Harikrishnan Srinivasan is the founder of TribeNautix eCommerce Consultants Pvt Ltd. TribeNautix provides Digital Marketing & Intelligence services for leading online brands in India.
Hari is a specialist in Web Analytics & Digital Marketing with experience in domains including eCommerce, Travel, Health Care, Online Training and HR. He has over 20 years of experience in information services and technology – with leading companies including Verizon, Cognizant & Wipro.
Hari has recently been working with the team at Jigsaw Academy, the online school of analytics to develop a web analytics course, which will be launched shortly.
In an interview with Analytics India Magazine, Hari talks more about what got him interested in web analytics, his predictions for analytics, the soon to be launched web analytics course at Jigsaw and advice for those interested in a career in web analytics.
Analytics India Magazine: What is so important about Web Analytics and what got you interested in it?
Harikrishnan Srinivasan: Traditional marketing continues to rely on thumb rules, intuition, not well understood TRPs and peer perceptions – even when it comes down to deciding whether an ad campaign was successful. In contrast, digital media offers measurable and reasonably accurate data – for ROI calculations.
With the increasing adoption of internet in India and growing media spends online, performance based marketing is becoming the norm. I see this as a great opportunity for many years to come. Considering my interest in statistics & quantitative analysis, it seemed natural to move full-time into the digital marketing & online analytics domain.
AIM: Can you share an interesting example of the benefits of web analytics.
Hari: One of my favorite examples is from a travel portal where customers would visit the website to cancel a ticket – by clicking on a paid ad. These are folks who had already visited the website earlier to purchase – so they know the website name by URL & brand name. Yet they chose to click on paid ads – costing the company additional ad spend, bringing in negative revenues at higher costs per transaction.
This behavior was quantified using a combination of both Analytics Reports & Web Site Visitor surveys. The company is now creating awareness among customers to use low cost visit channels – if they intend to cancel (Organic search results that display cancellations prominently in site links, email URL links & incentivize users to bookmark the URL). This will bring down unit transaction costs and overall ad spends – as the business scales.
AIM: What do you think is the future of analytics, in particular web analytics?
Hari: With the growth in internet data access across the world and the explosion of affordable & powerful mobile devices we will see huge data growth across many categories – B2C, B2B, Personal, Machine to Machine and Machine to Humans.
This will create specialized careers in the web analytics domain over the next five years – Sports, Health Care, Digital Advertising, Lifestyle and Geo Targeting to name a few, with focus on predictive techniques including crowd sourced data.
For example, Tamil Nadu Cricket Association today provides live scores of even inter-school matches on its website – this will be a treasure trove for sports analysts who would want to know everything about the future Sachins & Dhonis of Indian cricket – when they were in school!!
We will also see horizontal growth as in Personalization, Recommendation, Multi Device User Profiling, etc.
Things could get complex as data formats are varied & unstructured, volumes are huge and data flow is rapid. So dependency on algorithms & machine learning would increase. Web Analysts would need to get comfortable with these techniques as well in the next 3 years.
All in all a good time to get into web analytics – with new opportunities to learn & grow over many years.
AIM: Any other advice for those thinking of a career in web analytics.
Hari: Many folks interested in web analytics as a career are intimidated by this picture – they assume that web analytics is data & math intense and requires technology background. There is also this image of an analyst pouring through multiple reports all day long for one single insight. However there is another completely different facet to this job.
The web is also a great way to connect with your audience & customers in a faster, personable & reliable fashion. Website Vistor Surveys, Customer Ratings, Product reviews, Brand Sentiments, etc are all actual people speaking out loud on the web.
Many a times I get to ask visitors why they visit a website and whether their visit was successful via a 15 second site survey – as opposed to looking for Keywords & Website Engagement metrics.
So there is this qualitative and people interaction aspect to Web Analytics that makes the job very interesting and anyone considering Web Analytics as a career should keep this perspective as well.
AIM: And finally tell us more about the course in Web Analytics you are helping develop at Jigsaw Academy.
Hari: Yes, I am really excited about this course. The differentiator here is the business perspective we bring.
Traditional Web Analytics training is focused on tool functionality (Configuration, Report Creation and Customization) & data reporting (like visitors per day, bounce rate, time on site, conversion rates).
The Jigsaw Academy program will prepare web analysts to solve for real world business decisions – like audience selection, media planning, campaign messaging, channel spends, brand awareness, sales, customer retention, etc.
The program is holistic – covers innovative KPIs for various online business functions, data strategy, measurement frameworks, analysis and interpretation for business actionables.
This Jigsaw Web Analytics Course is for professionals in the E-Commerce industry interested in assessing online business performances (SEM, SEO, Social Media) or those in traditional business aspiring to move into Online Businesses. It is also a great career enhancer for MBA / BBA students interested in getting that edge and furthering their career in E-Commerce Marketing & Sales.