Ah! Heck! Why Would You Care Anyway?

On from Analytics Culture, Web Analytics

Aren’t you bored with all those blogs (now over 70), including this one, and those PDFs, and those books telling you how to do Web Analytics, and how full of insight it is?

No? Yes?

Well, I am.

When was the last time you got some true amazing insight from analyzing your Web data? Better yet, when was the last time you did act upon that new information? This brings the hard problem of adoption. And that is why Web Analytics is hard. Yes, I know, nobody’s job is easy; heck, that is why it is worth giving you your salary! I mean hard in the sense that once all that nice information and insights are around, it is still hard to move our big marketer behind and do something about it.

But whose fault is it?

As an industry, the Web Analytics one that is, I think we are at a crossroad. I tend to agree that we have somehow under-delivered on several promises. Or rather, we seem to have not kept the promises we made. True, many WA projects out there finally laid very small eggs. But I would suggest that the main culprit is still a company’s culture.

It has amazed me, throughout the many analysis projects I have been involved with, how hard it is to make people act on one’s discoveries. It is as if Web Analytics was there only to talk about what happened, and not about what you should make happen. I have put my finger on problems that were costing tons of money, and still, companies would take months before even trying to find a solution.

It truly escapes me…

In 2008, we have to stop wondering how well Google Analytics compares with the paid solutions. Please, I beg you, stop asking me that question! If you don’t care to pay, then don’t, and implement whatever tool you want. Of course choosing a good tool is important, but if to you price is the only criterium, go ahead.

But start squeezing insights of what you implemented right now!! You should get something to act upon at least once every quarter. If you’re not, you either ask poor questions (most probably), or you have reached the limit of your tools. However, I bet my money on the former; it takes time before becoming analytically smart to the point of rendering a tool useless.

Don’t get me wrong: I know there are many success stories out there. But what is YOURS?

When was the last time your Web Analytics investments helped you discover a $500,000 opportunity?

Tags: , analytics+culture, analytics+adoption

5 responses to “Ah! Heck! Why Would You Care Anyway?

  1. So, now would be a bad time to ask whether I should implement Google Analytics instead of Omniture?

    No but seriously, I concur. I think there is a tendency to always be looking for the next evolution of web analytics to solve all my problems, perceived or real. Not sure whether that is a function of the fast growth of the industry or just people being a tiny bit lazy.

  2. Wow Jacques! Amazing post and I can’t agree more (well, that was one of our discussion point the last time we met!).

    I remember when I had to explain how important it was important to have a web site… education, patience, belief… companies will get there. Those who don’t understand the game will be played on the ability to analyze and act won’t be there to tell… it’s the whole “competing on analytics” concept.

  3. Michael: Thanks for sparing me ;-). I don’t know about people being lazy. I think it is easier to most people to conceptualize a tool than conceptualize a process, or just plainly conduct the analyses. I also think that the industry, still being “controlled” by the vendors (but less and less), focuses too much on the applications.

    Stéphane Yep, I totally agree with Davenport about the “competing on analytics” notion. I truly believe, though, that it is time we care about delivering if we want to have any impact on companies’ culture.

    Thanks both for your comments!

  4. Excellent. I’m printing parts of this to post at my desk.

    My favorite analytics relationship right now contains little more than a detailed dashboard (easy to deliver) and a phone call discussion that’s focused on finding “one true thing” through analytics that will help the client. Part of the call is presenting results from last month’s question, and part is figuring out what to ask for next month. You’re right, it’s “good questions” that will keep this profession going. I hope.

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