How much do you pay for web analytics?

Published by Eric T. Peterson on August 3, 2009 All posts from Eric T. Peterson

I was just cruising through the just published WebTrends 9 update and thinking about how the web analytics vendor market is evolving. “9″ looks neat and I’m sure glad to see some really important metrics like bounce rate appear in the UI. Still, I always scratch my head when I see vendors make statements like “[the] data visualization tool in Webtrends Analytics 9 lets anyone – even analytics novices – quickly and easily understand changes in key metrics” and then put up a feature list like this one.

Still, it’s nice to see WebTrends making some moves so congratulations to Jascha, Casey and the entire Portland crew for getting the update out the door!

Anyway …

I said I had been thinking about the evolution of the web analytics vendor market. A lot of my thinking this past week has been colored, well, purple, thanks to the announcement of Yahoo’s Web Analytics Consulting Network (the YWACN or, as I think about it “the Yack’n!”.)  On July 30th Yahoo announced that they were making Yahoo! Web Analytics much easier to get through 48 partners around the globe.

Now, when you look at the partner list you might not recognize a lot of the names — I sure don’t — but a few should stand out. Specifically Stratigent, Semphonic, Sapient, and my own company Web Analytics Demystified. While I can’t speak directly for any of these companies, all are run by very smart people, and I have to wonder if they’re not thinking about YWA much the same way I have been.

I mean, if you think about it, Yahoo! has basically come to us and said “Go sell excellent implementations of YWA and provide awesome ongoing support” for an application that, according to Forrester Reseach, has 77% of the core functionality of Omniture SiteCatalyst. Or, put another way, “Find companies that are struggling to get value from their existing investment in {pick a vendor}, kick that vendor out, and then make money helping them be successful for less then they spend today.”

Sweet, thanks Yahoo!

Not to brag (since it was pretty obvious) but I did say this would happen back in April 2008 given the hard work Google Analytics (who is ironically NOT a YWA competitor) had done with their similarly badly acronym’d GAAC. Yahoo wisely avoids having to support customers directly, leverages some incredibly smart folks, and lets companies reduce their annual analytics spend without having to forgo core functionality like multiple custom variables and visitor-level segmentation.

Hell, we’re not even talking about real-time updates and demographic reporting and segmentation, which while the former often has more value ascribed than necessary the latter, if I can say so based on my own usage, is pretty fantastic and not available in any other web analytics application in the market today. I mean, who would have guessed that so many mature, responsible adults love to Twitalyze themselves!

Now I sincerely doubt that any of the YWACN members are going to suddenly stop supporting the big for-fee applications out there … I know I’m not! And I fully expect the adoption of YWA to be slow and methodical (mostly because of existing contracts, Yahoo’s terms of service, and the fact that Yahoo is somewhat limiting YWACN access to new accounts although I think their strategy is fair and makes perfect sense.) But at the end of the day Yahoo has made quite possible the single best move they could have if their goal was to provide an awesome service with excellent third-party support at the best possible price.

Now if you were paying attention you may have noticed I commented that Google Analytics and Yahoo Web Analytics are not competitive. Crazy, huh? But they’re not. Google Analytics (as it exists today) and Yahoo Web Analytics (as it exists today) serve two near completely distinct target markets.

Now I know I’ll get heat for saying this (again) but I just don’t think Google Analytics is appropriate for “free standing” use within the true Enterprise. I’ll point again to Bill Gassman’s recent note on the service (which I thought was excellent) and will obviously concede that it is well within Google’s power to make GA the “bestest, most Enterprisey” web analytics application the world has ever seen … but it isn’t today. More importantly when I go looking for companies mature in their use of web analytics who rely exclusively on Google Analytics and have chosen to do so explicitly, I simply don’t find them.

I could be wrong — if you’re an analytics samurai using nothing but GA please let me know –  but what I see a lot of is mature businesses using Google Analytics to back-fill some limitation in their for-fee vendor’s service. For example, up until today it was amazingly difficult to get WebTrends to calculate a bounce rate and some people think setting up visitor segments in SiteCatalyst is a lot of work. More importantly, while lots and lots of people complain about how difficult their analytics application is to use, the team at Google has done a freaking brilliant job with the GA user interface and in my humble opinion it sets the bar for ease-of-use in web analytics.

