JupiterResearch Web Analytics Buyer’s Guide

Published by Eric T. Peterson on July 17, 2008 All posts from Eric T. Peterson

Many of you have probably already noticed this but John Lovett at JupiterResearch just released his “Web Analytics Buyer’s Guide: Assessing Vendors’ Competencies and Value” (requires registration.)  Having done one of these reports myself back in the day I want to congratulate John on publishing an amazingly detailed and insightful piece of work.  John has a blog post on the report that is worth reading titled “It’s not the Tools, It’s the Craftsman” which reminded me lyrics from the Phish song Bittersweet Motel:

“When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and your living at the bittersweet motel.”

Bittersweet is an apt assessment when it comes to producing this type of research as an analyst: non-vendor clients love the insights, vendors hate the comparisons, and all-in-all the results often fail to shed any truly new light on the market.  John should be complimented because despite publishing two somewhat poorly-resolved constellations, his work makes a few incredibly important points about the state of the market today.

I know that Stephane and Anil have already discussed the report, and nobody really asked me, but here are a few of my thoughts on John’s work.

If I’m Omniture, I’m not very happy about this constellation

Despite hundreds of millions of dollars of investment — including the acquisition of three of the company’s former rivals (WebSideStory, Visual Sciences, Instadia) and the roll up of Offermatica and TouchClarity — in the large Enterprise John’s assessment has Omniture in a three-way tie for “first” with Unica and Coremetrics.  Compared to my assessment in 2004 and Greg Dowling’s work in 2006 (published by David Daniels in February ’07), John’s work shows that Coremetrics and Unica are actually gaining ground on Omniture from a business value and market suitability perspective.

This is important because it reinforces both John’s central thesis and one of the most important caveats in all of web analytics: it’s not the tool that matters, it’s how you use it!  Omniture’s own consultants make this point when they remind us that we need to work hard to take advantage of the systems we already have in place, and the reality of the situation is that you’re not going to be any more successful with Omniture than any other application until you invest in people, process, and technology with a realistic and well-considered business strategy.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that Omniture has brilliant technology and are in a great position in the market today — if they manage to actually integrate analytics, testing, targeting, and bid management in a truly meaningful way they will solve a bunch of real-world problems.  But despite the hyperbole, hype, and braggidacio, Omniture’s competitors near universally have a similar opportunity and thusly I agree with Lovett’s asessment that there is no single market leader in web analytics today, Omniture or otherwise.

If I’m Coremetrics, I am pleased as punch!

Coremetrics is in a funny position in the web analytics market.  Despite all of their competitors declaring them “done” and “yesterday’s news” they continue to rank well in both the JupiterResearch ranking and the Forrester Wave.  Maybe the reason is that Coremetrics is actually still very competitive and able to provide the level of functionality and service that their clients are looking for at a competitive price.  Could that be it?

In fair disclosure, I do some work from time to time for Coremetrics and I really like their team, but given their recent deployment of Coremetrics Explore and the expansion of Coremetrics Connect, I think Lovett’s work validates the observation that the only real difference between Omniture and Coremetrics is their general approach towards marketing and sales, not their technology.

Furthermore, despite having been long considered a high-end solution with a substantial price tag, Coremetrics actually takes first place for overall business value in the SMB sector beating not only Omniture but also Google Analytics and IndexTools which are free!  I commented as much in the press release Coremetrics issued for this report, mostly because this type of market expansion is no mean feat given the quality of the competition.  And to be fair, Lovett’s business value dimension encompasses more than just cost and includes flexibility, scalability, usability, and feature sets.

If I’m WebTrends, I’m bummed out!

Living here in Portland, Oregon I am perhaps more acutely aware of the challenges facing WebTrends.  Last week they lost their CFO to another local firm, they already had to part ways with their VP of Client Services, Kory Kimball, who was only appointed in January of this year, and they are still looking for a replacement for Kathleen Brush who was brought in by Francisco Partners as an interim CMO.  Now, to be fair, these staffing issues are offset by the fact that they still have some pretty bright folks on the team, guys like Barry Parshall and Aaron Gray, but leadership in this marketplace has to come from the top and right now, the top is looking kind of thin.

My advice to Dan and the Board at WebTrends is basically this: get someone who knows web analytics inside and out in a senior position ASAP and get them out there talking about the company, products, and market in general.  On this point I disagree with my good friend Jeff who says that “business is business” and executives don’t necessarily have to be domain experts.  When I look at the market I see folks like John Pestana from Omniture, John Squire and John Payne at Coremetrics, Akin Arikan at Unica, Dennis Mortensen at IndexTools, Brett Crosby and even the great Avinash at Google out there evangelizing for both their products and the entire field of web analytics.

