Critical Thinking In Web Analytics [video]

"Stop letting the technology enslave your brain. You're paid to think. I want critical thinkers. I don't want people who can look at a pretty pie chart or a bar graph, however well it's presented. I want people who can tell me what that means and what I need to do with it."

April Wilson says that we need to create a new paradigm. The old methodology ties data to the individual level, and we're still doing that. Analysis was manually computed, and analysts needed a high level of statistical knowledge.

With high level computing, we can both collect and process more data efficiently. At this point, we can click on an icon and let someone else do the work for us.

And that's wrong.

The inputs have changed; the methodologies have not. Measuring any new communication vehicle will always be an afterthought. Data is always going to be relative. Data can predict trends, which can predict outcomes. Data is going to soon be published and crowd-sourcing is becoming more common. Instead of retrofitting modern data into an old model, let's look at the trends and advocate a better process for customers.

Huge amounts of data are possible. A car can collect huge amounts of biometric data, but it doesn't help get from point A to point B. We need to keep this in mind when we're looking at data.

As an example of how to use data differently, Wilson aggregates a tremendous amount of publically available data on a number of different analytics-related sites, and develops recommendations for how one of the sites could boost its presence.

Analysts need to understand the ecosystem and market size. It's possible to gather data from public sites to understand how you compare to your top three competitors and find where to make more and better efforts.

In short, analysts need to realize that data will never be perfect or absolute, but use the data to create strategies for customer advocacy. Customer satisfaction is the most predictive variable!

April Wilson, President and CEO, Digital Analytics 101

April WilsonApril Wilson leveraged her love of teaching and analytics to create Digital Analytics 101, where she serves as the President and CEO. Her focus is on teaching small-to-medium size businesses on best practices in digital marketing, social strategy, and web analytics.

April graduated with a master's degree in Sociology while running her business, OutSpoken Productions. She built her second career from her love of quantitative analysis, while retaining her focus on serving the greater good, working with companies like People's Bank, The Royal Bank of Scotland, TIAA-CREF and The Dallas Morning News, and most recently, Targetbase. She served on the Board of Directors for the Web Analytics Association as vice president and director of marketing from 2006 to 2009. She is also an active community volunteer.

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