Meet the Expert: 6 Questions With Google Analytics Evangelist @AvinashKaushik

    by Pamela Vaughan

    Date

    December 3, 2009 at 1:44 PM

    Avinash Kaushik Avinash Kaushik is the Analytics Evangelist for Google and the co-founder of Market Motive, Inc . as well as a sought-after speaker and author.  He works with some of the largest companies in the world to help them evolve their online marketing strategies to become data-driven and customer-centric organizations. Avinash is also one of Inbound Marketing University 's volunteer professors, who recently taught a class entitled, " Advanced Marketing Analytics ."

    Here, Avinash discusses his new book and shares his best advice about Web and marketing analytics strategy ... 

    1. You recently released a book called Web Analytics 2.0 . Congratulations! What will this book teach readers, what makes it awesome, and how does it differ from your previous book, Web Analytics: An Hour A Day ?

    My first book takes a more gradual approach to introducing the sweet world of web analytics to people and was the most current book at its time. It is still perhaps the best way for new folks to start their journey.

    Web Analytics 2.0 is a much more current book with the latest and greatest and most current thinking on the, now even more expanded, world of web analytics. It provides new ideas to solve old challenges (say, multi channel analytics, rich media analytics, measuring B2B websites) and fresh ideas to solve new problems (say, marketing attribution, social media analytics etc).

    The second book also allowed me to cover things I did not in the first book. For example how to create a truly data driven boss (they are rare!) or build a career in the online analytics field.

    I recently wrote a very brief synopsis for each chapter on my blog which might provide more color.

    2. Why is having a Web/marketing analytics strategy in place important for any business?

    • Because it really hurts to lose money.
    • Because it is criminal to have web experiences that make your customers unhappy.
    • Because if you don't know where you want to go, any road will take you there.
    • Because it stinks to be at the bottom of the lot in your industry.
    • Because..... well I could keep going. : )

    I fundamentally believe that the web is a magnificent medium that allows you to bring a new level of experimentation and accountability to your marketing efforts . To not have a strategy to leverage: that is a missed opportunity (and sad).

    3. What are some common mistakes you see people making when they're putting together a marketing analytics strategy, and how should businesses avoid making these mistakes?

    Don't try to fly to the moon in ten minutes. It is important to have a nirvana state in mind, but know that you will make progress in small incremental steps every single day. That should be your goal.

    It is rare that your strategies in other channels (tv, radio, magazines) will translate directly to the web. I humbly believe that the web is unique and it offers a new level of scale and relevance in our ability to reach the right audiences and have a conversation. So keep the lessons learned from other channels in mind, but be prepared to learn a lot of new stuff. [For example see the power of the long tail of search, Page 338.]

    Many people believe that tools or access to data are the solution. Massively wrong. It is the people that will make a difference between success and failure. I believe in the 10/90 rule of investment in analytics.

    Finally, I have to say that the thing I am more passionate about the web, above and beyond all else, is the fact that it empowers you to be wrong, quickly. I embrace making mistakes on the web because you can do so at a low cost/risk. What this directly translates into is a huge increase in your ability to be innovative, try new things, fail at some and learn, succeed at others and create happy customers. People who learn to fail faster on the web will succeed the most. [See experimentation & testing, Page 195.]

    4. Web analytics are constantly changing with the emergence of new technologies. How do you recommend people stay on top of the rapidly and always changing trends in Web marketing and analytics?

    Read a lot.

    Play with lots of things.

    I have a RSS reader full of blogs in the areas of Design, Analytics, Marketing and Visualization. I am a voracious reader and I don't know of any other way of staying current. There are some magnificent blogs out there, sign up and consume them (there is a list of my top ten on the right nav of my blog ). It takes time, but nothing in life is cheap. : )

    I have eight different tools running on my personal blog right now. Tools about web analytics, surveys, social media, testing. When I find a new tool I go implement it on my blog and use it to try and find answers to the marketing questions I have.

    I have come to realize there is no substitute to actually doing the work; never hire anyone who has not rolled up their sleeves and gotten their hands, legs, face and the entire body really, really dirty.

    5. What are some of the challenges associated with working with Web analytics? What are some of the opportunities?

    It changes too much.

    You can't stay stationary. The web grows and evolves too quickly. The old days of learn and do a job for 47 years are well and truly over. You need to stay on top of all the ways in which this lovely beast of Hello Kitty called the web is evolving, and then stay on top of new and innovative ways in which measurement options are springing up.

    But that is why I love it so. A new challenge every day, a new way to stretch our mind, something cool, and clever to use to stay ahead of our competition.

    Let me also share that I end the book with the thought that I can't think of any other job that has more job security than that of an online data analyst. In the grand scheme of things web analytics is a toddler just learning how to take its first confident steps. There is so much growth left in it, so much exciting potential.

    If you combine that with the fact that the Fortune 500 in the US uses 0.5% of the data it has access to, you'll see very quickly why, for smart people, this is an exciting career choice (even after you discount the fact that I might be biased!).

    6. What is your biggest pet peeve?

    Entrenched mindsets / People with closed minds.

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    IMU includes 15 free webinar classes and notesheets , including one about advanced marketing analytics from Avinash Kaushik. The program drills into each component of inbound marketing and prepares you for the Inbound Marketing certification exam, to be re-launched in January.


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