Yahoo Web Analytics in an Enterprise context, and hopefully Dennis will forgive me this since he’s tanned and rested after a week or two in the islands, is not really that easy to use, not that easy to set up, and not that easy to configure — remember it’s 77% of Omniture SiteCatalyst which nobody ever describes as “easy to implement and easy to use” (except for Adam Greco, but he’s clearly an exception!)

But here’s the secret: Yahoo Web Analytics is not supposed to be easy to use, it’s supposed to be really, really powerful! Yahoo Web Analytics is an Enterprise-class web analytics application out of the box designed to support businesses with custom data collection needs, custom reporting needs, custom segmentation needs, and the challenges typically found within any company of size.

More importantly, because of this functionality I believe that Yahoo Web Analytics will be a gateway to a much deeper relationship between the YWACN and their customers than the GAAC have found for the most part.

Yes, Yahoo’s APIs are tightly held and thusly YWA is not as “open” as WebTrends or as “integrated” as Omniture. Yes, Yahoo is keeping Rubix under wraps so it is not as flexible as Affinium NetInsight or Coremetrics Explore. Yes the interface is kinda clunky and the terms of use were written by lawyers … I get the complaints and hear the FUD loud and clear. But given the massive adoption of Google Analytics I think that coupling exceptional services and support with a free Enterprise-class application has a lot of potential to be the permanent game changer that I first described last year.

What do you think? Is purple the new green? Is “9″ too little, too late? Does Yahoo! have a chance to focus now that they have outsourced their search business? Or am I missing the point and despite two great free solutions will the world continue to pay for web analytics the same way we always have? I’m totally willing to be wrong about this one … but if you don’t believe me about how powerful Yahoo Web Analytics is either read this book or contact me directly and I’ll see about getting you your own YWA account.

As always your comments are welcome.

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  • http://www.mertanen.info Petri Mertanen

    Eric,

    I totally agree with you. And not just because we are one of the Yack’n partners. I feel very much responsible every time when I (have to) recommend a web analytics system for customer. If I had to choose one, in terms of cost and system possibilities, it would be definitely Yahoo! at the moment.

    Still, I’m very often surprised how customers choose web analytics systems and how (poorly) they actually use them? I think we have plenty work to do, at least in Finland, in order to raise awareness and educate people more.

    Cheers,
    /Pete

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  • Nik 7K7

    I agree that Yahoo! Analytics (formerly IndexTools) is, overall, a much more powerful Enterprise solution than Google Analytics.
    Granted, Google Analytics has been making a fair effort for the last year, adding “enterprise features” such as segmentation, which really should be the ABC of Web Analytics.

    I don’t think it’s fair to compare Yahoo! Analytics and Google Analytics in terms of scalability and use volume. GA is incredibly limited compared to Yahoo! Analytics, but it works (functionally anyway), and it works for a lot of people. Yahoo! Analytics is still in its infancy and generally unreliable since the transition from IndexTools to Yahoo!. I can only imagine this will become true even moreso as it adds additional partners and users.

    The original IndexTools product, which offered customizability that has been removed, like multiple custom fields, custom metrics, huge numbers of custom actions has been scaled down since the merger with Yahoo!, which paid solutions will continue to offer, and is really the actionable material for companies that rely on data for business decisions.

  • http://www.webstrategy360.com Kamal

    I do agree that YWA has significantly changed the choice in web analytics tools and is making the current players sweat a lot more than they did about GA.
    However, I think there are still some huge enterprises that will never allow themselves to switch to a tool provided by Yahoo or even Google (not matter how many upgrades they do). There will always be a perceived conflict of interest; the company you are spending advertising money on will be giving you the resulting numbers. I just don’t see it happening. There will always be a few paid for analytics tools. Just maybe not as many as there are now.

    By the way, is there any chance I could have a play around with YWA myself? I bought the book two weeks ago and have been itching to play with it since :)

  • http://www.adviso.ca Mehdi

    Hi Eric,

    from my perspective, Google Analytics is becoming a real competitor for YWA. GA is evolving too fast compared to this latter, even if I assume (hope?) that Yahoo! is preparing surprises.

    I’m pretty sure that, within one year, Google Analytics will have surpassed YWA. For the moment, only some important features are missing in GA (i.e. more powerful visitors segmentation) and I totally trust Google to catch up.

    Everytime I see Yahoo! or Microsoft fighting against Google, I have the impression that they only make Google still more powerfull and inovative (see the evolution of GA since the acquisition of Indextools by Yahoo!). It will probably be the same story for the fight between Google and Bing.

