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Re: [webanalytics] Re: UBC Analytics Course vs. Univ San Fran Web Analytics

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  • Jim Novo
    ... I wonder, would you consider Euclidean geometry outdated because it was developed in the 3rd century BC? Web Analytics Demystified was published in 2004
    Message 1 of 12 , Jan 19, 2010
      > The literature is pretty outdated (texts from 2005 and 2004; f.ex. the
      > part about SEO is from yesteryear - (at least that way I learned that
      > Yahoo! Search Marketing used to be called "Overture"; I had to google it.)
      > When I go to a university programme certified by the Web Analytics
      > Association, I would at least expect the literature to be on the edge of
      > current development.

      I wonder, would you consider Euclidean geometry "outdated" because it was
      developed in the 3rd century BC? Web Analytics Demystified was published in
      2004 and is still considered a seminal work in the business. A 5 year old
      date does not mean the material is wrong, does it?

      The UBC courses, by design, focus on the business application of web
      analytics. If a new technology does not change a fundamental driver of the
      business value that can be extracted from web analytics then there's really
      no reason to "update" the courses.

      The approach we take is to teach students how to think for themselves about
      analytical problem solving in a business environment, to develop their own
      creativity in problem solving rather than following robotic formulas that
      may lose relevance over time. And we don't teach Marketing, SEO, PPC, etc.
      The focus is on the *analysis* of Marketing, not how to *do* Marketing.

      That all said, we recognize that mentioning Overture and similar editorial
      issues may create confusion, and a thorough editorial review of all the
      course material is scheduled for March 2010. We're looking for project
      managers and editors to assist with this; if you are interested in helping
      out and are a WAA member, send a blurb with a little bit of your background
      to Raquel Collins at UBC:

      collins@...

      > Looks like this guy isn't that false in what he's writing about the
      > course:
      > http://www.truthypr.com/2009/08/the-ubc-award-of-achievement-in-web-analytics.html

      The comments he made in August 2009 are mostly centered around 3 things:

      1. The courses were not "advanced" enough
      2. The courses did not teach deployment
      3. The tutors could be more involved and active in discussions

      Let's address each:

      1. Clearly, the concept of "advanced" is in the eye of the beholder. If
      you have experience on the business side of web analytics, actually turning
      the data into information that is acted on as opposed to just running
      reports, then parts of the courses may not seem very "advanced". This is
      especially true of the 1st course - Introduction to Web Analytics. If
      you're a beginner - the target market the courses were designed for - then
      you will probably find the courses to be quite "advanced" as a whole.

      2. Implementation, maintenance, tag coding etc. have never been a subject
      of the courses and will not be in the future. This area can be in many ways
      vendor-specific and so is best left to the vendors, who all have great
      courses available on these topics. We teach enough of the technology in the
      courses for a non-tech person to be able to communicate with the
      implementation folks, but we're not trying to teach IT skills.

      3. This is a fair criticism. We know this because it was picked up in our
      own student surveys as the number of course offerings expanded to meet
      demand. Mea culpa, and newly graduating students should be having a
      different experience by now; we'll see what the surveys say.

      97% of students taking the courses give them positive ratings, which is
      remarkable in the world of online education. Still, we won't be able to
      please everyone, and people looking for deployment skills or a Marketing
      education should probably look elsewhere.

      Hope the above answers your questions, if you have any others, go ahead and
      post them.

      Jim Novo
      Managing Director of Education
      Web Analytics Association
      jim@...

      Take the courses:
      http://www.tech.ubc.ca/metrics/
    • Pinda Bazley
      I agree with you on this. I have also tried the module 1 and I was disappointed as well. I just started a conversion optimization master certification at
      Message 2 of 12 , Jan 19, 2010
        I agree with you on this. I have also tried the module 1 and I was disappointed as well. I just started a conversion optimization master certification at Market Motive and I am very impressed. We have a weekly conference call with instructor. Materials include both signed book and video. We will get to do a project as well. I highly recommend studying with Market Motive www.marketmotive.com





        To: webanalytics@yahoogroups.com
        From: lucolg@...
        Date: Mon, 18 Jan 2010 18:02:30 +0000
        Subject: [webanalytics] Re: UBC Analytics Course vs. Univ San Fran Web Analytics





        I recently started the WAA program at UBC. I am currently in the first module, and I really have to say that I am kind of disappointed. It was way more insightful to read Avinash Kaushik's Web Analytics 2.0 book.

        The literature is pretty outdated (texts from 2005 and 2004; f.ex. the part about SEO is from yesteryear - (at least that way I learned that Yahoo! Search Marketing used to be called "Overture"; I had to google it.) When I go to a university programme certified by the Web Analytics Association, I would at least expect the literature to be on the edge of current development.

