History of web analytics jeff young


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History of web analytics jeff young

  1. 1. History of Web Analytics technology asorganizational change agent by Jeff Young ca.linkedin.com/in/jeffdyoung/
  2. 2. History of Web Analytics – page 2Learning Objectives – upon completion of thismodule, students will have a fullerunderstanding of the historical organizationaltrends and data-collection tool changes thathave made the study of Web Analytics what itis today.
  3. 3. History of Web Analytics – page 3• The history of Web Analytics is also the history of tracking methods which caused an organizational shift of power• Web data – and the customer knowledge contained there – was unleashed through the evolutionary path from server logs to page tagging• This change was organizational as well as technological
  4. 4. History of Web Analytics – page 4 • Server logs have been in use since servers were first powered up • Server logs – and access (physical and password) to the servers themselves – was controlled primarily by the Information Technology (I.T.) department
  5. 5. History of Web Analytics – page 5 This made I.T. the gatekeepers and conservators of web data by default, but they were often not aware of the value of such data
  6. 6. History of Web Analytics – page 6• “Most IT departments are overworked as a result of supporting infrastructure and workstations and don’t have the time to devote attention to the company web site nor should they take on all these responsibilities.”Michael Reynolds, President and CEO of SpinWebhttp://www.spinweb.net/blog/the-it-department- does-not-handle-your-website/
  7. 7. History of Web Analytics – page 7• Web Analytics’ history began with server log analysis, and the first commercial vendors (such as WebTrends) appeared in 1993-4• Page tagging followed in 1995-6 with pioneering firms such as Nedstat• In 1997, “household(s) with Internet use at home” constituted only 18% of U.S. homes , and establishing a corporate presence was still an internal debate – I was working at an ISP in those early & heady days, and remember the dinner party where an acquaintance turned and asked me if it was ‘just a fad’
  8. 8. History of Web Analytics – page 8• But by 2000, that U.S. “household with Internet use at home” number had increased to over 41%, and the rising trend was undeniable (http://www.census.gov/hhes/computer/)• And the limitations of server logs were also becoming apparent, given the surging datasets available: “By the year 2000, web analytics vendors were struggling with web server logs as optimal sources of data and JavaScript tags emerged as a new standard for collecting data from websites. JavaScript log files are easier to maintain than web server log files and their use shifts the responsibility of collecting and processing data from internal company IT departments to web analytics vendors in most cases.” Damian Davila (http://idaconcpts.com/2008/11/26/a-brief-history-of-web- analytics/)
  9. 9. History of Web Analytics – page 9 “these early metrics measured basic user interactions, they’re now considered rudimentary because they don’t show customer intent.” Adam Metz(http://thesocialconcept.com/metzmash/know- your-social-web-history/)
  10. 10. History of Web Analytics – page 10• What server logs and page tags could do was still being learned, and debated.• “In 2003, it was every bit as exciting and still just a bit naive. We were all hoping that all of the answers to all of our problems would tumble out of these wonderful new web analytics tools. The focus was "Page Tags vs. Log Files". The discussion was heated. New technologies were emerging in real time…” Jim Sterne (https://www.emetrics.org/history.php)
  11. 11. History of Web Analytics – page 11• The transition from server logs was slow, due to: – Lack of early recognition by IT and Marketing of the advantages of web analytics (whether logs or tags) – The IT gatekeeper effect – Lack of early recognition by Marketing of the advantages of page tagging over server logs – Lack of corporate awareness and support, which led to the conundrum a few years later when attempting to calculate the ROI of the pricy new corporate web presence
  12. 12. History of Web Analytics – page 12 “Over time, marketers starting thinking of ways they could use this data if they had better access to Web analytics.“ “They started asking the understaffed IT department about getting certain types of data…but they didnt really know how to get answers or insight out of it.” “Marketers grew frustrated by not being able to get what they needed. At the same time, tools from companies now named Omniture and WebSideStory came out with ASP models that took the reliance off IT, the servers, and log file processing issues.” “Suddenly interested marketers could go to one of those companies, have some basic tags placed on the site, and get more accurate data.” Jason Burby (http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/1714938/who-should-own-web- analytics)
