Analysis Exchange

Free Web Analytics for Nonprofits

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Thanks Pro Bono Net for Sharing Your Analysis Exchange Experience

Our national non-profit, Pro Bono Net recently participated in the Analysis Exchange program. We work in close partnership with nonprofit legal organizations across the United States and Canada, to increase access to justice for the millions of low-income individuals who face legal problems every year without help from a lawyer. We do this in part by supporting innovative and effective use of technology by the nonprofit legal sector through a variety of programs. LawHelp.org is a project of one of these programs and it serves as an online resource that helps low and moderate-income people find free legal aid programs in their communities, answers to questions about their legal rights, court information, links to social service agencies and more.

As an organization that supports an online resource, we realized the value of understanding analytics and data – but had some questions on how to harness the information. When we discovered the Analysis Exchange program, it became apparent that this could help us achieve our goal. Overall, our experience with the program was positive, and we’d like to share our experience and insights.

Our Project
For our project, we decided to focus on usability, specifically how users navigate our LawHelp.org and Spanish LawHelp.org homepages. We hoped to get a better understanding of how Google Analytics could help us see this navigation, and ultimately identify areas of need around site usability improvements. This took about an hour of work to articulate a project goal.

Shortly after submitting our project, there were a handful of possible mentors and mentees who expressed interest in our project. We were really impressed with the caliber of mentors and mentees who asked to be on our project and ended up working with Aaron (our project mentor) and Rosa (our project mentee).

We then moved quickly to arrange a time to virtually meet and introduce ourselves. For this meeting, we created a structured agenda that included introductions, an overview of our organization, our LawHelp program, our LawHelp.org site, our experience with Google Analytics, and an introduction to our project goals. We felt it was very important to do some context setting to provide Aaron and Rosa with the background they would need to successful execute the project. During this discussion, we also defined some concrete outcomes we hoped to see after verifying the scope of our project was workable from Aaron and Rosa’s perspective. The meeting prep and meeting itself took about two hours total.

After a few days processing our discussion, we worked with Aaron and Rosa to arrange a time to review their work. It took Rosa and Aaron about two weeks (during the holiday season no less!) to complete the project for our review. Aaron and Rosa were very prepared - they had a PowerPoint presentation prepared that was structured nicely and full of information. We needed to take time as an organization to digest their recommendations and how they fit into our larger technology plan, but Aaron and Rosa were very open to follow-up questions about additional resources, clarification points, etc. after the presentation. The final step was completed mentor and mentee evaluations. The final review, internal debrief with our staff, and evaluations took about three hours.

In total, we invested about six hours of time into the project; our mentee invested about fifteen hours of her time and our expert worked on the project for about 12-14 hours of his time. Additionally, throughout the process, the Analysis Exchange sent check-in emails and was quick to respond to any questions or concerns that we had.

Outcomes and Next Steps
The final result of the project was a set of comprehensive, expert recommendations to help our program staff and tech team make improvements to our Google Analytics profile. These improvements will help us more accurately configure our Google Analytics and provided us with ideas for implementing changes to help us better understand user behavior on the site. These steps will ultimately lead us toward our desired usability improvements on LawHelp.org and LawHelp.org./espanol.

Considerations
Based on our experience, here are a few lessons learned and considerations for LawHelp community members interested in the Analysis Exchange:

  • Check out the Analysis Exchange’s additional resources, such as their video explanation on how to create a project, their Opportunities and Expectations Handbook, and their blog for case studies.
  • Define your goals carefully. It is the key to a successful project. Make sure that the scope is not too broad, and make sure the goals lend themselves to concrete outcomes and steps you can take.
  • Take time for introductions. Introduce your organization, website, website strategy, and project goals to your mentee and mentor for larger context. Don’t forget to find out more about their interest in the project too!
  • Clarify concrete outcomes you hope to gain from the project. This will help to set expectations around the project final product and provide you with concrete, implementable next steps.

We enjoyed our involvement with the Analysis Exchange and encourage other non-profits to consider this valuable resource!

posted by: Jillian Theil

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Key steps to getting an Analysis Exchange project

As you may have noticed, there are a finite number of projects, and quite a few students (especially) wanting to do these Analysis Exchange projects. So what can you do to get the project and get started on your analytics journey?

