"Yes M'am, Yes You In The Back Row" [13 Web Analytics Questions]

A BushelIn the last five weeks I have given 20 plus speeches between my public and private speaking engagements. And I am not done yet, this week it's London and Amsterdam (Web Analytics Congres). Next week Barcelona (Practitioner Web Analytics).


So lots of time on planes (including writing this post as everyone around me is sound asleep), but it also means lots of questions from audiences I present to. I love the questions. You never know what people will ask and it is tough to provide an answer that will be cogent and insightful in two minutes.

My thought was that it would be cool to share some of these questions with you and see what you think of them. I am hoping that you'll learn something because they have been on your mind as well.

Or better still, you can tell me how I could have answered them differently. Please choose a question and use the comment form at the end to share your own answer with everyone! I am sure you disagree with atleast one of my answers!!

Here we go, actual questions and my actual answers. . . . .

Q1. Is it possible to separate Organic Search traffic from Paid Search traffic? We have been using Visual Sciences.

M'am, VisualSciences is by any stretch the most expensive web analytics tool on planet Earth. Not only will it be able differentiate between organic and paid search, but it is quite likely that someone from Visual Sciences will give you a massage while your report is running.


Seriously though, I am constantly surprised at how vendors (all of 'em) promise the moon in the sales process and don't even take time to do the basics for their clients. Organic and Paid is one of those basics given the, atleast temporary, importance of search as an acquisition vehicle.

Regardless of what your vendor says, all search traffic will usually be lumped in as Organic.

Google Analytics is an exception because it will automatically split Paid (AdWords only) from Organic automatically if you have linked GA with your AdWords account. Even in that scenario other search engines will be in the Organic bucket unless you teach the tool how you are tagging/coding your search campaigns.

Every company and Agency tends to use different kinds of urls and redirects and parameters to encode search campaigns. Making it impossible for any web analytics tool to automatically detect paid search campaigns. But all you have to do is "teach" your web analytics tool what url parameters you are using and then going forward it will split organic and search campaigns.

Takes ten minutes, check with your vendor, absolutely worth investing that time.

Q2. I understand the value of the 4Q Surveys, but does anyone fill surveys online? I personally hate them and have never filled a single survey.

It is very important to not let yourself get in the way of listening to your customers. Let me tell you a story.

Several years ago a survey vendor came up to me after my talk and offered to let my company use their survey on our site for free for three months. I was not sure. This vendor's survey was ugly, 28 questions (!), all on one screen (!!) and the survey would pop up in the middle of the User's session on our site (!!!). I never did surveys and I said no.

The vendor persisted. There representative was sweet (notice importance of nice people) and I said ok (to take advantage of trying something that cost $60k per year).

I was positive it would fail.

At the end of the first three weeks, we got the first set of data. The response rate was 22%! That compared to the one percent average response rate of online surveys.

It shocked the bejesus out of me. Even with all its shortcomings our customers were completing the survey and the sharing incredible feedback with us. They just wanted a medium to talk to us.

I was glad I put aside my own strong opinions aside to try something. I recommend you do the same.

The nice thing is that with the 4Q online survey you can try for free. You can implement it when you want, you can take it off when you want, zero barriers to entry. Why not set aside your own "HiPPO" mindset and give it a try? You just might learn something like I did.

Bonus Link:

Q3. In your recommendation which Analytics tools is right for my business?

[This question always brings a big smile to my face. And at some level it makes me happy because everyone knows I am the Analytics Evangelist for Google, and yet they trust me enough to answer this question honestly. Would that not make you happy?]

It is tough for me to answer that question with no context about your business. Furthermore I do not believe that there is one tool that can be slapped on a site and result in nirvana (and a angels singing) for all sites.

But it is important to know that just like a life partner, there is perfect web analytics tool for you out there. It might not be right for me or Jennifer or Simon, but right for you. Hence it is important not to jump into bed with the first thing that comes along, or the most expensive or the one with the most aggressive sales force or the lowest price point.

web analytics vendors

There are posts on my blog you can read (below) but in a nutshell I recommend:

1) Don't do a traditional RFP, it almost always guarantees the worst possible outcome.

