Only 27% of U.K. businesses think web analytics is useful. What the hell are you measuring?

#WAW? Recognise the hashtag? No? It is the hashtag used on Twitter for ‘Web Analytics Wednesday’ founded by Web Analytics Demystified and every Wednesday, somewhere in the world, there is an event held for web analyst enthusiasts to get members of the web analytics community networking. I so need to get involved but I am a newbie so I can be excused.

So, on Wednesday’s I decided to follow the #wawlondon hashtag for the very first time as the latest event was held in London and it would be good to follow the stream of tweets directly from the event. Although the stream was limited in numbers there was one tweet which stood out and completely took me by surprise!

Straight away i retweeted and could not believe that only 27% of companies in the U.K. think analytics provide useful information and actionable insights into visitor behaviour and the customers digital body language. I am still fuming now!!
Which begs me to ask the questions “Who is doing the measuring?” and “What exactly are the remaining 73% actually measuring?”.
A conversation on Twitter then began….
One of my favourite tweeters @usujason pointed out “We have gone past the days of just measuring visits and pageviews” and I completely agree with him. It’s not just about the number of people who come to your site or how many pages they view, its more about what are they doing, behaving and what can you do to make the experience better in order to maximise conversions/generate leads. Another earlier conversation with @analyticsguru led me to raise the point “Is education a major issue?”. Is the pace of change too quick and is technology moving too fast for ordinary marketers? By the time you get to grips with one measuring tool another one is released and you have to educate yourself and learn how to use that one. @analyticsguru stated “I can’t believe how many people I come into contact with still do not use the most basic tools, they have been around for years”. Is it education?
For the remaining 73% who do not find web analytics useful we have to have ask “Who is doing the measuring?”. Marketers are being pulled into being web analysts and fail miserably to do the job because they don’t know what they are looking for (due to lack of education and training) so they end up measuring and reporting the top level stats alone. That is why you do not get any insights into visitor behaviour and the digital body language and fail to use the data to improve the business intelligence of your business.
A major player could be that many businesses still do not occupy a ‘data driven culture’ and therefore will not drive action through what the data is telling them. An excellent post by Avinash Kaushik shows how to set up a ‘data driven culture’ in 7 easy steps which I found inspiring. Now how many businesses actually occupy a data driven culture? Not many I don’t think? I would like to find out.
So, finally, if you are one of the remaining 73% who DO NOT find web analytics useful please share why not and tell us what you are measuring. I am sure there will be many people out there in the web analytics industry who would be willing to help and and share ideas. Hopefully in a few months or years the 27% will turn into 80% or 90%. I can only hope and wish…..
Also see my post 5 metrics to measure for a B2B website which will give you a different light on what to measure apart from top level metrics.

2 thoughts on “Only 27% of U.K. businesses think web analytics is useful. What the hell are you measuring?

  1. Dan Croxen-John

    I am certain there a close correlation between little or no investment in web analytics in terms of either in-house resource / external consultant, and those 73% not getting any value from web analytics.

    Having Google Analytics installed on your website is not web analytics.

    Dan Croxen-John
    Applied Web Analytics

  2. priteshpatel9

    Very good point. I have seen stats flying around that something like 80% of websites employ Google Analytics or some sort of web analytics software. Shocking to see such a small percentage of businesses who actually see any success from it. You are right that investment is a problem but with web analytics still at a ‘newborn’ stage i don’t think we will see anymore investment in the short term. What needs to happen is the people measuring the data need to actively be educating themselves and reporting better data to drive action. Only then will top level C-Execs see the benefits of web analytics.

    I go back to my point of a lack of data driven cultures within businesses. That needs and will change too.


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