Registration is now open for ACCELERATE 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia on September 18th. Reserve your spot today at Eventbrite — tickets are only $99 USD!

Archive for February, 2012

Web 3.0 and the Internet User’s Bill of Rights

Back in 2007, on the subject of the evolution of the web analytics industry, I proffered that “If Web Analytics 1.0 was all about measuring page views to generate reports and define key performance indicators, and if Web Analytics 2.0 is about measuring events and integrating qualitative and quantitative data, then Web Analytics 3.0 is about measuring real people and optimizing the flow of information to individuals as they interact with the world around them.”

At the time I was thinking about the onset of digital ubiquity — an “always on” Internet that followed us everywhere we went and more or less knew where we were. Given the explosion of mobile devices and our near universal dependence on smartphones, location-based services, and digital personal assistants, the following comment seems almost quaint:

“Just think for a minute about how your browsing experience might change if the web sites you visited remembered you and delivered a tailored experience based on your demographic profile (theoretically available via your phone number), your browsing history (accurate because you’re not deleting your phone number) and your specific geographic location when you make the request?”

Essentially I envisioned a future where anonymous log files gave way to massive data stores that, given much of the data would be flowing from mobile devices that we kept on us at all times, would form a far more complete picture of each of us individually than Web Analytics 1.0 or 2.0 could ever hope to support. What’s more, when subject to enough processing power and computational wizardry, this data would support previously unimaginable levels of micro-targeting and content personalization, possibly knowing more about us than our own loved ones.

At the time I recall having conversations with one particularly smart individual who argued that this would never happen — that phone manufacturers and phone and Internet service providers would never allow this type of information to be used, much less in a commercial context. His argument was that this would be such an egregious violation of consumer privacy that, were this to happen, the government would inevitably step in and, fearing ham-fisted meddling by “luddite politicians” (his words, not mine), industry leaders would come together and attempt to offer at least some level of consumer protection, even if it would negatively impact their business models.

Turns out we were both right.

What I referred to as “Web Analytics 3.0″ is clearly the collection, analysis, and use of what is more commonly referred to as “Big Data” — an incredibly powerful source of information about consumers that can be used in an almost endless number of ways to power our new data economy. And, thanks to some spectacular mis-steps on the part of organizations, groups, and companies who should know better, “Big Data” is increasingly subject to regulation.

In the past few days, the California Attorney General has announced that she has the agreement of six of the largest mobile platform providers — Google, Apple, Amazon, HP, RIM, and Microsoft — to begin enforcing a law that calls attention to the use of consumer data in mobile applications. And, even more amazingly, the Obama administration has delivered a “Digital Consumer’s Bill of Rights” that has the major browser manufactures agreeing to quickly begin to support “Do Not Track” functionality designed to limit the flow and use of even anonymous web usage data in some instances.

Clearly, both of these announcements are good for consumers, who will hopefully be better protected from bonehead moves like sending entire address books insecurely up to cloud-based servers. And clearly both of these announcements are good for legislators, who during an election year will have something positive to talk about, at least with the majority of their constituents.

But where does this leave you, the digital measurement, analysis, and optimization worker?

More or less in the same place we were back in December 2010 when this all first came up, on the brink of a sea-change in web analytics, but one that I’m confident that most of us can handle. While I still believe that web analytics is hard — perhaps more so than ever — I’m also confident that individuals who are truly invested in making informed decisions based on the available data will be just fine.

Still there are unknowns and subsequently risk coming down the pipe through the President’s “Bill of Rights.”  Some things that I am particularly interested in knowing include:

  • Who decides which technologies will be subjected to browser-based “Do Not Track” directives?
  • Will “blocked” technologies be universally blocked? Or, like in P3P, is their a continuum of requirements?
  • Will “blocked” technologies be blocked across all participating browsers? Or will browser vendors decide individually?
  • Will “blocked” sessions be identified as such? And if so, will some minimal data still be available?
  • How will the Bill of Rights “guarantee” data security, transparency, respect for context, etc. as outlined by the President?