Call me old school, but I think the same key insight that it’s not the technology, it’s how you use it applies everywhere.  WebTrends is not going to be able to compete on a feature/function level because, according to John, the feature/function war is over and done.  The competitive differentiation is going to have to come from somewhere else … and historically that “somewhere else” has been guys like John Squire, Akin, Dennis, and Brett working their butts off to help people understand that despite web analytics being hard, great gains are possible when everyone is invested in being successful.

Surprise, surprise, I was right about IndexTools

When I broke the story about Yahoo! acquiring IndexTools and pointed out that most people who have seen both applications consider IndexTools to be every bit as good as Omniture, Omniture complained.  Brent Higgleke, their VP of Strategic Marketing, commented on Julien Coquet’s post about IndexTools:

“This move by Yahoo! was done to compete with Google. IndexTools does not compete “toe to toe” with Omniture. The majority of their customers are small businesses (80% of IndexTools customers are SMB according to CMS Watch.) This is great news for small businesses that use Yahoo advertising. However, mid-market and enterprise customers demand advanced functionality, deep domain expertise and specialized services.”

Sounds good Brent, except you’re basically wrong.  Don’t hate me, but I’m gonna recommend that people go with Lovett’s assessment instead:

“[IndexTools] provides a profoundly capable framework for advanced analysis and offers flexible segmentation built on the premise that segment creation is best facilitated through exploration of data.  Although currently available only through certified partners, the new free pricing model of IndexTools (a Yahoo! Service) makes it suitable for businesses of all sizes that seek a flexible interface and possess in-house staff looking for insights within data.”

The notion that IndexTools is somehow inappropriate for the large Enterprise, is feature poor, or is otherwise unworthy of consideration in an RFP process when available is just plain silly. John said as much in his blog post, commenting:

“It turns out that IndexTools does have nearly 80 percent of Omniture’s standard off-the-shelf functionality (77 percent to be exact).”

Now, I think we all wish that John would have published his list of “basic” and “advanced” features so we could better quantify the “missing 23%” in IndexTools.  My suspicion is that the gang at Yahoo! are pretty conscious of John’s assessment and working diligently on the next generation of IndexTools, much like the gang at Google did with Google Analytics.

So I will state again, Yahoo’s acquisition of IndexTools is a long-term game changer.  Yahoo! has still not given a time-line for making the application freely available to all, but an entire network of partners is already out there ramping companies up at a rumored rate of over 200 accounts per week!  Obviously if Yahoo! becomes so distracted with their current business problems and never releases IndexTools then my assessment will change, but everything I hear is that my Christmas 2008 prediction is more or less correct.

Despite proclamations otherwise, people still care about data accuracy

Avinash Kaushik is perhaps most loved for his exclamation, “The data quality sucks, get over it!” which to those of us tasked with explaining the unexplainable resonates like crazy.  The problem with “getting over it” is that those crazy wonks over in the business, and especially the gang in the corner offices, still want us to produce accurate reports that can be trusted over time.  If you’re not sure about this, go down the hall and tell your VP that the unique visitor counts you have been reporting all year may be off by as much as 30% in either direction, you’re not sure, and see what he or she says …

Uh huh.

Lovett’s report seems to validate that nobody is getting over it and that accuracy is still important, especially in the vendor selection process (number three factor, following “flexibity of reporting options” and “ability to service business needs”.)  I do disagree somewhat with John’s assessment regarding what to do about the problem, he seems to focus on the need for annotation capabilities in the product, but at the end of the day companies deploying web analytics solutions need to have defined business processes to account for tag coverage, data filtering, cookie deletion as well as a data collection validation process that is actually followed on an ongoing basis.

The next big battle will be about data integration

This is something that John and I have discussed on-and-off for some time, the idea that data integration capabilities are key as increasingly “internet marketing” is giving way to capital M “Marketing” (and, because of this, “web analytics” is likely to give way to capital A “Analytics.”)  In light of this observation, John seems to be predicting that web analytics vendors will continue to build out functionality to allow them to be more deeply integrated into the business, while at the same time the existing Enterprise analytics vendors will enter the digital market via acquisition.