  13. 13. History of Web Analytics – page 13 The differing departmental philosophies contributed to an eventual corporate realization: “Often, you have marketing guys that need one set of data and the IT guys who want another set of data. The IT guys are concerned with things such as, “How can we handle increased server load?” and “Do we need to upgrade our hosting?” when looking at log files. The Marketing guys are more like, “I don’t care, I want to know how people are moving around my site.” They’re are focused on JavaScript-based analytics packages.” Matt Peterson (http://www.aimclearblog.com/2011/03/25/the-ancient-geek- history-of-web-analytics/)
  14. 14. History of Web Analytics – page 14• Control over web page tracking shifted, as Marketing, webmasters and web teams could tag their own pages• IT did not disappear from the picture, but rather transitioned: “IT is key player as it is needed for all technical aspects such as hosting and maintenance of the Web Analytics infrastructure (if you are hosting your solution – not the most common set-up), definition of the technical/tagging specification based on business requirements, implementation of the measurement code in your CMS, websites and online applications. And if you integrate your Web data with other systems (BI, CRM...), IT is the one that defines and implements the required architecture & technology.” Michael Notté (http://www.kaizen-analytics.com/2009/07/web-analytics-where-should-it-sit-in.html)
  15. 15. History of Web Analytics – page 15 So is Marketing the right place in the organization for Web Analytics to reside? “After a lot of experimentation and failures I have come to realize that often Marketing is the best organization for Web Analytics to be in. It is optimal because Marketing is in the business of raising awareness, connecting with customers, presenting the companys value proposition etc etc. “ Avinash Kaushik (http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/owns-web-analytics- framework-critical-thinking/)
  16. 16. History of Web Analytics – page 16 Is the Finance Department an alternative? “A third party isnt influenced to spin positive results. This is a big one. You want to know whats really happening on the Web channel, not what a Web analyst does to "analyze" the data to tell a good story. However, if goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) are defined correctly, it becomes much harder to twist the data and site performance. No matter where analytics reports are, you must lock down how you measure success to avoid this.” “Its easier to identify financial impact of Web initiatives. We always look to monetize all the key site behaviors online, not just e-commerce behaviors. Working closely with finance is always key to doing this. Reporting to it would make this even easier.” Jason Burby (http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/1716031/who-should-own- analytics-part-two)
  17. 17. History of Web Analytics – page 17 What is the future of Web Analytics within the organization? “Through all of these phases, the primary frustration of today’s analyst still hasn’t been addressed. How do we get business owners and managers to “get it”?” “The answer: web analysts become the business owners and managers.” “This will be a natural transition for today’s web analysts, not a hostile takeover. Consider what training they have already received to be effective managers and business owners. They already have battle scars to prove that they can work across multiple disciplines, that they understand the broader business objectives and that they can manage others to optimize their company’s efforts. They already have shown the gumption to pick up and learn new skills and go outside of their comfort zone to get things done.” Cameron Alverson (http://www.optimizationtoday.com/web-analytics/articles/future-of- the-web-analyst/)
  18. 18. History of Web Analytics – page 18 What is the future of the Web Analytics tools within the organization? “But as much as I love Google Analytics for what it does, I am also willing to be honest about what it does not do and what it is not. Google Analytics alone is simply not enough for truly sophisticated web analytics.” “I believe that we are about to see an increasing number of companies in the coming year drop their paid vendor’s “basic solution” in favor of Google Analytics and, at the same time, seriously consider adding their vendor’s high-end offering.” Eric T. Peterson (http://blog.webanalyticsdemystified.com/weblog/2010/02/the-coming- bifurcation-in-web-analytics-tools.html)
  19. 19. History of Web Analytics – page 19 Learning Activity - visit your corporate website, and identify your visit in your analytics package(s). - can you view your visit via both server log and page tag outputs?
  20. 20. History of Web Analytics – page 20 For Discussion Server logs may report ‘hits’ – why are hits generally not used in web analytics reporting? Are hits ever useful? What department should host web analytics? Or should it be its own department?
  21. 21. History of Web Analytics – page 21 Evaluation Based on discussion involvement.