I’d chance to took interview of Marshall Sponder, one of my favorite web analyst with versatile personality.
Marshall Sponder has over seven years of experience in web analytics and SEO, with a specialization in social media. In-house corporate experience at IBM and Monster combined with contract work with small businesses and start-ups. He is Contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine, author of two blogs, WebMetricsGuru and ArtNewYorkCity with combined readership of 10,000 unique visitors per month.
Q 1 – How did you start your career in Web Analytics? How far you are into this online industry? Share your current job experience.
Answer - I “fell” into Web Analytics while working at IBM.com doing Search Engine Optimization and Content Management.ir I have been involved in Web Analytics for almost 7 years. My first exposure was with IBM Surfaid (since bought by Coremetrics) and WebTrends – since then I have worked with almost every major analytics platform.
My current experience is as a high end Analytics Consultant working for companies such as Porter Novelli, Havana Central, Word Stream, etc. Currently, I am more closely focused on Online Reputation Monitoring using Social Monitoring tools such as Radian6, Sysomos, Crimson Hexagon, BrandWatch, Biz360, Scout Labs, etc. At this time, I’m working on coming up with state of the art analytics for Public Relations – and tying that into Site Analytics – as everything is converging.
Q2 – Who is your favorite Web Analyst? Why?
Answer - You know, once someone asked Paul Cezanne who his favorite artist was? Cezanne replied … “me… if I’m painting well that day.
Why? – Most of the time, the way you’re doing something is your own self assessment on the best way to do something. Best to be open to other ways, other approaches, while preferring your own.
Q3 – From your perspective, what are the major mistakes business owners make when trying to analyze their web data of their ecommerce website?
Answer - If it’s truly an eCommerce site the ROI part ought to fairly clearcut – minus any “hidden costs” such as acquiring a lead, etc. Where there is often a mistake is in technology used for content management or an incomplete monitoring solution where some important parts of the visitor experience on a site aren’t measured well, or at all. Also, if the Analytics implementation is incomplete then you will not be getting accurate data – ie: if more than 10% of your site lacks tracking code – you might as well forget about analyzing your analytics as the results will be too inaccurate to be useful.
Q4 – What other types of services should small business owners look into to complement their web data?
Answer - I would use services like BeenCounter.com and Social Media Monitoring solutions such as Sysomos MAP, HeartBeat and Audience (Beta). Adding 4Q to get qualitative data about your visitors’ site experience is also important and now 4Q data integrates with Google Analytics (as of last week) so you can generate custom reports on qualitative data in your analytics.
In terms of other services small businesses should look at – some kind of Social Media Press Release – a way of managing announcements ought to be part of the business mix – along with the monitoring of reputation (ie: using Radian6, Sysomos, etc).
Q5 – What do you think future of Web Analytics as there now analytics available for social media, brand monitoring and conversation rate optimization?
Answer - Within a few years Web Analytics will fully be absorbed into Marketing Intelligence – essentially, what is called a web analyst a few years ago will become an integrated marketing analyst within 2 years.
Q6 – Any Advice for Aspirants like me for starting career in Web Analytics?
Answer – Consider looking at the WAA’s new certification program for Web Analytics OR Web Analytics Demystified Analytics Exchange that just opened up. Otherwise, here in NYC and, I’m sure in India, a lot of doors will be opened more easily if you know whose door you knocking on – get out and network – but do it for the right reasons. In fact, the best way to network is to do it when you don’t need a job – and to it sincerely – out of desire to share ideas and be part of a community.
Q7 – We’ve seen there is lot many Social Networking and Knowledge sharing event has been organizing on Web Analytic especially in USA. India as a growing market but still there are no such kind of social networking and knowledge sharing event like Xchange Web Analytic s Conference apart from WAW organizing in India? What’s your advice to grow market and network here in Web Analytics?
Answer - Well – I would start with Meetup groups, Tweetups and Web Analytics Wednesdays – once it’s clear there is a big enough community of Analysts and businesses that want to attend an EMetrics or XChange – I’m sure it won’t be much longer after that before there will be a conference in India.
Honestly, I don’t have an immediate answer to getting Jim Sterne, Gary Angel and Eric T. Peterson out to India – Europe is much easier – but I really think if the opportunity made clear enough – one or more of them will end up holding a conference closer to you.
Q8 – In last what’s your advice about a Web Analytics Tip blog?
Answer - My advice is to share whatever tips people in the community come up with – I believe the more we “give” the more me “get”. He or she that gives the most – gets the most – really!