I think the problem with this is that these strategies have largely been tried and, for the most part, have failed to produce expected results.  John predicts that web analytics vendors will build or acquire content management and relevance engines, which we have already seen with WebSideStory’s original acquisition of Atomz which included the Atomz Publish platform (among other examples, mostly CMS vendors building out analytics capabilities but Interwoven’s acquisition of Optimost is tangentially relevant I suppose.)  Same for Omniture’s acquisition of Offermatica and TouchClarity.

Now I suppose it’s too soon to say if Omniture will succeed with “Test and Target” but there is no case to be made for WebSideStory + Atomz Publish being successful.  Perhaps this was a problem of execution, but I rather believe that most true Enterprise shops either A) already have CMS in place or B) are unlikely to purchase CMS from a web analytics vendor given the otherwise complicated-but-entrenched landscape.  It does look like Omniture is still supporting Publish so perhaps they will get traction that WebSideStory did not.  Still, I’m not going to hold my breath, especially given the recent upgrades that Lyris has launched around their Lyris HQ product and the integration of ClickTracks, mostly targeted at the same SMB market and available at a tiny fraction of the Omniture’s price.

Similarly, the big Enterprise software players have all had the opportunity to invest in web analytics for years now and none have taken the plunge.  Oracle and others were widely known to be looking at the sector but the only thing that came of all that was A) Microsoft buying DeepMetrix (nee Gatineau nee AdCenter Analytics) and B) Oracle buying Moniforce which I’m not sure really counts.  In the meantime, SPSS has stopped supporting NetGenesis as of February 28th of this year and only SAS and Unica are still out there looking at deeper Enterprise integrations as far as I can tell.

Now, I have my own thoughts about the future of data integration and how web analytics will be levearged in business, but hopefully you’ll come see me talk at IMC 2008 in Vancouver when I talk about “Competing on Web Analytics” and hear what I have to say in person.

What, are you still reading this post?

In summary, for the three of you still reading this exceptionally long post, I think John has written a great report on the state of the industry and the vendor landscape.  Every JupiterResearch client reading this blog should read it and give John a call to discuss.  Or, you could come to the X Change conference in San Francisco and talk to John in person, or you could come see both of us at Shop.ORG in September and watch us fight like cats and dogs about which one of us is right about data integration.  Up to you.

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  • http://blog.immeria.net Stéphane Hamel

    Great post Eric, and I agree with your assessment. The market continue to grow, but the pie slices are getting very different in size but also thicker. At least, that’s what I see from the market data I’m getting through WASP. I haven’t had the chance to read John’s full study, but if the focus was on web analytics in the traditional sense, I agree that the playing field is leveled. However, if we look at the whole suite of tools (and as you say, it’s about integration), then I see the opportunity shifting toward Omniture. But at least in region where I am, very few companies (none?!) are in a position to make good use of the whole suite anyway!

    Regarding staffing: In a mature market, you look for great CEOs and CFOs. In a evolving market, you look for visionaries and evangelists. I guess some companies get it better than others!

    Next battle about data integration? I thought you said it was about mobile? :)

    Or maybe it’s about integrating several sources of data, including mobile, voice of customer, performance and transactional data to get a handle on business analytics and business optimization. Break the “web” barrier and “compete on analytics”! But we’re going to walk on the turf of much bigger and tougher players that have been playing “business intelligence” for decades…

  • http://www.webanalyticsdemystified.com eric

    Stephane: Nice to hear from you! I’d love to see the data you have about “the opportunity shifting towards Omniture” and don’t doubt that WASP gives you interesting information!

    Data integration = the whole ball of wax, including the mobile opportunity. But I think, and I’m sure you’ll agree, that mobile is more of a skirmish in the measurement context given that the data is really not that different … data integration is the next big battle.

    I’m not sure if you’ve read my white paper on The Web Site Optimization Ecosystem but that is the precursor to all kinds of interesting possibilities for how we use the data (and the data we use.)

    I look forward to IMC where we can have the whole conversation (and again, I’m bummed you cannot join us at X Change.)

    Thanks for the comment!

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  • http://www.waomarketing.com/blog Jacques Warren

    The real gang to watch here is Unica. Remember if anyone was talking about them 12 months ago? With their awesome capacity in providing the almost whole picture of the multi-channel relationships companies are discovering they in fact have with their customers, they will kick the bejesus out of the big players in WA (and yes, WebTrends is still one of them).

    If you’re looking for me at X Change, I’ll be the one constantly pulling Akin Arikan’s sleeve.