2) Tag your site, go with diverse vendors across the spectrum.

3) Ask them tough questions, I mean the ones that include common sense.

4) Before you choose anything ask yourself three questions.

Do that and I guarantee it, you would have found your soul mate.

Bonus links:

Q4. After this talk I am totally sold on Experimentation & Testing, can you give me a few tips on how to approach my IT team and address concerns that they surely will have (with any idea from the business team!)?

Without a lot of context it is hard to answer the question, but let me try to see if I can provide a decent answer.

Tell them that you are going to stop bothering them (or greatly reduce it) about small things like creating small changes to pages or to create new pages for tests. All they would have to do, to make their dream come true, is tag the site (add javascript tags on some pages) and then sayonara.

It is important to tell them that you, the company, retains control of the site and its security etc. All the testing platform (say the Google Website Optimizer or Offermatica or Optimost etc) will do is serve some of the content for the experiment automatically. The IT team does not every have to let go of their control of your Analytics tool, or create new reports because you'll be helping yourself.

Tell them that if the ASP based testing platform completely fails and dies, your website visitors will get the default version of the page. No harm to the customer experience. Worst case you don't have data for the test. No biggie.

Invite them to submit ideas about how to improve your site, tell them they can go head to head against the smarty pants in design "who insist that flash is the new black!". If you excite them, they will implement your testing platform tags!

Bonus links:

Q5. I love your 10/90 rule, is it still relevant?

I created that rule now almost three and half years ago, when I was at Intuit. If anything it has become even more relevant with each passing data.

Couple of reasons.

Free or inexpensive web analytics tools are getting better with each passing data. You can get a pretty nice free tool from all three search engines now, Microsoft AdCenter Analytics, Yahoo! Indextools, Google Analytics. And they will all continue to get better, helping you keep your tool costs down.

But perhaps the most important reason why the 10/90 is even more relevant now is that the web is even more complex now, customer experience and content consumption is ever more complex (and it is not just happening on your site!) and you truly need to invest in "big brains" to go get a grip on all that for your company and extract value from your tools.

10-90 rule avinash kaushik

The 10/90 does not say that you need to just get free tools.

Omniture's Genesis platform is a paid solution that will efficiently help you bring lots of data together from campaigns and other company sources. You can see how it is right for many companies. But if you are one of them then giving your Admin access or your part time analyst will not give you anything of value. Expansive sources mean more complexity, context digging, cows to herd, HiPPO's to deal with, data to link up……

Hire the right number of people and then set them free to help you extract the value you deserve, they will get you the ROI you crave. Without them you are dead, and its not the tool's fault.

People matter.

Bonus link:

Q6. I don't have any internal resources, what is the best way for me to start to extract all the value from WebTrends? We have had WebTrends for four years and only use it to report Visits and Page Views.

I am so sorry that you have not gotten more from it, you could have gotten Visits and Page Views from AWStats . WebTrends can do sooooo much more!

I have a non traditional recommendation for you to get value. Rather than running out and hiring a Analyst right away, I recommend that you go out and hire a consulting company to help you with reporting and analysis.

Does that sound odd?

My motive is simple. I want you to get on a rocket and move really really fast to extract value from the web analytics tool in which you have already invested so much money.

consultant client engagement process

Get one of the all vendors consulting companies like Zaaz or Stratigent or get one of the vendor authorized ones (like the GAAC – Google Analytics Authorized Consultants). Set a plan for them to give you value added reports (first month), then move them to do analysis (month two to four) and then move them to start training your staff on how to fish (sorry, how to do web analytics!).

Throughout the process focus on getting business questions answered, don't settle for data pukes or crappy dashboards.

Bonus link (a specific four stage Consultant contract process):

Q7. What do you think of Alexa? I have been using it for a while, but you don't mention it on your blog and I am wondering if something's wrong with it.

It is my personal belief that Alexa is past its prime. It was a decent source a while back when there were fewer people on the web, the Alexa toolbar was widely used, and its sample was good enough.

Now there are a lot more sources of better competitive intelligence data. Better in terms of sample size, methodology applied and metrics available. So while Alexa might still be ok for the most heaviest used sites in the world, you can actually do a lot better.