        Looks like this guy isn't that false in what he's writing about the course: http://www.truthypr.com/2009/08/the-ubc-award-of-achievement-in-web-analytics.html

        I would also be very interested in the San Fran program. If it is much better, I might stop my WAA course (until now, I have payed for Module 1 only) and do that other one.

        --- In webanalytics@yahoogroups.com, "Jim Sterne" <jsterne@...> wrote:
        >
        > I could go on and on about the UBC course but am *very* interested
        > to know if anybody has any experience with the USF courses....?
        > Here's a list of places to learn web analytics that I've collected so far:
        > http://bit.ly/wa-training
        >
        > I'm grateful to anybody who can send me more items to add to the list!
        >
        > Jim Sterne <jsterne@...> +1-805-965-3184
        > Target Marketing of Santa Barbara www.targeting.com
        > Rising Media, Inc.
        > www.risingmedia.com
        > eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit www.emetrics.org
        > Web Analytics Association www.WebAnalyticsAssociation.org
        > ---------------------------
        >
        >
        >
        > From: webanalytics@yahoogroups.com [mailto:webanalytics@yahoogroups.com] On
        > Behalf Of smedleyms
        > Sent: Saturday, January 16, 2010 11:47 AM
        > To: webanalytics@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [webanalytics] UBC Analytics Course vs. Univ San Fran Web Analytics
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Hi all,
        >
        > I'm an MBA with solid excel skills, experience in database design, and
        > experience with SEO, web design and Google Analytics.
        >
        > I've worked for Nike for several years and most recently as a consultant to
        > Fortune 500 companies (albeit in an industry unrelated to web analytics).
        >
        > Main question:
        > I'm trying to get my foot in the door in the analytics field and have been
        > considering the UBC Web Analytics Certificate of Achievement (total cost
        > around $2400), and also the University of San Francisco online Certificate
        > program in Internet Marketing, plus their advanced course in Web Analytics
        > (total cost around $8000).
        >
        > Does anyone in the group have experience in either of these programs? Pros
        > and cons to consider?
        >
        > Thanks!
        > Matt
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >





        _________________________________________________________________
        Hotmail: Free, trusted and rich email service.
        http://clk.atdmt.com/GBL/go/196390708/direct/01/

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • drogenfranz2000
        Hey Jim, I really appreciate your comment. Let me say sorry first for being a little too harsh with my first posting, I didn t quite get that you are (that s
        Message 3 of 12 , Jan 19, 2010
          Hey Jim,

          I really appreciate your comment. Let me say sorry first for being a little too harsh with my first posting, I didn't quite get that you are (that's what it sounds like) one of the initiators of this program.

          I am happy that there are programs like this at all, and I am sure the UBC course will get more advanced in future modules. But let me just give you a couple of examples where I thought the course literature wasn't up to date or questionable:

          Just yesterday, I read a couple of texts. One was on page testing (A/B tests). It has a good example and some interesting conclusions, no doubt about it. What I am missing are
          - references to HOW to do a quick and easy website test yourself and some links to a couple of popular resources like Google Website Optimizer? (The HOW to is something I missed in a lot of articles btw)
          - questions you should ask yourself before doing a test like that: Does the page get enough traffic at all? Are the versions different enough to expect any significant results? (the two most frequent mistakes in my company)
          - explanation of multivariate tests (ok, you could call this "advanced", but it should at least contain some reference to whether this is being dealt with on a latter stage of the program)

          The second text was on internal site search. It first states a couple of insights from a study of 2000-01:

          " * Average searches per session are 2.4 â€" most users conduct multiple searches
          * Average search session duration is 1 minute and 50 seconds
          * Average number of search words in a query is 1.7 â€" unlike search engines, website search users enter fewer words in their search queries
          * 1 in 20 users selects results from page 2
          * On average, 22% of all searches return no results
          * Average success rate in a search session is 59% â€" defined as the percentage of search sessions with a selection."

          Well, I am reading this and saying: 2001? Is this really still valid today? So I start questioning the whole text.

          Ok, then there is a little reference on "newer" studies (from 2005!):

          "Inan's 2005 survey shows that satisfaction levels are low. Over 80% of respondents indicated that they were only moderately satisfied (or less) with their onsite search functionality."

          What happened to the other indicators (I don't know if those averages are really that helpful at all)? No idea. So what will I do for my next company workshop on how to use the internal site search of our Web Analytics software? If I tell them numbers from 2001 or even 2005, they won't believe me. Neither do I. Things on the web change so quickly. And I can't believe there aren't newer studies on this topic. I got way more out of reading Avinash Kaushik's texts on internal site search analysis.

