Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Web Analytics 2009 top 5

My Web Analytics Top 5 - 2009Start of a new year is always a good moment to stop for few minutes and to have a quick look backward at the past year or to do predictions for the new one. To be honest, I prefer to leave predictions to real experts :-). So I will just have a look at the past…

Beginning of last year, following the suggestion from a friend of mine, I came up with my Web Analytics 2008 top 5 i.e. the top 5 things related to Web Analytics that I would remember or that influenced my work, from a practitioner perspective.

Now is the perfect time to do the exercise again for 2009. There we go, here is my Web Analytics top 5 for 2009 (drums rolling):

  1. The Web Analytics Maturity Model from Stephane Hamel
  2. The rise of the European Web Analytics community
  3. My blog experiments
  4. Web Analytics 2.0 book by Avinash Kaushik
  5. Social Media monitoring

Why these five ones? Here are the reasons why I have picked each of them:

1. The Web Analytics Maturity Model (WAMM) from Stéphane Hamel
Web Analytics Maturity Model by Stéphane HamelWeb Analytics management & strategy has become for me a very important topic – a though one if you ask me. Moving further on the Web Analytics journey is hard, especially when working in a large organization. When Stephane shared his work and released the Web Analytics Maturity Model (WAAM), I think he offered the Web Analytics community a great & valuable tool. I don’t care if this becomes or not an “industry” standard model, if it can or can not be applied to everyone. At least it is a great tool for me.

The WAAM came in just at the right time for me and it was the communication tool I was missing. I think it is a good model to assess and represent your ‘state of the nation’. It is not the only way but it is a good one. It helps you evaluate where you are and where you should go next, what are key areas to strengthen… And it is a good way to communicate to higher management. It deals about governance, process, objectives, and resources. All are aspects that any (good) manager will understand.

But most of all, the WAMM is really practical – much more than many strategy tips or advices that I have read before. You know those kind of tips that leave you thinking to yourself “ok, good ideas but how do I do it practically”. It is well defined and it can be easily applied. On top, it is an “external” and “objective” model – which is always better when you try to promote your discipline internally.

The WAMM is not a silver-bullet, it does not make Web Analytics easy – but it contributes to make it easier. I hope to be able to share more of my own experience with it and I am also looking forward for meeting Stephane in 2010.

2. The rise of the European Web Analytics community
The Web Analytics community in Europe rocks!Last year I nominated the Web Analytics community, the incredible contribution of all its actors, the WAA... In 2009, I have been particularly impressed by the European Web Analytics community and I am proud of being part of it :-D.

The Web Analytics community in Europe really got more structured, more mature. Communities are now present in most European countries – Web Analytics Wednesdays have been taking place all over Europe. And the level of expertise is getting very good. Just look at the numerous experts we have (Aurelie Pols, Julien Coquet, Steve Jackson, Nicolas Malo, Lars Johansson…) – some even released their first Web Analytics book ("Cult of Analytics" by Steve Jackson and "Web + Analytics = Profits" from Nicolas Malo and Jacques Warren). The number of Web Analytics events also kept increasing (eMetrics –coming to Paris in 2010, Internet Marketing conference, Web Analytics Congres…). Personally, I had the chance to attend events in the Netherlands and in France and I was really impressed by the quality of the audience and presentations. Really great moments! I am really looking forward for attending some more European events.

On the vendor site, Europe have some competitive Web Analytics vendors – like the French AT Internet that released a new version of their product (AnalyzerNX), a good contender to traditional solutions (from what I have read).

Finally the Web Analytics Association decided to give more structure to international activities with the creation and support of country groups – a sign of the WAA intent to strengthen its activities around the world.

But what about Belgium then? Well, I must admit there is still a lot of work to do. There was a good start in first half of 2009 with several Web Analytics Wednesdays. Second half was quieter – partially my fault – but I hope to give a good boost in 2010 with the help of few other persons. I can already tell you that Web Analytics Wednesday will be back in Belgium, in March (on Tuesday 23rd actually:-)) with a great agenda and with an international speaker. More details to come!

3. My blog experiments
WASP shows some of tools I have been testing on this blogWhen I started my blog, one of my objectives was to use it as a learning tool to develop new skills, to test ideas, to discover new tools - all in all, to experiment! And I was not disappointed.