If you are looking for a great free solution then I am rather fond of Compete. They use many different kinds of data collection methods (not just toolbar) and provide very nice metrics, give it a whirl. Their Search Engine / Keywords data is also very good as well, though it is a paid solution.

If you would like to get a paid solution then you can hardly go wrong with HitWise. Large sample of data, and currently your only good source for international websites / traffic.

Both of these sources don't publish website rankings (part of Alexa's old attraction), but there is more to life than ranks.

There are large buckets of other data out there that could provide very robust competitive intel, I think things are only going to get better for us Analysts!

Bonus link:

Q8. Is it possible to identify to the web analytics tool that they are a "prospect" (new customers) or existing customer?

You should be able to do this with most tools today, as long as you (the website platform) has the capacity to identify that someone is a new customer or a prospect.

A common example is a bank, they just want to know what is their "real traffic" – All Visitors minus Visitors who log into their accounts.

user defined valuesYou can simply pass the fact that someone logged into their account to your web analytics tool and then segment the data in your tool and its happy birthday.

In Google Analytics you can do this via the User Defined Value field. With other tools you can pass "evars" or "variables" or "gremlins". Ok that last one is a joke.

Just ask your vendor, this is not that hard to do.

If your vendor says that there is no way to pass a value, then you could still use either a URL parameter or set a cookie value to add this information to a session. This will need a small amount of technical work, just take your IT person out on a date and they will do it for you.

Either way you should be able to capture a customer attribute or the fact that they took some action on your site.

Q9. What are a couple of non intuitive marketing metrics that we can use to measure our online campaigns?


Good question, with only the info in the question there are lots of answers. :)

Here are two that come to mind.

1) Do pan session analysis.

Most reports in web analytics tools are focused towards measuring activity within single sessions. That is rarely the customer behavior. All great analysts are good at doing pan session analysis to measure true customer behavior on the site.

A good example of this is measuring Days To Purchase (action) or Visits To Purchase.

pan session analysis

Another excellent example of this is doing campaign attribution analysis. Most tools will give "credit" to the first or the last campaign, you leave it to you to choose which. Some like CoreMetrics provide additional functionality to measure across sessions, others require you to buy their data warehouse solutions. Doing pan session attribution analysis can be quite insightful in understanding core drivers to conversion.

2) Get good at media mix modeling.

"Offline" Direct Marketing folks typically are awesome at this. Somehow us online folks usually stink at it, or have never heard of it.

You are executing many different things all at the same time. Why look at them in a silo? Why now pull all of it into one nice big picture and look at performance across various media (/acquisition channels) that you purchase? Why not use that to create models that can give your Marketers a solid idea of how to spend their finite budgets to gain maximum ROI?

Takes some work. Totally worth it.

Bonus link:

Q10. How can I believe anything from web analytics tools when there are no standards for any metrics?

I have to admit that I have to work hard at not rolling my eyes on this one. And it upsets me a little because it reminds me that we would rather argue about standards than use the delightful data we do have to make decisions and get on with our lives!

Standards are good and standards in some cases are important. But in a young industry like Web Analytics not having standards can't be a barrier to actually making productive use of data.

So yes ClickTracks will measure sessions very different than Omniture, but it will do so consistently and unless you are looking for what one human did, I don't think it matters that much. Just segment your data, look at trends and please take action, there is a lot you can action from data (from any web analytics tool!).

Until recently I was the the WAA Director responsible for Standards, if nothing else that should show how much I believe in having Standards. Angie and Judith are doing a fantastic job of creating new standards (beyond the 28 we already have). Now the brave Jodi is helping do the same for Social Media / Web 2.0. We can't wait for them.

But you should not wait for them to take action. Do that now.

Bonus link:

Q11. What is one prediction you can make about Web Analytics?

[People always ask me: Where will web analytics be in five years? My answer always is: If anyone tells you that they know then they are full of. . . . . :)]

Predictions can have a nasty habit of coming wrong, but I'll go out on a limb and say that Web Analytics tools will become much much simpler and make it astonishingly easy to understand data (even as they continue to capture complex customer interactions, applying advanced math and statistics, and even apply a pinch of AI!).

