Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Positioning Web Analytics

The internet has provided marketers, Web developers, and Web site owners with tracking data like never before. Available instantly, in beautifully colored graphs and across many dimensions the numbers tell the story - at least part of it. However, there are many ways to interpret these tracking numbers and we could quickly digress into the inevitable: lies, damn lies, and statistics.

My point is a different one. All of my clients have a key goal for their sites which cannot really be quantified via current Web tracking mechanisms. That is the goal of supporting the company or product branding. For this, you need information not available through traditional tracking statistics. Typically the information is associated with research, quetionnaires and just plain customer conversations.

If tracking what your customers think of your brand is not one of the goals of your Web site, then it should be. And if you believe your tracking statistics alone are reporting your success in this area, then please let me know how you are doing it. I would like to do it also.

Separately, I am delighted to see the start of organization and standarization for this new industry coming via the Web Analytics Association. I hope this will create some clarity to this new industry for Web site owners and professionals. And, I hope, position web analytics and tracking data correctly for what it can and cannot tell us about the meeting the goals of our sites.