Be proactive: Keep an eye on all the open projects on the AE website, regularly. Read about the companies, browse their websites, and identify the various activities they are trying to achieve (such as filling in a form, downloading a document, visiting specific pages or sections, and so on).

Reach out to client companies: If a project catches your fancy, apply for it. But don’t stop there. Email the project lead with more details about you and why are you so keen to work with him/her. You’ll have more than 500 characters to sell yourself!

Geography doesn’t matter: Don’t restrict yourself with getting projects in your city, state or even country. One of my projects had the client in Stockholm, the mentor in Dallas and me in Sydney, Australia. I was keen on the project, and reached out to the client. She was a little concerned about the time zones & location, but I convinced her that won’t be an issue. We identified suitable time windows for conference calls, and the project worked very well.

Really, your location doesn’t matter, you can do a project from anywhere in the world.

Reach out to mentors: Identify mentors from Analysis Exchange of interest to you and reach out to them. I contacted a few, and they were all wonderful, very helpful, and supportive. I was keen to work with one particular mentor, and after about 2 months got the opportunity to do a project with him. It was a terrific learning experience.

Keep in touch with your mentors: Staying in touch with your mentors helps a lot in asking for clarifications, bouncing ideas, and seeking information and knowledge. It helped me in an interesting way – one of my projects was ready to start, but my assigned mentor had to pull out due to family reasons. Instead of holding up the client and the project, I approached my earlier mentor to step in, and she gladly agreed. The project proceeded without a hitch, and completed to the original timelines. 

Submitted By Srinath Paranji

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Analysis Exchange Announces Scholarship Winners

Thanks to our generous sponsors, ObservePoint, IQ Workforce, and Jim Sterne, the Analysis Exchange is awarding $500 in scholarship money to two applicants each quarter for their continuing Web Analytics Education, as well as a pass to an eMetrics conference of their choice.

We wanted to take a few minutes to share a little bit about our first and second quarter winners.  Congratulations to our winners: Joan Cole, Tina Arnoldi, Stefanos Kapetanakis, and Grace Begany. Thank you for volunteering your time to support the Analysis Exchange!

Joan Cole completed 3 Analysis Exchange projects and had an overall rating of 9.7/10 and outstanding reviews.  Joan was new to the field of Web Analytics and has been able to find some work in the field as a result of her Analysis Exchange experience. Joan recently served on a panel at the Chicago eMetrics conference to share her Analysis Exchange experience with other aspiring web analysts.  Joan is using her scholarship money toward the UBC Award of Achievement Program in Web Analytics.

Tina Arnoldi has been a part of the Analysis Exchange since May, 2011, as both an Organization lead and as a student.  Tina has a 9.7/10 rating on her evaluations. It is wonderful that Tina has been able to help other nonprofits, in addition to her own, get value out of using Google Analytics. Tina will be using her scholarship money to help pay for a conference where she is a presenter on Google Analytics!  Thanks Tina for continuing to spread the word!

Stefanos Kapetanakis has been a part of the Analysis Exchange since January 2012 and has received a 10/10 as a Mentor on 2 projects.  Stefanos has been able to impart his experience on new Analysts in the field and at the same time gain his experience evolving as a professional.  Stefanos will use his scholarship money to use towards furthering his web analytics education through completing the Market Motive class.

Grace Begany has completed 3 projects with the Analysis Exchange since January 2010, and has a 9.6/10 rating and outstanding recommendations!  Grace would like to help further extend and represent digital analytics activities within academia. As a soon-to-be doctoral student in Information Science, she would like to accomplish this goal by incorporating her existing digital analytics knowledge into her study and research at the university. The Analysis Exchange Scholarship will allow her to undertake a variety of knowledge-building activities, pushing her toward this goal.

Our next scholarship money will be granted this Fall.  If you have worked on an Analysis Exchange project and could use up to $500 to help further your web analytics education, you can find details on how to apply for the scholarship here: http://www.webanalyticsdemystified.com/ae/scholarship/index.asp

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Students: How to prepare for your first Analysis Exchange project

Contributed by Michele Kiss

So you’re just joined the Analysis Exchange, and you’re looking forward to your first project as a student. What should you do to prepare?

The Must-Dos

1. Learn the basics of digital analytics.

How? Read the key books – Avinash Kaushik’s “Web Analytics: An Hour a Day” and “Web Analytics 2.0”, or Eric Peterson’s “Web Analytics Demystified” and “The Big Book of Key Performance Indicators”. Eric’s books are even available for free download! (So you have NO excuse for not having read them!)

