Can Convergence Analytics Become Popular?

Looking back over the last nine years, Google Analytics has become truly popular and changed the world of Web measurement since Google bought Urchin in 2005. While Web analytics isn’t a household name in 2015, there are probably close to 25 million websites that run Google Analytics today, according to BuiltWith. BuiltWith currently indexes 289,376,256 active domains (as of January 2015) and many more websites found on those domains, but I do not know with certainty the percentage of all the websites in the world running Google Analytics. However, perhaps 0.5 percent to 1 percent of all the websites in the world today might be running Google Analytics (a quick guess on my part).

If that is the case, Google Analytics has to be collecting more overall website performance and behavioral data than any other analytics platform.

As we begin 2015 with the Internet of Things and wearable technology becoming hot trends, it is tempting to ask if there will be a time when convergence takes place across enough of the technologies within the Gartner Hype Cycle to make convergence analytics truly popular in the way that Google Analytics has become.

Certainly, data and services are converging in many platforms investors are highly enthusiastic about today, such as x.ai and Uber to name the latest that I read about over the last couple of days since this year began. But overall, are the analytics around merging data and services going to ever become popular? Do they need to be (popular) to be effective and worthwhile?

What industry most emulates popularity? Online music. Perhaps the analysis of popularity in online music downloads can be used as a model to answer the question.

One of the issues with emerging technologies is they are almost always initially complex to implement and not that well understood (or adopted), nor is analytics initially implemented. In terms of music, the same factors seem to be taking place routinely, according to a new PLOS One study that examines how a style’s musical complexity increases or decreases over time in relation to album sales. The more complicated a music style becomes, the less popular it tends to be.

I think the same thing holds true for technologies – for a technology platform to become popular (similar to the way Google Analytics became popular) it has to become simple enough that the average user can understand it.

The convergence of data into insights (with technologies that are often complex and difficult to understand and implement) probably is not going to become popular anytime soon because it is too complex.

Today, there is no “Shazam” effect in converge analytics, although there are hot technologies and users who buy what the products around those technologies deliver. Perhaps what we need to do is bring up the level of the average user of technology. I suppose that is what Google Analytics did, because 10 years ago, Web analytics was niche term, but today, we see more and more universities offering it. Google has done more to popularize analytics technologies than anyone else I can think of with its “Analytics Academy.”

Perhaps the way to popularity isn’t complicated, because it’s more about bringing the user up to understand and interoperate with the technology than to simplify it to level of commonality.

Image via Shutterstock.

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