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Here's why it is stunningly silly to argue if Google Analytics is the right tool for Enterprises, or that Omniture is or WebTrends:

Only 22% of companies have a strategy that ties data collection and analysis to business objectives. Down from 25% last year.

The problem is not the tool. The problem is you and me and our management.

[Source: Econsultancy Online Measurement & Strategy report http://goo.gl/OGscu ]
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39 comments
 
Mainly my managment, I don't know your. ;-)
 
It is still amazing in many SMB during the board meetings the standard typical metric are recited in the quartly reports, pageviews, visits, bounces, average time on site etc. And it is OK with the board members - as long as their increased are in the 'right' direction.

I always remember your adage spend the money on the brain power
 
Does this mean that we won't hear praise for new Google Analytics features? Because the tools don't matter, I guess.
 
Get good at free then pay. If you can figure out how to make money leveraging a free tools you are unlikely to do it if you pay.
 
Currently dealing with stage #3 of the challenge. Stage #1: doing it within the department. Stage #2: getting management on board. Stage #3: getting Finance to accept deferred conversions, cross-channel impact and the impossibility of 100% truths.
 
+Nicolas Debray I am sorry but you are feeding the problem, rather than encouraging a focus on what actually matters (structure, people, imagination etc). I am sincerely appreciative of your objective review, but no where does it say the "9 things to do before you argue about Omniture and GA."

I wish you had a fourth bullet in your conclusions slide: "In the end none of this matters if you don't have the right people in your company, don't know how to tie business objectives to data requested, and empower analysis and not reporting."

:)
 
Thanks Avinash, this is the reality. And know what, the social hype is taking away attentionspan from analytics.
 
+Nicolas Debray Just one quick comment: I'd say that SiteCatalyst classifications are a :), not a :(. Super powerful for drilling deep into your campaigns and creating custom reports based on those drill-downs.

Disclaimer: previous SiteCatalyst customer; switched to GA
 
+Bryan Eisenberg yes, you can get reports for free. SME should start paying for consulting services to turn from reporting culture to a business inteligence culture. Ninjas, get insights to take action
 
Trigger of the analysis may not be the tools, it must be business objectives.
 
Wow, exactly how is that down? Did people that had strategies last year just cease having them, or were there simply a lot more companies using analytics than in the previous year?

Not exactly surprising though. Having analytics capability these days is like having a Web site in the mid-90s; everyone's got it, so we need it to! But, most aren't using it correctly or at all.
 
+Jason Egan No the rich get richer. So that companies that have a culture of analytics and testing seem to pull in those individual talented people who show up at the odd company and get frustrated that they have no impact or value there.
 
"The problem is not the tool. The problem is you and me and our management."
Amen to that.
 
So what are our options to solve this issue? Maybe..
- Improve internal training
- Start intranet blogging
- Improve communication including the higher ups
- Report KPIs key stakeholders, and keep optimization metrics to the experts.
- Distribution of a great report is stuck some where, so changing distribution method?

Hmm... 25% to 22% decline is making me worry
 
agreed +Avinash Kaushik "... none of this matters if you don't have the right people in your company, don't know how to tie business objectives to data requested, and empower analysis and not reporting"
 
+Bryan Eisenberg Good point. I've been there myself in the past. You can only tell management what they need to do so many times without seeing them do a single thing with the insight you hand to them.
 
How can you make being data driven sexy?
 
+Kris Irizawa That is a wonderful set of options to follow once there is a strategy and things are not working well (or not). The problem is 1. Missing strategy 2. Loads of data still being puked out. For that I recommend that no company should ever spend a dime on data or analytics until they have a very clearly (and hopefully cleverly) filled out Analytics Measurement Model: http://zqi.me/wammodel You'll not the first two pieces put the management in a very tough stop. We need that.

+Nicolas Debray I don't think that is an optimal analogy, but I'll bite. A very very very good piano is free (Yahoo! Web Analytics). A decent strategy (the music you want played) is missing. Oh and you don't have pianist. Why worry about comparing pianos? An exceptional Marketer/Analyst will shine through on a free or $100 piano, she/he does not need a Bosendorfer, or a Bechstein. :)
 
I bet 78% of them think the solution they have is wrong, can't handle it, and they are only being held back by not having y service instead of x that they have now.
 
The problem is also conceptual. You undertake an initiative to become more data driven, and hire numerically literate people to interpret the data provided by your invariably high quality (paid or not) tool. Then comes the cognitive dissonance. You've been scrupulously data-driven in identifying where problems and inefficiencies are located, but now you have to switch and start to hypothesise about why those problems and inefficiencies exist. Two entirely different disciplines: rare to find them in one individual, almost impossible to find them in one organisation.
 
I love you man. I just wish everybody listened to you. 
 
I agree with your basic premise, but "fast access mode" in Google Analytics has certainly made my life more arduous in the last few weeks.
 
Is the decline from 25% to 22% real ... or a bit of reporting error? (Sometimes they are the best data we can get, but I am always skeptical of survey responses.)

I suspect that the respondents becoming more honest or perhaps I should say "more enlightened" when it comes to their answers to the question "Do you have a company-wide strategy that ties data collection and analysis to business objectives?"

