Analytics from a Really Smart Guy

Marketing podcast with Avinash Kaushik (Click to listen, right click and Save As to download – subscribe now via iTunes

Avinash Kaushik, author of Web Analytics 2.0 is one of those rare people who can take a somewhat dry and mathlike subject of web analytics and make it sound easy and even fun. I got to spend a few minutes with Avinash for this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast for some tips about this important, but often overlooked topic.

Web Analytics can seem like a scary subject, but it’s essential, so like brushing your teeth, just do it. You’ll be so glad you did once you get the basic reporting tools in place. Once you have a baseline you can start to do what Kaushik calls “controlled experiments” to start breaking down everything you do with an eye on making it better and stop doing the stuff that your customers don’t like.

Analyzing how many people come to your web site and trying to figure out what got them there was the 1.0 version of tracking I suppose. What Web Analytics 2.0 attempts to do is also measure what they did there and why through the use of tools like surveys that engage individual users.

Here’s the Web Analytics tool set for the small business (there are paid tools for each of these steps, but these are free)

  1. Google Analytics – install this free site analytics tool to get the base data collection going
  2. 4Q – this is a free exit survey tool that asks people who come to your site four questions about their experience – this is akin to getting people to tell you why your site sucks – hello! – it’s the first step.
  3. Google Website Optimizer – Another free Google tool that allows you to easily set up a/b tests to start taking what people tell you from 4Q surveys and start experimenting which of your changes is getting a better result.

GoToWebinar is the presenting sponsor of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast.

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  • Ben Smith

    Hi John –

    I'm probably one of your more unusual readers as I have an engineering/economics background, so my brian is wired differently. And, have to say, I'm amazed by the resistance to tools like Analytics. I mean, data rocks!

    If you get analytics completely wired into everything your site is doing you can *know* if page A works better than B, you can *know* where you lose sales, etc. And with the API you can pull that into your own systems that can do all sorts of fun things.

    It amazes me when people (in marketing generally, not to beat up on them too much) make assertions saying “you should do x”: when they mean “I think you should do x”, and there is great chasm between those two. But with data you actually do know if you should do x (you should always test assumptions if possible).

    Anyhow, anyone not using analytics and optimizer should start. You don't have to have to have a stats background to use it; but if you do you can use the API and do even more cool things (like controlling for other variables and see how non-trackable advertising is effecting traffic, sales, etc).

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    really a nice podcast. after listening to this i've checked out, for phone analytics. thankz a lot.

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    Great read…very informative. Would love to hear more about how using web analytics has changed or altered your onsite optimization. For example, how did you use a high abandoment rate to alter your shopping cart experience. These small details add miles to an already great article.

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    I guess its time that we stop fearing numbers and facing them..gone are the days when we had to simply guess about what really is right or wrong with ourweb pages – With Analytics you actually know which pages are working for you and which pages need your attention – Good Article

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  • Gregg Brown

    The pod cast with Avinash, was great. I especially liked his comments when it came to experimenting and analyzing Twitter. I have done my own testing on Twitter, and even went as far as to build a tool for Social Media, for helping to Brand your own links. It is available for free at , it works nice for Twitter. I have also found what Avinash said, to be very true, when it comes to direct sales tactics, I guess there is a reason, it is called Social Media.

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    I love Google Analytics as it gave a lot of information about your website traffic. Avinash is one of the people I respect and i love learning from his posts on his website.