My thoughts on the Web Analytics industry

- September 20, 2010

A bunch of cross-country travel the last few weeks has provided me with a rare and unique opportunity: peace and quiet! For most fliers, the thunderous sound of a 737’s twin turbine engines are intolerable at best. For the price of $6 on Continental Airlines’ in-flight DIRECTV service, I can tune out everything and everyone and relax for a few hours. Add in a comfy neck-pillow and the fact that I’m barely 5 foot, 5 inches tall, which means no issues with leg room, and it’s heaven at 35,000 feet!

During all of this flight time and fresh off of attending our yearly Google Analytics Certified Partner conference at Google HQ in Mountain View, California, I’ve been thinking about where our beloved Web Analytics industry is, where it has come and where it is going to go in the not-so-distant future. What do you think about my thoughts?

1. We’re here to stay!
Web Analytics and the concept of a data-driven culture isn’t going anywhere – we are going to be around for quite some time. In fact, Web Analytics is going to start to drive the business decision-making process – it already has been doing just that at a number of organizations. Your organization / business should be next to adopt the idea of using data and analytics to drive your decision-making process, if your organization / business hasn’t done so already. Why should you continue to make hypothetical guesses about your website or marketing strategy when you can make educated, data-driven decisions?

2. Competition is great for everyone!
You’ve read about and probably also heard about the major acquisitions that have taken place in the analytics vertical over the last 12 months: Adobe acquiring Omniture, IBM acquiring both Coremetrics and Unica, comScore acquiring Nedstat, as well as other acquisitions and mergers that have shaped our current state of affairs. Eric Peterson, John Lovett, and other influential minds have already shared their thoughts and opinions about all of these moves on their blogs and websites, so I’ll save you about 5,000 words and simply tell you that these moves create competition. Competition always benefits the end consumer (all of us!), because the vendors will have no choice but to release new products, features, upgrades, bug fixes, and just about anything they can think of in attempts to satisfy all of our hungry appetites. Some things will be awesome, other things…not so much. It will be very interesting to see how the rest of 2010 and 2011 plays out, and what exact features and benefits we will all receive.

3. Dear WebTrends…
…you are the last remaining stand-alone “big fish” in the Web Analytics industry, and everyone is wondering when you’ll be gobbled up by some big company with deep pockets (like, Microsoft). I’d actually like for you to remain “independent”, because I think that will afford you the freedom to continue to develop your product as you want to, but I fear that it may not be possible in our current economy. Of course, I am not privy to your business model or your financial statements, so this is all pure and unrefined speculation on my behalf. My head is still spinning with acquisitions and mergers, but just from a “cool” standpoint, please remain un-acquired if at all possible.

4. One tool = one dimensional
One of the biggest issues facing our industry today are tool and vendor selection. Do you wonder why you can’t get the answer to some questions that seem very simple on the surface because you’re only using, say, Google Analytics? As great as Google Analytics is (and we love it – we’re a Google Analytics Certified Partner and everything), it can’t balance your checkbook, iron your clothes, or serve you coffee & donuts in the morning. It also can’t log-in to your mail server, your Microsoft AdCenter account or your Facebook page and retrieve data for you. Google – and this goes for any Web Analytics platform – can’t answer every question or help solve every problem. Once you understand this and you’re able to combine the power of multiple sources, you’ll advance your understanding of your audience and marketing efforts, allowing you to optimize them better than your competition.

What do you think about where the Web Analytics industry is right now? What are some of your thoughts? Drop us a line and let us know!

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