Digital Analytics is Alive and Well

After spending a week in Salt Lake City with many of my long-time colleagues at the Adobe Summit I am pleased to report that the heartbeat of digital analytics is strong.

Over the past year or two I have been one of many people predicting a swift corporate shift of resources to big, multi-channel data. I have heard (and repeated) that more and more nowadays, “data is data.” Where it comes from is not as important as what you do with it.

Not Dead YetWhile that shift is underway and inevitable, it looks like it is going to take a while to become the norm. Good old-fashioned web analytics will not go gently into that good night.

The reality of the situation is that most companies are still struggling to figure out how to collect and analyze their digital data…never mind big(er) data.

There are plenty of late adopters out there that are just starting to plunk Javascript tags onto their websites. They are certainly on one extreme side of the digital analytics maturity bell curve.

On the other side are the companies that mastered digital analytics years ago. They have most certainly moved on to integrate all of this data with their other sources of customer and business data. They are running their businesses on data and they enjoy huge competitive advantage.

Everyone else is in the middle… trying to figure out how to measure their customers and their businesses across all of the digital channels and screens. The technology, talent and processes behind all of that are not easy to conquer.

I had meetings with clients and candidates all week. A number of them are working on cutting edge techniques to stretch the capabilities of the Adobe stack (and complementary tools) to measure new cross-screen products and services. Amazing stuff. Some are working on implementing Sitecatalyst.

I had an opportunity to chat with Eric Peterson and Adam Greco of Web Analytics Demystified this week. I thought it was interesting that these guys have never been busier and that they are solving very similar problems for clients that they were solving 2, 3, 5, 7 years ago. They work with the biggest brands with the biggest budgets in the world. These companies still are still paying Eric & Co to demystify their web analytics… in 2014.

I told Eric that I was surprised that he was still so busy because IQ Workforce doesn’t do as much pure digital analytics business as we used to. A lot of our clients are giving us jobs to fill that are cross-channel, bigger data customer analytics roles. His response was really interesting. He said that the majority of those roles are likely “aspirational”… their functions exist on a white board.

I think he may be right. Many of these clients are trying to move in that direction, but are not necessarily there yet. They need the talent in place but don’t necessarily have the tools and/or processes yet.

The scary thing is that some are not even doing digital analytics well… and they are trying to build more complex analytics on top of that foundation. If you interact with your customers online more than other channels, yes, digital analytics should be your foundation.

In the rush to keep up with the big data trend are these companies trying to sprint before learning to walk? There is no doubt that there is some of that out there.

RevolutionOne thing is for sure: the revolution will not be televised.

It will be segmented and customized to the most appropriate individuals and available on demand behind a pay wall for consumption anytime on any screen. You can start watching the revolution on your phone, change your preferences and finish watching a better version on your TV when you get home. You will interact with it, share the experience with your friends and buy the t-shirt with a single click…

…and digital analytics will be there to optimize the experience and optimize the profit for the companies on the right side of that bell curve. Believe that.

Will those companies pull all of that data down into a data warehouse or a Hadoop cluster and do amazing things with it by combining the rest of their data and 3rd party data? Yes. Will they create sophisticated models and algorithms with their big data? Yes. But first they have to get the web, social, mobile, search, display, video and ecommerce data right… and that may take a while for most of us.

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