          Also, the instructions on how to improve the internal search seem outdated. What about the easiest and (to my mind) nowadays one of the most common ways to do that: Percentage of Search Exits by Keyword? (Much easier to do than to re-run the search yourself for all the keywords as the text states).

          Then, for a last example, the introduction to eMetrics text. It does have some interesting KPIs and I have even tried some of them on my own website. But in an introduction to eMetrics, I wouldn't expect dozens of compound metrics. I would expect to get the basics which aren't that easy to understand at all. I am talking about the standard metrics everyone finds in his web analytics tool the first time you open it and then wonder what they mean?

          Examples:

          - there is nothing about pages/visit average time on page/site and how it is being measured (which is important to understand)? One might argue this is not a good metric (in the UBC texts, there is a foucs on visits with at least so and so many minutes and visits by number Of page views) => if I am new to the thing, I wonder: But what is the pages/visit and average time on site metric in my google analytics for then?
          - the often misunderstood difference between visits, unique visitors and absolute unique visitors
          - direct traffic

          I also don't agree on the part in the text "Key Tools and Diagnostics Based on Different Website Objectives" that says you should heavily analyze and optimize your exit pages because the exit pages are much more random than the pages with high bounce rates (would be a good discussion topic). There is enough work to do to improve those. Exit pages are only interesting if they are part of a funnel.

          Then, to my mind, the assignment doesn't require too much thinking or even understanding of those metrics.

          It is basically: Formula for Repeat Visitor Share: (# of Repeat Visitors) / (# of Unique Visitors)
          Number of Repeat Visitors: 1234
          Number of Unique Visitors: 2345
          Assignment: Calculate the Repeat Visitor Share.

          Sorry, but I don't have to really understand what I am calculating for that assignment. Just put the numbers into my calculator, done.

          Lastly, up until now, there isn't much of a discussion between the participants going on, one thing I was hoping for a lot. Maybe the tutors have gotten a little more active than in that post I linked, but they could do more to get people to post, to my mind. Why don't they just start discussions about the literature, like "is exit page analysis really a good way to improve your site?"

          Ok, I hope that helps you. Thanks again for offering this UBC course, I am sure it will get better soon.


          --- In webanalytics@yahoogroups.com, "Jim Novo" <jim@...> wrote:
          >
          > > The literature is pretty outdated (texts from 2005 and 2004; f.ex. the
          > > part about SEO is from yesteryear - (at least that way I learned that
          > > Yahoo! Search Marketing used to be called "Overture"; I had to google it.)
          > > When I go to a university programme certified by the Web Analytics
          > > Association, I would at least expect the literature to be on the edge of
          > > current development.
          >
          > I wonder, would you consider Euclidean geometry "outdated" because it was
          > developed in the 3rd century BC? Web Analytics Demystified was published in
          > 2004 and is still considered a seminal work in the business. A 5 year old
          > date does not mean the material is wrong, does it?
          >
          > The UBC courses, by design, focus on the business application of web
          > analytics. If a new technology does not change a fundamental driver of the
          > business value that can be extracted from web analytics then there's really
          > no reason to "update" the courses.
          >
          > The approach we take is to teach students how to think for themselves about
          > analytical problem solving in a business environment, to develop their own
          > creativity in problem solving rather than following robotic formulas that
          > may lose relevance over time. And we don't teach Marketing, SEO, PPC, etc.
          > The focus is on the *analysis* of Marketing, not how to *do* Marketing.
          >
          > That all said, we recognize that mentioning Overture and similar editorial
          > issues may create confusion, and a thorough editorial review of all the
          > course material is scheduled for March 2010. We're looking for project
          > managers and editors to assist with this; if you are interested in helping
          > out and are a WAA member, send a blurb with a little bit of your background
          > to Raquel Collins at UBC:
          >
          > collins@...
          >
          > > Looks like this guy isn't that false in what he's writing about the
          > > course:
          > > http://www.truthypr.com/2009/08/the-ubc-award-of-achievement-in-web-analytics.html
          >
          > The comments he made in August 2009 are mostly centered around 3 things:
          >
          > 1. The courses were not "advanced" enough
          > 2. The courses did not teach deployment
          > 3. The tutors could be more involved and active in discussions
          >
          > Let's address each:
          >
          > 1. Clearly, the concept of "advanced" is in the eye of the beholder. If
          > you have experience on the business side of web analytics, actually turning
          > the data into information that is acted on as opposed to just running
          > reports, then parts of the courses may not seem very "advanced". This is
          > especially true of the 1st course - Introduction to Web Analytics. If
          > you're a beginner - the target market the courses were designed for - then
          > you will probably find the courses to be quite "advanced" as a whole.
          >
          > 2. Implementation, maintenance, tag coding etc. have never been a subject
          > of the courses and will not be in the future. This area can be in many ways
          > vendor-specific and so is best left to the vendors, who all have great
          > courses available on these topics. We teach enough of the technology in the
          > courses for a non-tech person to be able to communicate with the
          > implementation folks, but we're not trying to teach IT skills.
          >
          > 3. This is a fair criticism. We know this because it was picked up in our
          > own student surveys as the number of course offerings expanded to meet
          > demand. Mea culpa, and newly graduating students should be having a
          > different experience by now; we'll see what the surveys say.
          >
          > 97% of students taking the courses give them positive ratings, which is
          > remarkable in the world of online education. Still, we won't be able to
          > please everyone, and people looking for deployment skills or a Marketing
          > education should probably look elsewhere.
          >
          > Hope the above answers your questions, if you have any others, go ahead and
          > post them.
          >
          > Jim Novo
          > Managing Director of Education
          > Web Analytics Association
          > jim@...
          >
          > Take the courses:
          > http://www.tech.ubc.ca/metrics/
          >
        • Jim Novo
          ... No offense taken, these are valid questions we often answer in direct communications, and I think it s useful to answer them in an open forum. ... I m not
          Message 4 of 12 , Jan 20, 2010
            > I really appreciate your comment. Let me say sorry first for being a
            > little too harsh with my first posting, I didn't quite get that you are
            > (that's what it sounds like) one of the initiators of this program.

