Is This the Future of Web Analytics?

Long ago I mentioned what I called “vertical analytics” and how blogs may be the next analytics frontier. Fast forward to the present, and blog analytics are “been there, done that.” (The product demo I saw in a hotel room at SES never saw the light of day; the originator went on to other things – and remains active in “general” web analytics.)

bandmetrics-badge.pngI still think vertical analytics is bound to happen. Witness Atlanta-based Indie Music, whose service Band Metrics — “Analytics For The Music Industry™”, scored angel financing back in November. More than one press report about the financing used a variant of the phrase “Google Analytics of the music industry.”

Compared with some of the graybeards of Business Intelligence, the Web Analytics “industry” has not yet left adolescence. But I think many of the lessons learned in the greater web analytics field, combined with more powerful machines and a greater “popular culture” around number crunching, are going to lead to analytics for very specialized fields. At a minimum, it might move us away from generic tools that look at the Web to tools that have specific knowledge of a particular business — kinda like a specific solution for scheduling & billing for dentists vs. bringing in Oracle Applications and Accenture. What can be bad about that?

Could this be a new analytics growth opportunity, or perhaps just a land grab? Here’s a thought experiment: check out XXXanalytics.com (where XXX is whatever interesting business you can think of) and see if it’s already taken. I tried a half-dozen while composing this post and I was surprised how many were already claimed…

(Interestingly, XXXanalytics.com itself is not taken, nor is dentistanalytics.com)

Is This the Future of Web Analytics?

4 thoughts on “Is This the Future of Web Analytics?

  1. Many thanks for your post about Band Metrics; we certainly agree with you that “vertical analytics is bound to happen.”

    Best wishes in 2009!

  2. Bob, I agree with your assessment here that the market needs vertical or job-function based solutions.

    I remember one of the best solutions that I had seen when I started in the industry back in 2000 was a company that built a B2B centric web analytics solution by merging web data with data collected through InfoUSA and some other data aggregators (sort of like census data for businesses). I personally thought the solution was great, although the company never made it.

    Of course, they didn’t make it because they were a niche market solution while still having the costs associated with a general web analytics provider, so the economics were against them.
    However, one phenomenon that could help spark this movement again is the fact that entrepreneurs can rely on some very inexpensive (even free) solutions to build such tools. For example, you could use the free data collection and processing by Google Analytics and soon Yahoo Web Analytics to handle much of the leg work. You can then use their APIs to extract the data and use your own presentation layer. I really believe that if Google and Yahoo let this happen, then we could see some major change in the industry.

  3. Bob, you couldn’t be more on the money. Vertical Acuity, a company I helped co-found, uses analytics across a vertical grouping of websites for the purposes of market intelligence and content targeting. We are a venture backed company and have spent a year developing our platform which is now in beta with over 15 music websites. Ironically, we selected the music industry as our first vertical but we will be launching new verticals later this year. We are normalizing artist performance for over 250k thousand artists and are about to launch the industries first artist engagement ranking charts later this month based on time spent, velocity and page views. Happy to give you a quick tour if you have interest. Best, Josh Hofmann.

  4. AM says:

    Bob, I agree with your assessment here that the market needs vertical or job-function based solutions.

    I remember one of the best solutions that I had seen when I started in the industry back in 2000 was a company that built a B2B centric web analytics solution by merging web data with data collected through InfoUSA and some other data aggregators (sort of like census data for businesses). I personally thought the solution was great, although the company never made it.

    Of course, they didn’t make it because they were a niche market solution while still having the costs associated with a general web analytics provider, so the economics were against them.
    However, one phenomenon that could help spark this movement again is the fact that entrepreneurs can rely on some very inexpensive (even free) solutions to build such tools. For example, you could use the free data collection and processing by Google Analytics and soon Yahoo Web Analytics to handle much of the leg work. You can then use their APIs to extract the data and use your own presentation layer. I really believe that if Google and Yahoo let this happen, then we could see some major change in the industry.

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