Kenneth Kwok, Founder Web Analytics Wednesday

1. When did you first found the Web Analytics Wednesday?

K: I first found Web Analytics Wednesday on the 19th November 2009 in Hong Kong as a blog (the reason I remember is because I installed Google Analytics on the day and start collecting data). Not until January 2010 we have our 1st Web Analytics Wednesday event that I pay a few thousand dollars just renting a meeting place at Quarry Bay. At that time I only advertise through blog and social media due to the funding. The 1st event end up with about 15 people attended and quite satisfied with it.

2. Why did you found Web Analytics Wednesday?

K: When I first came back to Hong Kong from China during Mid 2009, I was surprised that there isn’t any Web Analytics Wednesday. As in Beijing, Web Analytics Wednesday had already started back in 2006 and each gathering already had more than 50 people attend. This basically mean Hong Kong is 3 years behind China and 5 years behind the rest of the world. Therefore, I start asking the founder of the Beijing Web Analytics Wednesday as well as the original founder in the US to learn and understand how they run the event in their own city.

The other reason I found or orgainise the Web Analytics Wednesday is because I feel Hong Kong should start realise how web analytics will become more and more important as business are no longer only complete between their products but also how smart they leverage the data being collected. If you look around we are heavily connected to the digital space and most people in Hong Kong do have Internet connection. Therefore, it is very easy for business to gather their customer data and starts leveraging it in the right way, which include protect user data privacy. One of the issue we are facing right now is lack of resources and this is one of goal of Web Analytics Wednesday is to gather professionals in the market to share their knowledge as well as a place for new professions to learn and develop their skills.

Finally I hope web analytics will help to regain the trust and value for the I.T. Industry, as a lot of people don’t treasure their I.T. resources. As data will not lie and everything is more scientific, it allows business to measure the return on investment. By leveraging data collection, business can now justify their I.T. spending to prove that it is not a cost to the business but they are able to generate revenue for the business. On the other hand more and more business activities will transit to the digital space, in order to prove the value of digital, the only way to prove it again is through data analytics.

3. One of your blog post “How to track offline media with google analytics”. how’s that possible?

K: Many marketer always try to solve the question in regards to which part of my marketing spend generate the most revenue. In digital space this is a very simple question but in traditional media it is very hard to do so. With the changes of technology now most people will have a Smart-phone with data plan. Smart-phone become a very important medium to leverage as it can connect the offline media to the online media.

The other connection between offline and online is Augmented Reality and Quick Response Code. Therefore, it gave me the thought by leveraging different technologies in order to track user behavior. Most company does not have a lot of budget, so my solution is quite cost effective from a marketer perspective by simply using a QR Code.

What the marketer require is a mobile ready website with Google Analytics being embedded, an web address with Google Analytics tracking code and QR Code generator. Once the QR Code being generated the marketer can simply print on any offline media.

So whenever a consumer uses a smartphone to scan the QR Code, Google Analytics will recognise the consumer is from an offline media. For example, a company printed 1000 copies of leaflet to give out on the street, now 500 people use a smartphone to capture the QR Code. Therefore, the conversion rate of this campaign is 50%. In another word if each copy of leaflet is $1 the whole campaign cost $1,000 and since there are 500 people saw the campaign then the acquisition cost per person will be $2.

Again there are more things we can do and one very good example is Tesco in Korea using QR Code to allow consumer to buy daily groceries in the sub-way. Now you can see it quite often in Hong Kong but most of them do not have any tracking code, which is a shame actually. Else we can gather a lot of useful data and able to understand the effectiveness.

4. What was the biggest misunderstanding about web analytics, particularly in hong kong?

K: Personally I think the biggest misunderstanding about web analytics is it sound very technical and will cost a lot of money. When most people hear the word web, the first impression will be technical and Information Technology related. That is totally wrong as Web Analytics a combination of Business and Technology. Therefore, we shouldn’t call it web anymore; it is more about digital as all the data we now gather is through a digital device.

On the other hand many company think web analytics is free as Google provide a free tool and data will just collect automatically. This concept is totally wrong as the company might only leverage 60% of what Google Analytics provide. Most of the issue is come down to actionable data. Even the data can tell you how many users visit the website but the questions is why? What did they done? Why they leave? Did they engage?

Web analytics is not about simple numbers and charts but the art is to find out the hidden message behind it. Once a company realise web analytics is tie closely to their day-to-day operation, only then they will start value the data and understand it is not technical anymore.

5. How to learn Web Analytics fast? And who should learn Web Analytics?

K: To be honest, there is no shortcut to learn Web Analytics as there so many areas involve. The best way is to learn from others in the field and read more from blogs as well as social media. The reason is because the technology and the market is changing so quickly so most books are not up to date when they release out in the market. Most of the professional will have their own blog to share about their knowledge and they will share news through social media so it will be the quickest channel to get update in the analytics field.

On the other hand, most countries have Web Analytics Wednesday that organise by local professionals to gather and share their knowledge. Therefore, it is another effective channel to learn about Web Analytics. Since Web Analytics is an industry that is more hands on than just base on theory. The more time you spend in looking at the data and the relationship between the business and the users, the more you will get out from it.

I believe everyone should learn about web analytics as every industry and professions are able to leverage the data. I met some companies who had a very strong analytics operation model, they base on data analysis to make business decision and which allow them to understand their business from different perspectives. Base on the data, designer can base on the data to understand the user behavior to better design the user interface. From a marketing perspective, marketing team can base on the data to invest correctly on their marketing spend. At last for product development team, they can also base on the data to find out which function they should develop more and which function should be discontinued.

6. Do you want to share one last thing about Web Analytics?

K: Web Analytics is something that will be getting more and more important in any business environment. It just likes social media; it is something that cannot be avoids and businesses are required to learn and leverage. As there are so many tools out in the marketing, business can continue invest in different tools but they should even invest more in interrupting the hidden message. This is because tools will not tell you what to do next and will not be able to understand the business. Therefore, web analytics professions and services are far more expensive and important than the tool itself. Without a storyteller, the data will be just meaningless and a waste of money and effort to collect all the data from the users.

(1) Resources consumed by inefficient or non-essential activities.
(2) Process or material that does not add value to a good or service.

浪費,是大公司和政府官僚的代名詞,在Startup的世界,容不下半點浪費,尤其是未到product market fit尚未找到sweet spot的產品,為求生存,他們在爭分奪秒,卻往往在缺少資源的情況下,創造出奇蹟。實情是,資源的短缺,迫使startup們要用最有效率的方法做事。因此,成功的startup都知道打從第一天起,愈早接觸真正的用戶,愈早得到數據和意見,便愈可以減少錯誤的己見和判斷,那麼距離成功便又近了一大步。

簡單而言,這是一個尋找答案的過程,途中,運用分析工具佔了很重要的地位,因為幾乎每一個關於產品的決定,功能、設計、定位甚至微細於一個按鈕的用色的決定,都可以通過測試,直接從用戶處收集數據得到啟示。箇中的學問,難以一時說得清楚,但基本的入門和心法,若有興趣,要理解其實不難,為此我問了Web Analytics Wednesday創辦人Kenneth幾條簡單的問題。