Don’t forget a dose of analytics!

23 10 2009

If you have any familiarity with my blog, or if you don’t for that matter, you now know I am a student of interactive media. When people ask what I am studying and I tell them this, the common reaction is a perplexed look on the person’s face as they ask “What is that?” Instead of going into the explanation here, I wanted to share an insightful experience that may help to clarify the topic.
I had an opportunity earlier today to sit in on a talk by Travis Lusk, New Media Manager at WCBS Radio in New York City. He is someone who is taking traditional media, radio in this case, and helping to transition it into an online, interactive space. Highlighting the means by which this is done, he mainly discussed the importance of analytics to the online environment.

Does the mention of analytics scare you? Bring back memories of high school math classes you thought you erased from your memory years ago? I will be the first to admit I am not a math person, neither are most folks within the greater communication fields. There is no need to worry though as Lusk explained analytics do not require you to have an undue degree of mathematical knowledge under your belt to make effective use of the tools within the interactive media environment. He did specify however that it is critical to understand why people are attracted to certain content. I take this to mean you have to establish a way of getting inside the people’s heads. Analytics are a tool for providing that valuable feedback and explanations through pattern analysis.

Speaking of tracking, I was surprised when Lusk divulged just how much information online analytic tools provide. For instance, he showcased on the projection screen some examples of what data he could access regarding any particular user who visited one of the several CBS Radio websites he is in charge over. This information included the visitors name, the time spent within the website and, most eye opening to me, the location from which the user was viewing the website. Just remember, somebody is watching!

To be clear, I am not saying or even suggesting that analytics are intended to be applied for malicious purposes. Could they be, sure. Could my computer crash at any moment, sure. Lusk did provide some encouraging insight, for those who are a little on-edge by this point, about making personal connections with website users. He emphasized that if you as a media expert can reach out and touch a user, not physically but in terms of a value perspective, just once, you have made them feel important. This is tremendously important in building loyalty to foster a long-term relationship. He does this regularly when responding to user emails. Instead of having a generic company email address to respond to user’s questions, he replies with an email address that contains his name. This little step helps to establish a connection, instead of users feeling like they are one of many cogs in the machinery of modern media.

All-in-all, it was an interesting talk. Ponder over some of those points and remember that somewhere, somehow, someone is likely taking note of your actions online!



One response

27 10 2009

Good reflection on the discussion. Did you see David Kennedy’s post – he shares links to many of the useful tools that Travis discussed. This adds value to the post. I would like to do a mash-up of your post – with the nice conversation – and his post – with the useful details – and then I would have what I would consider to be the perfect post about Travis and his talk! 😀

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