Here's an example:

blog stats from google

Isn't it the greatest visitor "dashboard" ever? No technical crap or mumbo jumbo, just a story of what's happening on your site. Even my mom understands what it means.

The screenshot's from the humbly named tool: Blog Stats.

I am positive this will happen a lot more, and across tools. It has to happen if we have to go truly big as a industry.

Q12. I am not going to use Google because I don't know what they are doing with my data, I am never going to use Google Analytics.

I respect your choice.

Though I would be remiss if I did not add that Google is the only company with a free tool that provides you with a explicit choice when it comes to what happens to your data. (And I have to admit that I am rather proud of this.)

In Admin settings you'll notice a Data Settings area. In this area you get three choices in terms of your data collected via Google Analytics.

* You can choose to share it with Google and have them look at that data anonymously (i.e all identifiers of your site are stripped away -things like www.awesomelycoolwidgets.com).

* You can choose to share it with Google and have them know it is your data (i.e with the identifiers such as urls etc).

* You can choose not to share it with Google (i.e essentially tell Google to keep your data on an island and not allow anyone, including Google, to look at it).

You are in control and Google will abide by your choice.

I hasten to add that this does not mean everyone should use Google Analytics. It also does not mean that everyone will be convinced, that is ok.

But atleast you know. And that's a good thing! :)

Q13. What are two of your favorite online to offline metrics?


Trying to think really hard, really fast.

Hmm…. :)

I am so sorry but that is a very complex question and my answer would really depend on who you are, what you are trying to do, what the competitive environment is and so much more.

If you really push me I would say that figure out how to measure two metrics: something outcomes related (hard impact in revenue etc on offline conversions / outcomes) and, this one's specific, Likelihood To Recommend (I love this metric because regardless many differentiators, your website should be creating Net Promoters).

– – –

Ok now its your turn.

If you are up for it I would love for you to pick a question from the above 13 and tell me how you would have answered it. That will help make all of us a little smarter, and I'll know of something impressive to say next time I get that question.

Won't you please contribute your perspectives? Thanks much.


  1. 3

    I really liked how you answered all of those questions. I would like to add on to Question #11 if I could.

    Web Analytics is NEW. I mean, it's WAY WAY new. Sometimes we practitioners / vendors / enthusiasts forget how new it is, and can't imagine anyone on the internet living their lives without it.

    A lot of the world's business owners, CEO's, and decision makers are still getting comfortable with the idea of having a website and having a presence online, let alone getting familiar with what Web Analytics even is. Take Television as an example. TV had been around for several years before it really caught on and became popular in the 1950's. To me, the internet is basically there now, in contrast to when it came out in the early-mid 90's. Web Analytics IMO just started (and so did paid search advertising).

    Anyways, I don't like making predictions either, but if I had to guess anything, I will guess that marketing online and Web Analytics is still a few years ahead of its time. Around 2013-2015, the rest of the world will finally start to catch up to the idea that marketing online is a really really good idea, and so is utilizing the science of Web Analytics (is it a "science" or a "study" or a "practice"?), and they'll start to realize that traditional advertising that they've been doing for decades will now have to at least share the stage with the online world.

  2. 4
    caroline says

    Re competitive intelligence – is there anything that you recommend for Canadian sites? Hitwise isn't in canada, and we're really questioning the validity of our cdn comscore data.

  3. 5

    Hi Avinash,

    I certainly do not understand half of what you write but your answer to Q10 perfect, not in the response as much as in living life.

    So many folks can become paralyzed due to not being able to achieve perfection so they refuse to try. In the "standards" case, why follow when you can lead by learning and help achieve "perfection".

    You had a great answer. Nice job.

    bob j

  4. 6
    Sam Simon says

    Awesome post Avinash, I am am deeply impressed at how high the quality of your posts are. Even as you are traveling around the world you find time to write such a insightful post. I guess that is what makes you different from other bloggers.

    I'll add to question 3. At my last company we did the standard RFP and were stuck with a expensive tool reporting page views. At my current company we followed your advice to the t and we are happily using a free tool and it meets all our needs.

    I recommend everyone read your third link (three questions to ask yourself), that is brilliant.


