Web analytics have been growing in usage and business importance steadily since the middle of this decade. You can look at the launch of Google Analytics as a key event because it allowed for a free, web-based service from a trusted brand. The Wikipedia offers this historical perspective of the launch:
The Google-branded version was rolled-out in November 2005 to anyone who wished to sign up. However due to extremely high demand for the service, new sign-ups were suspended only a week later. As capacity was added to the system, Google began using a lottery-type invitation-code model. Prior to August 2006 Google was sending out batches of invitation codes as server availability permitted
Fast forward five years and here are some headlines:
- Its reported that Google Analytics is used by some 57% of the 10,000 most popular websites. In my opinion its likely that measure holds form across the top million websites and Google Analytics is providing different value to different users. For some Google Analytics is used to just measure traffic but for the smartest marketers Google Analytics is a source of data that drives decisions in ad spending, content creation and time invested in partnerships with other sites.
- Omniture, also launched in 2006, is acquired by Adobe for $1.8 billion. Omniture’s sales are expected to rise about 15% a year but there is a much greater value in this to Adobe. Integrating actionable analytics Omnitures stats and the capabilities of other smart partners will greatly enhance Adobe customers experience with existing Adobe products.
- IBM announced this week that they’re buying web analytics provider CoreMetrics for an undisclosed amount. Craig Hayman, general manager of IBM’s application integration middleware business is quoted in Bloomberg Businessweek: In the past five years, IBM has invested $11 billion to beef up its analysis capabilities through 18 acquisitions, and now has 5,000 employees devoted to providing analytics services.
- Quantcast gets accredited: beats comScore, Nielsen to the punch. Thats a Media Post headline from earlier this week and it strikes the same tone as many of the conversations I hear about Quantcast the advertising and marketing industry love Quantcast and adoption is on a fast track.
The obvious take away from these events is that web analytics have become business analytics. For example, Adobe and IBM have completely different businesses models and products but both see the need for proprietary analytics because the data is becoming so core to their, and their customers’, decision making.
The not so obvious trend is that the market is moving away from web analytics being used to simply measure past success and is starting to embrace the other half of the equation using web analytics to plan your next move. This forward looking aspect of analytics is where the real power lies because it is not a report of what you did, it is a report on what you can and should do next.
For the team at Smart Content, it is incredibly exciting to watch this market develop at a continuingly rapid pace. We launched Smart Content in 2009 and we work with some of the leaders mentioned above and consider them all in our analysis.
To our customers, I congratulate you on your foresight and success. Youre ahead of the curve and we are committed to keeping you there. Version 1.2 will be released in the coming weeks and I am sure you will be as excited as we are when you see it. I am equally certain that you will find many ways to put the new features to profitable use on your websites.
Jim Eustace | CEO of Smart ContentCategories: Content Personalization, Conversion Rate Optimization