The latest book I’m reading is “The Origins of Wealth”. It’s another HBR endorsed book, I think, but I really love it. Beinhocker has this way of expressing really complex causes using, at times, very frustrating Grade 12 HBR language. (4 pages spent describing what endogenous means versus exogenous). But it’s incredibly accessible. Much of it is relatively easy for traditional economists to attack. And that’s fine – I think they might be missing the real point of the book: “The Origins of Wealth” is to complexity economics as “A Brief History of Time” is to quantum physics. Both works are essentially “pop literature”. (And, editorially, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with making science, even if it is social science, popularly[…]

Challenged with the question: “But how can you possibly measure innovation?” Alright, here’s my stab at it. Do what most web analysts do – ask another question, definition related. “What do you mean by innovation?” If I may quote Wikipedia (and I will) The term innovation may refer to both radical and incremental changes in thinking, in things, in processes or in services (Mckeown, 2008). Invention that gets out in to the world is innovation. In many fields, something new must be substantially different to be innovative, not an insignificant change, e.g., in the arts, economics, business and government policy. In economics the change must increase value, customer value, or producer value. The goal of innovation is positive change, to[…]

There’s a nice little thread going on at the Yahoo WA thread. Here are some of the best bits of Eric Enge’s article: The Challenge of Mobile Web Analytics By Eric Enge, Search Engine Watch, May 21, 2008 The mobile Web is a dynamic and challenging environment. One of its biggest challenges is that conventional Web analytics applications don’t do a good job of tracking mobile Web site usage. That makes it difficult to tune and enhance your mobile Web site’s performance. Today, we’ll talk about some of the different mobile analytics methods, and the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. … Mobile Web Analytics With such a large and growing market, it’s reasonable to presume that more people[…]

“I still can’t figure out what you do” Comes the common refrain – to be a Web Analyst in…well, anywhere. There are not that many of us. Officially, web analytics is supposed to be about “understanding the behavior of visitors on a website”. I’ve posited a second definition (now I’m previewing June 11) that it’s about “understanding digital behavior”. (We’ll see how that flies.) I can break web analytics out into 3 broad categories. There’s a technical side of my job – last week I analyzed log files and the results of javascript executed tags. This week I’m into Omniture and Google Analytics. There are a few flavors of web analysts who make all their money implementing difficult to code[…]

Web analytics knowledge isn’t really centralized. Jim Novo’s efforts at professional certification through the UBC courses are to be lauded as a direct effort to centralize authority in the web analytics space. After all, not everybody should be considered to be a web analyst. Let’s consider the broad space that is web analytics. So far, as with most technologies, it tends to be heavily vendor based. “Do you know Omniture”, “Do you do WebTrends”…they’re common questions. When it comes to universal web analytics knowledge, we, as a community, have 3 or 4 seminal books – and a collection of a blogs. But there’s an entirely different discourse on web analytics that’s taking place with very few practioners around the table.[…]

Goal Hierarchies are critical if you want to understand how institutions change, and why analytics need to respond to those changes. The origins of the work on goal hierarchies goes back to 2005. I worked with Dr. Perl on the first look at road safety public policy in years. We produced the first published paper linking institutional strength with a goal typology. Then we observed common sense – strong institutions set concrete goals…weaker institutions set abstract goals (or no goals!). We got it published in 2007. I took this thread and applied it in the thesis. I went further, noting that most institutions have a broad set of goals, but they almost always fall into some sort of hierarchy –[…]

Pre-Click Analysis involves examining all the things we can measure before somebody actually reaches your website. It includes taking a look at all the sites that are linked to yours, and the context in which they’re pointing to you. (Are most of the links on forums, on blogs, or other types of sites? Are they saying good things about you? Are they recommending you? Are they condemning you?) It involves taking a look at all the keywords that people are using to find you. What’s your page rank on those search queries? How far down the search page are people going to find you? Examine the context that your banner ads are in. What is your offline strategy like? Is[…]

Series of events 1: Someone searches using a keyword. They see your adword ad. They click on it. They click ‘order it’ on the landing page. They convert for a net profit of 75 dollars. Series of events 2: Someone searches using a keyword. They see your adword ad. They click on it. They click ‘about us’ on the landing page. They visit the home page after. They don’t convert right away. What was the ROI of the first series of events? Well then, what do you mean by ROI? If we’re talking about the ROI that is directly attributable to the adword ad, then the ROI was 75 dollars. And the second series of events…using the same attribution model,[…]

Mobile analytics are going to play a huge role over the next 10 years, especially when it comes to actually driving innovation. If Canada is to remain really competitive on the world technology scene, we’re going to have to get a lot better at mobile applications and technology. A part of that mix involves prudent government policy, and on that front, I’m active. The second component is to demonstrate value when it comes to these devices. The people within different organizations that are capable of demonstrating the value of mobile applications and a mobile presence will be responsible for the ultimate success of those organizations. Some people call this movement the “Web Analytics 3.0 Movement”. I’m anticipating that the popular[…]

WebTrends is the most common server log file reader in use today. Many tools don’t use log files, but it’s interesting to talk about them. Back in 1997, one group reported that it took 240 person hours to develop perl scripts to read the files. To put just a half month’s worth of data into a ‘usable format’, it took another 100 person hours. It’s not simple, because there are four types of server logs: access, agent, error and referrer. It’s just rather hard to parse all these types of data. Access logs tell you the time, IP address, and which files got downloaded (.html, .flv, .jpeg, .pdg, and so). This is where the misleading term “hits” came from. Every[…]