson, Partner

While in Atlanta last week for ACCELERATE, I got into the age-old discussion of "Adobe Analytics vs. Google Analytics." I'm up to my elbows in both of them, and they're both gunning for each other, so this list is a lot shorter than it would have been a couple of years ago.

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Top 5 Metrics You're Measuring Incorrectly ... or Not
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

Last night as I was casually perusing the days digital analytics news - yes, yes I really do that - I came across a headline and article that got my attention. While the article's title ("Top 5 Metrics You're Measuring Incorrectly") is the sort I am used to seeing in our Buzzfeed-ified world of pithy "made you click" headlines, it was the article's author that got my attention.

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Bulletproof Business Requirements
John Lovett, Senior Partner

As a digital analytics professional, you've probably been tasked with collecting business requirements for measuring a new website/app/feature/etc. This seems like a task that's easy enough, but all too often people get wrapped around the axle and fail to capture what's truly important from a business users' perspective. The result is typically a great deal of wasted time, frustrated business users, and a deep-seated distrust for analytics data.

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Welcome to Team Demystified: Nancy Koons and Elizabeth Eckels!
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

I am delighted to announce that our Team Demystified business unit is continuing to expand with the addition of Nancy Koons and Elizabeth "Smalls" Eckels. Our Team Demystified efforts are exceeding all expectation and are allowing Web Analytics Demystified to provide truly world-class services to our Enterprise-class clients at an entirely new scale.

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When to Use Variables vs SAINT in Adobe Analytics
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

In one of my recent Adobe SiteCatalyst (Analytics) "Top Gun" training classes, a student asked me the following question: When should you use a variable (i.e. eVar or sProp) vs. using SAINT Classifications? This is an interesting question that comes up often, so I thought I would share my thoughts on this and my rules of thumb on the topic.

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5 Tips for #ACCELERATE Exceptionalism
Tim Wilson, Partner

Next month's ACCELERATE conference in Atlanta on September 18th will be the fifth - FIFTH!!! - one. I wish I could say I'd attended every one, but, sadly, I missed Boston due to a recent job change at the time. I was there in San Francisco in 2010, I made a day trip to Chicago in 2011, and I personally scheduled fantastic weather for Columbus in 2013.

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I've Become Aware that Awareness Is a #measure Bugaboo
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A Big Question that social and digital media marketers grapple with constantly, whether they realize it or not: Is "awareness" a valid objective for marketing activity?

I've gotten into more than a few heated debates that, at their core, center around this question. Some of those debates have been with myself (those are the ones where I most need a skilled moderator!).

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Advanced Conversion Syntax Merchandising
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

As I have mentioned in the past, one of the Adobe SiteCatalyst (Analytics) topics I loathe talking about is Product Merchandising. Product Merchandising is complicated and often leaves people scratching their heads in my "Top Gun" training classes. However, many people have mentioned to me that my previous post on Product Merchandising eVars helped them a lot so I am going to continue sharing information on this topic.

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Team Demystified Update from Wendy Greco
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

When Eric Peterson asked me to lead Team Demystified a year ago, I couldn't say no! Having seen how hard all of the Web Analytics Demystified partners work and that they are still not able to keep up with the demand of clients for their services, it made sense for Web Analytics Demystified to find another way to scale their services. Since the Demystified team knows all of the best people in our industry and has tons of great clients, it is not surprising that our new Team Demystified venture has taken off as quickly as it has.

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Eric T. Peterson

SiteCatalyst Unannounced Features
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

Lately, Adobe has been sneaking in some cool new features into the SiteCatalyst product and doing it without much fanfare. While I am sure these are buried somewhere in release notes, I thought I'd call out two of them that I really like, so you know that they are there.

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Hello. I'm a Radical Analytics Pragmatist
Tim Wilson, Partner

I was reading a post last week by one of the Big Names in web analytics…and it royally pissed me off. I started to comment and then thought, "Why pick a fight?" We've had more than enough of those for our little industry over the past few years. So I let it go.

Except I didn't let it go.

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Competitor Pricing Analysis
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

One of my newest clients is in a highly competitive business in which they sell similar products as other retailers. These days, many online retailers have a hunch that they are being "Amazon-ed," which they define as visitors finding products on their website and then going to see if they can get it cheaper/faster on Amazon.com. This client was attempting to use time spent on page as a way to tell if/when visitors were leaving their site to go price shopping.

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How to Deliver Better Recommendations: Forecast the Impact!
Michele Kiss, Partner

One of the most valuable ways to be sure your recommendations are heard is to forecast the impact of your proposal. Consider what is more likely to be heard: "I think we should do X ..." vs "I think we should do X, and with a 2% increase in conversion, that would drive a $1MM increase in revenue ..."

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ACCELERATE 2014 "Advanced Analytics Education" Classes Posted
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

I am delighted to share the news that our 2014 "Advanced Analytics Education" classes have been posted and are available for registration. We expanded our offering this year and will be offering four concurrent analytics and optimization training sessions from all of the Web Analytics Demystified Partners and Senior Partners on September 16th and 17th at the Cobb Galaria in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Product Cart Addition Sequence
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

In working with a client recently, an interesting question arose around cart additions. This client wanted to know the order in which visitors were adding products to the shopping cart. Which products tended to be added first, second third, etc.? They also wanted to know which products were added after a specific product was added to the cart (i.e. if a visitor adds product A, what is the next product they tend to add?). Finally, they wondered which cart add product combinations most often lead to orders.

