Nowadays, my thoughts are that nobody doubts of the importance of web analytics in any digital strategy.
I’ve been working on online marketing and web analytics since 1999. In that period and up to 2005, web analytics was treated as “something professional” and it was only available for big organizations. Therefore, those small websites from entrepreneurs who were online because of passion and not for doing business, were only able to take data from logs offered by some hosting providers, where you had info from both bots and real users (FYI more bots than real users)
It was not until 2005 (at least in Spain), when people started using Google Analytics no matter the industry or the webpage aim.
Up until today, we can say, we have been more than 10 years working, in a professional way, analyzing all the data from our websites. We analyze, test, take actions and start over with the process.
Today, for those who base their income via online devices (desktop, mobile,table…), statistics from their sites and apps can be the goal for:
– Improve user usability
– Increase sales
– Increase the average ordered amount
– Decrease bounce rate…
What happens nowadays is, and I think it makes perfect sense in the evolution of online knowledge, that we don’t consider data as an asset to our company, although we know how important it is to our business.
For example, a website, either e-commerce or not, with a length of more than five years, and with stats, will have a complete picture of the online history of the web, the web analyst has a history of:
– Seasonal fluctuations.
– How the user behaviour has change in that particular website.
– How has different redesigns influenced.
– Best selling products per year,
– Bounce rate evolution.
– Page view and time spend evolution.
– CPC evolution.
– Whether the users have transfer from desktop to mobile.
– Everything you can save.
Although, the key question is:
If we know that our statistics are so important, why do we let a third party, save our data even if its for free?
For example, you are probably familiar with cloud storage services such as Dropbox or Google Drive. It may be you have stored some Gb of business or personal information. Regardless the usability of the the service, Imagine you could not import your pictures from Google Drive to another provider such as Dropbox. Imagine the pictures remain been yours but those are imprisoned in a cage which works for free.
The same applies to CRMs technology softwares. Using a CRM that will not allow you to export the data to another platform? Or a billing program that does not allow you to export your history to another software?
We are in a period that, after 10 years of experience we should, as web analysts, process data not only as mere readers, but as owners.
But we know, not by intuition but by experience that, to have the ownership and the data control, you will have zero limits in the analysis, experimentation… As for Today, we have such a dependency with Google Analytics. Google Analytics gives us all we can / we might need at short time-period. But in return, we give them control of our data.
I will not get into whether the property is from Google or from us… although, if the property is ours, why can’t we export our historical data to other services such as Omniture? or the other way around…
Beware! We are not talking nonsense, let’s wait and see how this issue turns out with AEPD. https://www.agpd.es/portalwebAGPD/canalresponsable/transferencias_internacionales/AplicacionSentenciaSH-ides-idphp.php
On the other hand, as professionals, we should not settle to “see” the data that Google Analytics wants us to see, even if there are plenty of advanced filters. We should keep that information, save it and then we will be able to create our own analytics system. For example, we could create a sophisticated system which sticks together our web analytics and our CRM. Why should we be satisfy with a Tool such as Google Analytics that does not allow us to analyze in an accurate way repeat purchases, cohorts…?
Let me explain myself, what would you be able to do if you could work with your own data?
Actions like that, the fact of working with your own data to subsequently crossed it with other sources, is what we understand it will become the evolution of web analytics, which if we pay $ 100,000 / year for having such a powerful measurement tool but that doesn’t let me cross this information with other sources (CRM) will be useless.
Companies must think about investing to have the best measurement tool that allows them to have ownership of their own data, being able to access their database, optimize, modify, customize, being able to cross that data with another sources and from there use a system which enables you work without such a high investment. In other words, the future of web analytics is the Business Intelligence.