Posted by: buzzmckenna | July 3, 2008

Google’s ‘Analytics Evangelist’ Explains Why Websites ‘Suck’

Summary: Kaushik “Analytics Evangelist” at Google says despite Mounds of Data, Marketers Don’t Understand Consumers because they don’t know who they are.


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Published: May 21, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ohio ( — Avinash Kaushik thinks one of the reasons why so many websites “suck” today is because of the hippo — as in the “highest paid person’s opinion.”

And, yes, you’re likely a hippo — a successful advertising executive, CMO or brand manager, pulling in a six-figure income, often found pontificating about what does and doesn’t work online. You use tried-and-true metrics such as unique visitors and click-through rates to decide on the best design for your landing page or what content is best suited on your product site.

‘Least closest’

Yet, despite your mounds of data, Mr. Kaushik thinks you are the “least closest to the customer.”

It was a blunt indictment, considering Mr. Kaushik offered it during a talk before roughly 200, well, hippos — marketing executives from Procter & Gamble, Victoria’s Secret, Coca-Cola and Timberland — at an invite-only client conference held by Resource Interactive, a Columbus-based digital agency.

Mr. Kaushik is the “analytics evangelist” at Google, a new post created after his one-year consulting gig with the search giant expired. (Mr. Kaushik was previously director of research and analytics at Intuit, the personal-finance software company, and he is also the author of “Web Analytics: An Hour a Day” and web analytics blog Occam’s Razor.)

Mr. Kaushik employed the word “sucks” frequently when he talked about the traditional metrics used for measuring online marketing. And as far as online marketing goes, it sucks too. He likened it to a “faith-based initiative.”

Getting the ‘why’

The point of Mr. Kaushik’s candor is that he wants marketers to start thinking more about the “why.” To get at that, he espoused the use of more online surveys of site visitors to find “segments of discontent.”

He advised marketers to create conversations with consumers using a simple, short and free online survey created by, an online research firm. The survey asks: Who is coming to your website? Why are they there? How are you doing? What do you need to fix?

The surveys “get customers involved in fixing things,” he said.

What analytics means

After his talk, Mr. Kaushik described the day-to-day duties of his job at Google as “giving a lot of talks” to teach people how to make better websites and spreading the word about Google’s seven “analytic tools,” mainly Google Analytics and Ad Optimizer. He noted that anyone from a mom-and-pop business to a Fortune 500 brand can use these tools.

“Google is giving the same tools that, only prior to Google, you had to get at a big advertising agency or digital firm for free.”

When asked to explain in more depth what Google Analytics — and his role as an analytics evangelist — means for digital and traditional advertising agencies, Mr. Kaushik said: “We want to be the company that really lives the spirit of accountable advertising.”



  1. The speech by Avinash maybe correct, but in a real job environment, the thing is to tell the hippos they’re one.

    Not very practical when your boss decides to stomp. I know this from first hand experience with clients. The most frustrating thing is to have your point-of-contact say ‘let’s just do it, my boss wants it’. and his/her boss is never available to explain.

  2. The “sell” as it were, involves a massive shift in what a product or service can, or should do, in the new digital environment. This means a whole education of bosses/clients as to what the big picture is.

    This article isn’t only focusing on the issues on getting it done in a certain way, it’s as much about getting businesses to change from a we’ve built it and use marketing as has been done for the best part of a century – but responding to the new “empowered consumer”.

    See “How to Bridge the Digital Gap and Keep Ahead – Brand-Building Principles Have Changed, but It’s Now Easier Than Ever to Understand Consumers” By Allen Adamson Published: August 04, 2008

    and “Why Digital Marketing Needs a Reboot – Break Those ‘Tradigital’ Habits”by David Armano on July 25, 2008

    These articles outline a massive and radical shift in marketing due to the digital environment, and something we will only see more of in the future

    Good Luck!


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