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7 Tips For Delivering Better Analytics Recommendations
Michele Kiss, Partner

As an analyst, your value is not just in the data you deliver, but in the insight and recommendations you can provide. But what is an analyst to do when those recommendations seem to fall on deaf ears?

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Overcoming The Analyst Curse: DON'T Show Your Math!
Michele Kiss, Partner

If I could give one piece of advice to an aspiring analyst, it would be this: Stop showing your "math". A tendency towards "TMI deliverables" is common, especially in newer analysts. However, while analysts typically do this in an attempt to demonstrate credibility ("See? I used all the right data and methods!") they do so at the expense of actually being heard.

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Making Tables of Numbers Comprehensible
Tim Wilson, Partner

I'm always amazed (read: dismayed) when I see the results of an analysis presented with a key set of the results delivered as a raw table of numbers. It is impossible to instantly comprehend a data table that has more than 3 or 4 rows and 3 or 4 columns. And, "instant comprehension" should be the goal of any presentation of information - it's the hook that gets your audience's brain wrapped around the material and ready to ponder it more deeply.

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Automating the Cleanup of Facebook Insights Exports
Tim Wilson, Partner

This post (the download, really - it's not much of a post) is about dealing with exports from Facebook Insights. If that's not something you do, skip it. Go back to Facebook and watch some cat videos. If you are in a situation where you get data about your Facebook page by exporting .csv or .xls files from the Facebook Insights web interface, then you probably sometimes think you need a 52" monitor to manage the horizontal scrolling.

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The Recent Forrester Wave on Web Analytics ... is Wrong
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

Having worked as an industry analyst back in the day I still find myself interested in what the analyst community has to say about web analytics, especially when it comes to vendor evaluation. The evaluations are interesting because of the sheer amount of work that goes into them in an attempt to distill entire companies down into simple infographics, tables, and single paragraph summaries.

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Funnel Visualizations That Make Sense
Tim Wilson, Partner

Funnels, as a concept, make some sense (although someone once made a good argument that they make no sense, since, when the concept is applied by marketers, the funnel is really more a "very, very leaky funnel," which would be a worthless funnel - real-world funnels get all of a liquid from a wide opening through a smaller spout; but, let's not quibble).

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Reenergizing Your Web Analytics Program & Implementation
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

Those of you who have read my blog posts (and book) over the years, know that I have lots of opinions when it comes to web analytics, web analytics implementations and especially those using Adobe Analytics. Whenever possible, I try to impart lessons I have learned during my web analytics career so you can improve things at your organization.

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Registration for ACCELERATE 2014 is now open
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

I am excited to announce that registration for ACCELERATE 2014 on September 18th in Atlanta, Georgia is now open. You can learn more about the event and our unique "Ten Tips in Twenty Minutes" format on our ACCELERATE mini-site, and we plan to have registration open for our Advanced Analytics Education pre-ACCELERATE training sessions in the coming weeks.

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Eric T. Peterson

Current Order Value
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

I recently had a client pose an interesting question related to their shopping cart. They wanted to know the distribution of money its visitors were bringing with them to each step of the shopping cart funnel.

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A Guide to Segment Sharing in Adobe Analytics
Tim Wilson, Partner

Over the past year, I've run into situations multiple times where I wanted an Adobe Analytics segment to be available in multiple Adobe Analytics platforms. It turns out…that's not as easy as it sounds. I actually went multiple rounds with Client Care once trying to get it figured out. And, I've found "the answer" on more than one occasion, only to later realize that that answer was a bit misguided.

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Currencies & Exchange Rates
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

If your web analytics work covers websites or apps that span different countries, there are some important aspects of Adobe SiteCatalyst (Analytics) that you must know. In this post, I will share some of the things I have learned over the years related to currencies and exchange rates in SiteCatalyst.

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Linking Authenticated Visitors Across Devices
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

In the last few years, people have become accustomed to using multiple digital devices simultaneously. While watching the recent winter Olympics, consumers might be on the Olympics website, while also using native mobile or tablet apps. As a result, some of my clients have asked me whether it is possible to link visits and paths across these devices so they can see cross-device paths and other behaviors.

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The 80/20 Rule for Analytics Teams
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

I had the pleasure last week of visiting with one of Web Analytics Demystified's longest-standing and, at least from a digital analytical perspective, most successful clients. The team has grown tremendously over the years in terms of size and, more importantly, stature within the broader multi-channel business and has become one of the most productive and mature digital analytics groups that I personally am aware of across the industry.

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Ten Things You Should ALWAYS Do (or Not Do) in Excel
Tim Wilson, Partner

Last week I was surprised by the Twitter conversation a fairly innocuous vent-via-Twitter tweet started, with several people noting that they had no idea you could simple turn off the gridlines.

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Omni Man (and Team Demystified) Needs You!
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

As someone in the web analytics field, you probably hear how lucky you are due to the fact that there are always web analytics jobs available. When the rest of the country is looking for work and you get daily calls from recruiters, it isn't a bad position to be in! At Web Analytics Demystified, we have more than doubled in the past year and still cannot keep up with the demand, so I am reaching out to you ...

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A Useful Framework for Social Media "Engagements"
Tim Wilson, Partner

Whether you have a single toe dipped in the waters of social media analytics or are fully submerged and drowning, you've almost certainly grappled with "engagement." This post isn't going to answer the question "Is engagement ROI?" ...

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It's not about "Big Data", it's about the "RIGHT data"
Michele Kiss, Partner

Unless you've been living under a rock, you have heard (and perhaps grown tired) of the buzzword "big data." But in attempts to chase the "next shiny thing", companies may focus too much on "big data" rather than the "right data."

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Michele Kiss

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