2. Get to know Google Analytics

How? Obviously, if you have access to a Google Analytics account, you can get some experience poking around. However, even without access, you can (and should) learn the basics. Check out books about Google Analytics, like Justin Cutroni’s “Google Analytics”, or Brian Clifton’s “Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics.” These will help you understand how to actually use GA’s interface. You can also check out the Google Analytics online learning materials, or read the Google Analytics blog.

Keep in mind that the role of the mentor is not to teach you which buttons to push in Google Analytics, or to train you on the tool. The real value you’ll get from working with your mentor is their help in translating business goals into something measurable in GA, getting their feedback on how to dive into data and learning how to present data. That’s not to say they can’t or won’t help you with GA questions – just that you’ll get the most from the experience if you’re prepared, and understand the basics.

3. Understand basic metrics

How? By reading the basic books about digital analytics and Google Analytics, you should be familiar with the basic metrics of web analytics. However, take some time to really understand them. You should start a project prepared to really dive into the data, not struggling with the difference between a visit and a visitor. Keep in mind, your non-profit client may not understand the basic metrics, and will look to you for explanation.  

4. Check out the Analysis Exchange resources

The Analysis Exchange offers a number of blog posts, FAQs and sample projects to help you understand what is expected of you.

First, check out the Analysis Exchange website and documentation.

Take a read of the Analysis Exchange blog, and some helpful posts:

·      Tips for a Successful Project

·      How to reach out to Nonprofits in Your Community - Make an Even Bigger Difference

·      Top 5 Mentoring Lessons Learned

·      Tips and tricks

 

Want to see the typical output? Check out what was prepared for PBS as a part of an Analysis Exchange project:

 

 

Highly Recommended

There are only 24 hours in a day, so you may not be able to do everything prior to your first project. However, these are definitely recommended (especially if you’re actively pursuing a career in digital analytics!) even if you maybe don’t have a chance before your first project.

5. Read popular digital analytics blogs

There is no shortage of blogs about digital analytics – and far too many of them to list here. Take the time to read some basic posts, whether they are about how to do specific things in Google Analytics, or more general posts about how to deal with a particular business problem with digital analytics.

6. Get involved in the digital analytics community

There is a vibrant digital analytics community out there, and you will learn a lot by getting involved. You can attend free events like the Digital Analytics Association local symposiums or Web Analytics Demystified’s “Accelerate”, network by attending a Web Analytics Wednesday, talk with digital analysts via Twitter (check out the #measure hashtag) or join some of the many Linked In groups.

Ready?

Now that you’re feeling a little more prepared, dive into your first project! If you’ve covered off on the above, you’re well prepared. 

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Your first Analysis Exchange project: Student or Mentor?

Contributors: Michele Kiss, Emer Kirrane, Elizabeth Smalls

It’s a common question: “For my first Analysis Exchange project, should I be a Student or a Mentor?”

Here are some factors to help you decide, from those who have been involved in the Analysis Exchange for some time:

Student:

·      If you are new to digital analytics: You’ll want to start as a student. You’ll get the hands on experience you’re looking for, and the support of a great mentor.

·      If you are fairly new to the industry, or don’t yet feel comfortable in Google Analytics: You might want to consider starting as a student, just till you feel comfortable guiding someone else in a mentor role.

·      If you have digital analytics experience, but don’t feel ready yet:  Maybe you want more experience presenting, putting together a story with data, translating business goals to measurement strategy. Maybe you just want the chance to learn from a new mentor. Go ahead and sign up as a student!

·      If you’re unfamiliar with the Analysis Exchange: You can always start as a student to “get your feet wet”, understand how projects run and get the student perspective.

Little known fact: You can change from student to mentor (and back) at any time. So if you’re new to the Analysis Exchange, you can consider doing your first project as a student. If you then feel up to it, switch over to a mentor role.

Mentor:

·      If you currently manage a team of analysts: You can add a lot of value as a mentor. Students are looking for someone who has experience guiding junior analysts, and often there is a shortage of mentors.

·      If you don’t formally manage anyone, but still help mentor in your current role: Consider being a mentor. You don’t have to have an official “manager” title to mentor in the Analysis Exchange. The mentor role will even help grow your management experience – reviewing their work, making recommendations for improvements (without taking over!) and giving feedback on their presentation. These are valuable skills for if you ever do consider a people management role.

