Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Five “Ecosystem” Challenges for Web Analytics Vendors

Another excellent article from our friend Avinash Kaushik, "Five Ecosystem Challenges for Web Analytics Vendors".
  1. Privacy: basically, 3rd party cookie is dead, 1st party is fine, but more work toward privacy is required. Can't agree more!
  1. Demand for multiple solution options: hosted vs in-house, the never ending debate. Here I would tend to disagree with Avinash. Bringing web analytics hosting in-house might seem an interesting venue for cost saving, but budgetary expenses being what they are, it's not obvious to compare a capital investment (hardware and software) and ongoing service-based yearly expenses. Furthermore, there is a strong push toward outsourcing whatever is perceived as a commodity and use it as a service, the Microsoft Live and Google Apps are two indications of a strong move toward this direction. In the case of web analytics, hosting and data crunching is the commodity, timely presentation of quality results is the real value. If web analytics vendors starts Applying Web 2.0 concepts, we might see interesting possibilities emerge (want your dashboard in Google Personalized Home? build your own interface using YUI (Yahoo! UI Library), mash up your data with other Web 2.0 services? Fine!
  1. Web Analytics is not enough: If there is an opportunity for web analytics vendors to extend their offering, I think it will be by offering new complimentary services. We have already seen most of the web analytics vendors offering at least some degree of SEO and PPC tools. I think we need to look for other services such as polls, surveys, competitive /market analysis, etc. Ease of merging with internal business data will also become crucial, when we say "web analytics is not enough", I would push for seamless and easier "analytics" in general. The platform for web analytics could become a data repository for the analysis and visualization of any type of data, not just web related.
  1. Reliance on page centricity: this item is getting a lot of attention. Rich Flash interfaces and even more, Web 2.0 types of applications require a different unit of measure. The WAA definition of a "page view" is of interest ("an analyst-definable unit of content requested by a visitor"), but to me, what seem even more interesting is the concept of a "Meaningful Interactive Event".
  1. The 10/90 rule: Again, I agree with Avinash. The tool is part of the equation, but it's not and end in itself. At the end of the day, you still need a human being able to understand, analyze and do recommandation on actionable data. In some cases, the lower-entry level solutions are what makes the most sense, but I think there is plenty of room for the "bigger" players, and I hope it's more than 5%!
Great post Avinash, it's always a pleasure to read you!