A note on Demographic information in Google Analytics

The purpose of this post
This tool has started to give us a lot more data about our customers and their demographic information in groups as opposed to individuals. This post will state the amount of information you can glean from Google Analytics about the site users. It will also address the perennial question of what do you do with this information. What is actionable after all? How will your business change after you know this information?
Defining Demographic information
The Google Analytics Help page says that Understanding your audience composition in terms of gender, age, and interests lets you also understand the kinds of creative content you need to develop, the kinds of media buy you should make, and the kinds of audiences you need to develop for marketing and remarketing campaigns.
The cookies tell the tale
Google Analytics gets its information from DoubleClick Third party cookies; from Android advertising ID and iOS identifier for Advertisers. The data that is really available …

Parsing for Pollution

This post is just really a graph of air pollution that we see around the world measured according to the AQI index.

The site is structured very cleanly and allows us to parse the data with ease. I am using Python 3.6
in conjunction with Requests and BeautifulSoup to get AQI index numbers for the top 300 cities of the world by population.

An interesting point to note is that several cities still do not publish pollution indices. It is mind-boggling that governments around the world are taking air pollution so lightly.

Porting this data into Tableau, we get these rather startling graphs

Note how India is higher in this index than China. I would have thought that with all the manufacturing being in China, the pollution levels will be higher there.

Delhi is really off the charts! This level of air pollution means a lot of lung diseases are developing in this very populous city.

The script I am using to get this data is here:

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The mirage of Direct Traffic in Google Analytics

All of us have seen it. Few talk about it. Most of us don't want to admit it.
What is this ghost called direct traffic? How could customers/readers suddenly divine my name and land on my homepage. There are various reasons that someone can be captured in this catch-all bucket. All of them point to either incorrect implementation of the Google Analytics code or limitations of it.
These days, with lots of fragmented social networks, much of this direct traffic can also be attributed to links shared via Whatsapp and other channels with no attribution tagging. I would urge marketers to consider these channels too within the share buttons.
So, should we just ignore it? In essence, all that is happening is that the referrer domain is null for some sessions landing on our site.
I posit that we can still find some uses for this nullity. What can they possibly be?
Proportional allocation: Attribution of traffic in such terms as Google Analytics can show us, is not only simple but also simp…

Three Twitter learning points

Three quick learning points from Twitter over the last month
Always follow back people who follow you.if someone follows you, it is only decent to check out their twitter feed and follow them back if your interests match.Re-tweet their pinned tweet or another prominent tweet that you read and liked. Yes, you need to make that effort. It will enrich your feed too.Check out their followers and follow them too. This is not a contest on who has more followers but more an opportunity for you touch base with thought leaders in your domain.Make sure you put an effort towards providing good content to your followers.Everyday, I am devoting time to my mailing lists and emails to make sure that I can recommend some good reads to my followers.Post images and constantly change the content of your pinned tweet. It garners more attention in Twitter world.Without realizing it, you are running a daily newspaper. You don't need to get frazzled but 4 to 5 good posts a day will keep your followers e…

The Education of a Web Analyst

There are really two streams that we can see these days coming out of Master's programs. One is the marketing/product Analytics practitioner and the other is data science practitioners. At the initial levels we need to learn  both streams because it will not really be clear to a student where their capability or interests truly lie. Based on this premise, I would like to suggest a few types of learning that web analyst in particular need to imbibe in the start of their careers. Business Writing is factual journalism. I have experienced a lot of analysts coming in with lots of capability with numbers but none with writing business stories. I also see many analysts who don't know the first thing about how to use stats tests in real life situations. Did the pricing change lead to more leads? Are the results statistically significant?
Several online course providers offer creative writing, business writing or journal writing courses and I think they should be part of any Analysts …