            No offense taken, these are valid questions we often answer in direct
            communications, and I think it's useful to answer them in an open forum.

            > I am happy that there are programs like this at all, and I am sure the UBC
            > course will get more advanced in future modules. But let me just give you
            > a couple of examples where I thought the course literature wasn't up to
            > date or questionable:

            I'm not sure there is value in going through your quotations point by point,
            given what I said in the last post. So I will rephrase a bit and perhaps
            clear up some of the confusion.

            There is a significant difference between the content in the Intro course
            and the other 3 courses. The fact you are asking the questions you are
            asking tells me you have already formed opinions about approaches, what is
            right and not right, etc. In other words, you have experience.

            An "Introduction" Course, by definition, has to assume zero knowledge of web
            analytics by people taking the course, and there are various audiences to
            serve - wanna-be analysts, managers, marketing people, CFO's, CEO's etc.
            Many non-analysts take the Intro course so they can understand and better
            communicate with web analysts. So going through deep examples and talking
            about tools and commanding that people "think this way" about web analytics
            isn't particularly useful in that context.

            The purpose of the Intro course is to provide a common language and platform
            for understanding "everything" that is web analytics, from what a log file
            is to managing analytical people. It's a *very* shallow but *extremely* wide
            view of the space.

            If you have web analytics experience, you might not find this approach
            particularly useful, but there are many more people who don't have this
            experience who need a shallow but wide view, because they're never going to
            actually *do* any web analytics. But they will have to use the output of
            web analytics or manage people doing web analytics. The Intro course is
            just right for them.

            These people are probably *not* going to take Courses 2 - 4, which is where
            the heavy analytical thinking and process topics are covered. We find most
            analysts have a lot of experience in a corner of web analytics, not so much
            in other areas. So Courses 2 - 4 are where people with the most experience
            with e-mail analysis also learn PPC analysis; people who have optimized
            campaigns learn how to optimize web sites, and so forth. If you are an
            "expert" in email analysis, you may find that material in that section not
            terribly useful. But there are people taking the courses that will find it
            useful, because they're not experts in email analysis.

            If the Intro course is not right for you, did you know you can get a waiver
            and start with Course 2? If you think you know all you need to know to move
            on to deeper dives across the entire range of web analytics topics, you can
            apply for a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) waiver. Information about this
            is on the Intro Course Description page:

            http://www.tech.ubc.ca/webanalytics/intro_course.html

            Finally, I'd just like to clarify the educational position we take in the
            courses.

            Every day I see approaches to web analytics people call "best practices"
            that I believe are just plain wrong. These "best practices" are typically
            based on a narrow view of the world - either the culture of where the person
            worked, the blogs or books they read, whatever. I look at what they are
            saying and I just know that they are not measuring what they think they are,
            or the value of the measurement is far below what they think it is, or it's
            simply a stupid way to look at the problem. My view comes from 25+ years of
            experience in Marketing Analytics, 15 of those years including online.

            Yet, I am not going to say they are "wrong", because for their place in
            time, their experience, their culture, they may very well be right - if only
            temporarily.

            The primary objective of the WAA courses is to teach people how to *think*
            like an analyst.

