Well, not exactly. I attended Jim Sterne’s presentation this morning here in Montreal. First, it was just great to see so many people (over 60) present, and interested in Web Analytics. Very frankly, I started preaching about WA here 6 years ago, and did not get much attention then. This morning was a refreshing sign of how much our field has grown here in both interest and project sophistication.
So, I was looking forward to Jim’s presentation, because of its very title: “An Industry in transition: From Web Analytics to Marketing Optimization”. When I read about it, I thought, “Ah ha!”. I had actually commented about signs of that transition before, and how Jim had re-christened his events “Marketing Optimization Summit”, while leaving Emetrics Summit in small letters. As you know, I strongly believe that, as a stand alone field, Web Analytics won’t probably exist in three years from now. It’ll probably be a part of the general enterprise intelligence (BI), in an all-integrated data environment (OK, that one is still far from realization).
I thought that it was exactly what Jim would be telling us this morning. It was rather a very well put (well, that’s Jim after all) presentation on how much we can do with analytics when we go beyond the usual behavioral analysis applications (WebTrends, Omniture, Google Analytics, etc.), and integrate attitudinal analysis, competitive analysis, etc. This makes a lot of sense, of course, and I share that vision, having established that type of service offering back at Bell Canada in 2005 when I struck deals with iPerceptions and Offermatica.
Yes, Web Analytics without the optimization part, which is just a fancy way of saying “Aren’t you gonna act on that darn analysis!?” is not much of use. And to do that, you need more than just one (too often free) tool; you need a tool box, good people, determination, sweat and tears. OK, I dramatized a little here (can’t help myself), but the point is, you need to be fully committed to it to get the pay back. And you must try stuff, test, learn what works and what doesn’t (and stop reading white papers, and, heck, blogs!!).
At some point, however, it will just make more sense to not only use various Web Analytics tools, but to connect the data to other data sources in the enterprise. And that’s when we will care only about simple, pure Analytics. Who will run the show? BI? Web Analytics (with the importance of the Web channel)? I guess it will very much depend on what the business is at heart, and where the customers will want to interact.
So, no, Jim wasn’t here to proclame the death of Web Analytics, rest assured. He was here to tell us to stand up and start moving our large Marketing behinds, and squeeze way more value out of those frigging Web sites!