The State of European Web Analytics, 2007

A couple weeks ago, I got my annual sense-check the Web analytics industry in the U.K. and the rest of Europe at the Emetrics Summit in London. The two-day event attracted around 150 participants from across the industry and across Europe. Having reread my report on last year’s London Emetrics Summit, I think it’d be interesting to see how the industry’s developing and what issues people are currently talking about.

Web analytics industry growth in Europe manifests itself in many ways. Web Analytics Wednesdays are being held across Europe with strong attendance levels. At the last event in Scandinavia, I’m told people were turned away because the room wasn’t big enough. For the second year, there’s an Emetrics Summit in Germany, moving to a two-day format. There’s also talk of other future locations.

This spread of interest and expertise across Europe was demonstrated at the summit itself. I met delegates from Belgium, Holland, Finland, Sweden, Germany, and Estonia, all coming together to learn, share, and network.

I also met delegates attending for the second or third time. Some of them are from consultants and agencies, but some practitioners also made repeat visits. This also is evidence of some maturity of the market; people are developing careers in the industry.

So what were people talking about?

Well, this year there was a greater variety of content. In a number of presentations, organizations described the analytics journey they undertook, the challenges they’d encountered, mistakes they’d made, and the lessons they’d taken away. These are useful sessions for people just beginning in Web analytics as it provides a roadmap for development.

It was good to see more advanced applications of Web analytics examples presented as well. Last year’s round up of the 2006 summit said:

One frustration is a lack of any evidence that companies are engaging in systematic testing. The challenge here in Europe is one of scale. Internal or external costs of running testing programs are probably too high, except for the very largest organizations. Hopefully, the technology costs will come down enough to enable more companies to use this type of analytics as part of the way they do business in the future.

This year, there were two contrasting presentations from client organizations based on testing. Skype presented its experience of running A/B tests on key pages on its site using Offermatica. Boden, a clothing retailer, presented its experiences of testing: using in-house methods, splitting the traffic itself, then measuring the effects using a Web analytics tool. Two different operational approaches, but the encouraging thing was both companies reported significant conversion increases through their testing programs, which greatly aids the business case for testing going forward. I’m sure this year we’ll see much greater adoption of systematic testing programs.

Another theme this year was behavioral targeting. There’s been some noise about this in the U.K. this year in the wake of Omniture’s acquisition of Touch Clarity. Lloyds TSB, a leading U.K. bank, presented a case study based on its deployment of that technology, reporting the additional revenue it’s generating from behavioral targeting is several times the investment in the program.

The more the message gets out there that investments in Web analytics and associated technologies can generate positive and significant returns, the better!

Meet Neil at the ClickZ Specifics: Analytics seminar on May 2 at the Hilton New York in New York City.

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