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Bad Process Kills Good Analytics | ClickZ

n many cases, organizations are still struggling to get the return on investment in their digital analytics that they were originally hoping for or could reasonably expect. Ten years on from when Web analytics started to go mainstream, why is that still the case? If we look at the possible reasons, they tend to lie in the "triumvirate" of technology, people, and processes.

A lot of organizations have access to Web analytics technology and have invested in it heavily over the years. The introduction of free services sparked by Google Analytics over five years ago means that it's cheap to acquire Web analytics technology. For organizations with more sophisticated requirements such as the ability to integrate Web data with other data sources and systems, the enterprise market satisfies those needs. The technologies have developed significantly over the past few years and provide richer analytics, particularly in the area of behavioral segmentation, than they did a few years ago. There are still areas that are not addressed well by Web analytics technologies; notably the attribution of acquisition channels. And while it's great that the technology providers are adding additional functionality, particularly in the social media arena, acquisition attribution is an area that it would be great to see some development in as well.

It wasn't that long ago that it was generally recognized that organizations were underinvesting in getting enough of the right type of people into their organizations. Avinash Kaushik's famous 10/90 rule he posted on his blog made the point admirably. We have seen organizations invest more in people more recently and significant Web analytics teams exist in many large advertisers or digital property owners. Investing in people remains a problem naturally for smaller organizations with smaller budgets and resources, but if at least it becomes part of someone's job, then it signals a degree of commitment.

To some extent, experience and qualifications remain a problem on the people side of things. Web analytics is still a relatively young marketing discipline and even the "veterans" in the industry have less than 15 years or so experience in the field. Again, this is evolving as organizations like the Web Analytics Association continue to develop education and certification programs. This will help to define "what good looks like" when it comes to Web analysts and provide a means of reference for organizations to assess the quality of potential staff and suppliers alike.

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