An Introduction to Analytics by Dave Rorher

An Introduction to Analytics by Dave Rorher

25th February 2013

“Reporting is great, analysis is better. Data is great, information is better,” suggested Dave Rohrer as he started his presentation at SES London.

A whistle stop tour of the difference between counts, ratios, dimensions and metrics lead to a recommendation that users collect everything they can – mostly in case they need it later – and then segment subsets of traffic for greater insight where it matters now, creating goals (logged/recorded actions) such as conversions, characterising visits (looking at the user journey) and asking the meaningful questions. Good questions outrank easy answers in analytics, Roher contends.

What’s a good question? Rohrer suggested a few.

  • How do clients find you?
  • What do they look at when they arrive?
  • Which sites send junk traffic?
  • Is traffic good or bad?
  • Where are sales and leads coming from?

And apply some smarts, he suggests: conversion traffic is better than ranking, so look at order size. Track brands and non-brand traffic and look at behaviour

Interestingly he also suggests adding in analytics from other sites, including social spaces like Reddit.

Rohrer suggests good practise is maintain an untouched, unfiltered profile, and then create new profiles for delving further.

Always annotate reports with events. Always compare goals with actual sales figures.

There are some things to watch out for, suggests Rohrer. Always report from the same, master profile. Incorrect tagging can throw results. At certain levels Google samples data rather than using actuals, so figures may not tally. And no tool is, he contends, perfect.

There is such a wealth of data to get lost in that Roher addressed the management side of the stats. Change passwords frequently, he suggests. Keep it simple, and use time wisely. Set a schedule for looking at the data and make sure you check ALL key metrics in that time.

Useful tools mentioned: Analytics Debugger and WASP, which checks that your analytics are working properly.

In short, Rohrer delivered solid basic advice for people who are more likely to be starting out with analytics or managing others.

Dave Rohrer


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Claire Thompson has has 15 years PR experience and runs Waves PR, which she founded. She has great taste in wine and lousy taste in music. The two are not unconnected!
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