  • http://www.analyticsevolution.com John Lovett

    Hi Eric, thanks for the thoughtful review of my report. Clearly your analytical chops developed during your time at JupiterResearch have been honed and sharpened…although your word count would never pass editorial review ;)

    The data integration/ownership battle, which I describe as something that’s brewing on the horizon, is a topic worth exploring. I think it’s interesting because everyone’s got an opinion but so few are diving in with executable tactics and strategies. One tangent this discussion usually takes is the suite vs. best-of-breed point solution argument, which you touched on briefly. While Jupiter data has yet to prove out that an integrated suite of products works across all organizations, it has merits for some. Yet, with many applications (e.g., email, site search), point solutions will win out the majority of the time and a data integration strategy is the best option to obtain a holistic view of performance. The bigger question in my mind is; Where does Web analytics begin and end in its ability to feed the needs of an enterprise? When integration enters the mix, I feel that the opportunity expands dramatically. I’m looking forward to investigating this topic further at X Change, where I will be leading a huddle on data integration.

    Thanks again for the review and praise and I encourage your readers to contact me to learn more.


  • http://www.whencanistop.com Alec Cochrane

    Data integration and Business Intelligence do seem to be the way that we are going forward. I have to say that whilst I see that we’d definitely want to do this, there are still two pools of thought on the best way to do it and nobody seems to have resolved it yet:

    1) You have an existing web analytics solution which you pull in all your other data

    2) You have an existing backend sytem that you try and pull your web analytics data into

    The issue seems to be whilst option 1 is becoming easier as we improve our WA tools, option 2 doesn’t seem to be evolving at all. Currently many companies will have big data resources in the background (CMS systems, data storage, customer details, price drivers, etc) and they want to be able to pull in the web analytics data into those systems rather than vice versa. There is too much information to put into the web analytics database from these big databases and too many privacy concerns.

    I suppose this comes back down to the accuracy thing again – until WA solutions become accurate enough it’ll never happen because the in house database people will want definite 1:1 matches (that may or may not exist).

    Then again, you need the staff to be able to analyse the data afterwards and maybe we’re not there yet either.

    Anyone have any insights into what is happening with Gatineau? It’s quite long in the tooth now and I haven’t seen any improvements for a while.

  • http://www.waomarketing.com/blog Jacques Warren


    There’s an excellent article about the suite vs best-of-breed discussion in the current issue of Journal of Business Intelligence (members only unfortunately). This is not a simple one indeed.

    Alec, I quite agree with you on the accuracy thing. In BI a client is a person (whereas in WA the equivalence is more often wishful thinking), but then again you often have primary key problems as for what is a customer throughout the various databases. Although BI is a more accurate world, it has its own accuracy problems. However, I find that that world has addressed, and is always very focused on the data quality questions. We can learn of lot from them, and maybe get to a point where Web data (or data from the Web) will have the necessary quality.

    We should not regard Avinash’s “The data quality sucks, get over it!” as a definitve judgement on the possibility to ever get to excellent Web data.

  • http://judah.webanalyticsdemystified.com Judah

    Jacques: Agreed about Unica. That’s why I’ve been using their solution across a large number of websites for the last 18 months, and why I agreed to help Akin with his excellent book (of course I like Akin enough to have helped him if he was a writing a cookbook).

    So who was talking about Unica 12 months ago? Moi! LOL!

    UNCA has a rather powerful WA solution that comes, for the most part, fully loaded and is deeply customizable with an extensible schema. Of course, like all the products, it has its warts. The company’s origin in marketing analytics (specifically, campaign segmentation and targeting and event/rule based detection and interaction) is pretty much unparalleled, especially when compared to the limited offerings for true marketing analytics integration across online/offline offered by either Omniture, Coremetrics, or Webtrends. Though from a perspective of “open” data integration at the visitor level, WebTrends has made strides (thanks to Greg Drew’s leadership), but the product suite is still too heavily focused on Microsoft, imho.

    Alec: You have to do both. And the model for doing option 2 should be based around an enterprise data warehouse and master data management. Option 1 requires, imho, an open relational db in the backend. The idea floating around about unifying a data model from email, ad serving, web analytics, behavioral targeting, multivariate testing, bid management, offline, and web interaction optimization, looks great on paper, but I remain unconvinced that outsourcing all that to a SaaS makes sense (privacy concerns, cost, risk), and I remained unconvinced most companies could pull it off internally (lack of resources, sr mgmt that gets this stuff, or ability to justify the ROI for doing so).

    John: Good job on the report! I plan to digest it this weekend. Nice seeing you on Wednesday.

    Eric: Good post, dude!


  • http://www.lyrishq.com Blaine Mathieu, CMO, Lyris Inc.