            That is what the business world is demanding. They tell us "reporting
            robots" have very little value to them. What they want is people who can
            see around corners, who discover brand new ideas, who can create a
            hypothesis nobody has ever heard of and then prove it.

            So, the objective of the courses is clearly *not* to give people lists of
            best practices, formulas to follow, preach the "right" way to do things, and
            create the very reporting robots the business world is telling us has low
            value to them. Besides, you can get all of that by simply searching the
            web; there is no shortage of "experts" willing to tell you "the right way"
            to do web analytics.

            What the Courses do is expose people to a wide variety of - even sometimes
            conflicting - analytical thinking about the web, talk about pros and cons of
            different approaches using examples, and create in students the confidence
            to develop their own approaches and formulas for the specific situations
            they encounter, whatever they do.

            Hope the above explains what the WAA is trying to do with the courses. Like
            I said before, they're probably not for everybody, but they do attempt to
            deliver what the hiring marketplace is asking for.

            Jim Novo
            Managing Director of Education
            Web Analytics Association
            jim@...

            Take the courses:
            http://www.tech.ubc.ca/metrics/
          • drogenfranz2000
            Hey Jim, thank you for your answer. Ok, I will see whether I can get more out of the courses 2-4. I still think though that the organizers should check whether
            Message 5 of 12 , Jan 21, 2010
              Hey Jim,

              thank you for your answer. Ok, I will see whether I can get more out of the courses 2-4.

              I still think though that the organizers should check whether there is newer material available, even if it is introductory stuff. The examples I gave really made me appreciate the texts less. Why bother about the results of internal site search studies from 2001? I am sure there are newer studies available. Almost all the texts I have read until now were from around 2005, that's 5 years ago. Even if they are up to date, when you read them, you always ask yourself whether this still could be said so today.

              I agree, it is important to not teach people a current fashion of doing things, but the articles DO include several "how tos" - like the internal site search article. But those "how tos" could be much better if updated with current best practices. Established techniques like "Search Exits by Keyword").

              And yes, I knew there was a waiver - I even filled in the form and sent it out, but I never got any reply at all.

              Thanks again for talking about this in public. It shows everybody you're taking this seriously.

