Web Strategy Summit 2009: Analytics 2.0 with Avinash Kaushik

On Tuesday I attended the Web Strategy Summit in Calgary with nearly 100 other web professionals. The event focused on “creating business value by using the web, mobile, social media and related technologies.” There was an impressive lineup of speakers and sessions, which we’ll be writing more about over the next few days (you can also take a look at my tweets from the summit). But first, I want to focus on the opening keynote.

Avinash Kaushik is the Analytics Evangelist for Google, and was on hand to present Analytics 2.0: The Art of Customer Centricity & Failing Faster. I didn’t know anything about Avinash before his keynote, so I had no idea what to expect. Turns out his session was the highlight of the event! He was insightful, funny, and knew exactly how to keep everyone’s interest. Here are some of the takeaways:

  • An ad in a magazine is “faith based” – a text ad on a web page is not faith based. We can measure it, and control who sees it.
  • Terabytes of click data still sucks at answering the question, “why?”
  • According to Avinash, path analysis is a waste of time because only a tiny percentage will follow the same path, and it won’t be enough to base any decisions around.
  • You know how news articles always cite the number of hits a website received? Avinash has a term for that: HITS = How Idiots Track Success.
  • The main metric to pay attention to is the bounce rate. Bounce rate is one of the few metrics that is hard to misunderstand. “I came, I puked, I left.”
  • Avinash says that “RSS is the ultimate form of permission marketing.”
  • “The greatest survey in the world has 3 questions – why are you here, did you complete your task, & if not, why not?”
  • A site to check out for user experience testing: http://fivesecondtest.com/
  • “The greatest gift you can be given from the Internet is to be proven wrong fast.”

If you ever get the chance to attend a presentation by Avinash, I strongly encourage you to seize the opportunity! Until then, you can follow him on Twitter.