2013 is over – hello 2014. Analytics is in changing times and I wanted to stress some important topics for this Analytics performance for 2014
- Data Visualization
A pool of information is only as good as the visualization of the results or the additional benefits of such an overview. Capacity of data rises, complexity increases, gut decisions come to an end – finally. But in order to achieve a healthy point of view on relevant data it needs a very easy visualization that is understandable at the upper management or C-Level. In my Web Analytics book I insist on the death of Dashboards and report on Alerting-driven management actions but as the title says (FUTURE digital business…) this might still be too early. For the near future we need self-explanatory, transparent and clear data visualization as dashboards or any other graphical support. The CMO needs a clear command room to save budget, to change marketing campaigns or simply to see the key performance indicators.
- Data Connectivity
Knowledge sources exist globally and very often do have relevant influence on decisions within their own business sphere. They are even sometimes internationally usable, meaning they can be included into your own data set, to enrich the overview and compare different knowledge levels. We all know of the often used example of including weather data for eCommerce offerings on the homepage but this is just a start; it will go far beyond that. Technically high end vendors are able to combine data from many sources and while they may not even care about where this data is sourced from, it is critical that the Analyst be in control of these possibilities.
- All in One Solution
Professional, online-related companies are driven by data and different data-sources. They need to link with external software to understand their Affiliate program, internal Marketing Campaigns or Management Database. To have the overview on those different disciplines is hard; a system link which is sometimes impossible. To achieve a complete picture is only an unrealized wish. Within a one-stop-solution (and really broken down to operational level: only 1 log in for the CMO) that delivers a 360 understanding and overview would be a marketer’s dream come true. Combining Online Marketing, Customer Relationship Management, Data Visualization, Customer Journey, Tag Management and Customer Lifetime Value is the key synergy to have in the near future.
- ROI Driven
Of course they do exist – those nice and colourful case studies by the big Analytics companies (Adobe, AT Internet, IBM, Webtrekk) about ROI Increase through Web Analytics – but they are still a minority; and very rare. An ROI focused agenda is important to move Web Analytics from a cost center to a profit center perspective – and to be seen as this within the organisation. This will be a task for 2014 and beyond which will very much depend on the quality of the staff within the Analytics department as well. According to Hadas Sheinfeld, VP at Clicktale, 2014 will be the year to invest in the quality and quantity of Web Analytics Managers, which is something I’ve been wanting to achieve for years now.
- High End Vendor Dilemna
High End Vendor Dilemma means the increasing pressure for those vendors to justify their own solutions – while more and more free tools move into the market. Justifying budgets for a software will be more complex in the future. Free tools have huge market shares in some countries and sometimes are even used parallel to the high end solution. Data from free tools will always differ from high end tools – funnily enough it’s always the high end vendors who need to explain this difference. The question “Why is your traffic higher/lower than in Google Analytics?” is an often heard one. The easy answer in most cases is: “Because the High End solution is a certified software with complex regulations in data accuracy”. While the reply of the high end vendors should normally be: “Ask Google – oh, there is no contact person for you. Well …”. Nevertheless the high end companies need to be more responsible about budgets and profit center explanations within customers’ companies. Especially when talking to prospects that want to do more than count Page Impressions
P.S. By the way, Forrester calculated a turnover of almost 1 billion dollars within the US Analytics industry – and with it a growth of almost 20% in comparison to the year before. The market is really getting big. See: Forrester Analytics 2014