Association Promotes Web Analytics Value, Standards

The Web analytics market is growing at a healthy 30 percent year-over-year clip

Last month, a group of vendors banded together to form a new not-for-profit advocacy group—called the Web Analytics Association (WAA)—to promote one of the most successful of business intelligence (BI) stealth markets—Web analytics.

Broadly speaking, Web analytics solutions attempt to measure the success of online business initiatives, such as Web marketing campaigns. Sales and marketing personnel use the technology to determine what works, and what doesn't work, in a campaign.

“More than ever before, marketers are required to justify expenses based on metrics. Since the web is a great medium for measurability and optimization, its no wonder that marketers are drawn to the online world,” said Jim Sterne, president of the Web Analytics Association and president of Target Marketing, in a statement. “But many organizations still don’t realize the value of web analytics or aren’t empowered to take action. The WAA sets out to promote issues like education, advocacy and standards.”

Analysts say it’s the right moment for the emergence of an organization like the WAA. “The Web analytics market has grown at a rate of 30 percent per year, reflecting increased interest from marketing professionals in the wake of renewed e-commerce investment,” writes Gartner analyst Bill Gassman. At the same time Gassman allows, there are some entrenched inhibitors to growth. “[T]he market remains constrained by issues such as awareness, common terminology, standards, and best practices,” he comments. “An association of vendors, consultants, and users focused on these issues offers hope that businesses will achieve a better and a faster return on their Web analytic investments.”

In this respect, Gassman says, the WAA has an important niche to fill. It can do much to develop standards for defining, measuring, and reporting Web metrics, for starters, and it must also work to educate consumers about how some of the technologies associated with data collection for Web analytics are different from malware or spyware.

“The group's services are much needed. Many businesses do not get nearly the value they should from Web analytic tools and could benefit from a reliable source of industry wisdom,” Gassman writes. “The combined experience of [the] WAA's board members represents hundreds of case studies and knowledge of best practices.”

If nothing else, the WAA could be a boon to customers, Gassman speculates, noting that it “may make shopping for a Web analytics solution much easier, as WAA's membership includes all of the leading technology providers.”

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.