Digital Analytics Goes To College

Digital Analytics Goes to College

Digital Analytics (or #measure on Twitter) has, over the past five years, emerged as a growing area of academic interest. Universities and colleges, worldwide, are taking an increasing interest in digital analytics, from offering courses, to full-fledged research centers producing journal articles, books and a growing body of academic literature focused on advancing and evolving our industry. The interaction between academia, digital analytics practitioners and vendors continues to evolve as well, as evidenced by the presence of academics at digital analytics conferences and symposiums, recent participation on the board of the Digital Analytics Association, and the launch of a new academically-focused, practitioner-oriented journal this fall.

First and foremost among these programs are the programs in partnership with the Digital Analytics Association, such as The University of British Columbia (Canada)’s online Award of Achievement in Digital Analytics program, as well as the University of California – Irvine (US) Web Intelligence Certificate. These two DAA sanctioned programs have been developed with the keen input of digital analytics industry experts. Digital analytics subject matter experts are also involved as instructors in other university programs as well, notably at Canadian universities such as the University of Toronto, Laval University and McMaster University.

In the US, digital (web) analytics courses are now offered as part of marketing analytics or marketing programs, within certificate programs or as special classes in a continuing education program. Examples here range from a course at the University of Denver , a unit within the Business Analytics certificate program at Seattle University continuing education classes at NYC’s Fashion Institute of Technology to the “Mini-MBA: Search Marketing and Analytics” offered at Rutgers University. Relatively recent programs in data science or “big data,” such as the University of San Francisco’s M.S. in Analytics, are also offering units or components focused on analyzing digital analytics data. Academic courses focused in part or entirely on web analytics are also now available outside of the US, such as the University of Bedfordshire (UK) MSc in Business Web Analytics and Management, social media and web analytics courses at the University of South Australia and continuing education classes at The University of Sydney (Australia).

Along with the rising interest in teaching #measure is the founding and growth of full-fledged academic research centers, focused in part or entirely on digital analytics. The most notable of these programs, in the US, is the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (U Penn), which has held symposia and managed research with digital analytics data, and whose faculty has participated on the Board of the DAA and as presenters at a number of digital analytics events. Philadelphia, PA in the US now boasts two major universities with digital analytics research centers, with the recent launch of Temple University’s Global Center for Big Data and Mobile Analytics. Business analytics research centers around the US offer periodic opportunities for partaking in academically focused research, such as NYU Stern‘s periodic events around media and advertising analytics and the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Digital analytics practitioners in US academia also have their own annual conference, the Higher Ed Analytics Conference, where academics and students can interact with their university marketing teams and get hands-on experience with data and software tools.

A new sign that digital analytics has come along away in academia is the launch of a new journal, The Journal of Applied Marketing Analytics. This new journal is very academic in tone – yet focused on practitioners, enabling practitioners (“client side” as well as “vendor side”) to sharpen their #measure skills by offering an venue to share their knowledge, and learn new techniques, in a peer-reviewed venue (similar to how academics share research in a journal setting). The Journal of Applied Marketing Analytics is launching in Fall 2014; it will be interesting to see how well it is received in the digital analytics community and the broader business analytics community.

If you’re in digital analytics (or new to the field), dust off those mortarboards that you might’ve stashed in storage somewhere – check out the digital analytics academic offerings and events in your part of the world – and perhaps I”ll see you in class.

About the Author

Chris Johannessen, Director of Digital Analytics, TPG
As the Director of Digital Analytics, Chris specializes in continuing the growth of TPG’s digital analytics offerings. In addition to his work with TPG, Chris is deeply involved with the digital analytics community. He notably serves on the Research Council of the Wharton (U. Penn) Customer Analytics Initiative; as a member of the Industry Advisory Board for the Temple University (Fox School of Business) Global Center for Big Data in Mobile Analytics; and as Co-Chair of the Philadelphia chapter (and a member of the Research Committee) of the Digital Analytics Association. Chris also serves on the Editorial Board of Applied Marketing Analytics, a practitioner focused journal published by Henry Stewart Publications (launching Fall 2014).

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