    Great analysis! I definitely believe that analytics companies with old-fashioned volume-based business models will find themselves under incredible pressure in the next 12 months. That pressure will come from both the “actually free” solutions (Yahoo, Google) as well as the “effectively free” solutions (Lyris HQ) where analytics is included at no extra cost in a wider solution. Hang on – the engines of disruption are revving and it’s going to be a wild ride!

    Blaine Mathieu
    CMO, Lyris Inc.

  • http://www.webanalyticsdemystified.com eric

    Jacques and Judah: This is a story I keep hearing again and again, about Unica. And yeah Judah, I know … I know. When I heard that Unica displaced Omniture at a ** major ** account I had to ask myself “what is going on here?” So yeah, I think Unica is a sleeper to watch in 2008 and 2009 to be sure.

    Alas, Akin pulled “booth duty” at SES, something I totally do not understand, and cannot join us at X Change. Fortunately he will be in town for the Web Analytics Wednesday right after X Change on August 19th and we can pester him with questions then.

    And Jacques, yeah, that whole “data quality sucks” got filed away with “web analytics is easy” and “the Earth is flat” in my book. Sounds good enough until you actually test the idea, and then you realize something is pretty wrong. Oh well.

    John: You made me blush, thanks, and yeah not having a word count limitation is pretty nice. LOL! Re: data integration — why do you think I asked you to lead a huddle on the topic at the X Change? I think that will be a great huddle and I’m personally looking forward to it!

    Again, great work on the report. It is making a lot of folks question their assumptions which is fantastic!

    Alec: While I’m not able to discuss specifics, I think there are some back-end data integration offerings in the works that are pretty impressive. And while I do agree that accuracy is more important than some people clearly believe, I’m not sure 1:1 accuracy is the mandate outside of sales reconciliation given the sample data that marketers have been working from for so long.

    Suffice to say, changes are coming.

    Blaine: Thanks for the comment! I agree with you that the winds of change are blowing but at the same time, given John’s finding that nearly 70% of companies report being satisfied with their solution bodes well for the market leaders, at least for the time being. One clear disadvantage that free or nearly free solutions have is that nobody really follows Kaushik’s 10/90 rule — most companies I find un- or under-investing in web analytics technology basically staff at $0 or nearly so as well. As long as staffing and process remain an issue, the current solution is likely the best solution.

    Conversely, a good analyst dedicated to the project can do an awful lot with Google Analytics and will be able to do even more with IndexTools (and perhaps ClickTrack as well!) Again, as John said, it’s not the tool, it’s how you use it.

    Thanks to everyone who has commented, emailed, and Twittered me about this post. Since I don’t spend as much time blogging as some of my peers it’s nice to know that a few of you are still out there listening when I do pipe up.

  • http://UnicaWebAnalytics.com Akin Arikan / Unica

    Hi Eric, Jacques, and Judah,

    Unica and I are much honered for the kind words. Needless to say we are extremely excited about both the most recent Jupiter constellation and the Forrester Wave that came out a year ago. This kind of progress hasn’t been coming easy. A ton of colleagues are working hard behind the scenes. And our web analytics customers have been generous with feedback, support, and guidance.

    Re Alec’s comment about integrating Web analytics data into other (BI / CRM / Marketing) systems. I don’t want to make this a commercial, but that has been a sweet spot for Unica’s offering in the past and we are working to make that more plug & play all the time.

    As you know, we have our own angle on where web analytics should be going over the coming years. Namely, it shouldn’t confine itself to aggregate level insights for improving web site and online ads. But it is the most awesome pool of behavioral data on customer preferences on Earth. How to put that data to use for better customer service and more relevant marketing communications across multiple channels, is top of our minds.

    Thanks too for challenging me in regards to Xchange. Without wanting to go into details, the stars seem to be aligning such that I will after all have the great honor of attending part of the time. Very excited to meet this crowd there and share your view points.


  • http://www.hurolinan.com Hurol Inan

    Hi Eric,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I can report from the fields that it is spot on!

    For the last 12 months or so, the conversations we have been having with our clients is mostly about integration. To achieve this you need a solution that is open at the data layer and you can easily append data from other sources.

    Within the context of multi-channel marketing which is what the large end of the town is rightfully aspiring to do, this also presents interesting challenges such as where the data should be housed as the behavioural data captured by WA solutions is only one aspect of the full solution. There is also campaign history, product holdings & purchasing history, demographics data, etc.

    This obviously plays to the favour of the vendors such as SAS CXA and Unica NetInsights.

