Advice From an Analyst

May 3, 2012

I am moving on from Van West Media into new unmarked territories of digital marketing life. After an entire year of writing content, I’ve decided to give up writing to work in web analytics. As a college student now on the verge of graduation, I’ve learned a lot from my experience at Van West Media. Being around all that SEO, PPC, CPC, ASAP (okay, I made that last one up) talk has gone to my head. Anyway, as this is my last post, I’ve decided to leave you with a reflection of my experiences so far.

I pulled data from Facebook insights this week and was presented with an Excel document containing a number of columns that spanned practically the entire alphabet- all with some kind of dimension Facebook assumed could be “useful information.” I was already warned about this sort of thing. The data dilemma is real. An analyst’s job is to sift through this “noise” and extract valuable information. Not only does Facebook have insights, but so does Twitter, Pinterest, your website, video content, and more. The list goes on even further after that, but these are some I’ve already been presented with.

If I had to give advice on which metrics to quickly look over, my favorites are bounce rate, unique visitors, and visits. No matter what you’re looking at, you’ll usually use one of these. If you’re analyzing the effectiveness of a web page, the bounce rate will give you the percentage of people who came and left without clicking to another page. Author, Avinash Kaushik describes this as, “I came, I puked, I left.” Visits tell you how many times the page is visited in a certain time period and unique visits break down the number of individual users who came to the site. These three metrics check the overall health of the site, though there’s much more. How many pages did the user view while they were on the site? At which page did they leave?

As a web business, it’s important to be aware of your analytics data. Just glancing at one of the three metrics mentioned above can help you understand health of a site. To dig deeper however, requires valuable analytics.