How to become a web analytics dictator

I am fascinated by human nature. I love to try to understand why we make choices as we do. Everything from choosing a particular product to choose our path in life. Recently there has been a lot of talk about dictators being overthrown around the world so I thought I would go against the current and write how to become a dictator within a company; a web analytics dictator.

Of course this post is on the funny side since we all need to rest our brains from all the data.

Statistically speaking there should be plenty of people with the same traits as a dictator working as web analysts. Actually there was a study done not long time ago that concluded among the CEOs of major corporation the narcissistic trait was overrepresented compared to the population as a whole.

So how do you go along to accomplish your task? Just imagine you just landed a job at a major corporation and want to see your move up the ranks. How do you do that? How do you become so powerful that people fear the sound of your walk? How do you topple your competitors? How do you get so hated that everyone wants to revolt against you? Well, follow these steps and you will be on the right path.

Step 1, be mentally prepared

The right mental mindset is crucial. Just like a professional football team that wants to win the world cup you need the mental preparedness or you will not succeed.

You need to believe you are entitled to unlimited praise and deference. You should also believe that your will and desire is the only game in town.

Focus on fantasies on unlimited success, power and intelligence. Visualize how you could rule the company and all the praise you will get.

Like your mother used to say, you are “special” and unique, and can only be understood by other special people with powers. Believe that your fellow web analysts are not on that level.

Getting this mindset might be difficult for an untrained brain but don’t lose hope. Everyone can become a dictator with a little bit of training so repeat the three paragraphs sentences a few hundred times in front of the mirror and you will get there fast.

Step 2, strive for attention

Be like a spoiled child. Continually claim for attention and admiration. In a meetings talk a lot. Even if it is lies that come out of your mouth continue to speak unrestrained. Get all the lights to focus on you. Dominate the meetings. Use your knowledge in data. Make your arguments extremely high tech so people cannot question you. Also tell a lot of impressive lies even of events that never occurred like how you went on a fishing trip with Obama.

Step 3, use people

Other people should be seen only as an extension of the self to be manipulated and/or eliminated as needed. You should develop an inability to relate to people as people. Suck up to those in power and kick on those below. Feed important people with only favorable key data while keep the others in the dark. Try to give other people wrong data and deny it when they claim otherwise. Leave no paper trail to point back at you.

Step 4, turn off your feelings

Practice to disconnect your feelings towards others. Ideally you should have a strong inability to recognize or identify with the feelings, needs, and viewpoints of others. Ignorance is bliss as they say. Your web analytics field is the most important game in town. When other people have an opinion, bring out your web analytics guns. Prove them wrong time after time with data that has been manipulated in your way.

If you are being criticized on your data or behavior be hypersensitive. Insults (real or imagined), criticism, or defeat should be met with rage, shame, and humiliation. Do not give your coworkers any breathing room.

Step 5, manipulate data

To get what you want you will need to be able to argument for your case, and with data you can turn it either way to support your case.

You should misrepresents facts and ignore data that conflicts with your fantasy world. Based on the data you should opportunistically shifts positions and be overly confident.

The game is to be perceived as an intelligent web analyst with superb performance. You should have control of the perception of data and when you are challenged you should respond as of though your very survival is at stake.

Step 6, surround yourself with yes sayers

Until you reach that unquestionable tyrant position you will be dependent on others. Surround yourself with codependents, enablers and followers and if anyone of them challenge your authority  just discard them as they never existed, because the victim only matters in relation to how he can support the grandiosity of your dreams; beyond that he is faceless nameless and worthless.

There it is. Your six step guide. Easy as 1-2-3. Now you have no reason not to pursue this path J.

A small note. Of course following this path will classify you as insane and I highly do not recommend you to follow it. On the good side maybe you can use it to identify an upcoming dictator within your web analytics group or your company as a whole.

Conversion optimization in five minutes

Ok, this is the story, you just started on a new job and your boss comes to you and says: “John, can you have a look at our website numbers and tell me how we can increase our conversion?” With a drip of sweat on your forehead you accept the challenge and start pondering how you should go ahead. Well don’t worry, here is a quick guide on how you use web analytics to improve your conversion rate and impress your boss.

The main key is to extract user behavior. So focus on what users do on your site. Paint a story to your boss. Do this:

 

1. Understand which pages or page type’s people enter your site.

This is really critical, notice which pages are your most popular. Pick out the top 10. Is your Index page in there? What other pages? The entry pages will tell you what people are looking for. (On the index page this can be a bit difficult which leads me to the next point…).

2. What do they do next?

Do they bounce? Why? Look at your Google keywords. If you don’t have keywords, for example the index page which are usually brand keywords, try to understand what your users do next.

3. Which elements do people click on?

Install crazy egg or clicktale. These two tools will show you which elements are your most popular.

4. Which is the next page people go to?

What do they click on these pages? List the next pages for your top ten entry pages.

5. Try to come up with actions that can improve these pages.

For example make them less cluttered. Guide the user what he should do next. Be decisive but not forceful.

6. Think conversion and up selling.

Think clarity. Remove any conflicting elements. Work on the value proposition of your top entry pages.

 

After you gone through these six steps you will have enough on your plate to go to your boss with concrete recommendations on how to improve your conversion and not just mumbo jumbo stats.

Even better though is to drag him into a workshop and present your picture but without telling him what to do, but rather brainstorm it together.

Well that’s it, simple as that. After being promoted, you should move on to the next level, AB testing.

 

eMetrcis Presentation, Stockholm September 2011

I had the opportunity to speak at the eMetrics Summit in Stockholm and it was fun. I was not nervous at all, at least in the beginning, since I knew my story by heart. Although I have done a lot of presentations I have never had a presentation in front of an international audience.

On conferences I always enjoy mostly the sessions on user cases. Therefore I set my aim to present my own case based on my position as a web analyst and conversion specialist. My topic was to show how we moved from being very primitive in our optimization work towards integrating it into the business development. This path could be divided into three phases.

In the first phase we were growing, but we were very primitive when it comes to using web analytics and optimization. We did not possess the knowledge on how to use our tools in the most effective way. The ab testing world was new and we needed to gain some experience first.

The second phase, we were still growing as a business but not as strongly as before. This was the waking up phase. We had some experience with our tools and we had extracted some knowledge of our users. We also started to ask more and more questions about our business.

The third phase the growth had stopped. Management wanted me to come up with a plan to set the website on a straight course. This led to several important steps towards a new thinking and double digit increase of our most important pages and elements hence sending more quality traffic to our partners.

The conclusion of my speech was that only when you integrate web analytics and optimization in the business development process you will get the double digit increase of conversion, revenues or whatever your goal is. Many companies do not understand this and give up to early in their optimization quest. As a web analyst you need to help your business owners understand the business in several dimensions, everything from the vision to the user behavior and recommend actions to capitalize on it. Of course this process is not as easy as it sounds but it gives you ammunition to do the right things for a long time.

I have attached the presentation if you want to have a look. Download e-metrics presentation