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

Help me welcome our newest Demystifier, Tim Wilson!

I am delighted to announce that Web Analytics Demystified has grown our analysis group again, this time adding a long-time friend of the firm and extraordinary Web Analytics Wednesday coordinator, Tim Wilson. Tim will be working with Michele Kiss to build out our analysis and analyst mentoring practice, focusing on helping clients establish internal best practices, governance, and recruiting strategies to build Enterprise-class digital analytics teams. He will be officially on-board and ready to work with clients in July of this year — and of course a big part of September’s ACCELERATE event in Columbus, Ohio — so let me know if you’d like to discuss how Tim can help you accelerate your use of analytics!

In case you don’t already know Tim, here is a little bit about him:

“Tim Wilson has been working in digital analytics for over 12 years in a diverse range of environments and with a wide range of analytics platforms. He has been a consistent contributor of pragmatic thinking on digital analytics topics for almost six years through his highly regarded blog at, and, for the past year, as a monthly contributor to He has become a regular and sought after speaker at industry events, including ACCELERATE, eMetrics, and Digital Analytics Association (DAA) Symposiums, and he started and continues to run monthly Web Analytics Wednesdays in Columbus, Ohio, one of the country’s most active and engaged analytics social networks.

Tim has also worked client side, both at Nationwide Insurance and at National Instruments, a high tech B2B company, where he led the Business Intelligence group and was the business owner and lead analyst for the web analytics platform (Webtrends). He holds a B.S. in Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin.”

Those of you who are paying attention will likely note that Web Analytics Demystified is growing like crazy. I’m proud to say that Adam, John, and I have managed this growth fully in the spirit of the firm — only hiring the best, most qualified individuals who provide our clients access to a depth of experience unmatched in the digital analytics space. At last count we were eight Partners with over 150 clients, poised to author our sixth and seventh books, and helping our clients deliver hundreds of millions of incremental dollars annually though great analysis and optimization.

Tim is on Twitter as @tgwilson so I hope you will help me welcome him to Team Demystified! His blog will be online soon, and I suspect if you visit him over at he will have something to say.

Published on June 21, 2013 under ACCELERATE, Web Analytics Demystified Business

Welcome Josh West, Adobe, and Google!

I am delighted to announce three big additions to the Web Analytics Demystified family today! The first is our newest Partner and lead for tag management, platforms, and technology, Mr. Josh West. Josh is an incredibly experienced developer and has been working in the digital measurement space for years, both at Omniture and more recently Josh adds additional depth to our expanding team, complimenting all of our work, and Josh will be working directly with Adam Greco, John Lovett, and I on a variety of custom analytics and integration projects. More importantly, Josh will be be the Demystified lead for tag management system (TMS) vendor selection and integration projects, adding capacity in what is one of the hottest and most active components of Demystified’s business.

We will be adding Josh’s blog and content to the web site in the coming days, and of course you will be able to meet Josh in person at the Web Analytics Demystified ACCELERATE event in September in Columbus, Ohio.

Secondly, we are excited to announce that we have become certified partners with both Adobe and Google, adding to our existing agreement with Webtrends. Both companies are giving us great access and insight into their analytics and optimization product families, and we are delighted to be formalizing such great, long-standing relationships. Additionally, we are joining Google’s Premium Analytics reseller program, allowing our firm to be even more creative in how we help Enterprise-class clients make the switch to Google’s most powerful analytics solutions.

You can read the press release about Josh West and our expanded partnerships here. If you have any questions about Josh or either partnership, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly.

Published on April 9, 2013 under Vendors, Web Analytics Demystified Business, Web Analytics Demystified Partners, Web Analytics People

New White Paper on Tag Management from Demystified!

Lately it seems like nearly every conversation I have with a client or prospect touches on Tag Management Systems (TMS). If it’s not a client or prospect, it’s a Venture Capitalist asking who they should throw money at, or it’s a new TMS firm pitching us on why they are the “easiest, fastest, most best-est TMS in the Universe …” Were I a less patient man I would probably stop answering the phone; were I more patient, I would probably author Tag Management Demystified …

Turns out I fall somewhere in the middle.

