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Interview – Divya Krishnan, Head of Analytics at Position2

Interview – Divya Krishnan, Head of Analytics at Position2

Bhasker Gupta

[dropcap style=”1″ size=”2″]AIM[/dropcap]Analytics India Magazine: What are some of the main tenets (philosophies, goals, attributes) of analytics approach and policies at your organization?

[dropcap style=”1″ size=”2″]DK[/dropcap]Divya Krishnan: At Position2 we create and manage different types of online marketing campaigns. Since we focus exclusively on digital, we are extremely data driven.

Before the start of every campaign, number based goals are set. For example, total leads or sales with a cost per lead caveat. Now, while this might be easy to do for Paid Search or Email marketing campaigns, we also push for other types of campaigns such as Social Media and our latest offering Enterprise Visibility Accelerator to be deployed with number based goals.

Internally, all teams follow the process:

Create -> Track  -> Analyze -> Optimize


Tracking is of special focus since the use of right tools and processes is required to derive useful and meaningful data.

AIM: Please brief us about some business solutions you work on and how you derive value out of it.

DK: Analytics is at the core of the different functional teams – Pay per click (PPC), Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media and Email Marketing.

A lot of clients run multiple campaigns simultaneously. For these campaigns, we use multi-channel analytics to understand the value of the different touch points in the conversion process.

Beyond Clickstream, we also find ways to improve website usability and customer experience by using heatmaps and voice of customer analytics.

AIM: Please brief us about the size of your analytics division and what is hierarchal alignment, both depth and breadth.

DK: The core team currently comprises of 4 dedicated resources that manage full-fledged analytics projects as well as support the different functional teams to capture, report and improve performance.

At a broader level, almost all the teams do some amount of analytics in the context of reporting on performance and looking for ways to optimize. We collaborate cross functionally to provide data analytics & tool expertise to these teams.

AIM: Would you like to share any example of an Insight that generated a huge positive impact for your clients?

DK: We ran the paid search campaign for a very popular video sharing site. Campaign objective was to improve a critical engagement KPI – total time spent on site while increasing the traffic.

The challenge was in identifying which themes (type of videos – shows, trailers, songs etc.) had potential to increase traffic while simultaneously improving engagement metrics. For this, the keywords were grouped into themes such as movies, artists, albums, comedy shows and evaluated in a performance matrix.

Categories with higher potential were invested in more and the others were quickly killed.

As a result, the time on site increased by 26% month over month while traffic increased by 3x.

AIM: Do you think it’s possible to become too married to the data that comes out of analytics? Where do you draw the line?

DK: True – especially in the digital world, where one has access to so much in-house as well as industry data.

The acid test for any analysis is to check if it solves any business questions. Business questions are usually straightforward but hard to answer. Example – How much is my online campaigns impacting offline sales?

If the good looking dashboards and flashy charts don’t help in answering these type of questions, then it is just reporting and not analytics.

AIM: What are a few things that organizations should be doing with their analytics efforts that most don’t do today?

DK: Make sure analytics is owned by the right team and this should not be the IT team. In my opinion, for most organizations the Marketing team should drive the analysts to understand customers better.

To truly benefit from analytics, the entire org culture should be data driven. Decisions based on gut feel or personal opinions kill such a culture.

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AIM: What are the most significant challenges you face being in the forefront of analytics space?

DK: In the last few years there has been a data explosion and new tools are being created to cope with this explosion.  The challenge for most businesses and their partners such as us is in being able to apply the data in ways that adds business value.

AIM: How did you start your career in analytics?

DK: I started my career analyzing TRP (Television Rating Points) data to understand television viewership while working for TAM Media Research in Mumbai. Foreseeing a boom in cloud computing & e-commerce, I decided to shift to the web industry and moved to Bangalore about six years back. Unlike other media (T.V, print), web is unique because it is possible to measure results in terms of clicks, form fills or sales.

In the past 5 years, the Web Analytics landscape has evolved tremendously with new tools, enhancements to existing ones and increasing expectations from clients.

AIM: What do you suggest to new graduates aspiring to get into analytics space?

DK: There is a lot of opportunity in Analytics careers across industries. Unfortunately, there are no degrees or certifications one can acquire from universities or popular B-Schools in India. While there are private institutions that offer courses on tools, I wouldn’t recommend those for freshers. It is a lot more meaningful to use tools with real business data and context.

Research and find a role, which offers opportunity for real data analysis. Stay away from roles where one is expected to do templatized reporting.

AIM: How do you see Analytics evolving today in the industry as a whole? What are the most important contemporary trends that you see emerging in the Analytics space across the globe?

DK: Web Analytics, in the context of reporting of performance of different acquisition channels such as Paid Search, Email Marketing, Social Media in silos will be replaced by Digital Intelligence – understanding a user’s interactions across all digital touch points and channels (both offline and online) to derive the life-time value of the customer.

Mobile analytics is going to be the other big wave in the industry. In light of the $1.46 billion spent on Cyber Monday, and the fact that the Mobile and Tablet traffic doubled this year compared to 2011, tracking mobile traffic is going to be critical.

[divider top=”1″] [spoiler title=”Biography of Divya Krishnan” open=”0″ style=”2″]

Divya is a Media Analytics professional who started her career at TAM Media Research after completing an MBA from Mumbai University. She currently heads Analytics at Position2 Inc, a leading search and social marketing firm serving clients in the U.S and India. Her team specializes in E-commerce set-up and analysis, Landing Page Testing, Social media analytics and Web Usability.

Divya has authored several research articles on Web Analytics, and regularly delivers guest lectures in various forums on Media Analytics. She believes that Analysts are partly to blame for the stigma of being glorified data clerks and should do more in putting the data to use and having hard meaningful conversations about tangibles.[/spoiler]

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