Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Web Analytics Top 5 – 2010

First of all, let me wish you all an Happy New Year 2011 (better late than never). As it is the tradition when a new year starts, I want to do like previous years and to share with you some personal thoughts about the top 5 things related to Web Analytics that played an important role in my work or that I would remember from 2010.

So, here we go…

1. The challenges of Social Media Monitoring
Dell Social media monitoring center - so cool!
In 2009, I made my first steps in the world of social media monitoring, getting my hands on some tools.

In 2010, I pushed further in this area. I had the chance to see and even test some of the best tools on the markets including Radian 6 (again), Synthesio, Nielsen Buzzmetrics, Vocus, Dow Jones Insight, Attentio and others.  Selecting the right tools is far from being easy especially when you need to meet the requirements of large set of different stakeholders. The perfect tool doesn’t exist yet - one needs to find the one that match most closely the organization needs.

Based on my first experience, I would say the some of the key challenges are:
  • Defining clear requirements & goals while remaining down-to-earth. I think many organizations have far too high (and unrealistic) expectations.
  • Resources, expertise & organisation: tools are just… tools. They just collect data – still you need to have the resources (i.e. people), the expertise and the right organisation (including processes) to turn all this data into insights. This aspect is often underestimated (like in Web Analytics). Without these keys elements, your project will deliver nothing valuable and it will be just a waste of money and time.
  • Data quality – most vendors like to tell you how many zillions of blogs, tweets and posts they track. But most organizations are only interested a tiny portion. This usually leads to lot of “noise” getting collected - making it difficult to find the important information. If setting-up of social media monitoring tool is easy, getting quality data is not. And that’s where you see big differences between tools

Social monitoring is a very interesting area but quite difficult and challenging. I will certainly continue working in this area in 2011, developing further my expertise and knowledge.

2. My first experience in Mobile Web Analytics
If you have attended a online marketing or web analytics conference over the past year, it is very likely that you have heard the word “social media” and “mobile” a lot :-). For sure, mobile is the other “hype” thing around. I didn’t escape it as the company where I work launched its first mobile sites in 2010 and I was really happy to do my first steps in mobile analytics – another exciting and promising area to be honest.

Mobile analytics pose its own specific challenges as I detailed in my first post on that topic. In spite of these challenges and limitations, mobile analytics can be highly valuable if put to good use as I demonstrated in my last post of 2010.

I must admit I only did the “basics” in that area - I can’t wait to get my first experience on mobile apps tracking but I am pretty sure that wish will be fulfilled soon.

3.  My first steps using VOC surveys
"Voice Of Customer" (VOC) tools like online surveys are key tools but still under-used. They allow you collecting extremely valuable insights: the customer perspective and opinion about your online services. By listening to your customer using such tools, you can collect qualitative information that common “clickstream” web analytics tools can not. Why trying to guess why people came to visit your site and how they feel about it based on clickstream data? Simply ask (some of) them?

In 2009, my blog served me as an experiment field to test some VOC survey tools like 4Q-survey and to learn how these can be used to bring value to the organization where I work. Next step was to convince stakeholders but finally, I got there. In 2010  we ran some first real-life convincing tests before implementing our own framework that integrates both qualitative and quantitative data - the ultimate combo!

Now it is time to leverage this incredible source of customer insights. I can't wait to see it happening!

4. Webtrends (continued) renaissance
If you have read this blog last year, you may remember how enthusiastic I was when Webtrends finally released the software version of Analytics v9 and how I enjoyed attending my first Webtrends Engage conference in London.

I listed Webtrends not just for its Analytics product. Actually, I have been really impressed by its global strategy and product evolution. I remember that two years ago many in the Web analytics community were predicting the end of Webtrends. Look at what they did since then! Webtrends took a new marketing approach, it improved its existing offering ant it expanded it with new services and products such as mobile analytics, Facebook analytics, Optimize and Apps. And there is more to come in 2011.

Webtrends has an interesting and ambitious vision – aiming at offering the ultimate Web “Wide” analytics platform. Aside that, Webtrends continued to put a lot of efforts in developing a strong community among its fans and customers base. The success of events like the Engage conference or the brand new forum launched in 2010 are good examples. Keep it up with the good work!

I hoped to get my hands on Webtrends Analytics 9 before end of 2010 - unfortunately it didn't happen but my analyst wish is about to come true. Yes! Yes! Yes!

