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!