Celebrating Our Analytics Relationships

On this day that we celebrate love and relationships let’s think about all the analytics relationships that are so critical to our success!

What? You’ve never thought about analytics relationships? Well, they abound everywhere. The life of a web analyst is very much the the same as the life of a relationship counselor. We’re constantly managing the relationship between tools, data and people. Let’s take a look at some of the most common relationships.

The Relationship between Data and Business

Probably the most critical relationship in analytics is between the data we collect and the metrics we create from the data. Our metrics must be highly related to the business objectives. We’re trying to understand what’s working and what’s not working. We want to promote the things that are working and kill or fix the things that are not working.

As we all know, we call these metrics key performance indicators and almost every analytics tool has a way to track them. In Google Analytics we use the Goals feature.

We don’t want to focus on metrics that don’t help us meet our business objectives. All data should relate to:

* Increasing revenue
* Decreasing costs
* Improving customer satisfaction

We must know what metrics are important to the business so we can convert all of our data to business metrics and create a strong relationship between business objectives and the data coming from analytics.

The Relationship Between Multiple Data Sources

While we’re on the subject of data, let’s take a moment to consider the relationship between multiple data sources! We’ve got ad-serving platforms that provide pre-click data, web analytics tools provide post click data, and customer databases/CRM systems provide purchase history and off-line data.

All of this information is super helpful when doing analysis, but sometimes creating a relationship between these data sources is very hard.

Our ability to tie the data together is dependent on creating keys between the data sources. If you use Google Analytics then you’re familiar with the process of Campaign Tracking and link tagging. This is really just adding keys to the data so we can tie the pre-click campaign metrics to the post click activity on your website.

We often tie customer information to web activity using some unique ID number. The most common integration right now is linking web analytics data with CRM data. While we dream of a single key to tie offline data to online data it’s very hard to do.

The Relationship between IT and Business

Here’s a relationship between people!

If you work in a large, corporate environment you know that analytics sits between business people and IT people. Sometimes this can be… challenging, to put it kindly.

Business people want to track all sorts of things (hopefully things that actually make a difference). But getting IT resources to configure the analytics tool to track these things can hard.

Many IT teams are stretched thin and don’t want to be bothered with adding more JavaScript to some AJAX widget. I’ve literally sat in meetings where a digital marketing team would occupy one end of a table, and the IT team would sit at the opposite end of the table. Not a good relationship. Where’s the LOVE!

But the relationship between business/marketing people and IT people is a critical relationship for analytics to succeed in any organization. We depend on it to help implement and configure our tools.

Let’s take IT & marketing out to dinner and build a strong relationship so the data can keep flowing.

The Relationships in Our Community

Last but certainly not least, there is the relationship between all of us. I know, kind of sappy. But we are a pretty tight-knit group.

You’re only a tweet away from industry leaders and you can reach almost everyone via a blog. What I really appreciate is the guys that came before us have helped pave the way for all of us to succeed.

So, on this day that we celebrate love and relationship take a minute to think about all the analytics relationships in your life.

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    1. says

      Great post and oh so true! I think it is important for the more senior web analysts to remember that for those of us starting out the relationship woes can be the most struggling. I often feel the relationship issues with the people in an organization can be more challenging than the relationship with the data. You get to a point as a web analyst where you feel like you have tackled the data to a certain point (although it is never ending.) You are feeling good about your KPI’s, your tools are set up and functioning and you’ve got your groove on. What’s the matter? You end up sitting in a corner alone with all this new knowledge feeling pretty good about yourself, but no one else in the company quite understands how lovely you and your data truly are.

      This can lead to feeling like the kid at the middle school dance standing off to the side just wishing someone would ask you to the floor so you can show off your moves. It’s time we stop waiting to be asked and step out on that dance floor to show em’ what we’ve got. Thanks for highlighting this issue. It is always refreshing for us newbies to know we are not alone.

    2. says

      Cool analogies. Regarding the multiple data sources, besides the data at the different stages such as Pre-click, post-click, and CRM, there is also the relationship at each stage among the different channels. For example, the relationship between the efforts done in social media channels like facebook and twitter with those done in search engines. The relationship with search and display ads, etc.

    3. says


      Nice post. We often get bogged down in the minutiae of the day to day of Web Analytics and fail to nurture the critical relationships that allow web analytics to succeed. Connecting web analytics data to other data sources, like CRM data, through the creation of primary keys, is a great way to enrich post-click data. I really liked that you mentioned the communal relationship within the web analytics industry because I know I’ve benefited greatly from following people like yourself and Avinash over at Google.

      Thanks for the reminder!


    4. says

      Great summary Justin! Thanks for the post.

      The relationship between IT and business could be made simpler if the analytics software is easier to implement.


    1. Celebrating Our Analytics Relationships – Analytics Talk…

      What? You’ve never thought about analytics relationships? Well, they abound everywhere. The life of a web analyst is very much the the same as the life of a relationship counselor. We’re constantly managing the relationship between tools, data and peop…

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