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Re: The mathematics behind Web Analytics?

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  • peter_oneill17
    Hi Dan, I am finding the split in responses here really interesting, between those people who believe statistics is vital to web analytics and those who rarely
    Message 1 of 15 , Dec 14, 2010
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      Hi Dan,

      I am finding the split in responses here really interesting, between those people who believe statistics is vital to web analytics and those who rarely use it. I personally don't use statistics in the vast majority of what I do, instead it is trending and segmenting data, looking for patterns and what has changed. As such, I find numerical reasoning skills to be the most important, something great to pick up is the ability to spot numbers that "look wrong".

      I do think it is important to have a decent understanding of the principles behind distribution and statistical significance. I did a fair bit of stats at uni and have forgotten most of it but simply knowing what the bell curve represents has been helpful at times (I have now ordered the cartoon guide to statistics for a refresher - thanks Daniel). What I find more dangerous are people who apply standard deviations when it is not a normal distribution (I agree with Rod that this is rarely the case in web analytics) or who claim two metrics are correlated when if they really understood the correlation test they performed, they would know this is incorrect. Excel or other tools can do these calculations for you but it is understanding the principles that is most important.

      I would not actually worry about what mathematics/statistics you should know, or which programming language, etc. What you need to be able to do is to transform data into insights and to turn these insights into recommendations for improving a business. Different web analysts use different skill sets to achieve these aims, if you hit questions you can't answer, then learn the skill set that will enable you to answer that question.

      Peter




      --- In webanalytics@yahoogroups.com, "danford16182" <danford16182@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hi,
      >
      > I'm interested to know what mathematics does a web analyst need to know?
      >
      > For all of you currently working in the Web Analytics field what is the most common mathematics you come across and have to use on a day to day basis?
      >
      > Can anyone provide me a comprehensive list of the maths I should know in order to work in the Web Analytics field?
      >
      > Thanks,
      >
      > Dan
      >
    • Jay Tkachuk
      Hi Dan, A good grasp of basic mathematical and statistical concepts would be helpful for the in-depth analysis and optimization efforts like MVT - statistical
      Message 2 of 15 , Dec 14, 2010
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        Hi Dan,

        A good grasp of basic mathematical and statistical concepts would be helpful
        for the in-depth analysis and optimization efforts like MVT - statistical
        significance, confidence intervals, correlation, regression analysis, etc.
        Any Stats 101 textbook would be a good start.

        Jay


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • captain_blackbeak
        The only time I apply statistical analysis is when I have to in order to pinpoint trends, usually in smaller datasets (IE less than a quarter of data) where I
        Message 3 of 15 , Dec 26, 2010
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          The only time I apply statistical analysis is when I have to in order to pinpoint trends, usually in smaller datasets (IE less than a quarter of data) where I want to see if anything unusual is going on or large datasets I know should follow a normal bell curve distribution, or we know the growth factor. Generally trends are what we're looking for and most of the time the tools do a good job of pinpointing them for you.

          Google already applies statistical analysis to its data in business intelligence. It's basically a great time saver as all its doing is applying statistical deviations to the data over time and telling you what effects the data (when they go beyond the norm).

          I wrote an article about the way you can do this in for instance excel if you're interested.
          http://www.blackbeak.com/2008/04/16/using-standard-deviations-to-determine-web-analytics-benchmarks/

          --- In webanalytics@yahoogroups.com, "peter_oneill17" <updates@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hi Dan,
          >
          > I am finding the split in responses here really interesting, between those people who believe statistics is vital to web analytics and those who rarely use it. I personally don't use statistics in the vast majority of what I do, instead it is trending and segmenting data, looking for patterns and what has changed. As such, I find numerical reasoning skills to be the most important, something great to pick up is the ability to spot numbers that "look wrong".
          >
          > I do think it is important to have a decent understanding of the principles behind distribution and statistical significance. I did a fair bit of stats at uni and have forgotten most of it but simply knowing what the bell curve represents has been helpful at times (I have now ordered the cartoon guide to statistics for a refresher - thanks Daniel). What I find more dangerous are people who apply standard deviations when it is not a normal distribution (I agree with Rod that this is rarely the case in web analytics) or who claim two metrics are correlated when if they really understood the correlation test they performed, they would know this is incorrect. Excel or other tools can do these calculations for you but it is understanding the principles that is most important.
          >
          > I would not actually worry about what mathematics/statistics you should know, or which programming language, etc. What you need to be able to do is to transform data into insights and to turn these insights into recommendations for improving a business. Different web analysts use different skill sets to achieve these aims, if you hit questions you can't answer, then learn the skill set that will enable you to answer that question.
          >
          > Peter
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > --- In webanalytics@yahoogroups.com, "danford16182" <danford16182@> wrote:
          > >
          > > Hi,
          > >
          > > I'm interested to know what mathematics does a web analyst need to know?
          > >
          > > For all of you currently working in the Web Analytics field what is the most common mathematics you come across and have to use on a day to day basis?
          > >
          > > Can anyone provide me a comprehensive list of the maths I should know in order to work in the Web Analytics field?
          > >
          > > Thanks,
          > >
          > > Dan
          > >
          >
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