Sunday, April 27, 2008

My sister Terhi Mertanen works at analytics unit of Satama Trainer's House. I asked couple of questions about web analytics and her work.

Tips for Succesful Web Analytics

Web analytics is hard and we have handful of challenges when trying to get value out of the projects. The Web Analytics Association is offering a good series of top 10 things I wish I knew when I started web analytics (by June Dershewitz, Alex Cohen and Daniel Shields). Last week I had a chance to be in Copenhagen joining the first Web Analytics Wednesday in Denmark and Omniture Summit. The trip wasn't just business but also a pleasure, as I stayed threre over the weekend. Big thanks to our friends Anu and Aapo for putting up with the whole family.

There's one thing that keeps coming to me time after time. Web analytics is not all about tools, it's more about people. In fact, we should leave the term "web" from web analytics, we should talk more about business analytics and optimization. Thank you Lars for sharing your WAW slides. Here's my summary and top 10 list about tips for succesfull analytics (not in any specific order):
  • Start from the strategy and business goals of the company
  • Analyse the data from different sources and prepare to give clear proposals for actions
  • Get money into reports and send those reports to CEOs and top management for getting the money in
  • As Avinas Kaushik says: measure everything. Try to measure every marketing activity and website development you have invested in
  • Don't get frustrated, analytics is hard and new things take some time to understand and good results can take years
  • Start small, but remember to create an (internal) marketing campaign of your analytics project to show the success case
  • Test and try new things, measure and prepare to take it back
  • Invest more in people (education, events, consulting) than tools, but remember to evaluate tools properly
  • Go to Web Analytics Wednesday and other events: netword and talk with vendors, colleagues, other practitioners, consultants and of course, people in your organization
  • Try to get KPIs in whatever processes you may have in your company
Do you have comments/questions, just say what's in your mind?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Challenges in Web Analytics

There is some kind of constant debate going on in the field whether web analytics is easy or not? I have to agree with Mr. Eric Peterson about this. I started with Webalizer somewhere around 2002-2003 and nowadays I'm a part time web analytics consultant with more complex situations (part time because I have an Internet company to run as a CEO). Currently I work in five active analytics projects with different size and kind of companies. Here's some of my latest challenges:
  • multiple web analytics systems in place
  • problems with data integrity and accuracy
  • customers having difficulties to create or understand KPIs
  • multiple vendors doing overlapping work
  • difficulties to start the continuous process
  • lack of time, people involved only part time
  • delivering reports, not actually analysing the data
  • difficulties to take actions
  • attitude problems
And I know I'm not the only one. Steve Jackson listed recently a challenge per month. Fortunately we can overcome these challenges, because as you can see most of them are people related issues. My next post is about greetings from the Web Analytics Wednesday and Omniture Summit in Copenhagen; new ideas and tips for getting the value out of analytics. You can already see couple of photos from the event on the right.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Counterstrike on Web Analytics Vendors - Yahoo! Acquires IndexTools

Yesterday the whole web analytics world got awesome news as Yahoo! announced acquisition of IndexTools' Analytics business. This is probably better news than Google buying Urchin couple of years ago. And why? In my opinion, Google Analytics hasn't developed much since the acquisition. In the mean time IndexTools has shown very good development and especially new version number 10 and Rubix is comparable to more expensive solutions.

How does this change the market? I have to agree with predictions by my colleagues Steve Jackson, Eric Peterson, Lars Johansson and the rest: Yahoo! will give some web analytics parts for free! That would be killing news for web analytics vendors, Google Analytics included. As being a web analytics consultant and user of both systems, I have to say that IndexTools is much more flexible and user friendly than GA is. For example campaign tracking is very easy with IndexTools and the system has been already a very good option for SME companies. If a free version is released, it will definitely be one in the future too.

If Finnish translation is not absolutely needed, I'll recommend upcoming Yahoo! Index/Yahoo! Analytics or whatever it will be, to all of our clients. By doing this, we can concentrate on analytics work itself, and as Eric Peterson says, people and process.