Web 2.0 Expo NY: Avinash Kaushik’s Web Analytics 2.0: Rethinking Decision Making in a ‘2.0’ World

Web analytics is a sort of side interest of mine, having been responsible for navigating through and analyzing years of metrics during the EarthLink site redesign (while working at Tribal DDB). Understanding metrics, knowing what to track and when, and being able to make sense of the results are essential skills for an user experience designer who is brought in to redesign a pre-existing product.

Before going into the session I had never actually heard of Avinash Kaushik or know what a great reputation he has as a speaker. Avinash is an analytics evangelist for Google and you can read more about him on his blog.

Here are my Twitter notes from the session:

  • Web analytics tools tell us the what, but they’re missing the why. [Thank you, I’ve been saying this for years!] Click path is B.S.
  • This session is PACKED. 50+ people sitting on the floor, others standing up. More than any other session I’ve seen so far
  • Innovative metric: bounce rate. Hard to misunderstand. “I came. I puked. I left.”
  • He’s only seen bounce rate under 25% for porn websites. This guy’s getting a lot of laughs
  • Finally, web analytics tools are starting to get smart. Using math instead of just puking data at you.
  • Avinash’s blog gets 50,000 views a month, 20,000 come from organic search. 9,500 different keywords.
  • @avinashkaushik is really funny
  • Everything is fluid in Web 2.0. Dynamic elements. Mouseovers created great experiences, but tracking user actions is near impossible
  • We should be able to track everything on the page. Event logging is the way to do it
  • In the case of Toyota, offline research was costing lots of money. Instead, they now use event logging to figure out what cars to make
  • They’re capturing the info freely provided by their current users
  • “If you’re not tracking conversation rate, go home” — @avinashkaushik
  • “Measure the purpose for which the site is created — conversion.” Micro and macro conversions. Holistically qualify the site’s value
  • Your website is doing many jobs. Do you know what they all are and are you able to quantify their value?
  • “If you read two posts on my blog, I know you will be convinced of my greatness” — @anivashkaushik
  • What if you want to track branding? Look at distributions, loyalty. What content do they consume? Who are at the top? Segment them out
  • “I fundamentally believe that if you can tell me what you’re trying to achieve, I can tell you how to measure the success of your site”
  • “People rarely come to the website for the purpose you created it. Surprise, surprise.” Find out what they’re actually doing
  • “Most websites suck because the HiPPOs created them. Highest Paid Person’s Opinion”
  • Experimentation and testing is crucial. A/B testing. You can use Google Analytics
  • Compare data across design options. “You’re wrong, the customers are right. Make more money”
  • Don’t ask your customers what they want. You’ve created some thing. Now use your customers to make it the best possible thing
  • Sometimes it’s hard to look at your performance from just your data. Context helps
  • Have you thought about the effect that holidays, news, etc have had on your data?
  • All the tools he’s shown today at free with Google Analytics. Yes, this is ultimately a product pitch

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