    Am I too confident or too googlized? Maybe :)

  • Livia Barton

    Eric –

    Great post and fabulous presentation last week in DC.

    Question in lieu of the latest news…

    What will happen when a company spends significant time and resources implementing the Yahoo Web Analytics “enterprise solution” and 3-4 years later Yahoo decides to discontinue the product?

    - Livia

  • http://www.engage-digital.com Hugh Gage

    Eric,

    Do you think that Omniture’s strategy of wrapping SiteCatalyst in other complimentary products like Merchandising, Test & Target, SiteSearch etc will make a difference to enterprise customers looking to select a product to deploy as part of a performance optimisation strategy?

    I know each of those additional elements can be ticked off using other products in the marketplace such as Endeca and SiteSpect but Omniture tout integration and perhaps that’s something that will prove to be a powerful factor in the decision making process.

    Hugh

  • http://www.webanalyticsdemystified.com eric

    Petri: Thanks for your comment. You are not alone in Finland, which is exciting since it means we all have lots of great work to do!

    Nik: I’m a little confused … I specifically said that one ** should not ** compare GA and YWA (so I guess I agree with you!) In terms of Yahoo’s version of IndexTools and the changes they made prior to the 9.5 release … I still have access to a lot of custom variables (50 I think), custom actions, and custom metrics. I was also reminded by Mr. Bob Page from Yahoo! that they actually ** do ** have a support staff helping YWA customers get value from the application.

    To expect Yahoo! to keep IndexTools “as was” after the acquisition would be naive. My understanding, again from Bob Page, is that IndexTools has been largely overhauled to support a far greater number of customers (although not 1,000,000 of them) and so there will always be trade-offs. Same was true when Google bought Urchin, and of course Omniture is turning HBX off which is slightly more dramatic.

    Thanks for your comment!

    Kamal: Agreed that some companies will always choose for-fee solutions. Definitely. Perhaps large numbers of them … but my point is that now the Enterprise has a legitimate choice from “free” which is new. Only time will tell how this all plays out!

    (Sorry, I only have a few YWA accounts and unsurprisingly I’m holding onto them for companies, not other consultants ;-)

    Mehdi: Interesting prediction, but I think you’ve under-estimated the list of things “missing” in Google Analytics relative to YWA. Perhaps your GAAC status has clouded your vision, yes, (but perhaps I’m wrong as well!)

    Livia: Great question, and nice to meet you in D.C. as well! I’m still kicking myself for not going out and gawking at the First Lady ;-)

    What happens if Yahoo! drops YWA after 3 or 4 years? Same thing happening to all the HBX customers in the face of Omniture threatening to turn HBX off … you migrate to another solution. Nothing is forever on the Internet, and if you get four years of good use out of ** any ** solution at World Bank you’re doing better than an awful lot of companies out there ;-)

    Worrying about Yahoo dropping YWA is as productive as worrying about Google turning off Google Analytics, which despite Google shutting down a lot of stuff lately and laying off bunches of employees still seems pretty darn unlikely. Not a non-issue, but not worth losing sleep over.

    Hugh: An excellent question, and one that I get all the time from investors holding OMTR. I think that what we’re seeing from Omniture, WebTrends, and Coremetrics and the expansion of offerings into a (more or less) integrated sweet is the ** only option these companies have. **

    Think about it: If Omniture continues to derive 75% of their revenues from tag-based data collection, what happens if Yahoo opens the throttle on YWA or when Google really gets “more Enterprisey than ever?” I believe that the pricing model for the stuff that the fee vendors do ** best ** (or at least most of) today is about to change pretty dramatically given the quality of free solutions available.

    So if some day Chris Harrington’s sales organization cannot sell data collection as a stand-alone feature profitably, he needs to hedge his bets and use it as a loss-leader to sell integrated customer solutions. Makes sense, provided they continue to build and acquire high-quality/best of breed (as opposed to distressed at fire-sale prices) technologies ** AND ** integrating them meaningfully into their over-arching offering.

    One of the vendors I talk with from time to time has admitted having an 18 month plan that reduces percent of sales from “web analytics” to a fraction of what they do today: 18 MONTHS! Now I think this is a pretty conservative estimate but I give them points for careful planning. I suspect Mr. James and Mr. Harrington have a similar plan … at least I hope they do for their 5,000 customer’s sake!

    An excellent question, thanks!

  • http://visualrevenue.com/blog/ Dennis R. Mortensen

    Hey Nik – So there is no confusion:

    Yahoo Web Analytics
    - 50 Custom Actions
    - 38 Custom Fields

    I think that should be enough for most people Nik. :-)

    Cheers
    d.

