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29 Nov

Web Analytics Evolving: Web to Digital, Session-based to User-Centric



For one interested in web analytics, even a quick look at the niche conferences and events discussions topics could be enough to see that we are facing two strong trends in the world of web data mining and analysis. An in-depth research will only prove that we are in the process of a new web analytics paradigm being born.

The two cornerstones of the emerging approach are:

breaking the limits of web (migration to Digital definition), and

stepping away from click-streamed session-based analytics (Personas/Visitors concept revitalizing).

Both trends have very strong time, industry and consumer demands behind, and quite astonishing technical and business perspectives ahead.

Web to Digital: Words Game or a Strong Move?

Quick note: one of the most influential and opinions forming institution, Web Analytics Association, was renamed to Digital Analytics Association in March, 2012, “to reflect growth across mobile, social and evolving marketing channels”.

Bryan Eisenberg, the association co-founder and data analysis evangelist,  explains this change very clearly: people and business online interaction is much more than website / browser-based experience now. People have multiple mobile devices across different platforms, they use apps and online services, i.e. having some interaction via website is just no longer enough to embrace most of the ways people use to communicate with a business or with each other. Now, business needs an analytics tool which can serve for this changing environment, and evolve together with it.

Adding mobile, CRM and other external systems’ data to the current standard web statistics metrics is a huge step forward, and tying all ends into one integrated tool set or system brings one of the most precious web analysts’ dreams much closer to the reality.

The untraceable, inaccurately calculated and under analyzed cross-platform user behavior analysis beast is closer to the cage than ever.

Universal Analytics: Your  Business Data Universe

With the Universal Analytics announcement at the recent Google Analytics Annual Summit, Google proved that they have been closely watching the space of “persona-centric”, “cohort” and other user-centric web analytics tools. Personalised website experience is another trend adopted from offline business and now gaining more attention and power due to enhanced web data collection and processing technology.

Now, “doing what Amazon does” in terms of personal approach to one’s website visitors doesn’t require enormous technical resources, one just needs a good understanding of their target audience, a CRM system and ability to pass data back and forth between web statistics systems.

Adding business and customer activity data to current robust Google Analytics web stats reports and ability to build personalized web experience around this data is another leap forward to keeping Analytics marketers’ most favorite web (and business) stats analysis instrument.

Agency Perspectives

The above trends clearly highlight the need for a closer focus on web analytics as a service for agencies involved into digital marketing. Having a dedicated person looking after web analytics needs as a part of an agency team is enough for now, but the scope of knowledge and skill required to run integrated web analytics projects will soon be more than one (even expert!) team member can effectively manage.

And another important hint that these trends give is the importance of having a web analytics component on every project; from small SEO/link building to integrated ones. Missing this part very likely means missing your clients’ real business goals and overall effectiveness of services you provide.

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