Web Analytics 2.0? I am more worried about Web Analytics 3.0!
If you’re reading the web analytics blogs, you’ve probably already heard about the recent presentations I’ve given on the subject of “Web Analytics 2.0″. The future of web analytics and the relationship between Web 2.0 technology and measurement is something I’ve been talking about for over six months — I actually have a Web Analytics 2.0 workshop that I regularly give that you can read about under Analytics Consulting on my site — but given that it is “conference season” it is no wonder that this subject is getting attention from other folks in the industry. I have given my presentation at Web Analytics Day in Brussels, SEMphonic X Change in Napa, and will be giving a variation on same at Jim Sterne’s Marketing Optimization Summit in October.
Due to demand, you can download a PDF of the presentation from the white papers section of my site. If you’re interested in learning more about Web Analytics 2.0, please give me a call and I’d be happy to discuss it with you.
Strangely enough, the slides that are generating the most interest and commentary are not those about the Web Site Optimization Ecosystem, the integration of quantitative and qualitative data, or the Analytics Demystified RAMP, but rather the few slides I included outlining my thoughts about Web 3.0 and what I am calling Web Analytics 3.0.
What the heck is Web Analytics 3.0?!
Before I can tell you what Web Analytics 3.0 is, I need to tell you what I think Web 3.0 is going to be. The good old Wikipedia basically dodges this by saying:
Web 3.0 is a term that has been coined with different meanings to describe the evolution of Web usage and interaction along several separate paths. These include transforming the Web into a database, a move towards making content accessible by multiple non-browser applications, the leveraging of artificial intelligence technologies, the Semantic web, the Geospatial Web, or the 3D web.
While I know that Judah is all hopped up on the notion of the semantic web, after having traveled to Tokyo and Europe in the past month, I find myself absolutely convinced that the next technology era will be characterized by our collective ability to access the Internet anyplace, anytime, using so many devices we begin to look back on computers much the same way young people do television today — as something nice to use when YouTube is unavailable. Rolf Skyberg, a disruptive innovator from eBay who I met in Rotterdam a few weeks back, called it “digital ubiquity” — the point where we forget that the Internet actually exists and take our ability to access information completely for granted.
Given so many sexy alternatives — 3D web, transforming the Internet into a database, artificial intelligence, and the such — why am I so convinced that in the next three years we’ll be talking about Web 3.0 when we talk about mobile phones and non-traditional browsers?
Easy. The financial opportunity available via the mobile Internet makes the billions transacted today look like pocket change.
Think about it:
- Most people in the U.S. haven’t seen QR codes in advertising yet, but they will.
- Most mobile users around the globe don’t have access to a brilliant browsing experience through their phones, but they will.
- Most marketers aren’t advertising on mobile platforms yet, but they will.
- The most-loved company in the world isn’t in the mobile market yet, but they will be.
- Most mobile platforms aren’t passing the phone number (or a derivative) along with HTTP requests, but they certainly could.
- Most mobile platforms aren’t passing along GPS coordinates along with HTTP requests, but they certainly could.
Just think for a minute about how your browsing experience might change if the web sites you visited remembered you and delivered a tailored experience based on your demographic profile (theoretically available via your phone number), your browsing history (accurate because you’re not deleting your phone number) and your specific geographic location when you make the request?
Now think about how the advertising buying experience would change if the same were true, not to mention behavioral targeting. I mean, given GPS and demographic data, the behavior being tracked could be “works downtown during the day, checks Facebook on his phone often, lives in the suburbs, surfs sports scores from his neighborhood bar.” The Starbucks web site could have a link at the top with a coupon to save $1 on my double-tall non-fat latte in stores 1 block, 2 blocks, and 5 blocks from my current location; the Best Buy web site could have an in-store promotion for the store I am standing in, targeted to my age and gender; and my search engine could disambiguate my searches based on my demographic profile, my geographic location, and my recent search history to serve me paid search ads designed to influence my geo-spatial movement, not just my likelihood to click.
Sure there are privacy issues, but given the intensely personal relationship most people have with their cell phones, and the fact that far more people in the world have mobile phones than computers (Gartner estimates 271 million units sold to end-users by Q2 2007) it is easy to make a convincing case for mobile computing and digital ubiquity defining the next technology era, much like social networking, AJAX, XML, and mashed-up business models define the current Web 2.0 era we’re living in today.
Okay, mobile is the future. So what the heck is Web Analytics 3.0?
If Web Analytics 1.0 was all about measuring page views to generate reports and define key performance indicators, and if Web Analytics 2.0 is about measuring events and integrating qualitative and quantitative data, then Web Analytics 3.0 is about measuring real people and optimizing the flow of information to individuals as they interact with the world around them.
Your log file analyzer can do that, right?
In theory, the mobile Internet has many of the same measurements as the hard-wired Internet. But as the information the platform and device providers make available changes, something I very much believe will happen, the quality and volume of information at our disposal will increase and improve. The W3C document on “Mobile Best Practices 1.0″ already exists but surprisingly enough don’t have a section about logging requests or measuring user interaction. M:Metrics is out there providing analyst reports, but the service is more similar to comScore and Nielsen than WebTrends and ClickTracks.
This post is already extremely long but I wanted to start the conversation. In future posts, as time allows, I’ll expand on some of what I believe is possible and how. In the interim, let me know what you think! Am I wrong? Is Web 3.0 bigger than mobile? Or do you already have a handle on measuring your mobile content, even without GPS and phone numbers as unique IDs? Do you personally have experience doing analysis on mobile content? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience.
As usual, I very much welcome your comments but am happy to receive your comments directly via email. Also, if you’re a mobile service provider or device manufacturer concerned with how advertisers and marketers will measure their success through your platform, application, or device, I would love to talk to you about the Analytics Demystified vision for Web Analytics 3.0.