I suspect the answers to most of these questions are still being discussed.  Still, the ramifications are important and there is an awful lot of conflict of interest inherent in the browser vendor’s participation.  For example, if you’re Google and have made a pretty significant investment into Google Analytics, what is your motivation to block analytics tracking in your Chrome browser? Or perhaps you’re Microsoft and you have multiple initiatives to improve the quality of search and display advertising — all of which depend on some level of data collected via the browser — are you willing to prevent all of that in Internet Explorer?

It will be interesting to watch this play out.

For what it’s worth, at Web Analytics Demystified we have been thinking about the explosion in digital data collection and consumer privacy for a pretty long time. Going all the way back to that 2007 post on Web 3.0, and rolling forward to our work on the Web Analyst’s Code of Ethics and more recently our GUARDS Audit (with BPA Worldwide), Web Analytics Demystified strongly believes that consumer data is a valuable asset, one that needs to be treated with the upmost respect.

To that end, if your legal team or senior leadership are asking you about the data you collect and how you might be exposed based on how that data is being secured and used, you might be interested in Web Analytics Demystified GUARDS. In a nutshell, GUARDS is a comprehensive audit of your digital data collection landscape performed by auditors from BPA Worldwide designed to help leadership understand what data is collected, where, why, and how that data is being secured and ultimately used.

Either way, my partners and I at Web Analytics Demystified will be keeping a careful eye on this Bill of Rights, changes in the mobile data collection landscape, and the application of Do Not Track across modern browsers. I welcome your comments and feedback.

Published on February 23, 2012 under General Web Analytics, Web Analytics 3.0, Web Analytics Demystified GUARDS, Web Analytics Demystified Partners

Welcome Demystifier Brian Hawkins!

Adam, John, and I are incredibly excited to announce that industry veteran Brian Hawkins is joining Web Analytics Demystified to help us expand our offerings around testing, optimization, and personalization of all forms of digital communication. Brian is the most widely recognized expert in the field when it comes to Enterprise-class optimization and personalization technology, integration, and strategy. He comes to us from Offermatica by way of Omniture and Adobe, and we are delighted to build on our support for Adobe’s solutions, adding Brian’s expertise on Test&Target to Adam’s SiteCatalyst-related offerings.

Brian’s offerings at Demystified will look a lot like Adam’s — audits of current implementations, strategic planning for testing and optimization readiness, systems integration architecture and support, and planning support for the entire end-to-end process of site and application optimization in the Enterprise. While Brian’s technology expertise is strongest on Test&Target, his knowledge of what it takes from a teams, governance, and process perspective to be successful transcends platforms and I believe will incredibly valuable to any large business trying to become agile in their optimization efforts.

Brian is taking a little time off before getting started mid-month but I will be adding his blog, a description of his offerings, and more about him to the site very soon. Clients are welcome to contact us directly to set up time to meet Brian (and if you’re not a client you can call too, that is if you have any interest in testing, optimization, or personalization.)

Brian will be with us at Emetrics, Adobe’s Summit in Salt Lake City, and of course he will be presenting at our own ACCELERATE event in Chicago on April 4th. If you’re at any of these events and would like to meet or connect with Brian, please drop me a note.

We hope you will join us in welcoming Brian to the team.

Published on February 1, 2012 under Web Analytics Demystified Business, Web Analytics Demystified Partners


Recent Blog Posts

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.

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Tim Wilson

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 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.

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Adam Greco

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 ..."

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Michele Kiss

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 Gallaria in Atlanta, Georgia.

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Eric T. Peterson

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.

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Adam Greco

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?

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Michele Kiss

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.

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Michele Kiss

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.

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Tim Wilson

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.

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Tim Wilson

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.

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Eric T. Peterson

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).

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Tim Wilson

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.

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Adam Greco

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.

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Eric T. Peterson

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.

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Adam Greco

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.

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Tim Wilson

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.

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Adam Greco

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.

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Adam Greco

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.

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Eric T. Peterson

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.

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Tim Wilson

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 ...

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Adam Greco

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?" ...

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Tim Wilson

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."

Continue reading this article ... ... more from Michele Kiss

Eric T.








Contact Us

You can contact Web Analytics Demystified day or night via email or by reaching out to one of our Partners directly.

» Contact Information

Web Analytics Demystified, Inc.
P.O. Box 13303
Portland, OR 97213
(503) 282-2601

Useful Links