·      If you have are currently working in the industry and have completed projects as a student: You may want to consider stepping up to a mentor role. You have real-world knowledge, a great foundation in Analysis Exchange projects, and mentoring will give you valuable experience about how to coach junior analysts. Even if the majority of your experience is not with Google Analytics, you will quickly find the things you have to offer your student are NOT about the intricacies of GA. They are much more fundamental – how to translate your non-profit’s business questions into analytics opportunities, how to scope a project, how to use data to answer business questions, how to analyse, test theories, segment, how to communicate with the stakeholder and how to present findings.

Keep in mind: it’s common to not feel “ready” for your first project, whether it be as a mentor or a student. Starting as a student can help you to feel more prepared for a later mentor role. But ultimately, if you are working in the industry, you probably have more to offer than you realise. Once you feel confident, step up and become a mentor and help the Analysis Exchange grow the digital analytics industry! 

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Technical Audits Can Help to Define Analysis Exchange Projects

As a non-profit, you know that you have the ability to get free help from Web Analytics professionals by participating in the Analysis Exchange, and you want to make the most of this fantastic opportunity.  You know that you will be working with mentors, who are highly accomplished in their field, as well as students, who are eager to extend their digital measurement skills.  You also know that everyone will be volunteering their time. 

But, maybe, you are just starting out in Web Analytics, as many non-profits are, and the simple task of determining the goals of a project may seem intimidating, if not overwhelming, to you.  Requesting a Technical Audit for your first Analysis Exchange project may be a solution for you.

 

What is a Technical Audit?

                It may be surprising to hear that, out of the box, even the best analytics software doesn’t track everything you need to know about your website.  Believe it or not, there may be many marketing efforts that are missing from your reports, or some of your reports may be inaccurate due to various tracking issues.  How do you know which reports are working as you would want them to, and which ones are misrepresenting your data?

A technical audit is a thorough evaluation of your website’s analytics software implementation that allows you to understand what your software may be missing or reporting inaccurately.  It provides you with knowledge of your reporting limitations, and its ultimate goal is to identify issues that need to be addressed to ensure that key visitor behaviors are captured accurately so that your data-driven recommendations are reliable.  By requesting an audit from the mentor and student in your first Analysis Exchange project, the areas of greatest need will be identified, and you can prioritize your subsequent projects according to your requirements, while obtaining ideas for future projects.  This will allow you to gain greater confidence that the outcome of your first project will be successful, and it will also set the stage for future steps to take.  Utilizing this approach can give you the greatest bang for your buck, even though you’re not spending a penny!!  

Technical audits normally cost thousands of dollars, and their findings can be quite extensive.  Although all of the information below may not be included in a free audit, you can be assured that your mentor and student will provide you with findings that will improve your data-driven decision-making capabilities.  The following are among the findings you might receive from a free technical audit:

·         Identification of pages that are not tracked by current, functioning default JavaScript tracking codes or log files

·         Recommendations to improve Content and Audience Segmentation

·         Confirmation that signup and donation paths and confirmations are counted as funnels and conversions for more detailed reporting

·         Assurance that site search keywords and navigation impacts are measured

·         Recommendations for improvements to dashboard layouts, summaries, sharing, and underlying reports

·         Verification that all active marketing efforts are counted as campaigns and includes more detailed reporting by channel, source and creative

·         Confirmation of  integration of search engine marketing (SEM) pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns

In addition, an audit can be performed on your Google Analytics capabilities or your specific Campaign Attribution efforts can be evaluated.

 

Agora Partnerships’ First AE Project

Dorrit Lowsen, COO at Agora Partnerships, a non-profit organization that works with promising entrepreneurs in developing countries, was the beneficiary of this approach in her first project with the Analysis Exchange.   She had hoped to understand how website and social media data could help them understand how effective their web presence was at achieving each of the goals they had established.  Peter Howley, Project Mentor and Principal at Empirical Path, performed an abbreviated Google Analytics audit on the Agora website, and Joan Cole, Project Student, provided an analysis and summary of the tracking enhancements that were needed to improve Agora’s reporting capabilities.  The findings were enlightening: there was no tracking in place for campaigns, non-page events, ecommerce, or social media.  This meant that Agora could not identify which marketing efforts were the most successful, and that their reporting of Direct and Referral traffic was inaccurate. 

