Reading Avinash Kaushik’s blog has become an anticipated event in my day. Today was no exception. Avinash interviews Dr. Steven Turner, CTO at ClickTracks. Anyone who has heard me speak at a conference or training seminar knows of my love (is that too strong of a feeling?) for ClickTracks, so this was a very special treat.

It was very interesting to hear what one of the main creators of the ClickTracks product views as the most important component, or the most overlooked. It is a great interview, and this “10 Minutes With . . .” series by Avinash should be in your bookmarks.

The best question/answer that struck me was this exchange:

12. What is the one thing about the future of web analytics that none of us know, but you do? :)
However much the web changes, people who can understand both business and data will still make the best analysts. Or maybe you did know that already.

This is the concept that is lost on most businesses and analysts. Unless a proper understanding of the business and sales model is understood by the analyst, there will be no usable information generated by either the software or the analyst. Before building a case for improvement of a website, the analyst MUST understand the business model, and what is important to the site owner, which actions lead to important business goals, and how those affect the overall bottom line of the business.

Simply going at analytics with a “more sales is the goal” attitude leaves a lot of valuable information out of the equation for building a better web site. That type of attitude becomes a blinder to potentially relevant information that will be overlooked or simply not found. The fundamental operations of a business must be part of the learning process for any analyst.

The next comment from Dr. Turner is one that I have also preached many times, so it is amazing to hear someone with many more letters after their name say it too. “segmentation is what enables you to ask and answer questions about your site.”

Awesome – it’s all about asking questions. If you are simply printing out reports from your analytics program, you are missing everything. The only way to get real data is to ask questions – to get inside the head of the visitor.