              --- In webanalytics@yahoogroups.com, "Jim Novo" <jim@...> wrote:
              >
              > > I really appreciate your comment. Let me say sorry first for being a
              > > little too harsh with my first posting, I didn't quite get that you are
              > > (that's what it sounds like) one of the initiators of this program.
              >
              > No offense taken, these are valid questions we often answer in direct
              > communications, and I think it's useful to answer them in an open forum.
              >
              > > I am happy that there are programs like this at all, and I am sure the UBC
              > > course will get more advanced in future modules. But let me just give you
              > > a couple of examples where I thought the course literature wasn't up to
              > > date or questionable:
              >
              > I'm not sure there is value in going through your quotations point by point,
              > given what I said in the last post. So I will rephrase a bit and perhaps
              > clear up some of the confusion.
              >
              > There is a significant difference between the content in the Intro course
              > and the other 3 courses. The fact you are asking the questions you are
              > asking tells me you have already formed opinions about approaches, what is
              > right and not right, etc. In other words, you have experience.
              >
              > An "Introduction" Course, by definition, has to assume zero knowledge of web
              > analytics by people taking the course, and there are various audiences to
              > serve - wanna-be analysts, managers, marketing people, CFO's, CEO's etc.
              > Many non-analysts take the Intro course so they can understand and better
              > communicate with web analysts. So going through deep examples and talking
              > about tools and commanding that people "think this way" about web analytics
              > isn't particularly useful in that context.
              >
              > The purpose of the Intro course is to provide a common language and platform
              > for understanding "everything" that is web analytics, from what a log file
              > is to managing analytical people. It's a *very* shallow but *extremely* wide
              > view of the space.
              >
              > If you have web analytics experience, you might not find this approach
              > particularly useful, but there are many more people who don't have this
              > experience who need a shallow but wide view, because they're never going to
              > actually *do* any web analytics. But they will have to use the output of
              > web analytics or manage people doing web analytics. The Intro course is
              > just right for them.
              >
              > These people are probably *not* going to take Courses 2 - 4, which is where
              > the heavy analytical thinking and process topics are covered. We find most
              > analysts have a lot of experience in a corner of web analytics, not so much
              > in other areas. So Courses 2 - 4 are where people with the most experience
              > with e-mail analysis also learn PPC analysis; people who have optimized
              > campaigns learn how to optimize web sites, and so forth. If you are an
              > "expert" in email analysis, you may find that material in that section not
              > terribly useful. But there are people taking the courses that will find it
              > useful, because they're not experts in email analysis.
              >
              > If the Intro course is not right for you, did you know you can get a waiver
              > and start with Course 2? If you think you know all you need to know to move
              > on to deeper dives across the entire range of web analytics topics, you can
              > apply for a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) waiver. Information about this
              > is on the Intro Course Description page:
              >
              > http://www.tech.ubc.ca/webanalytics/intro_course.html
              >
              > Finally, I'd just like to clarify the educational position we take in the
              > courses.
              >
              > Every day I see approaches to web analytics people call "best practices"
              > that I believe are just plain wrong. These "best practices" are typically
              > based on a narrow view of the world - either the culture of where the person
              > worked, the blogs or books they read, whatever. I look at what they are
              > saying and I just know that they are not measuring what they think they are,
              > or the value of the measurement is far below what they think it is, or it's
              > simply a stupid way to look at the problem. My view comes from 25+ years of
              > experience in Marketing Analytics, 15 of those years including online.
              >
              > Yet, I am not going to say they are "wrong", because for their place in
              > time, their experience, their culture, they may very well be right - if only
              > temporarily.
              >
              > The primary objective of the WAA courses is to teach people how to *think*
              > like an analyst.
              >
              > That is what the business world is demanding. They tell us "reporting
              > robots" have very little value to them. What they want is people who can
              > see around corners, who discover brand new ideas, who can create a
              > hypothesis nobody has ever heard of and then prove it.
              >
              > So, the objective of the courses is clearly *not* to give people lists of
              > best practices, formulas to follow, preach the "right" way to do things, and
              > create the very reporting robots the business world is telling us has low
              > value to them. Besides, you can get all of that by simply searching the
              > web; there is no shortage of "experts" willing to tell you "the right way"
              > to do web analytics.
              >
              > What the Courses do is expose people to a wide variety of - even sometimes
              > conflicting - analytical thinking about the web, talk about pros and cons of
              > different approaches using examples, and create in students the confidence
              > to develop their own approaches and formulas for the specific situations
              > they encounter, whatever they do.
              >
              > Hope the above explains what the WAA is trying to do with the courses. Like
              > I said before, they're probably not for everybody, but they do attempt to
              > deliver what the hiring marketplace is asking for.
              >
              > Jim Novo
              > Managing Director of Education
              > Web Analytics Association
              > jim@...
              >
              > Take the courses:
              > http://www.tech.ubc.ca/metrics/
              >
            • Richard Joyce
              I have completed three of the UBC modules and I have to agree that the age of some of the material did make me question it s validity. Overall I have found the
              Message 6 of 12 , Jan 21, 2010
                I have completed three of the UBC modules and I have to agree that the
                age of some of the material did make me question it's validity.

                Overall I have found the course to be great. If there was some
                statement in the material that is reviewed every year to ensure it's
                still relevant then it woudn't have been an issue. But reading through
                it it would be easy to conclude that the material was put together in
                2005 and then never looked at again.

