Last week was a pretty big week for the Web Ana­lyt­ics indus­try. With the pub­li­ca­tion of the For­rester Research US Web Ana­lyt­ics Fore­cast 2008 by John Lovett, we learned the rel­a­tive matu­rity of the mar­ket today and where adop­tion is headed over the next 5 years. There are cer­tainly some inter­est­ing find­ings in John’s report-despite the cur­rent macro­eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion. By 2014 US busi­nesses are expected to spend $953 mil­lion (yes, approach­ing that big Bil­lion dol­lar mark) with an aver­age com­pound annual growth rate of 17%. Pretty healthy growth con­sid­er­ing the mar­ket­ing spend cut­backs seen across numer­ous indus­tries. Clearly, mar­ket­ing deci­sion mak­ers are see­ing the value of the mea­sure­able, online medium to impact the top and bot­tom line while allo­cat­ing spend away from the tra­di­tional offline chan­nels. Cer­tainly the news­pa­per ad busi­ness is feel­ing the pinch, pro­jected to be down 22% this year.

Yet one of the areas that I believe was over­looked in this For­rester Report is related to the dis­cus­sions, debates, and ideas I’ve cov­ered with friends and peers through­out the indus­try over the past few years. As con­sumers engage in more social media, video, and mobile activ­ity it presents a chal­lenge for online mar­keters to mea­sure what is hap­pen­ing off-site in addi­tion to the tra­di­tional on-site mea­sure­ment. Lau­rie Sul­li­van actu­ally opened her recent col­umn in the Medi­a­Post Online Media Daily with a ref­er­ence to this point:

“Strug­gling to ana­lyze data and prove cam­paign per­for­mance from Web sites, Face­book, Twit­ter, iPhone and Black­Berry appli­ca­tions, U.S. com­pa­nies in aggre­gate will more than dou­ble invest­ments in Web ana­lyt­ics dur­ing the next five years…”

Inter­est­ingly enough, the For­rester Report does not explic­itly call out Face­book, Twit­ter or these mobile app plat­forms. Yet I would con­tend these rep­re­sent some of the most excit­ing growth oppor­tu­ni­ties for mea­sur­ing and under­stand­ing con­sumer engage­ment. Fun­da­men­tally, I believe we need to start think­ing and talk­ing about web ana­lyt­ics as online analytics-that is– the tools, tech­nolo­gies, ser­vices, processes, and peo­ple engaged in mea­sur­ing both the on-site and off-site click­stream behavior.

Here at Omni­ture, we of course believe so strongly in this impend­ing tran­si­tion that we’ve launched numer­ous social media, mobile, and video mea­sure­ment offer­ings to help our cus­tomers get their arms around this. In addi­tion to our Twit­ter announce­ment from ear­lier this win­ter, we announced our App Mea­sure­ment for Face­book last week which received some great inter­est and atten­tion through­out the media, blo­gos­phere and Twee­t­os­phere. In case you missed it, check out some great posts by Jesse Stay at louisgray​.com (lov­ing this title!– Omnipresent Omni­ture Makes Face­book Apps Omnipo­tent), eWeek, and Mash­able. Social media is a huge space and, in addi­tion to mobile and video mea­sure­ment, rep­re­sents that next quan­tum leap into what I would con­tend we need to call online analytics.

So what are your thoughts about this? Is the future of web ana­lyt­ics… online ana­lyt­ics? I say yes!

4 comments
David
David

My question would be how this fits into Dell's recent statement that Dell Outlet has made $3 million in sales from Twitter since 2007, as far as I know they are using Omniture Site Catalyst to track online sales. Will the next report start to take a serious look into Social media? So without the use of Web Analytics would they be able to realise how important Twitter is to driving their online business model. http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/12/dell-has-earned-3-million-from-twitter/

Matt Lillig
Matt Lillig

Any talk of attribution measurment in the report?

Matt Langie
Matt Langie

John- Thanks for your comment. I certainly agree that from a dollars/revenue perspective, the social media/video/mobile analytics space is but a rounding error when considering the overall web analytics market. Yet talking to online marketers across the industry, it certainly appears these emerging channels represent that "blind spot" where they really need the tools, technologies, and products to help them gain that "single version of the truth" to truly understand customer intent and engagement. And getting the advertising data and online analytics data to be fully integrated is certainly part of that journey to "full enlightenment." :^) As always, I appreciate your thought-provoking research, comments, and fuel to the conversation (or is it fuel to the fire?!?). Cheers!

John Lovett
John Lovett

Hi Matt, Thanks for referencing my Forrester Forecast report and bringing attention to emerging trends in Web analytics. I very much agree with you that measuring emerging media is a critical component of Web online analytics and one that should not be ignored. While emerging media measurement is a truly exciting area to watch ~ I contend that the nascent character of these measurement opportunities has yet to register a blip on the overall Web analytics forecast. Of course, vendors like Omniture have been capturing emerging media nearly as quickly as it appears and this aspect is addressed in the overall market forecast. Yet, the (what I call) niche vendors, who specialize in single application or limited application measurement tools, are admittedly under the radar of the US Web Analytics Forecast. I do however watch these companies with eager anticipation as they tend to drive innovation – bring solutions to market faster – and often become acquisition targets for larger entities. I too think that Laurie Sullivan’s piece was spot on and welcome the transition from on-site measurement to web-wide measurement, further extend that to the offline world as well. It’s my opinion that the crux of this issue will be addressed between on-site marketers and advertisers. Relationships like the one that Omniture has developed with WPP are critical in aligning data from two sides of the marketing organization that have historically NEVER matched. Closer alignment between on-site activity and advertising metrics will alleviate many issues and emphasize the importance of measurement capabilities such as attribution. That said, I do agree that we’re moving in more directions than I was able to address in my Forecast report. Each of these is notable and worthy of excitement. I can assure you that I’ll be watching and strive to add fuel to the conversation. Cheers, John Lovett