Sunday, November 18, 2007

An evolving definition of Web Analytics

It's a recurring topic: what is the definition of "web analytics"?

I first posted my views in March 2006 and again in September when I suggested we (or at least I) couldn't care less about the trend of putting a "2.0" or "3.0" after every buzzword, just like the "e" of the Web 1.0 era (sic) where we had to put the notion of "electronic" to qualify everything we did: ebusiness, emarketing, elearning, e-anything!

So let's try it again!

What is web analytics?

Web Analytics Association definition:
Web Analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of Internet data for the purposes of understanding and optimizing Web usage.

Avinash Kaushik definition:
1) The analysis of qualitative and quantitative data from your website and the competition 2) to drive a continual improvement of the online experience that your customers, and potential customers have, 3) which translates into your desired outcomes.
An evolving definition:
1) The analysis of qualitative and quantitative data from your website, the competition and business systems 2) to drive a continual improvement of the online experience that your customers, and potential customers have, 3) which translates into desired customer and business outcomes.
I'm adding what I think are two important concepts:
  1. business systems obviously store a commensurate amount of knowledge. A website doesn't float by itself on the web ocean, it's anchored to other business systems. Note that here, I'm considering the web is a business system part of "a set of interacting or interdependent entities, real or abstract, forming an integrated whole".
  2. customer and business outcomes highlights the difference between the web site user outcome and the business one. Pleasing the customer to a level where it wouldn't be business wise would eventually lead to the death of the business itself. However, forgetting to satisfy the customer wished outcome would also destroy the business. Thus, the notion of exchanging "something" for "something else" where both parties are satisfied and see a benefit.

Since I'm tutoring the Business Process Analysis course of the UBC Certificate in Business System Analysis, the importance of business process optimization on the web become obvious. My personal background isn't that much in marketing, but much more in the analysis of interrelated tasks organized to solve a business issue.

And lastly, I have a bad news and a good one for you: "web analytics" is dead, the good news is we can now talk about "business analytics". (Hey! I had to be provocative!)

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