Saturday, September 15, 2007

Web analytics is not easy - is it worth it?

Web Analytics Tuesday in Stockholm
Finally someone said it. It was Mr. Eric T. Peterson this week's Web Analytics Tuesday in Stockholm. He also claimed that Europe is 1-2 years behind America in web analytics. I think we have plenty of work raising general awareness, although we have couple of very good cases to be proud of. I hope to get our success stories published here some day.

It's also a fact that only 30 % of our customers have some kind of web analytics system installed (either Google Analytics or IndexTools). Naviatech will campaign for the Web Analytics Wednesday and web analytics systems in the near future. Eric presented his RAMP model, which includes basicly things you need to think about if you're trying to get most out of web analytics:
  1. Resources. Systems don't work by themselves. First you need people to get software installed, then you need people to use them. It's quite reasonable to buy consulting services or outsource parts of web analytics from the start, before hiring people in-house. It takes us about a half an hour to install web analytics system into our Navia CMS. Would you like to start collecting data from your website now?

  2. Analysis. All right, you have new web analytics system which gives you bunch of cool charts and numbers. "We had 10,000 visitors last month and 1,5 % of them requested for a contact. Is that good or bad?" Well, it depends - what are your goals? You need to define your key performance indicators (KPI's), you have to measure them and the most important: you need to make analysis including suggestions for action.

  3. Multivariate testing. Now you're brave enough to believe that consultant's suggestion and you're ready to try something new. You can do a A/B test with your great web analytics system or you can do a live test straight to your website. Do just one change at a time, remember to measure and go back to that analysis stage.

  4. Process. You should get web analytics in your company's processes. Unfortunately all companies don't have described and well-though processes, but if you do have, try to get web analytics involved everytime you redesign your site or provide marketing activities. In fact, web analytics may even change your processes.
And this is not easy. And all this will make you spend money, so why bother after all? Because web anaytics will change your business:
  • it will give you new strategic point of views
  • it will change your processes
  • it will simply boost your sales
  • it will make your marketing more effective
And all this, your web analytics effort can be measured by return on investment (ROI). But are you crazy enough to try it step by step?


  1. Whether Europe is behind or not was discussed in the podcast I did with some European experts.

    I think we came to the conclusion that the best in Europe are just as good as the best in the US.

  2. Thank you Lars! Unfortunately Blogger broke your link. Click to see the introduction page and to download the popcast "Web Analytics in Europe".

  3. I completely agree that web analytics is NOT easy anymore -- but whether it is worth it? – is a question I find easy to answer. I simply think it is unsound to run ANY web property without having clear measurable objectives. It would be like running a company without a financial system in place...

    Cheers Petri (... and GREAT meeting you)

    Dennis R. Mortensen, COO at IndexTools
    My Web Analytics Blog

  4. Great seeing you too Dennis. Very good metaphor, I hope you don't mind if I will use it somewhere.

  5. I have to agree with Both Lars and Dennis.

    Web Analytics can be a complex beast, but the potential is significant.

    Many organisations in Europe see Web Analytics as metric reporting rather than actual analysis with a defined goal of making the site better!

    It's like noting the location of various products in a supermarket but completely failing to look at which products are actually sold!

    That said, although I'd agree that 1-2 years is far to bleak a view, I would agree that, on average, the USA has a more analytics focused marketing audience than in Europe.

    Personally, I'd say that, on average, Europe is about 6 months behind the USA. However, I would caveat this by saying that we probably have a far wider spread. For example, we have clients using a fully integrated solution using the web analytics data to automatically optimise internal search, navigation, and visitor propensity models across various data silos.

    Lastly, I'd also say that this is likely to change over the next 12 months as 'true' data integration becomes more and more important. Customers will need to integrate their Web Analytics data with their own internal systems, and this is likely to favour licensed rather than hosted tools - something that seems more prevalent in European vendors.

    Sean Burton, Product Manager at WebAbacus.

  6. Videos are now available:

    Slides should be available soon too.