    I also agree with your comment that this is not about a solution. It is about what you can do with the behavioural data. A sensible starting point for many could be developing a series of scenarious how the behavioural data could be used and then technology enabling these initiatives as opposed to comparing the vendor products based on function points.



  • http://www.webanalyticsdemystified.com eric

    Akin: It is excellent to hear you’ll be able to join us at the X Change, even if only for a single day! I look forward to catching up with you!

    Hurol: Great to hear from you! Thanks for your feedback and further validation of John’s work and my commentary. It will certainly be interesting to see how all of this plays out through the balance of the decade.

    Thanks to both of you distinguished gentlemen for your comments!

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Do you used in-cell dropdowns in your spreadsheets? I used them all the time. It's both an ease-of-use and a data quality maneuver: clicking a dropdown is faster than typing a value, and it's really hard to mis-type a value when you're not actually typing!

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The Downfall of Tesco and the Omniscience of Analytics
Michele Kiss, Partner

Yesterday, an article in the Harvard Business Review provided food for thought for the analytics industry. In Tesco's Downfall Is a Warning to Data-Driven Retailers, author Michael Schrage ponders how a darling of the "analytics as a competitive advantage" stories, British retailer Tesco, failed so spectacularly - despite a wealth of data and customer insight.

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Creating Conversion Funnels via Segmentation
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

Regardless of what type of website you manage, it is bound to have some sort of conversion funnel. If you are an online retailer, your funnel may consist of people looking at products, selecting products, and then buying products. If you are a B2B company, your funnel may be higher-level like acquisition, research, trial and then form completion.

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10 Tips for Building a Dashboard in Excel
Tim Wilson, Partner

This post has an unintentionally link bait-y post title, I realize. But, I did a quick thought experiment a few weeks ago after walking a client through the structure of a dashboard I'd built for them to see if I could come up with ten discrete tips that I'd put to use when I built it. Turns out…I can!

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Exploring Optimal Post Timing ... Redux
Tim Wilson, Partner

Back in 2012, I developed an Excel worksheet that would take post-level data exported from Facebook Insights and do a little pivot tabling on it to generate some simple heat maps that would provide a visual way to explore when, for a given page, the optimal times of day and days of the week are for posting.

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What I Love: Adobe and Google Analytics*
Tim Wilson, Partner

While in Atlanta last week for ACCELERATE, I got into the age-old discussion of "Adobe Analytics vs. Google Analytics." I'm up to my elbows in both of them, and they're both gunning for each other, so this list is a lot shorter than it would have been a couple of years ago.

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Top 5 Metrics You're Measuring Incorrectly ... or Not
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

Last night as I was casually perusing the days digital analytics news - yes, yes I really do that - I came across a headline and article that got my attention. While the article's title ("Top 5 Metrics You're Measuring Incorrectly") is the sort I am used to seeing in our Buzzfeed-ified world of pithy "made you click" headlines, it was the article's author that got my attention.

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Bulletproof Business Requirements
John Lovett, Senior Partner

As a digital analytics professional, you've probably been tasked with collecting business requirements for measuring a new website/app/feature/etc. This seems like a task that's easy enough, but all too often people get wrapped around the axle and fail to capture what's truly important from a business users' perspective. The result is typically a great deal of wasted time, frustrated business users, and a deep-seated distrust for analytics data.

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Welcome to Team Demystified: Nancy Koons and Elizabeth Eckels!
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

I am delighted to announce that our Team Demystified business unit is continuing to expand with the addition of Nancy Koons and Elizabeth "Smalls" Eckels. Our Team Demystified efforts are exceeding all expectation and are allowing Web Analytics Demystified to provide truly world-class services to our Enterprise-class clients at an entirely new scale.

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When to Use Variables vs SAINT in Adobe Analytics
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

In one of my recent Adobe SiteCatalyst (Analytics) "Top Gun" training classes, a student asked me the following question: When should you use a variable (i.e. eVar or sProp) vs. using SAINT Classifications? This is an interesting question that comes up often, so I thought I would share my thoughts on this and my rules of thumb on the topic.

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5 Tips for #ACCELERATE Exceptionalism
Tim Wilson, Partner

Next month's ACCELERATE conference in Atlanta on September 18th will be the fifth - FIFTH!!! - one. I wish I could say I'd attended every one, but, sadly, I missed Boston due to a recent job change at the time. I was there in San Francisco in 2010, I made a day trip to Chicago in 2011, and I personally scheduled fantastic weather for Columbus in 2013.