From learning about these reporting issues, Dorrit was able to make an educated decision about the ultimate goal of her first project.  She decided that campaign tracking issues should take priority on this project, and Peter and Joan provided her with a campaign tracking tool and methodology that addressed her most critical need first.  She also came away from the project with several ideas for future projects and the feeling that her first project was successful.  You can read more about the Agora Partnerships Analysis Exchange project here.

Submitted by Analysis Exchange Student, Joan Cole

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Exciting Opportunity with charity: water

charity: water has been utilizing the Analysis Exchange since 2010 and is one of our most enthusiastic supporters!  They have been quoted in press releases and have done multiple projects through the Analysis Exchange.

charity: water is now hiring their first data person to work in their headquarters in NYC! Here is a link to the job posting.

This data person will own their automated personalized communications system across their site/email, expand their emails and build a measurement framework to continually test and improve. They’ll work on defining and measuring segments as a result, and also plug into Google Analytics to help Paull Young, Director of Digital at charity: water, drive their marketing KPIs.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at wendy.greco@analysis-exchange.com

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Top 5 Mentoring Lessons Learned in the Analysis Exchange

Last week, as I finished my first mentorship in the Analysis Exchange, I spent some time reflecting on what I learned from my first project and what I would carry into the next.  While I had some reservations about pursuing this fabulous web analytics opportunity initially, it was a great experience that I would recommend for non-profit organizations, students and mentors alike.  None of the below lessons caused our project to fail, quite the contrary, but in the spirit of continuous improvement, these are opportunities going forward that will hopefully help others in my shoes as well.  Live and learn is the name of the game, right?

1.     Time Management.  Before committing to the project, think about time management.  Will this project, given differing time zones require you to use any time from your full-time position?  Do you need to make arrangements to reserve this time for Analysis Exchange (AE)?  In my situation, our organization was based in Switzerland with a student in Oregon and me in Missouri.  There were limited times we could meet that wouldn’t mean one of us was losing sleep.  I did make efforts to minimize the AE work during my work day, which was helpful.  In our virtual working world, this won’t be a problem for most, but thinking through the logistics of how this will work is worth the planning effort.

2.     Project Plan.  This may seem like a given but once I began the project, I was so impressed with my student I didn’t feel a written project plan was of the utmost importance.  We had a plan with the organization, but it would have been helpful to have a written plan between the student and I to ensure we were both in synch regarding back off dates to review, edit and finalize the presentation.  We worked together harmoniously but this may have been helpful in the end when we became a bit crunched for time. 

3.     Mentor the Organization as much as the Student.  One of the points of feedback I received from the organization we worked with is that they didn’t receive many personal web analytics recommendations from me directly.  This surprised me at first because many of my suggestions had been incorporated and presented by the student.  My view of the project was that it was the student’s project and I would add background value, helping the student to shine.  What I failed to think through is that the organization didn’t see all of the back and forth communication between the student and I.  He wouldn’t recognize my efforts or contributions and understandably so.  The value of the mentor role then becomes a bit vague for the organization.  For the next project, I will try to engage the organization in the conversations the student and I have separately.  This may mean a mid-project call or two with the organization, student and I, but will help the organization learn just as much as the student.

4.     Rehearse , rehearse, rehearse.  As I mentioned, my student impressed me.  He far exceeded my expectations of the caliber of analytical skills I would find with the students in the AE.  Most of our communications were via email, which worked very efficiently.  However, in hindsight, another opportunity to provide feedback and help the student grow is by rehearsing the presentation on a call.  Part of the challenge of web analytics is delivering insightful analysis in a very simple and easily digestible format.  Presentation is half of this battle.  Providing feedback to the student regarding presentation style, flow, and timing just can’t be done as thoughtfully via email alone. 

5.     Just Do It.  Before participating in the Analysis Exchange, I was apprehensive of if I could do it.  I won’t even elaborate on the reasons why because they just seem silly now.  The Analysis Exchange is such an amazing experience for all parties involved.  What other prospect exists to do what you love while helping others learn and giving back to very worthy non-profit organizations?  None that I’ve seen.  Nike got this one very right – next time, I’ll just do it.  

Have you been a mentor, student or organization participating in the Analysis Exchange?  What lessons did you learn along the way?  What would you do differently the next time around?

Submitted by Analysis Exchange Mentor, Angie Bledsoe

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