Google Analytics for Creative Professionals
Training video by David LaFontaine for Pluralsight
My latest training video – this one for Pluralsight, called “Google Analytics for Creative Professionals” – just launched on July 8, 2016. This video is the first of a series aimed at teaching creative professionals to overcome their “numbers phobia” and use the insights and knowledge from Google Analytics to make their articles, photos, designs or videos better.
You’ll note that in the headline, I’ve kinda made up a new job title: “Creative Data Scientist.” Yeah, I know. It sounds a little weird. But believe me, there is a desperate need for professionals who can function with a foot in both worlds.
Let me explain.
As part of the research for this class, I interviewed “creative types” who work at digital agencies, to see what tools or technology they most need help with. Most of the requests centered around the little bugs and glitches in Adobe’s Creative Cloud Suite that drive us all crazy (and that I will address in time).
But the thing that jumped out at me was the fact that when I asked what the audience reaction was to what they were creating, people shifted uncomfortably in their chairs and looked away. It turned out that the people actually doing the creative work were absolutely PETRIFIED of dealing with web analytics.
These were top-level digital designers, writers, photographers, video producers, who thought nothing of digging deep within themselves to find a little piece of their souls, and then expose it to the entire world – a prospect that paralyzes ordinary people (check out how many people would rather die than speak in public). Instead, a common practice is to push the responsibility for monitoring analytics to some poor schnook in the office who is low on the totem pole — or even on an intern.
To paraphrase Tallyrand, this is worse than a mistake. It’s stupid.
Without at least a decent grasp of how to read web analytics, creative professionals are going to continue to lose control of their creations, because to decision-makers, the charts and graphs and spreadsheets seem to be the very essence of unassailable logic. Worse, content creators will lose out on the opportunity to make what they create better, by gaining insights into the needs, desires and motivations of their users.
Too many digital experiences are being carefully crafted by creative professionals to “surprise and delight” users — only to lose that human essence at the end, when final decisions are made, based solely upon surface-level analysis of audience behavior.
It need not be so. In fact, we desperately need to start putting the “human touch” back into what we create. Because the alternative is just so much over-processed brainmush. Slideshows, listicles and clickbait are not what we were put on this earth to create nor consume.
So check out my class. If you are a digital content creator/designer, resist the temptation to stay in your comfort zone. Instead, stretch a little, and engage with the analytics. I promise: it’s not as scary as you think it is.
Particularly with me as your guide.