Web Analytics: Industry Trends

Last week, I attended eMetrics in Washington, DC. It’s a must-attend vent for those looking to see what others are doing in the Web analytics space, as well as an opportunity to talk to others who are passionate about this stuff. This year’s conference title was “The Big Picture: Optimizing Online Marketing Value.” It was larger than any of the past conferences.

I typically speak at one or two of the eMetrics events each year and always like to see what new things are exciting people or what’s creating the most buzz. This year, there was a lot more to be covered and discussed than just Web analytics. Conference chair Jim Sterne stated the event isn’t a Web analytics conference but covers a lot more. The conference lived up to that; the primary focus was still Web analytics, but many other complementary topics and concepts were covered.

It was great to see a good chunk of the topics covered touched on acting on data in some fashion, not just collecting and reporting it. Numerous success stories were covered, and a lot of good conversation outside of sessions was tied to acting on insights.

A few trends came up repeatedly again this year, including:

  • More people. As noted, this was larger than any of the previous eMetrics events. There were more people at the conference in general, and nearly all of the sessions had great attendance. This clearly indicates the Web analytics, Web measurement, and Web optimization insight driving change (or whatever you want to call it) is becoming more important in corporate America.

  • Multiple people from one organization. In years past, there was usually just one or two delegates per company. They were the only ones within their organization responsible for Web analytics. This time, it was much more common to see three or four people from a single company attending.
  • Different roles/diverse roles. There also seemed to be many other Web team people outside of Web analytics focused professionals. I met designers, strategists, producers, and developers. This has been a consistent trend these past few years at events like Omniture’s Customer Summit and others. It’s great to see and, based on the conversations people were having, most likely a big shift in the way businesses view the Web.
  • Greater focus on taking action. Nearly every speaker or panel touched on acting on the data. This sounds simple, but far too often people are caught up just on collecting and sharing data.
  • Focus on multichannel. A number of sessions discussed the importance of understanding visitors across many different channels and how different channels work together to help accomplish overall business goals.
  • Public sector in Washington, DC. There were obviously a number of attendees from the public sector. It was interesting to hear the different challenges they face with the issues they’re trying to overcome.
  • Web Analytics Association (WAA) Training Day. The WAA Education Committee produced a one-day course the day before eMetrics that was an “Introduction to Web Analytics.” It was sold out (and then some) and was very beneficial to those who attended.

If you were there, let me know other trends you may have noticed. If you didn’t attend but you’re passionate about driving insight from data and site optimization, check out the agenda for the next eMetrics to see if you think it’s right for you.

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