    Dennis R. Mortensen, Director of Data Insights at Yahoo!
    Blog: http://visualrevenue.com/blog
    Book: http://visualrevenue.com/blog/yahoo-analytics-book
    Twitter: http://twitter.com/DennisMortensen

  • http://www.webanalyticsdemystified.com eric

    Dennis: (Welcome back?) Thanks for clearing that up, and thanks for not beating me up over the “not easy to use, not easy to install” commentary. I look forward to seeing you at the X Change in September!

  • http://visualrevenue.com/blog/ Dennis R. Mortensen

    Hey Livia,

    It is a very valid question, BUT I don’t think it is possible to be a major online advertising company (such as Y!) without DATA. I believe we are moving towards (perhaps we are already there) a setup where advertisers buys two things 1) the impression and 2) the data behind it.

    My opinion is very much aligned with e.g. WPP (which use to be characterized as one of the biggest ADVERTISING companies in the world) – as Sir Martin Sorrell likes to say it: “We’re a Marketing and Data company”..

    That said. I think you will see Geocities go before YWA. :-)

    Cheers
    d.

    Dennis R. Mortensen, Director of Data Insights at Yahoo!
    Blog: http://visualrevenue.com/blog
    Book: http://visualrevenue.com/blog/yahoo-analytics-book
    Twitter: http://twitter.com/DennisMortensen

  • http://www.capturecommerce.com Tom Shivers

    Eric,
    I’ve become more and more aware of GA’s weaknesses over the past several months. One particular issue GA is inconsistent with is accurate ecommerce transactions with different types of shopping carts. I wonder if YWA is any better and if so I’d like to try it.

  • http://visualrevenue.com/blog/ Dennis R. Mortensen

    Hey Eric,

    Welcome back? no no.. I am back from the Caribbean on August 18th! :-)

    *but of course, juggling my Laptop, a Mojito and a surfboard is somewhat work. (never choose a resort without Wifi)

    Great post Eric. I’ll keep advertising on my own that it is not _THAT_ hard to use though (my job and agenda, so that’s of course colored). But I do think you hit the nail on the head; Enterprise Analytics is hard and that includes the tools that comes with it.

    You definitely outlined our “Going to Market strategy” better than our corporate communication have. So for that; THANK YOU..

    I can certainly vouch for your comment:

    “Google Analytics (as it exists today) and Yahoo Web Analytics (as it exists today) serve two near completely distinct target markets.”

    AND this is not me saying we are better or worse. I love the guys over at GA. We (at YWA) just work a different GTM strategy,

    And now…. ;-)

    Cheers
    d

    Dennis R. Mortensen, Director of Data Insights at Yahoo!
    Blog: http://visualrevenue.com/blog
    Book: http://visualrevenue.com/blog/yahoo-analytics-book
    Twitter: http://twitter.com/DennisMortensen

  • http://www.webanalyticswednesday.cz Jiri Brazda

    Hi Eric, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog recently and this post was no exception. Very good observations as usual concerning the market development.

    However, maybe not Dennis but I would like to take you up on the “not so easy to use” thing .-) I’ve been using YWA for a couple months now, though I admit not in an enterprise context, and find it incredibly easy to set up in terms of data collection and incredibly easy to use its reporting interface given the power it offers with its custom reports, segments, filters etc. Sure, not as easy as GA, that’s the web analytics god of user experience at the moment. But easy enough and since it’s free to me personally it’s the purple cow of web analytics.

    Could you possibly elaborate on what you mean by not easy? Do you have anything specific on mind?

    Many thanks

    Jiri

  • http://www.adviso.ca Mehdi

    @ Eric: I know Eric ;0). My vision is not clouded, the goal was to stimulate the debat :)
    However, if we look at the features used by most of the clients, they are on the same market according to me…and from this perspective, GA is not so far from YWA.

  • Livia Barton

    Eric – Thanks and points taken. You’ll just have to hurry and come back to make up for lost opportunity!

    Dennis – Being in the data business, yes that’s something we know well at the World Bank. It’s a fabulous move for Y! IMO. Also, thanks for the reminder about geocities…i might want to dig up that old u/p before October 26th ;)

    Cheers,

    Livia

  • http://insightr.com James Dutton

    Hey Eric,

    I would add to the comments Dennis made about how easy / difficult YWA is to use. From my experience any web analytics tool, whether it’s Site Catalyst, Google Analytics, YWA, Coremetrics is going to be seen by its users with polarising opinion – as many of the debates you’ve raised have included. It’s Easy? It’s Difficult? Implementation is enterprise and requires complex planning! Implementation is point and click!

