Tag Archives: Etsy

Some Smart Reasons Why Real-Time Isn’t a Good Idea

I spend a lot of time in this blog thinking about why real-time is a good thing, and certainly most of the people I talk to agree that it is, despite the challenges.

However, I just came across this personal blog post, written by Dan McKinley, an engineer at Etsy.com. He describes several compelling reasons why using real-time web analytics to make immediate changes is NOT a good idea. It’s important stuff to remember as marketers figure out what path to take in the push toward real-time.

Here are some of the points he makes:

  • “Confusing how we do things with how we decide which things to do is a fatal mistake.”
  • “Depending on the change that’s being made, making any decision based on a single day of data could be ill-conceived. Even if you think you have plenty of data, it’s not farfetched to imagine that user behavior has its own rhythms.”
  • “Real-time web analytics is a seductive concept. It appeals to our desire for instant gratification. But the truth is that there are very few product decisions that can be made in real time, if there are any at all. Analysis is difficult enough already, without attempting to do it at speed.”