                drogenfranz2000 wrote:
                >
                >
                > Hey Jim,
                >
                > I really appreciate your comment. Let me say sorry first for being a
                > little too harsh with my first posting, I didn't quite get that you
                > are (that's what it sounds like) one of the initiators of this program.
                >
                > I am happy that there are programs like this at all, and I am sure the
                > UBC course will get more advanced in future modules. But let me just
                > give you a couple of examples where I thought the course literature
                > wasn't up to date or questionable:
                >
                > Just yesterday, I read a couple of texts. One was on page testing (A/B
                > tests). It has a good example and some interesting conclusions, no
                > doubt about it. What I am missing are
                > - references to HOW to do a quick and easy website test yourself and
                > some links to a couple of popular resources like Google Website
                > Optimizer? (The HOW to is something I missed in a lot of articles btw)
                > - questions you should ask yourself before doing a test like that:
                > Does the page get enough traffic at all? Are the versions different
                > enough to expect any significant results? (the two most frequent
                > mistakes in my company)
                > - explanation of multivariate tests (ok, you could call this
                > "advanced", but it should at least contain some reference to whether
                > this is being dealt with on a latter stage of the program)
                >
                > The second text was on internal site search. It first states a couple
                > of insights from a study of 2000-01:
                >
                > " * Average searches per session are 2.4 âEUR" most users conduct
                > multiple searches
                > * Average search session duration is 1 minute and 50 seconds
                > * Average number of search words in a query is 1.7 âEUR" unlike search
                > engines, website search users enter fewer words in their search queries
                > * 1 in 20 users selects results from page 2
                > * On average, 22% of all searches return no results
                > * Average success rate in a search session is 59% âEUR" defined as the
                > percentage of search sessions with a selection."
                >
                > Well, I am reading this and saying: 2001? Is this really still valid
                > today? So I start questioning the whole text.
                >
                > Ok, then there is a little reference on "newer" studies (from 2005!):
                >
                > "Inan's 2005 survey shows that satisfaction levels are low. Over 80%
                > of respondents indicated that they were only moderately satisfied (or
                > less) with their onsite search functionality."
                >
                > What happened to the other indicators (I don't know if those averages
                > are really that helpful at all)? No idea. So what will I do for my
                > next company workshop on how to use the internal site search of our
                > Web Analytics software? If I tell them numbers from 2001 or even 2005,
                > they won't believe me. Neither do I. Things on the web change so
                > quickly. And I can't believe there aren't newer studies on this topic.
                > I got way more out of reading Avinash Kaushik's texts on internal site
                > search analysis.
                >
                > Also, the instructions on how to improve the internal search seem
                > outdated. What about the easiest and (to my mind) nowadays one of the
                > most common ways to do that: Percentage of Search Exits by Keyword?
                > (Much easier to do than to re-run the search yourself for all the
                > keywords as the text states).
                >
                > Then, for a last example, the introduction to eMetrics text. It does
                > have some interesting KPIs and I have even tried some of them on my
                > own website. But in an introduction to eMetrics, I wouldn't expect
                > dozens of compound metrics. I would expect to get the basics which
                > aren't that easy to understand at all. I am talking about the standard
                > metrics everyone finds in his web analytics tool the first time you
                > open it and then wonder what they mean?
                >
                > Examples:
                >
                > - there is nothing about pages/visit average time on page/site and how
                > it is being measured (which is important to understand)? One might
                > argue this is not a good metric (in the UBC texts, there is a foucs on
                > visits with at least so and so many minutes and visits by number Of
                > page views) => if I am new to the thing, I wonder: But what is the
                > pages/visit and average time on site metric in my google analytics for
                > then?
                > - the often misunderstood difference between visits, unique visitors
                > and absolute unique visitors
                > - direct traffic
                >
                > I also don't agree on the part in the text "Key Tools and Diagnostics
                > Based on Different Website Objectives" that says you should heavily
                > analyze and optimize your exit pages because the exit pages are much
                > more random than the pages with high bounce rates (would be a good
                > discussion topic). There is enough work to do to improve those. Exit
                > pages are only interesting if they are part of a funnel.
                >
                > Then, to my mind, the assignment doesn't require too much thinking or
                > even understanding of those metrics.
                >
                > It is basically: Formula for Repeat Visitor Share: (# of Repeat
                > Visitors) / (# of Unique Visitors)
                > Number of Repeat Visitors: 1234
                > Number of Unique Visitors: 2345
                > Assignment: Calculate the Repeat Visitor Share.
                >
                > Sorry, but I don't have to really understand what I am calculating for
                > that assignment. Just put the numbers into my calculator, done.
                >
                > Lastly, up until now, there isn't much of a discussion between the
                > participants going on, one thing I was hoping for a lot. Maybe the
                > tutors have gotten a little more active than in that post I linked,
                > but they could do more to get people to post, to my mind. Why don't
                > they just start discussions about the literature, like "is exit page
                > analysis really a good way to improve your site?"
                >
                > Ok, I hope that helps you. Thanks again for offering this UBC course,
                > I am sure it will get better soon.
                >
                > --- In webanalytics@yahoogroups.com
                > <mailto:webanalytics%40yahoogroups.com>, "Jim Novo" <jim@...> wrote:
                > >
                > > > The literature is pretty outdated (texts from 2005 and 2004; f.ex.
                > the
                > > > part about SEO is from yesteryear - (at least that way I learned that
                > > > Yahoo! Search Marketing used to be called "Overture"; I had to
                > google it.)
                > > > When I go to a university programme certified by the Web Analytics
                > > > Association, I would at least expect the literature to be on the
                > edge of
                > > > current development.
                > >
                > > I wonder, would you consider Euclidean geometry "outdated" because
                > it was
                > > developed in the 3rd century BC? Web Analytics Demystified was
                > published in
                > > 2004 and is still considered a seminal work in the business. A 5
                > year old
                > > date does not mean the material is wrong, does it?
                > >
                > > The UBC courses, by design, focus on the business application of web
                > > analytics. If a new technology does not change a fundamental driver
                > of the
                > > business value that can be extracted from web analytics then there's
                > really
                > > no reason to "update" the courses.
                > >
                > > The approach we take is to teach students how to think for
                > themselves about
                > > analytical problem solving in a business environment, to develop
                > their own
                > > creativity in problem solving rather than following robotic formulas
                > that
                > > may lose relevance over time. And we don't teach Marketing, SEO,
                > PPC, etc.
                > > The focus is on the *analysis* of Marketing, not how to *do* Marketing.
                > >
                > > That all said, we recognize that mentioning Overture and similar
                > editorial
                > > issues may create confusion, and a thorough editorial review of all the
                > > course material is scheduled for March 2010. We're looking for project
                > > managers and editors to assist with this; if you are interested in
                > helping
                > > out and are a WAA member, send a blurb with a little bit of your
                > background
                > > to Raquel Collins at UBC:
                > >
                > > collins@...
                > >
                > > > Looks like this guy isn't that false in what he's writing about the
                > > > course:
                > > >
                > http://www.truthypr.com/2009/08/the-ubc-award-of-achievement-in-web-analytics.html
                > <http://www.truthypr.com/2009/08/the-ubc-award-of-achievement-in-web-analytics.html>
                > >
                > > The comments he made in August 2009 are mostly centered around 3 things:
                > >
                > > 1. The courses were not "advanced" enough
                > > 2. The courses did not teach deployment
                > > 3. The tutors could be more involved and active in discussions
                > >
                > > Let's address each:
                > >
                > > 1. Clearly, the concept of "advanced" is in the eye of the beholder. If
                > > you have experience on the business side of web analytics, actually
                > turning
                > > the data into information that is acted on as opposed to just running
                > > reports, then parts of the courses may not seem very "advanced".
                > This is
                > > especially true of the 1st course - Introduction to Web Analytics. If
                > > you're a beginner - the target market the courses were designed for
                > - then
                > > you will probably find the courses to be quite "advanced" as a whole.
                > >
                > > 2. Implementation, maintenance, tag coding etc. have never been a
                > subject
                > > of the courses and will not be in the future. This area can be in
                > many ways
                > > vendor-specific and so is best left to the vendors, who all have great
                > > courses available on these topics. We teach enough of the technology
                > in the
                > > courses for a non-tech person to be able to communicate with the
                > > implementation folks, but we're not trying to teach IT skills.
                > >
                > > 3. This is a fair criticism. We know this because it was picked up
                > in our
                > > own student surveys as the number of course offerings expanded to meet
                > > demand. Mea culpa, and newly graduating students should be having a
                > > different experience by now; we'll see what the surveys say.
                > >
                > > 97% of students taking the courses give them positive ratings, which is
                > > remarkable in the world of online education. Still, we won't be able to
                > > please everyone, and people looking for deployment skills or a
                > Marketing
                > > education should probably look elsewhere.
                > >
                > > Hope the above answers your questions, if you have any others, go
                > ahead and
                > > post them.
                > >
                > > Jim Novo
                > > Managing Director of Education
                > > Web Analytics Association
                > > jim@...
                > >
                > > Take the courses:
                > > http://www.tech.ubc.ca/metrics/ <http://www.tech.ubc.ca/metrics/>
                > >
                >
                >