  5. 7
    Bryan Cristina says

    "Seriously though, I am constantly surprised at how vendors (all of ‘em) promise the moon in the sales process and don’t even take time to do the basics for their clients."

    Well, they do take the time.. if you pay for training.

    In their defense though, there's a TON of good information in the freely-available documentation available for all these tools, most of them even aimed at the non-techie business everyday users. The vendors could possibly take a more active role in making sure their clients are using their tools to their potential (it's in their best interest, after all, to have clients think the tools are incredibly powerful) but it's really down to the analyst to really get in there and learn the thing.

    It doesn't take that long really – I'm sure it probably took longer to write you an email asking about paid vs organic than to look in the tools' reports themselves or the documentation, and considerably longer time to wait for your more polite than you could have been response :)

  6. 8

    I like your answer to question 2. I would make a point to mention that if all developers based their designs on what they would do then no one would ever make money.

    The designers need to think in the mindsets of the user not themselves.

  7. 9
    Rahul Deshmukh says

    As always…it is good to get a list of questions from the field.
    Have couple of comments:
    As far as no RFP goes, I would tend to do an RFP depending on the size of traffic to the site, specially if the site is large and has global implications (languages, currency requirements)
    Also, adding multiple tags at the same time can affect your page load performance. It would be recommended to keep a close eye on page and site performance.
    Use of page tagging audit tool (Maxamine) can be very helpful for ensuring the entire site is tagged correctly and you are comparing apples to apples.
    Lastly, building a sheet that shows the differences in data capture and expected differences in the numbers can be very handy during the roll out. Users tend to loose faith in good tools if the numbers are different. To reduce confusion and divert users on the most value ad activity (decisions from the data), it is good to show the data collection methods.

  8. 10

    Avinash, sorry a little off topic, but I attended your seminar at Google London today and have to say I was totally enthralled. I'm not an Analyst but I do have them in my team, so it was the perfect way to pick up some tips to challenge my staff!

    I've met others who have the term Evanglist in their 'job title' but today I felt I like met a true one.

    People, if you have a chance to attend one of Avinash's speaking engagements, go – his passion is infectious!

    Thanks for all the insights

  9. 11
    ShoreTel says

    Wanted to add to #9. Re: Number of Days / Visits to purchase.

    Google Analytics captures that data today, but does not display it in any reports. Knowing the syntax of the GA cookies, anyone can pull that data from their own logs including # of sources to purchase and more as well.

  10. 12

    Question: I don’t have any internal resources, what is the best way for me to start to extract all the value from WebTrends? We have had WebTrends for four years and only use it to report Visits and Page Views..

    I am really wondering why peoples have paid tools and then don't use them completely. It was common to see that Web Analysts in many companies (companies new to web analytics)are not considered on their decisions and requirements. But on this case, vise versa.

    So I strongly agree with your answer for this question, Avinash. Encouraging those companies to start off the GOOD web analytics with consultants not only helps them to make the data useful, an in house staff gets opportunity as new web analyst.

  11. 13

    Just in case people think your answer is biased, I'd like to chime in on Q2 and say that people will absolutely fill out a 4Q survey. I've tested it on a site with one of the least savvy user bases of any customer I've worked with in the past 11 years, and the response rate was surprisingly high.

    The double-edged sword of the web for business is that it's as easy to leave a site as it is to arrive. You'll never hear a word from most customers, no matter how dissatisfied or upset they are. Giving them a way to be heard is absolutely essential.

  12. 14

    The truth is the best source of ideas for building your business is free. It comes from your customer survey and prospective customers. All you have to do is ask. Listen to what you customers have to say and you will discover your strengths, weaknesses and, most importantly, what they would like.

  13. 15

    Hi Avinash. It's first time I write because my English is not the best. Since I discover your blog, I've been reading all your posts! I enjoy reading you a lot because of your style of writing and because I learn something ALWAYS.

    I live in Madrid, Spain, and will be at Barcelona next week in the Practitioner Web Analytics, I'm so excited about it.

