I don’t know everything. From time to time, I am sure to write myself into a hole. Usually I’ll provide an escape route. The perfect example of such an escape route? Last month’s prediction post about “track everything“, where I so elegantly stated:
“We (Digital Analytics) need a solution that captures and organizes everything that happens on our sites, and lets analysts further sort everything out after the fact. Maybe it already exists, and if so… great (where can I sign up?)! I think there are several vendors out there who have some piece of the beginning stages of this dreamed up technology, but in fact they are quite a ways away from offering what I envision.”
Like I said … “maybe it already exists” … “I think there are vendors who have a piece of the beginning stages” … Escape routes! Years of consulting at work here, and I do apologize for it.
As it turns out, minor names such as Google and Tealium are already totally involved in a relationship with this concept. Other names… beautiful new names… like Heap Analytics (page title: “Capture Everything”) and SnowPlow Analytics, are also fully involved in relationships with the concept.
That’s great news.
It’s great news that makes me wonder whether today’s (yesterday’s?) web analytics vendors (HEY IBM, ADOBE, WEBTRENDS) should consider a drastic shift in data collection methodologies, or a drastic shift in business models (ahem… SERVICES). They’re in a dying game, as far as I (and SnowPlow/Heap) are concerned. SnowPlow was kind enough to publish this SlideShare deck yesterday to help me with my point.
At the same time… what these vendors address today is only part of what I was insinuating with my last post on “track everything”.
For data science (this may seem obvious)… you need data. What may not seem as obvious is that the data needs to be, to the extent possible, unbiased, disaggregated, and collected without abandon. That is not how today’s web analytics implementations are done. First off, you have some solutions that don’t offer disaggregated access to data. Beyond that, almost all of today’s (yesterday’s!) solutions indeed are biased and collected with abandon.
I want to know how a visitor interacted with a page. I don’t want to have to define which components I want to track, and what to call them, as part of the data collection process.
I want to know everything about the page at the point in time that the data was collected. I don’t want to have to reference a CMS or any other system or person to figure out what content was where.
I want to be able to report out at the page component level (those who saw this image were more likely to…)… without pre-defining what components to track.
Referring URL? I want to know everything about that page at the point in time that the data was collected (to the extent possible).
Did a twonversation or other social conversation occur based on this URL? Initiated from this URL? Either way, bring the data.
Earlier this evening I stated that “our world is not ready” (for this stuff). What I meant by that statement is that our digital analytics technology and expertise is still centered around traditional web analytics, and that suffices for an overwhelming majority of those who care. That said, the world moves fast. Data scientists want this unbiased, disaggregated, mass-collected data. They want to understand the data, but they don’t want someone else to predetermine that understanding and bake it into said data.
As “quickly” as the web analytics world moved from log files to page tags, I expect we will see a migration from predefined implementations to big data implementations.
EDIT: I forgot to credit a couple folks for the conversation/writings that led to part 2 here! Allison Hartsoe / @ahartsoe pointed out Heap in this post. Peter O’Neill pointed out SnowPlow and Celebrus — who didn’t even get a mention in my speedy delivery last night: http://www.celebrus.com/
EDIT: Thanks for stopping by. This "web/digital analytics implementation death" thing became a series. There were four posts: http://www.tbdac.com/web-analytics-implementation-dead/ http://www.tbdac.com/web-analytics-implementation-die-part-2/ http://www.tbdac.com/death-web-analytics-implementation-part-3/ http://www.tbdac.com/year-expansion-in-digital-analytics/ This will continue to be a theme of my analytics hygiene posts, and presentations at eMetrics Chicago and... (Boston?)... and...?