    I think one of the key differentiating factors that YWA brings to the table, and as a member of the YWACN Insightr is really looking forward to bringing this to our clients in Asia is that it is a tool that serves a very diverse market. At the low end, just as with Google Analytics, a website can have basic content reporting within 10 minutes of accessing an account. Now many would argue – as would I – that here’s not a tremendous amount of value in this. But, not everyone is at the same level of sophistication. Now what makes that story interesting is when we take a step back and look at the so called enterprise implementation of tools like Site Catalyst – where in my experience at least half of product implementations have been ‘out of the box’ with no customisation whatsoever. This leads to the debates clients often bring to the table “our tool doesn’t deliver” etc. We’ve all argued for so long that it’s not the tool, it’s the process and way it is deployed within an organisation.

    Which brings me to the second point about YWA we are finding incredibly useful and powerful for our clients. This ability to customise the product and build in capabilities that transcend our measurement plans into real-world data collection and analysis enable us to emulate the very best that a Site Catalyst can offer, in fact with the segmentation capabilities that YWA offers it does in fact take us into Discover on Demand territory (sorry to pick on Omniture here!).

    With all the acquisitions recently (again Omniture largely responsible!) it’s nice to see a new player in the market with a different approach. So finally, against your point of will YWACN members stop supporting other tools? Of course not – we still take an agnostic approach to tools and how they would be recommended based on the needs of a client. We’re still 100% behind the key products we support from Omniture and Google and will continue to do so, but YWA opens up a market and we’re really excited by this.

    Cheers and apologies for the long winded response, James.

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  • http://www.webanalyticsdemystified.com eric

    (Thanks to everyone commenting on the blog! I have been on the road again but am trying to catch up with comments as I am able.)

    Tom: Since your criticism of GA is kind of vague I’m not sure how to respond other than to say that usually inaccuracies are caused by implementations, not the tracking applications themselves. If that is the case YWA and GA would have the same challenges I suspect.

    Dennis: Thank you for multiple comments from your holiday in the sun. Suffice to say it will be interesting to see how this all plays out … ;-)

    Jiri: I think James captured the essence of my comment, that any practitioner worth their wage will inevitably come to think that the application they use on a daily basis is “easy.” But the reality is that most of these application — all of them really in their own way — force dedicated resources to jump through hoops to get simple tasks completed, and this says nothing of the challenges “lay” users experience.

    My entire these around “Web analytics is hard” (which some people completely missed, LOL!) is about expectation setting. “Hard” can be learned, but it takes time, dedication, and effort (which you clearly have applied in your year using YWA) … sadly many people don’t apply themselves to the challenge and are disappointed by their results.

    Anyway, glad you like YWA!

    Mehdi: Agreed, but do you believe it fair to compare applications based on their most basic uses? Most people usually make those comparisons based on the entire breadth of the functional set, in which case GA and YWA have dramatic differences.

    Livia: I forgot to mention that if you did want a YWA account for World Bank just let me know. I would be happy to work with you on that.

    James: Long comment and all I have to add is “thanks” and “I agree.” Now that YWA is more widely available is it time to go back to Dennis and start whining about wanting access to Rubix? ;-)

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  • nik7k7

    Hi Eric / Dennis,

    Thank you for your responses.
    Reading over my comment I realized I said one should not compare the two solutions – but then I did so myself!

    I certainly understand that to meet expectations and appeal to a wider user base, IndexTools / Y! Analytics had to limit some of its base features – that much is to be expected.

    I was approaching the issue from a perspective of a user and client standpoint – we had used IndexTools / Y! Analytics for several years for multiple clients – with the merger we saw a loss in custom metrics (that were not out-of-the-box and built just for us and based on client needs).

    One of the main selling points of using the tool, I thought, was the scalability and customization granted from a smaller, private vendor. While the custom actions / fields options are very competitive, with the merger we lost the ability to push past the one-size-fits-all approach that characterizes tools like GA.

    Yahoo! Analytics is incredibly full featured and powerful – I am sure it will be more than enough for most users. The consultant network is also a great idea – it was just somewhat bittersweet to lose the consistent, dedicated support IndexTools provided previously :).

 


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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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