Build a Strong Data Quality Governance Foundation to Avoid Death by a Thousand Cuts

Unstable foundationPicture a house built on the side of a cliff.  As the cliff weathers over the years, if no action is taken to shore up the foundation, eventually the house will fall off the cliff.  The lesson?  Do a  little maintenance.  Ward off a catastrophe.

What’s this got to do with data?

Without attention, data quality can erode.  What erodes data quality are deteriorating processes.  If left unattended, your digital analytics data quality (and your organization’s faith in analytics) might suffer a slow death by a thousand cuts.  The catastrophe?  Possibly getting fired.

Continue reading “Build a Strong Data Quality Governance Foundation to Avoid Death by a Thousand Cuts” »

5 Things Digital Analysts Can Learn from the NHL

Hockey Game ArenaA new season in underway in the National Hockey League, and the word “analytics” has garnered a considerable amount of hype. So far, it seems that no game passes without some mention of the NHL’s new data-driven paradigm. However, analytics in hockey is not a new concept at all.

Analytics is much more than some fancy new metrics. It’s a mindset that has been ingrained in the sport of hockey for decades. In fact, the methods of analysis and decision-making already used by players, coaches, and general managers are transferable to any analytics discipline, digital analytics in particular.

Here are 5 things that digital analysts can learn from the NHL: Continue reading “5 Things Digital Analysts Can Learn from the NHL” »

“Big Picture/Little Picture, Big Data/Little Data”: First DAA Symposium in Toronto

Update:  The Symposium has been postponed to spring 2015.  Stay tuned for an update.

The first ever Digital Analytics Association (DAA) Symposium in Canada comes to Toronto on Tuesday November 18, 2014, and will be held at the transformed Berkeley Church at 315 Queen Street East (map) in Toronto.

DAA Toronto Symposium

Continue reading ““Big Picture/Little Picture, Big Data/Little Data”: First DAA Symposium in Toronto” »

How to Use Timer Listeners in Google Tag Manager

Do you have long pages on your website or a blog with a high bounce rate?

Visitors may not actually be bouncing.

The bounce rate metric, which measures the percentage of sessions whereby a person left your website from the entrance page without interacting with the page, is often misleading.  It can even be downright depressing for blogs and long pages because if a page viewed has no further interactions and is the last or only hit in the session, than Google Analytics will assign the page a time of zero. This leads to the wrong conclusion that the individual bounced, increasing your bounce rate, when they in fact did not.

Event Listeners in Google Tag Manager have made it easy to capture on-page interactions like link clicks, downloads, button clicks, and form submits. Simply add a new Event Listener tag of your choice, create a corresponding rule, and use that rule to trigger an appropriate Google Analytics (or other) tag. No custom coding required.

Aside from tracking clicks and form submits, GTM also provides an automated Timer Listener. This particular event listener allows you to trigger tags to fire at specified intervals.

Now, while it may be easy to see why tracking clicks and form submissions would be useful, perhaps it’s not immediately obvious why you would want to fire tags at specific time intervals.

The most common way that we use Timer Listeners is to track the time a user spends on a particular page. Wait, doesn’t Google Analytics track Time on Page automatically? Well, yes and no. GA calculates time spent on a given page by taking the difference between the timestamp of that pageview and the timestamp of the subsequent hit. But if a pageview is the last (or only) hit in the session, GA will assign it a time of zero.

That’s where Timer Listeners come in! If you’re using GTM (and if you’re not, you should be), Timer Listeners give you a simple way to get more accurate metrics for time on page, session duration, and bounce rate in Google Analytics.

Let’s look at how to setup a Timer Listener for maximum usefulness and efficiency. Continue reading “How to Use Timer Listeners in Google Tag Manager” »

Why Every Analyst Needs Data Science Skills

As an analyst, have you ever wondered ‘why do I need (or want) data science skills’?

Attendees of the Sept 25th, 2014 DAA South Central Ontario chapter meeting were intrigued and excited to learn how data science skills could elevate their analytics capabilities and career in a world still hyped up about ‘Big Data’ (sort of) and ‘Data Science’, which is ready to peak according to the Gartner Hype Scale.

There seems to be a lot of interest these days in ‘Data Scientists’, whose job it is to make sense of big data  – which means they solve complex data problems through combining techniques from statistics, mathematics, and computer science.  This could include aggregating and cleaning multiple sources of data, performing statistical regression analysis, building custom data visualization tools, and much more. But your job title doesn’t have to be ‘Data Scientist’ for you to benefit from some or all of these skills.

If you’re now thinking that learning data science sounds a little ‘crazy’, you’re not alone. The event’s theme was a panel discussion called ‘How to Add Data Science Skills to Your Analytics Arsenal Without Going Insane’, lead by Sharon Flynn (an experienced digital analytics practitioner at TVO, who is new to data science practice) and Christopher Berry (an experienced data scientist currently in residence at 500px).

Sharon and Chris didn’t waste any time, kicking the evening off by sharing their personal experiences that lead them down the path of data science, explaining how/why data science skills can elevate your performance, advance your career and yes, even make you popular in the office.

Continue reading “Why Every Analyst Needs Data Science Skills” »