    Anyway, I feel Q3 as mine because we used to work with HBX and right now are trying to choose between Discover on Premise (Omniture) and NetInsight (Unica). It's true money matters (of course) but it's not the only thing. After using HBX we already know what funcionalities we really need and what we miss right now… but it's not easy.

    I guess even if you think that tool is the best for you… you'll have doubts after 2 months of using it. That's why I love this job :)

    PS. I'm saving my question until next week

  14. 16


    How bad was your web site in prohibiting feedback?
    Did you have email address readily available to your user on most of your pages?

    My theory is that if you give user email address to write
    (feedback@mywebsite.com / support@mywebsite.com) then users don't really need the survey.

    What do you think?

  15. 17


    You mentioned Compete.com. Did you try Quantcast.com?
    What in you mind is better/more reliable and why?

  16. 18

    Hi Avinash,

    As always, this is a great post. I don't know that I'd answer anything differently, but I thought I'd offer some additional info on tying together Q10 with Q6.

    I'm a WebTrends user and one of the first areas I'd recommend exploring is the Custom Visitor Segmentation capabilities. My site is not ecommerce, but we have several different constituencies and it is very useful to understand how the different groups consume our content and whether or not they accomplish certain micro-conversions. You can segment each visitor based on four different criteria (of your choosing) so I can only imagine how useful the segmentation could be on an ecommerce site.

  17. 19

    Joe: Absolutely right. I agree that we, the industry practitioners, are perhaps too harsh on ourselves and we should perhaps be a bit more patient. Though I don't know that I want to quite wait until 2015!! :)

    Caroline: HitWise actually has a decent sample of Canada, please check with them. Other Competitive Intelligence options have a significantly weaker signal and are not quite where we could use them with any confidence. Compete has said that in the future they are hoping to roll out their Canadian sample, so we wait.

    Bryan: I don't think that we'll disagree often but in this case I am afraid that I think we do. If I pay as much money as I have to for Visual Sciences (or alternatives) then least they can do is come to my site and implement five or six basic things like organic and paid splits.

    There is something fundamentally sub optimal about "pay us for training or read our help center and fix things yourself". It is simply not customer centric.

    I agree that the Vendor can't do everything and baby sit the client, that is not scalable. But atleast fix the basic stuff? It is good for a paid vendor to do that in the long term (the smarter the client the more likely they are to renew in following years).

    I also think VS is unique in this, and I also don't believe that any other vendor gets a pass including the more inexpensive solutions or the free ones.

    ShoreTel: You can get the data by clicking on the Ecommerce button, if you have ecommerce tracking enabled. It would be better if that data can be made available for other goals though!

    Gemma: Thank you for sharing your comments, please continue to do so in the future as well. Your English is just fine!

    I agree with you completely that having prior experience can be great, I am glad that you are trying two very different kinds of tools. Both Omniture and Unica are great solutions, and they are quite different so it is excellent that you have both in your in your consideration process.

    Dennis: It was a pretty good site, the core problem was that there were other things people expected from it that we were not aware of and that caused the feedback. But also it is inaccurate to assume that it was negative feedback, the response rate was so high and a lot of it was quite positive. People took time to share what worked for them.

    I think having Contact Us or Share Feedback is good, but they are both quite passive ways of collecting responses. Using something like a onexit survey is a great way to pro actively say "please share a bit about how your experience was", then you get a better sampling of customers.

    Quantcast is a interesting offering, my hypothesis is that over time it might become a more optimal alternative.

    John: I completely agree with you on the custom visitor segmentation tip. I am a huge fan of segmentation and am fond of saying that "all data in aggregate is not useful, it is only when you segment that you can find something of value!".

    ClickTracks as you know also does a great job of allowing you to do infinite segmentation, and without requiring any work upfront (you can segment using any value in your data, quite nice).

    Thanks for all the great comments everyone! Much appreciated.


  18. 20

    Great Post Avinash. I think I translate it and give it as FAQ to my clients ;-)

  19. 21


    Are you saying that your web site had "Contact Us" form already, but users didn't share much of a feedback until you introduced exit survey?

  20. 22
    Kristen says

    Avinash – per #4. I once explained the help I needed to get a testing tool in place as a "one night stand" with the tech team. Here are the tags, put them here, here and here. Thank you! B-Bye.