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I've Become Aware that Awareness Is a #measure Bugaboo
Tim Wilson, Partner

A Big Question that social and digital media marketers grapple with constantly, whether they realize it or not: Is "awareness" a valid objective for marketing activity?

I've gotten into more than a few heated debates that, at their core, center around this question. Some of those debates have been with myself (those are the ones where I most need a skilled moderator!).

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Advanced Conversion Syntax Merchandising
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

As I have mentioned in the past, one of the Adobe SiteCatalyst (Analytics) topics I loathe talking about is Product Merchandising. Product Merchandising is complicated and often leaves people scratching their heads in my "Top Gun" training classes. However, many people have mentioned to me that my previous post on Product Merchandising eVars helped them a lot so I am going to continue sharing information on this topic.

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Team Demystified Update from Wendy Greco
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

When Eric Peterson asked me to lead Team Demystified a year ago, I couldn't say no! Having seen how hard all of the Web Analytics Demystified partners work and that they are still not able to keep up with the demand of clients for their services, it made sense for Web Analytics Demystified to find another way to scale their services. Since the Demystified team knows all of the best people in our industry and has tons of great clients, it is not surprising that our new Team Demystified venture has taken off as quickly as it has.

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SiteCatalyst Unannounced Features
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

Lately, Adobe has been sneaking in some cool new features into the SiteCatalyst product and doing it without much fanfare. While I am sure these are buried somewhere in release notes, I thought I'd call out two of them that I really like, so you know that they are there.

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Hello. I'm a Radical Analytics Pragmatist
Tim Wilson, Partner

I was reading a post last week by one of the Big Names in web analytics…and it royally pissed me off. I started to comment and then thought, "Why pick a fight?" We've had more than enough of those for our little industry over the past few years. So I let it go.

Except I didn't let it go.

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Competitor Pricing Analysis
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

One of my newest clients is in a highly competitive business in which they sell similar products as other retailers. These days, many online retailers have a hunch that they are being "Amazon-ed," which they define as visitors finding products on their website and then going to see if they can get it cheaper/faster on Amazon.com. This client was attempting to use time spent on page as a way to tell if/when visitors were leaving their site to go price shopping.

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How to Deliver Better Recommendations: Forecast the Impact!
Michele Kiss, Partner

One of the most valuable ways to be sure your recommendations are heard is to forecast the impact of your proposal. Consider what is more likely to be heard: "I think we should do X ..." vs "I think we should do X, and with a 2% increase in conversion, that would drive a $1MM increase in revenue ..."

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ACCELERATE 2014 "Advanced Analytics Education" Classes Posted
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

I am delighted to share the news that our 2014 "Advanced Analytics Education" classes have been posted and are available for registration. We expanded our offering this year and will be offering four concurrent analytics and optimization training sessions from all of the Web Analytics Demystified Partners and Senior Partners on September 16th and 17th at the Cobb Galaria in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Product Cart Addition Sequence
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

In working with a client recently, an interesting question arose around cart additions. This client wanted to know the order in which visitors were adding products to the shopping cart. Which products tended to be added first, second third, etc.? They also wanted to know which products were added after a specific product was added to the cart (i.e. if a visitor adds product A, what is the next product they tend to add?). Finally, they wondered which cart add product combinations most often lead to orders.

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7 Tips For Delivering Better Analytics Recommendations
Michele Kiss, Partner

As an analyst, your value is not just in the data you deliver, but in the insight and recommendations you can provide. But what is an analyst to do when those recommendations seem to fall on deaf ears?

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Overcoming The Analyst Curse: DON'T Show Your Math!
Michele Kiss, Partner

If I could give one piece of advice to an aspiring analyst, it would be this: Stop showing your "math". A tendency towards "TMI deliverables" is common, especially in newer analysts. However, while analysts typically do this in an attempt to demonstrate credibility ("See? I used all the right data and methods!") they do so at the expense of actually being heard.

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Making Tables of Numbers Comprehensible
Tim Wilson, Partner

I'm always amazed (read: dismayed) when I see the results of an analysis presented with a key set of the results delivered as a raw table of numbers. It is impossible to instantly comprehend a data table that has more than 3 or 4 rows and 3 or 4 columns. And, "instant comprehension" should be the goal of any presentation of information - it's the hook that gets your audience's brain wrapped around the material and ready to ponder it more deeply.