In my experience, implementations of any kind of data-driven metrics, analytics face the hurdle of an "irrational exuberance bubble" when they begin ... early on it seems like it will be easy to change the world, the tools seem so powerful ... but then people, politics and turf battles enter the picture; [when times get the least bit tough] management tends slips into old habits, "the old shoe is comfortable."

In the end, I think tools do matter ... not always a matter of features; a tool that is "simple enough for a manager to use" is a tough requirement, but not a bad one ... winning the battle is just a little tad easier with guns that don't tend to jam in the middle of firefight (e.g. AK-47) but winning the war is a matter of communication and persistence (i.e. thanks a bunch for this post, your videos, books ... )
 
So true, 22% even seems high to me!
 
The more I read this thread the more I'm feeling it... weird to say, but I guess I was on the lucky side.

When I join my company, the new team and management I was supporting had 3 critical few KPIs tattooed in us. It made natural sense for me to build custom reports in various tools to further segment, add dimensions, integrate, and work with teams to elaborate the details on what worked and what didn't. Expanding the visibility around these critical few KPIs was a lot of work... by the time I looked back, tools didn't matter. Things that mattered at one big mile-stone were the people, team, skills to articulate data, time, etc.

Soon, I realized efficiently put automated dashboard containing the critical few KPIs, which is openly available anytime to the team, made me focus on analysis on expanded sets of data to add value. Analysis then became close to 100% of the reporting work, and it was 200% fun. Again, it wasn't about the tools features/capabilities/looks if I think about it... It was all about the KPIs and the stuff around it that drove the business.

Maybe this is what +Avinash Kaushik is talking about.
 
The problem (or one of them), is an above the line mindset and is used to dealing with the most minimal of analytics fostered by traditional agencies that are now "digital" that do not know their arse from their elbow when it comes to digital campaigns, but rely on outsourced labour hidden from the end client and the hope that they don't get caught out.
 
It is amazing. Most of our new contacts have Analytics on their sites but seldom access the data and nearly all are far from optimizing it to make good decisions. Very much an under-tapped resource and it is up to us to bring it to the forefront.
 
Martin - Totally agree, fast access mode must be killed, we just migrated from Omniture and GA enterprise wide and this was the only issue we ran into. Come on GA, we can live with slower reports if the numbers are accurate.
 
+Craig Danuloff I love the idea of forcing prerequisites. Sadly that would require vendors thinking of the customer's long term success and not their own short term success. I am not optimistic.

PS: If you do _ before and after it will convert in things into italics, and * before and after will make text bold.

PPS: LOVE the quote's re-framing. Thanks. :)
 
I like +Bryan eisenberg when he says get good at free first. As soon as you start spenfing big money you are locked into tne corporate world of ROI and prioritizations.
 
Thanks for sharing this, Avinash. I've devoted a substantial section of my blog (http://nfpknowledge.wordpress.com/category/analytics/ ) to sharing this gospel and how to implement it within different contexts. The feedback I get most commonly is "it's not worth it if you can't break it down by the individual user level." And my most common response is, "what algorithm do you use to determine how to segment people just by who they are?" In other words, someone's behavior - how they got to the site, where they started, what campaign they followed, what they did - should determine their segment, not some arbitrary user data. In many ways, I'm glad GA forces me to keep user data anonymous so I can keep wholly focused on the business objectives.
 
+Josh Dormont I can imagine some scenarios where it might be of value to understand every single person who comes to your site. The problem is that a precious few companies have the capacity to market to, or customize experiences for, every individual. What almost all of them can do is market to, and customize experiences for, groups of micro segments (people who share a particular source, behavior, acquisition strategy, desirable outcome etc etc).

Hence this desire to "individual user level" is a cop out for most web based businesses. My encouragement is to focus on micro segments, understand them enough to optimize experiences and outcomes, and make loads of money.
 
Interesting point Avinash. I was actually referencing using analytics for _within the enterprise, and wholeheartedly agree on your point about micro-segmenting. For example, one analysis I run on a monthly basis starts with reviewing one of our grant-writer's calendar of which program areas she is supporting. That way I can look for spikes on the wikis that have useful information for her and those she's working with. By doing this, we know if the information that others have worked to provide are actually being consumed to create deliverables, etc. Having the holistic view (e.g. what people are working on), and then drilling down into the segments is one of the most important roles of an internal analyst (IMHO)
 
I'm still looking for the right words, but I know exactly how true that stat is.
 
Just to share, I work in the financial services industry, and sure, knowing what "every" user does on our sight might be interesting, but even we can't support the time needed to study all data at that level. Instead, we use a "Core Target Audience" metric that we created. We strip the 500,000 unique visitors we get a month down to less than 50,000. We focus on those that stick around more that 1 min, view more that 2 pages, don't log in as members and see how they behave.

Buy just focusing on those that we believe are the most likely to commit to a sale and seeing how they behave we have gained more solid insights than just spitting out bucket loads of reports that nobody reads.

Buy doing that we know what marketing is working, what SEO efforts are making a difference and what referring sites are worth forming partnerships with. Its saves a tone of time, and allows us to run with 1 report that can be shared in the meetings that count. Couple that with Google Goals we can nut out what really does convert. Micro Segments ROCK!!!
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