In the midst of spending hours every day talking about TMS with a variety of interested parties, and while helping our clients select and deploy a wide range of tag management solutions, I have somehow managed to find the time to do two really great things. The first was to attend the Ensighten Agility conference a few weeks back in San Francisco, the second, to assist Demystified Partner Brian Hawkins in authoring a great new white paper on Testing and Tag Management.

Ensighten Agility was a treat to attend. I had missed the event the last two years due to a variety of schedule constraints, but it was amazing to see how Ensighten’s presence, team, and customer base has grown in such a short amount of time. Josh Manion and his team are to be applauded for putting together such a wonderful event and for getting great speakers, ranging from my personal favorite Brandon Bunker (Sony) to the always popular Joe Stanhope (formerly of Forrester Research, now at SDL) and a very funny presenter from Microsoft who’s name I will omit since she shared perhaps a little more than her corporate handlers may have liked.

At Agility, Web Analytics Demystified Partner Brian Hawkins had the opportunity to speak and present a technical perspective on how TMS like Ensighten are being used to dramatically accelerate the testing and optimization process within the Enterprise. Brian is our lead for Testing, Optimization, and Personalization at Demystified, and his tactical chops were on full display during his speech. In a nutshell, if you’re not leveraging TMS for testing … you’re missing a HUGE opportunity.

Interested? You should be!

Fortunately for you, just in case you missed Agility, Brian has teamed up with Ensighten to author what we believe to be the definitive piece on testing and tag management. Even more fortunately, the nice guys at Ensighten are making the white paper freely available for download via their web site!

Download “Empowering Optimization with Tag Management Solutions” now from Ensighten

If you’re interested at all in tag management, especially if you’re interested in tag management and testing, reach out and let us know. We have a ton of experience with the former … and have more experience than anyone with the latter … and we’re always happy to help.

Published on March 13, 2013 under General Web Analytics, Tag Management Systems, Web Analytics Demystified Partners, White Papers

Social media is like coffee …

Last week was an awesome week for digital measurement, especially if you were in San Francisco. The week started with a resurgent Webtrends, kicking off their Streams product at their annual Engage user conference, and ended with what is undoubtedly the largest gathering of tag management users and wonks in the industry at Ensighten Agility. Both were great events, exceptionally well run throughout, and my team and I were honored to be invited to present and participate in both.

While both conferences had great speakers, and I certainly learned a ton throughout the week, one of the most interesting presentations I saw was from Charlene Li of the Altimeter Group. I have never met Charlene but knowing a few of her analysts and her reputation I have a profound respect for both her knowledge and her business acumen. Demystified and Altimeter are alike in many ways — we even collaborated on a measurement piece a few years back — and so I find myself watching Mrs. Li and the growth of her firm for clues about what Demystified should do next.

One thing that Charlene said last week really stuck with me for a few days after her talk — the idea that “Social is like air”. I won’t do Charlene justice but you can read her thoughts in the Washington Times and the relevant piece is this (emphasis mine):

“I believe that in the future, social media will be like air – it will be anywhere and everywhere we want and need it to be. We’ve already seen the progression of this over the past five years, with Facebook Platform and APIs enabling social media features and content to be embedded in any application, in any mobile device application.”

Now I certainly don’t disagree that social media has and will continue to explode, becoming near ubiquitous from a platform perspective. Based on the past five years growth in social networks, and especially if you live in or near the Silicon Valley, one gets the sense that if you’re not investing like crazy in social that, well, something is simply wrong with you. So yes, I can definitely see how Mrs. Li would think that “social media will be like air” sometime in the coming future …

But for today, social media is like coffee.

Coffee? But that’s crazy, right? Not everyone likes coffee … some people drink tea, some prefer soda, some folks don’t drink anything but water. What’s more, coffee is an acquired taste, one that more often than not simply does not work for your palette, preference, or state of mind.


Social media is like coffee, which is to say that it’s great if you love it, but that social media is simply not for everyone. Nor every business.

Here I should point out that I do not disagree with Charlene or any other analyst, pundit, or business leader who believes that social media is A) transformational for business and B) tremendously important to our digital futures. At Web Analytics Demystified I have certainly seen (and more importantly, measured) amazing successes driven in large part by social media marketing and social campaigns; that said, I have also seen (and measured) an amazing amount of churn, thrash, and outright waste associated with “trying to leverage social media.”

