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Talking Analytics with Seb Chan

Many of us who work in online communications and marketing start using Google Analytics with certain assumptions.

  • If traffic is up, we must be doing something right.
  • It's always better if people spend 5 minutes on our site than 3 minutes.
  • A low bounce rate is better than a high bounce rate.

Earlier today, Sebastian Chan spoke to a group of BPOC members about effective ways of using Google Analytics, Reinvigorate, Quantcast, and other tools to understand a website's traffic. Seb leads the Powerhouse Museum's Digital, Social and Emerging Technologies department, and has spoken at many national conferences about developing better web metrics.

Seb emphasized the importance of using Google Analytics filters to look at the geographic location of visitors and their path to the website. As with any marketing tool, you need to keep the target audience in mind. He also challenged the notion that more time spent on a website is better (What if all people need is the museum's closing time? Aren't you serving them better if they can find that information quickly via a Google Places page and then hop in their car to make it by 3pm?) When it comes to bounce rates, you generally want a low rate when people are looking at content-rich educational pages but you're bound to see higher ones when people go through a Twitter link to look quickly at a blog post. He ended his seminar with an explanation about how the Powerhouse Museum uses Reinvigorate, a tool for measuring influence via real-time analytics and heatmaps.

After his seminar, Seb met with several museum staff one-on-one to provide more specialized guidance. Tomorrow morning he'll be speaking with Jed Sundwall for a seminar titled "Open Museums: Creating a Digital Commons."

Seb meets with a team from Mingei and BPOC

Seb with BPOC Director Rich Cherry and Cary Canning from the San Diego Natural History Museum