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Eric Fettman
                Hi, folks - Just wondering if anyone has tried the GA asynchronous tracking code snippet (
                Message 7 of 12 , Jan 22, 2010
                  Hi, folks -



                  Just wondering if anyone has tried the GA asynchronous tracking code
                  snippet (
                  http://code.google.com/apis/analytics/docs/tracking/asyncTracking.html)
                  and could provide input re:



                  1. Stability/accuracy/maturity

                  2. Improvement in page load speed

                  3. If you can _trackEvent, _trackPageview, and _setVar the same
                  way as with current GA snippet

                  4. Any other considerations



                  TIA





                  Eric Fettman

                  Digital Marketing and Web Analyst

                  Travel Insured International

                  800-243-3174 x155

                  Direct 860-528-7663

                  efettman@... <mailto:efettman@...>

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                • Jim Novo
                  ... age of some of the material did make me question it s validity. ... statement in the material that is reviewed every year to ensure it s still relevant
                  Message 8 of 12 , Jan 23, 2010
                    > I have completed three of the UBC modules and I have to agree that the
                    age of some of the material did make me question it's validity.

                    > Overall I have found the course to be great. If there was some
                    statement in the material that is reviewed every year to ensure it's
                    still relevant then it woudn't have been an issue. But reading through
                    it it would be easy to conclude that the material was put together in
                    2005 and then never looked at again.

                    We will be doing exactly that in beginning in March 2010 based on feedback
                    like yours from students. The Course content was produced and vetted by a
                    team of over 50 WAA volunteers, and any WAA members who would like to assist
                    with this relevance check should contact Raquel Collins at UBC:

                    collins@...

                    Thanks for the comment Richard.

                    Jim
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