For instance:

  • What if you are a marketer leading a Fortune 100 company whose primary focus is B2B … how should you leverage Twitter to drive leads?
  • What if you are a billion dollar hardware manufacturer whose name is virtually unknown to the public … do you need a Facebook page?
  • How about if you are a slow moving governmental organization … do you need a presence on YouTube?

The list goes on and on … and note that it will probably never include “retail, direct to consumer” anything as social has clearly (and measurably) transformed marketing in this sector, likely forever. But at the same time there is an awful lot of money being spent in the B2B and CPG space on “marketing” that is eying social media as if it is the only possible hope for the future …

… but it’s not, because companies can live without social media, just like you and I can live without coffee*.

The good news is this: You don’t have to take my or anyone’s word for it — go ahead and invest as much money as you want into social media. Buy traffic and followers on Twitter, build elaborate Facebook pages, and post “why Acme is great” videos to your YouTube channel to your heart’s content — so long as you have a clear, concise, and pre-agreed plan to A) measure the impact of your investment and B) determine whether said investment is “air” or “coffee” for your firm.

Yeah, you knew I’d bring it back to measurement, didn’t you?

I am confident in saying “social media is like coffee” because I have seen the proof. Social media is not for every business. Social media is not for every business plan. Social media is not the end-all-be-all that will save your company … neither is analytics for that matter. In much the same way that I eschew the silly notion of “data driven decision making” I encourage my clients to balance the things they hear with the things they know on the fulcrum of objective, trustworthy business analysis.

What do you think? Am I crazy? Am I missing something profoundly important or obvious? Am I just some redneck heretic from Oregon who doesn’t understand how Silicon Valley (or the Internet for that matter) works and thusly am doomed to failure? Or, like you, am I a business person and marketer who enjoys coffee profoundly …

… just not as much as air.

* Footnote: I cannot live without coffee, nor would I try … but I know some people who can.

Published on February 4, 2013 under General Web Analytics

Why I am excited about Webtrends Streams

This morning we are very excited to announce that Web Analytics Demystified has partnered with Webtrends as a consulting and development partner on their recently announced Webtrends Streams platform. You can read all the details in the official Webtrends press release, and I contributed a lengthy post to the Webtrends blog that details why I am so excited about Streams and what we are able to do with it.

In a nutshell:

  • At Web Analytics Demystified we are increasingly seeing clients integrating disparate data as a rule, not an exception, in their reporting and analysis;
  • Because of the disparate and rapidly evolving nature of the connected world, this integration at times becomes complex to the point of being absurd;
  • Experience has shown that “traditional” analytics platforms do a reasonably poor job handling new data (e.g., mobile app data, social data, etc.);
  • I personally do not believe that this pace of change will abate — we will only have “more data” coming from “more devices” from this point forward.

Given all of this, for the past few years I have been on the lookout for a truly robust “generic” data collector — a device that would allow us to tag anything and that would deliver that data to us in a reasonably fast and programatic way. Essentially a log file for, well, everything digital … web sites, mobile apps, social interactions, geographic locations, in-game actions … even turning up the heat in your house or shutting off your lights when you’re not home.

I have seen many solutions that were close … some very close … but I think that Webtrends has solved the problem with Streams.

When you first see Webtrends Streams you’ll think “oh, yeah, real-time data … I have seen that before … it’s useless.” It turns out that the most interesting thing about the platform is not the real-time nature of Streams; that is really more of a “nice to have” than the core value proposition. Also, Webtrends Streams is not for everyone. If you’re not using the analytics you already have with any level of proficiency to create tangible business value … well, you’re probably better off focusing on that first.

But if you’re like an increasing number of Web Analytics Demystified clients, and if you’re ready to start really pushing the envelope with what you’re able to do with the multiple, disparate data your business is inevitably generating, we’d love to discuss Webtrends Streams.

(I will be in San Francisco later this month and if you’d like a live demonstration of the product email me directly and we can set up a time to meet.)

Published on January 16, 2013 under General Web Analytics, Web Analytics Demystified Business, Web Analytics Demystified Partners


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(503) 282-2601

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