5 Insights from Krista Seiden’s Xoogler.co talk about Digital Analytics Trends

Alex Papageorgiou
Oct 14, 2020 · 4 min read

Ex-Googler Krista Seiden was the guest speaker at the latest Xoogler.co virtual event organized by the Solopreneurs & Freelancers group.

Krista is one of the most influential voices in the digital analytics industry. She has trained thousands of new analysts via her YouTube training courses. She is also a keynote speaker, practitioner, writer on Analytics and Optimization, and a passionate supporter of #WomenInAnalytics. Krista is currently running her own analytics consultancy, KS Digital. Prior to that, she held key roles in some of the leading companies in the field, including Adobe, Quantcast and Google.

Krista discussed the major trends in the digital analytics industry as she observed them through her own independent research. Her study is based on responses from hundreds of analytics professionals. The insightful talk and discussion that followed shed light on key aspects of a changing industry.

Some highlights from the talk are as follows:

1. Companies in 2020 work with digital analytics in 3 main ways:

  • Via a major vendor, such as Google or Adobe, and this remains by far the most popular approach
  • Via one of the increasing niche analytics vendors, e.g. Heap, Amplitude, Mixpanel
  • DIY/In-house, often using a vendor from 1 and 2 above, for the data collection before an in-house developed system processes and analyzes the data.

2. Working with only one analytics vendor might not solve all problems.

Even though by and large companies are satisfied with their principal vendor, working with secondary vendors has become popular. With a secondary vendor companies can address additional use cases. For example:

  • Enable data mining and in-depth analysis (platforms like Snowplow are suitable for this)
  • Enable qualitative analysis (e.g. Hotjar to monitor and analyze user behaviour in visual ways)
  • Access to marketing audiences (e.g. Google Analytics with its integration with the rest of the Google marketing universe)

3. The Product vs Marketing analytics question

Even though in practice the reality is not so black and white, this is a common dichotomy within the industry. Heap is a good example of a vendor that companies use for product analytics. Google Analytics, on the other hand, is often used when the focus is on the marketing audiences. Interesting: Google positioned Google Analytics more as a marketing-focused analytics platform. This gave the opportunity for other vendors to market themselves in the “product analytics” category -even though, thanks to events, Google Analytics can perform product analytics just as well.

4. The DIY Analytics Paradox

Big data, an increasing number of data sources and advanced visualisation tools have created a trend of using raw data and developing DIY data pipelines and custom analysis solutions. At the same time, the opposite trend also exists. Some companies have tried it the DIY way but the cost of maintaining such solutions drove them back to working with one of the major vendors.

5. Google’s response to the new trends: App + Web [aka “Google Analytics 4” as of October 14, 2020]

Google is counting on this new approach being the future of Google Analytics and has invested heavily in its development.

Key product features:

  • It’s event-based (like most of the product analytics platforms) and this gives it extra flexibility to address more use cases
  • Provides access to the raw data (via an integration with BigQuery, Google’s data warehouse solution), which enables custom modeling and analysis of the data
  • Provides out-of-the-box automatic events collection thanks to enhanced measurement (saves times and makes the product more accessible)
  • Offers new advanced analysis types for user behaviour on the site, such as Path and Funnel analysis

Krista encourages companies working with Google Analytics to start implementing the new version. The product is already quite powerful and even though it’s not ready for prime time just yet, it is the future.

Closing thoughts

The digital analytics industry is changing at a rapid pace as a result of technology changes (e.g. Machine learning, big data, easy access to storage) as well as broader landscape developments (privacy regulations and browser protections). This not only leaves companies with a lot of options, but also questions to answer and decisions to make- all this in a less than certain environment. Krista discussed many aspects of Digital Analytics that companies need to think about in such a context. For those who are already working with the Google marketing and analytics stack or are considering it, adopting Google’s next-gen analytics solution is the recommended way forward.

Thank you Krista Seiden for sharing your insights and unique perspective with the Xooglers from our group.

Alex Papageorgiou

You can follow Krista’s blog at www.kristaseiden.com and on twitter @kristaseiden, or reach out to KS Digital at www.ksdigital.co.

About Xoogler.co: We are a group of Google alumni and current Googlers who have come together to help each other advance our ambitions in the startup ecosystem. The Xoogler.co community consists of startup founders, early team members, angel investors, VCs, and mentors.

Read about the August 2020 virtual event with Ben Legg, organized by the Xoogler.co Solopreneurs & Freelancers group

Xoogler.co

We are a group of Google alumni and current Googlers who…

Xoogler.co

We are a group of Google alumni and current Googlers who have come together to help each other advance our ambitions in the startup ecosystem. The Xoogler.co community consists of startup founders, early team members, angel investors, VCs, and mentors.

Alex Papageorgiou

Written by

Data analytics consultant focusing on customer and marketing analytics, ex-Googler alex-papageo.com

Xoogler.co

We are a group of Google alumni and current Googlers who have come together to help each other advance our ambitions in the startup ecosystem. The Xoogler.co community consists of startup founders, early team members, angel investors, VCs, and mentors.