Web Analytics Standards Still Suffer
Nomenclature's not that important, is it? Guess again -- a common vocabulary's critical when you're trying to understand and get involved in a blossoming industry. That's why The Web Analytics Association -- an outfit comprising industry-leading customers, vendors, and consultants -- formed several years ago, to develop standards in the face of mounting interest and demand for e-marketing and Web analytics. The group claims to have gone to great lengths to establish definitions for terms of art and phrases such as "page view" and "clickthrough." The only trouble, according to findings from Web content management research firm CMS Watch, is that Web analytics vendors aren't adhering to the new standards.
The challenge, says Tony Byrne, the executive editor and founder of CMS Watch, involves one of two obstacles: Some vendors haven't committed 100 percent to the standards, but others haven't even climbed on board with the notion of adapting to standards in the first place. CMS Watch came to this conclusion as part of the evaluation process for its annual Web Analytics Report, discovering variances between, for example, what actions were deemed "conversions" among different vendors, and how such things are measured. "We're hoping that by cataloguing this, we can encourage a convergence that the community wants," Byrne says.
Establishing metrics and methodology for analytics is a critical step toward adoption, Byrne adds. "My perception is there are a lot of fairly talented advanced practitioners [in Web analytics], and then you have a great mass of junior analysts who do this half-time and they can get quite confused about the depth of all these issues," he says. "This is an effort to simplify and to make analytics easier for the masses."
Byrne suggests that, as in other industries, the technology is maturing and soon the cycle of developing new standards will have to begin once again. In the course of its research on the top Web analytics vendors, he says, CMS Watch identified several key emerging trends:
- Yahoo! aims to take on Google, the 800-pound gorilla in the Web analytics space. Ever since the acquisition of Web analytics software company IndexTools last April, Yahoo! has had industry pundits wondering about its future in the Web analytics space. Byrne contends that Yahoo!, with its feature-rich offerings at a low-end (or even free) price point, has the potential to provide serious competition to Google Analytics.
- Despite the economic downturn, the Web analytics market is holding on. "It's a vibrant space," Byrne insists. "The rise in the past couple years of small-to-niche vendors getting venture-capital funding suggests that there's clearly a lot demand here." The analyst adds that interest in analytics now extends beyond the traditional boundaries, with demand on the rise within other Web-based markets such as Web content management and enterprise portals. As organizations deploy additional Web-based solutions, he says, they'll soon realize the need to measure the effectiveness of Web traffic, paving the way for Web analytics. Byrne also notes the recent movement in the marketplace, an uptick in mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships. Just recently, in fact, Web analytics player Webtrends announced a partnership with social media monitoring provider Radian6. That partnership speaks to a growing need for a business to analyze not only what Web visitors are doing and saying on its own Web site, but in the rest of the online universe, as well. "Generally, we're seeing a renewed interest in analytics," Byrne says. "A lot of companies can't afford not to pay attention to it."
CMS Watch's Web Analytics Report assesses vendors in the space according to their features, functionality, strengths, and weaknesses. Byrne makes the point that, although there are quite a few providers in the space, each vendor caters to different needs. "This is not commodity software," he says, citing differences among tools, terms of service, access to raw data, etc. "Anyone interested in upgrading analytics will do well to do research and test systems and think through requirements," Byrne recommends. "It's not one-size-fits-all."
News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine. You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" at the top; to contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com.
Analyzing the Analyzers: The Forrester Wave on Web Analytics
Out of a field of eight Web analytics products, the latest Forrester Wave elevates five to the top category, a sign of how confusing things are for customers.
Tech Solution: Search-Engine Marketing Tools
Business Problem: A company's marketing department cannot effectively track and manage campaigns across multiple search engines.
Omniture Extends Web Analytics to Mobile
With Web-enabled mobile devices on the rise, the company's mobile analytics will enhance its latest SiteCatalyst release.
Budgets Hold Steady (So Far), But Online Marketing Actually Expands
A focus on Web analytics and the ability to measure online marketing combine to counter the stress of a down economy.
Web Analytics Meets Social Media
Webtrends and Radian6 are the latest vendors to partner up for companies hoping to monitor and respond to online conversations.
"Second-Generation Analytics" with Quantivo's Omniture Adapter
Using data from Omniture SiteCatalyst, Quantivo aims to perform deeper analytics, faster.
Web Analytics Market to Hit the Billion-Dollar Mark by 2014
Exclusive First Look: A new Forrester Research report, due out on Wednesday, shows an industry segment lurching through a tricky middle stage, but one that will continue to blossom in coming years.
Coremetrics Targets Ad-Targeting
New releases promise to help Coremetrics clients deliver ads of higher relevance.
Radian6 Listens to the Demand and Integrates with Salesforce.com
The listening platform provider brings social media analysis to the CRM world.
Webtrends Looks to Reclaim Position in Web Analytics Market
In what the company calls its biggest launch ever, Webtrends unveils Analytics 9 and acquires Widemile.
B2Bs Have Clicks Up Their Sleeve, Too
eMetrics '09: Even if the transactions don't necessarily happen on the Web site, B2B marketers still have to manage the site experience.
The Great Data Debate
eMetrics '09: The Web has the potential to change the way companies and consumers interact, but how to make that happen is still up in the air.
A Google Guru's Tips for Web Analytics
Search Engine Strategies '10: Avinash Kaushik's four tips for making your metrics matter.
5 Ways Web Analytics Can Save Marketers from Themselves
A Forrester Research analyst reveals how Web analytics can produce better customer intelligence.