How many dimensions do you see when you do web analytics for your business? Three or four? Or more? Don’t stop short!
Back in the 90s web analytics were rather 1 dimensional, namely just traffic stats. Then web analytics became two dimensional. Do you remember “quadrant analysis”? Back then it seemed as if web pages could be described as being divided into four quadrants and web analysts wanted to know where to place links for greatest clickthroughs. A third dimension was added to web analytics, namely depth. We started referring to it as clickstream analysis. Funnel visualizations and tree-shaped visualizations of clickstream paths became available in web analytics solutions such as Omniture, Webtrends, and NetInsight, the solution provided by my employer, Unica.
Web analytics matured within these three dimensions when in 2005 the discussion switched over to key performance indicators (KPIs). You couldn’t listen to a presentation without hearing the advice that KPIs were the single best method for preventing “analysis paralysis”.
It is 2007 now, and web analytics have become four dimensional. What is the fourth dimension? The customer! We came to realize that web analytics is not just about the site after all, but it is really about the prospects and customers that visit our sites. We don’t just want to optimize our web pages, but we want to optimize the interaction with prospects and customers. Oh yes, web designers have known this for a long while. But web analysts still focused on KPIs, paths, funnels, yada, yada. Now, the tides have shifted. Behavioral targeting is in site (ha ha). Coremetrics’ LIVE profiles have been around for a while already. But did you also notice Omniture’s acquisition of TouchClarity, or Unica’s Affinium Interact solution all of which focus on personalizing the site’s interaction with it’s visitors based on previous behavior?
Speaking of previous behavior, it goes without saying that the 4th dimension needs to include the customer’s previous behavior in the offline space as much as possible. Otherwise, how could we hope to achieve customer-centricity and get the personalization right. Do you think?