Side note: According to many experts in the Web Analytics industry, Webtrends will be bought out in 2011. The question seems not to be when but by what company. Time to bet!

5.  IBM acquiring Unica and Coremetrics

Aside Webtrends, the other company that got my interest in 2010 is IBM. In a few months, IBM acquired two key players of the Web Analytics landscape: Unica and Coremetrics. If you were having doubts about the “seriousness” and future of Web analytics in the enterprise world then IBM move is the evidence that should make you change your mind.

I am convinced that Web analytics "destiny" is to become a "sub-area" of business intelligence. IBM acquisitions may take our industry to next level and it will worth keeping an eye on IBM. Future will tell…

That’s it – my Web analytics top 5 for 2010.

Me, my blog & I
I would like to close this year review with some quick words about my blog. I has been another great year for me, I had lot of pleasure in writing posts, getting interesting comments and seeing my blog audience growing up (more than +25% vs. last year). From the deepest of my heart, I thank all of you who took the time reading my thoughts and articles on Web analytics.

In case you wonder, the top 5 posts (in term of visits) from 2010 are:
  1. Build your free competitor monitoring dashboard with iGoogle
  2. Measuring the impact of offline events with Google Insights for Search
  3. Mobile Analytics: vertical-specific vs. traditional Web Analytics solutions
  4. A SEO KPI: Organic Clickthrough Rate
  5. A journey into Web Analytics (Part I): The Value of Web Analytics
Personally, I had also a lot of fun in writing the “A journey into Web Analytics” series. I sincerely appreciated the feedback I received and I was honored to see part of the series being translated in Polish (on Conversion Blog) and Spanish (on Guseimetrix blog).

The disappointment I had regarding 2010 is that I could not spend the time I wanted on this blog. While the audience has being growing, I have not been able to post as much as I want - as reflected in the decreasing number of posts (a poor 1.5 post/month!!!! Oh, that's bad).  I would like to say it will change in 2011 but I am afraid it will not happen soon as this year promises to be even busier with new exciting projects and challenges ahead. But I will do my best to keep this blog running and to continue offering you quality content.

Again, Thanks to all of you for reading my blog and I wish you all the best for 2011!

And you what were your prefered blog posts from Kaizen Analytics? What’s your Web Analytics top 5 for 2010? What would you remember from last year? Please tell me, I am really curious to hear.


  1. Hello Michael,

    This is a great article! What I will also remember from 2010 is how much the maturity of decision makers has improved in France regarding Web Analytics issues. In this respect, I would also add Stephane's Hamel work regarding the Online Analytics Maturity Model on my top list for 2010.

    Nicolas Malo

  2. Hello Nicolas,
    Thanks for your feedback. Really interesting and happy to hear that maturity of decision makers on the French markets is going in the direction. That will be much more work for you and Hub' Sales I guess :-)
    Good point about Stephane Hamel's work. I am a huge fan of his OAMM model (that I listed in previous top 5). I also attended and enjoyed Stephane's workshop when he came to Belgium.

    This makes me think that I forgot to add in my post that I had the chance to finally meet in 2010 two great WA superstars: Stephane Hamel and Jacques Warren.



  3. Oh Boy! Superstars.. they come, they go...

    Great post. It was a busy year, and my crystal ball is telling me that 2011 will be even busier. I think some concepts, buzz, ideas will be seriously put to the test, and some of them will reveal themselves as the hot air they are.

    And no, I am not telling which ones. I'm not crazy enough to make predictions !

  4. That's right Michael - you post far too seldom:) I await your articles every week but I truly understand...:]

    Previous year for us was a year of the beginning. We still try to convince people about need of using web analytics but believe me - even people at the top of corporates' marketing departments still don't want to be convinced... fortunately more and more people is getting intrested - it is observable through the traffic on our blog:)


  5. @Jacques: Don't be modest. Some superstars last forever :-)
    From what I used to read from you, I think I have a pretty good idea about what you are referring to when talking about the "hot air" stuff. Curious to see how long this will last.

    @Mariusz: Thanks for the comment. As said I will do my best to post more often. Actually I may have a bit more time soon...

    It's a long way to make opinions change. I am sure that the situation in Poland is not that really different compared to the situation of many other places - just read what Nicolas said. Keep faith and I wish you more success for you in 2011.


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