I’ll get excited about these “people delete cookies” stories when somebody comes up with a better method to track ANONYMOUS visitors. Heck, I’ll even get excited if WA vendors come up with “cookie deletion metrics calculators” that automatically measure and compensate the reported numbers. (Don’t get me started on panels.)
True, from an advertising perspective, sure you can’t accurately determine reach and frequency. Unlike the precision you get offline … oh wait.
Once Upon A Time, I left the web analytics field for a brief respite. While I was away, a new competitor emerged, and everyone was talking about them, and I had to go figure out what made them so special.
Once Upon A Year Ago (or so), I stopped reading web analytics blogs. Now I return to find all these whippersnappers — people who actually Analyze Web Sites, not just write software that does analysis! Here, according to Technorati, are the number of blog postings in the last year that contain the phrase “web analytics”:
Looks like I have some blogrolling to do.
I’m hearing it all over. There’s a new day on the horizon, a day when we in the web world recognize that none of this is really an exact science anyway, so why pretend?
Enough with the weighted regressions and Taguchi Methods already. It’s time to take the anal out of analysis. Instead of Web Analytics, I propose Web Casualytics. Or Fuzzylytics maybe. Or Estimytics.
Now excuse me while I go register some domain names.
Somebody asked me for my reaction to the announcement that Google has decided to make Urchin free. I already said it once:
A nice way to get even more off-network data is to supply folks with a hosted analytics service that most small and medium-sized web sites can use. Simply put a web bug / beacon in your page, and we’ll track your visitors for you. And for us.
I’m way behind in … well, everything, it seems.
So it is that I’m just seeing JZ’s referral analysis. Jeremy makes the vivid point that while there’s strength in numbers, peeling back the surface layers provides deeper insights.
Business Week observes that perhaps Web traffic volume isn’t always a key performance indicator. Witness HotJobs, a site with (according to the media research companies) declining web traffic. Olga Kharif finds that revenues are increasing.
What really matters?
As web analytics professionals, we tend to focus on trends, distributions, segments, etc. But sometimes the best insights don’t come from numbers or fancy visualizations. They can come from the experience of a single visitor.
Check out WG Moore’s article Web Site Analysis – A Study in Damage Control for a concrete example of this, where a page view-by-view analysis of a lost customer resulted in valuable insights.