My blog gave me the opportunity to know more about not only the blogosphere but also other social media platforms like Twitter for example. In that context, I learned how to measure blogs and Twitter

I also used my blog as a “testing lab” and I have tried out different tools on my like 4Q Survey, Kampyle, ClickTale and others. And guess what, all this experience has proved to be useful for my work too! Having a blog is really a good way to gain practical experience – I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to get some real experience in Web Analytics.

On top I had a lot of fun and pleasure in running my blog – thanks again for all my faithful readers & subscribers!

4. Web Analytics 2.0 book from Avinash Kaushik
Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash KaushikI really liked Avinash Kaushik’s first book as it was quite practical and because it has been (with his blog) a continuous source of inspiration & ideas for me. So I was all excited when “Web Analytics 2.0” was announced. The least I can say is that I was not disappointed. The 2nd book is even better and it will get few levels further in Web Analytics – everything you need to become a Web Analytics ninja! Even if I have not read it all yet (“oh shame on me!” ;-)), I have been already spending hours testing tips & ideas from the parts I have read. For me, it is a must read.

On top, the release of “Web Analytics 2.0” was also for me a memorable moment and a special achievement. Seeing my blog being mentioned in the book (in recommended blog) was the greatest moment in my Web Analytics practitioner life (so far)! :-)

5. Social Media monitoring
Social Media Monitoring - a challenging worldOk – social media was everywhere in 2009 (it is very likely to continue like that in 2010) – even at work. It was for me the opportunity to do my first steps into the world of social media monitoring – a fascinating and highly challenging one if you ask me.

I had the chance to see and even test some advanced and really cool tools like Radian6, SM2 or Synthesio. But as good as they are, all those tools are still in their infancy and far from being perfect (See very good presentation from Marshall Sponder).

Social Media monitoring and Web Analytics are closely related – social media monitoring is just measuring specific aspects of the Web and online activities. Nowadays, the Web is more and more decentralized and just measuring what happens on your websites is not enough. I believe that social media monitoring & Web Analytics tools will get more and more integrated (like it was initiated by Radian6 and WebTrends). The question that arises then is: how long before Google starts doing social media monitoring and integrates it in Google Analytics? Maybe 2010 will tell :-)

Social media monitoring will be probably one important area for me in 2010. An area I am looking forward for exploring.

This is it – my Web Analytics top 5 for 2009! Now your turn, what is your top 5? What are the top 5 moments you remember from last year? Please share with us.

Related posts & resources:


  1. Thanks for the great comment Michael!
    Your account of how the WAMM helped you is exactly what I wish happen: use & abuse it so it can sustain the test of fire and be improved over time.

    I have received a huge amount of very constructive feedback that will help me work on the next iteration of the model. I also have a couple of other surprises I'm working on!

    I look forward to see you in Lille and would like to invite your readers to the "Roadmap to your online analytics success" workshop I'll do on the 17 and 18th of March! (and several other locations, see http://immeria.net/wamm for details)

    Best regards,

  2. Hi Michael,

    Thanks for the mentions, and you're right. Social media monitoring is still a new discipline, and we're learning, absorbing, and improving all the time to be sure that our work lines up with the true business needs of the markets we serve.

    The fast moving nature of the web and the adoption of social media by companies will always be a bit in flux, but the integration you mention is really key. Businesses serious about social media need to listen, measure, and engage *across* the enterprise, and weave those insights into the things they're already doing. That's where we're headed. Looking forward to your continued feedback.

    Amber Naslund
    Director of Community, Radian6

  3. @Stéphane: You are welcome. I am really looking forward for the other surprises you are working one. You got me even more curious :)

    @Amber: thanks for commenting. And keep up the good work at Radian6, your tool is really impressive.

  4. Apparently, you didn't have to wait very long to see social media be integrated into Google ;)
    Now to see how that changes things (or doesn't). Thanks for mentioning us, we certainly aren't going the Google way of monitoring! Web analytics need to integrate a human component in order for any of the data and analyses to make sense.

    Best regards,

  5. @Synthesio
    Thanks for your comment. Always happy to have comments from official providers (note that Radian6 was faster to pick up my post - just joking ;-))

    Indeed Google lured into the social media world with Google Buzz. Knowing the importance social media have nowadays, it is normal that one of the most important online players enters the game.
    And they recently acquired Aardvark!

    Now, from a analytics point of view, I am looking forward for seeing what Google will propose regarding social media monitoring. Will they expand Google Analytics? Will they launch a brand new tool? Or will they acquire someone out there?

    I am sure the answer will come in 2010. And knowing Google, they may certainly surprise us.




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