  21. 23

    #1 – "separate Organic Search traffic from Paid Search traffic". I agree with your answer, but would like to add…

    Auto-tagging can be enabled in Yahoo, this allows for automatic separation of paid & organic e.g if landing page contains OVRAW, then campaign medium must be cpc.

    However, it would be nice if GA added a feature to put the data from OVRAW, OVKEY, OVMTC, OVADID, OVKWID in to the appropriate fields in GA, then remove the YSM parameters.

    The alternatives of using custom filters to split this or mapping Custom campaign fields is a bit fiddly.

  22. 24

    One of those questions got me thinking, "where will analytics be in 5 years?"

    My retort would be, wherever the thought leadership puts it in 5 years.

    The question is, besides you, Peterson, and a few others, who IS the thought leadership in the industry? You guys offer tons of insight and other useful things, but the focus isn't particularly on what will or what should be, but on how to analyze and use what exists.

    Where is the technology headed? What could the technology make available? What information is really sought after?

  23. 25
    Jaimie says

    Hi Avinash,

    Informative post as always. Is the Blog Stats tool you reference BlogStats PPC for WordPress users or something else? Also who is that in the image above the 90% and is she single?


  24. 26
    Patrick says

    Hi Avinash,

    please excuse my off-topic question, but as I've been thinking of other ways than search to drive traffic and remember your saying something like this, before:

    "Organic and Paid is one of those basics given the, atleast temporary, importance of search as an acquisition vehicle."

    I can't help, but wonder if you see that change in the future?:-) Or is the "at least temporary" part just something you like to add, because the web seems so hard to predict in general?

  25. 27
    Ryan Kelly says

    Hi Avinash….I can't find the "Blog Stats" tool you mention above. What's the website?


  26. 28

    Phil: Excellent suggestion! I hope someone from the Google Analytics Team is reading this blog!! :)

    Adron: Never mistake the vocal minority to speak for the silent majority. :)

    There are a ton of brilliant people in our ecosystem working on the next generation of analytics and decision making. Like you I can't wait to find out what they are doing to solve complex problems and I can't wait to benefit from their work.

    Jaimie / Ryan: Blog Stats is the evolution of the delightful tool called Measure Map. You'll find lots of details here:


    Patrick: Both.

    Search is very important today and if it is not a part of your portfolio of acquisition vehicles then you are probably not doing as well as you could. But it would be foolish to think that this is how things will be forever and that the next disruptive things is not around the corner. And we don't know what it is. But it is there. :)


  27. 29

    I am a regular reader of your site, it do provides me with invaluable suggestions and thoughts to work upon. sorry for being offline, i was just wondering, is there any metric (or a group of metric), which can evaluate the trust between a user and a website.

  28. 30

    Mredul: There are a lot of hypothesis and some of throwing things in the air but I am unaware of anything that is solid in that area.

    Mostly because all the attempts to measure "Trust" have been using Quantitative data and quant data stinks at measuring something as deeply Qualitative as "Trust". Just like Engagement. :)

    The good applications I have seen of measuring qualitative feelings are using methodologies using Surveys and Remote Usability etc. Likelihood to Recommend is one of the better know measures of future predictive behavior for example.

    Background reading material:

    Hope this helps a little bit.


  29. 31

    Avinash – Newbie here

    thank you for this excellent review

    In future I hope you spend more time on a more detailed post/discussion regarding pan session analytics
    as I think this is an area that will grow in popularity and importance as marketers learn how to better optimize their price events and brand/customer building events from a campaign perspective.

    For those interested, I have developed a "Miss Ann Elk" type model structure
    see http://miroslodki.wordpress.com/articles/the-anatomy-of-a-brand-purchase-part-1/
    that may be of value


    BTW my blog is "free wordpress hosted" which precludes me from running any java scripts for the 4Q survey service

    Wondering is there any way to link a survey button from my site to direct people to my relevant slice within survey service?

  30. 32

    As of 2012 many things in the sector have changed, my question to you us this, do you thing that the 13 point above still apply to the modern internet marketing?


    • 33

      Romolo: It is always interesting to revisit something from four years ago!