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Automating the Cleanup of Facebook Insights Exports
Tim Wilson, Partner

This post (the download, really - it's not much of a post) is about dealing with exports from Facebook Insights. If that's not something you do, skip it. Go back to Facebook and watch some cat videos. If you are in a situation where you get data about your Facebook page by exporting .csv or .xls files from the Facebook Insights web interface, then you probably sometimes think you need a 52" monitor to manage the horizontal scrolling.

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The Recent Forrester Wave on Web Analytics ... is Wrong
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

Having worked as an industry analyst back in the day I still find myself interested in what the analyst community has to say about web analytics, especially when it comes to vendor evaluation. The evaluations are interesting because of the sheer amount of work that goes into them in an attempt to distill entire companies down into simple infographics, tables, and single paragraph summaries.

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Funnel Visualizations That Make Sense
Tim Wilson, Partner

Funnels, as a concept, make some sense (although someone once made a good argument that they make no sense, since, when the concept is applied by marketers, the funnel is really more a "very, very leaky funnel," which would be a worthless funnel - real-world funnels get all of a liquid from a wide opening through a smaller spout; but, let's not quibble).

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Reenergizing Your Web Analytics Program & Implementation
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

Those of you who have read my blog posts (and book) over the years, know that I have lots of opinions when it comes to web analytics, web analytics implementations and especially those using Adobe Analytics. Whenever possible, I try to impart lessons I have learned during my web analytics career so you can improve things at your organization.

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Registration for ACCELERATE 2014 is now open
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

I am excited to announce that registration for ACCELERATE 2014 on September 18th in Atlanta, Georgia is now open. You can learn more about the event and our unique "Ten Tips in Twenty Minutes" format on our ACCELERATE mini-site, and we plan to have registration open for our Advanced Analytics Education pre-ACCELERATE training sessions in the coming weeks.

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Current Order Value
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

I recently had a client pose an interesting question related to their shopping cart. They wanted to know the distribution of money its visitors were bringing with them to each step of the shopping cart funnel.

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A Guide to Segment Sharing in Adobe Analytics
Tim Wilson, Partner

Over the past year, I've run into situations multiple times where I wanted an Adobe Analytics segment to be available in multiple Adobe Analytics platforms. It turns out…that's not as easy as it sounds. I actually went multiple rounds with Client Care once trying to get it figured out. And, I've found "the answer" on more than one occasion, only to later realize that that answer was a bit misguided.

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Currencies & Exchange Rates
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

If your web analytics work covers websites or apps that span different countries, there are some important aspects of Adobe SiteCatalyst (Analytics) that you must know. In this post, I will share some of the things I have learned over the years related to currencies and exchange rates in SiteCatalyst.

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Linking Authenticated Visitors Across Devices
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

In the last few years, people have become accustomed to using multiple digital devices simultaneously. While watching the recent winter Olympics, consumers might be on the Olympics website, while also using native mobile or tablet apps. As a result, some of my clients have asked me whether it is possible to link visits and paths across these devices so they can see cross-device paths and other behaviors.

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The 80/20 Rule for Analytics Teams
Eric T. Peterson, Senior Partner

I had the pleasure last week of visiting with one of Web Analytics Demystified's longest-standing and, at least from a digital analytical perspective, most successful clients. The team has grown tremendously over the years in terms of size and, more importantly, stature within the broader multi-channel business and has become one of the most productive and mature digital analytics groups that I personally am aware of across the industry.

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Ten Things You Should ALWAYS Do (or Not Do) in Excel
Tim Wilson, Partner

Last week I was surprised by the Twitter conversation a fairly innocuous vent-via-Twitter tweet started, with several people noting that they had no idea you could simple turn off the gridlines.

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Omni Man (and Team Demystified) Needs You!
Adam Greco, Senior Partner

As someone in the web analytics field, you probably hear how lucky you are due to the fact that there are always web analytics jobs available. When the rest of the country is looking for work and you get daily calls from recruiters, it isn't a bad position to be in! At Web Analytics Demystified, we have more than doubled in the past year and still cannot keep up with the demand, so I am reaching out to you ...

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A Useful Framework for Social Media "Engagements"
Tim Wilson, Partner

Whether you have a single toe dipped in the waters of social media analytics or are fully submerged and drowning, you've almost certainly grappled with "engagement." This post isn't going to answer the question "Is engagement ROI?" ...

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It's not about "Big Data", it's about the "RIGHT data"
Michele Kiss, Partner

Unless you've been living under a rock, you have heard (and perhaps grown tired) of the buzzword "big data." But in attempts to chase the "next shiny thing", companies may focus too much on "big data" rather than the "right data."

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