Since I have been working in the analytics area for some time now I have experienced many discussions with managers about web analytics and what a web analyst can contribute. The discussions have ranged back and forth mainly focusing on the fact of trying to harness the most of web analytics insight.
In most cases when you try to incorporate a new technology within an existing structure it will be a bumpy ride. There will be a lot of trial and error but eventually if your company is committed to extracting value you will succeed. In my case we ended up calling us conversion specialist hinting that we harvest web analytics for a conversion increase.
To help you in your process it is good to understand manager’s thoughts on the subject. Here come the five most common thoughts I have encountered.
1. “Unique visitors, visitors, average conversions I don’t really understand what he is talking about, maybe we don’t need a web analyst after all.”
a. Recognized: When your manager do not ask analytics questions.
b. Don’t talk metrics, talk user behavior. Start by showing the click density map. Make it less intimidating to explore the field of numbers.
2. “This is guy is just costing me money, we already have Google analytics and I know how to pull the numbers. I should fire him.”
a. Recognized: When you are sitting in a strategically management meeting and the only questions you get is about visitors, page views and average conversion rate.
b. This is a typical thought especially for smaller companies. It has a lot to do with the analytics maturity of the company (read my post about analytics maturity within organizations). To avoid it you need to first of all build segments of your users and start telling stories of their behavior. Second of all you need to move into AB testing. You need to show the value of pulling web analytics data and using it to directly increase the revenues.
3. “My web analyst is not as creative in our meetings as the other guys.”
a. Recognized: When everyone throws ideas around but none of them are based on numbers.
b. The bottom line is that everyone can throw out an idea. Even my 91 year old grandmother can express and idea on what we should do on our website, unfortunately not many of the ideas are based on facts. As a web analyst you have to be prepared to backup your ideas with data. You are the true master of data is you, and therefore build your case with data. Try to build an analytics culture by showing them the way.
4. “We already have a web analytics tool we do not need more tools so this guy should be happy as it is.”
a. Recognized: When you ask for cheap tools and the only answer you get is that the budget is a bit strained at the moment.
b. Remember that you want to show the connection between the money and your analytics knowledge. Preferably there should be a straight red line between the two.
5. “Personas, why should we have that, we do fine anyway? He is just trying to justify his existence.”
a. Recognized: Two months after you have presented your personas no one is using them.
b. Try to base your ideas and improvements on your user profiles. Without understanding of your customers you will have a hard time to make improvements after all low hanging fruits are picked. Your team/company will have a hard time understanding where they should aim making your development process a wild west. It is your obligation as a web analyst to show how personas shall be used and tie them to the analytics data.