      A lot has changed for sure. We have more tools, better tools. We have more options for qualitative and quantitative analysis. We have people who are much much smarter about it all.

      So which answers would I change on this list? None of them. All 13 of these are questions that come up from time to time, some more than others and I feel that the answers in this post have stood the test of time. In some cases, like #8, we have better ways to measure things (Event Tracking).

      Of course if I write this post today I might add some new problems. Like Multi-Channel Attribution. :)



  1. […] “Yes M’am, Yes You In The Back Row” [13 Web … saved by 3 others     SeriousBlackOne bookmarked on 05/27/08 | […]

  2. […] Excellent Web Analytics Article by vinnieq ~ May 27th, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized. submit_url = "http://nichedig.com/blog/uncategorized/excellent-web-analytics"; Read it here […]

  3. […] Avinash Kaushik hat einen großartigen Artikel mit 13 grundlegenden Web Analytics Fragen geschrieben auf den ich hier explizit hinweisen möchte. Darin wird z.B. auf Dinge wie Segmentierung, Umfragen und die ewige Frage wie man das richtige Tool auswählt eingegangen. Avinash hat in den letzten Jahren zu vielen Themen tolle Beiträge geschrieben und in diesem Fragen-Post holt er die besten noch einmal raus und beantwortet die häufigsten Web Analytics Fragen. […]

  4. Free tools take the mystery out of web analytics: Kaushik…

    Blogger and author Avinash Kaushik says he’s astounded by how slowly online marketing has evolved, despite the mountains of free data available.

    Kaushik is Google’s “analytics evangelist,” he authors the popular blog Occam’s Razor and wrote the book Web Analytics: An Hour a Day. He told the Canadian Marketing Association's annual conference that “life has been tough for marketers, especially making decisions using data… Hits on a website don't mean anything anymore.”

    The good news is that there are excellent free web analytics tools–such as Google Analytics and Microsoft adCenter Analytics–that present data in an easy to understand way. Unfortunately, marketers are stumbling over the fact that the tools do not deliver “answers and insights,” he says. “So, online marketing continues to be a faith-based initiative.”

  5. SM BLinks: Friday, May 30, 2008…

    Wow… it’s been 3 weeks since I’ve updated this blog. Sorry for the MIA, it’s been a busy couple weeks! Hope you’ve been following up on your SEO news, if not, here is our top picks of the week to get you back on track. Have a great weekend!

    More People are Looking at Google Ads, Says comScore

    How to manage your pay per click campaigns to help you avoid common PPC mistakes and Google Ad Words Gaffs! (AKA Top of the PPC flops!)

    8 Stupid Things Webmasters Do To Mess Up Their Analytics

    Google, Yahoo & Microsoft : SEO Influence of Keywords in Domain Names

    How Many Google Penalties Are There?

    Nielsen: Google Hits New Search Share High

    More partner site examplers from the Google content network

    “Yes M’am, Yes You In The Back Row” [13 Web Analytics Questions]

  6. […] Avinash/Occam's Razor: “Yes M’am, Yes You In The Back Row” [13 Web Analytics Questions] […]

  7. […] A continuación viene el siguiente dilema: La riqueza y versatilidad de la herramienta escogida viene acompañada de una implantación compleja y un uso relativamente sofisticado. Si, como pide Víctor Pérez, hacemos caso a Avinash Kaushik (regla del 10/90 para software/servicios, de la que el propio Avinash se consideraba estos días más seguidor que nunca) deberíamos apartar 720 mil euros para obtener el máximo provecho a nuestro entorno de medición. Obviamente, nadie hace caso a Avinash, salvo quienes optan por su propio empleador: Google Analytics, que aplicando una regla de tres determinan invertir cero euros en ambas cosas, software y servicios. […]

  8. […]
    De gouden regel van Avinash uit het artikel “Yes M’am, Yes You In The Back Row” [13 Web Analytics Questions]” komt hier weer om de hoek kijken. Zorg ervoor dat je genoeg mensen hebt die zich hierop kunnen storten. Dit hoeven niet allemaal Senior Analisten te zijn. Een variatie in je team is prima en zorgt voor goede balans.

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