Archives for November 2007

2007 Web Analytics and Behavioral Targeting Predictions Follow-up

In January of this year I made five predictions about Web Analytics and Behavioral Targeting for year 2007. Since the year is coming to an end, I feel it is time to do a recap of these predictions and see where I stand with these predictions. Let’s take a look at one prediction at a time.

  1. Prediction: Web Analytics- A Great Career Field– There will be a lot more jobs in this field in 2007. A great year for those who are planning to enter this field or looking to move into better jobs in this field. Most marketing jobs will have web analytics as a requirement. Currently there are 1024 open job on Indeed.com but I expect this number to rise as there will lot more openings than qualified candidates.

    Follow-up – This was an easy one, I was hiring at that time (and currently too) and based on my discussion with various folks in the industry it was clear that more and more companies were starting to use Web Analytics and it was becoming difficult to find web analyst. When I made this prediction on January 3rd there were 1024 open “web analytics” positions listed on indeed.om, a job aggregating site. Since making this prediction I did a monthly follow-up on open jobs from Jan – Aug, you can find the last (Aug) follow-up at http://webanalysis.blogspot.com/2007/08/web-analytics-jobs-trend-aug-2007.html
    On Nov 20th there were 2045 open positions listed on indeed.com, 99.7% increase since I made this prediction in January. Open positions have been up every month and Oct was the highest month ever with 2085 open positions on Oct 1st. So with this I can say that my prediction number one has come true.
    If you are trying to get into web analytics field I recommend reading interviews I did with various web analysts in the field (Yes I am still doing these interviews, if you want to participate please email me at batraonline at gmail.com)

  2. Prediction: Lot more new writers – There will a lot more bloggers and writers in this field. Can somebody count how many blogs on Web Analytics are currently? This will help me set the baseline.

    Follow-up – I don’t know how many total blogs on web analytics were there last year but know for sure that a lot of new blogs on web analytics have started since I made that prediction (If I can locate all the blogs then I will publish a list in near future). Three new books on Web Analytics were published this year. Web Analytics Books by Avinash Kaushik (Web Analytics: An Hour a Day ) and Jason Burby and Shane Atchison (Actionable Web Analytics: Using Data to Make Smart Business Decisions) were planned before I made my prediction so can’t take credit for those. Justin Cutroni also wrote a book on Google Analytics, a great resource and a must read for all those who are using Google Analytics.

  3. Prediction: Web Analytics won’t be standing alone – Marketers will want 360 view of the customers. Integration of various data sources and tools will be expected from web analytics and other supporting tool vendors. Omniture started the trend with Omniture Genesis and this will continue we will see more acquisitions and partnerships similar to Omnitures.

    Follow-up – WebTrends had similar integrations, the latest one is with SilverPop, an email provider. Another example is WebTrends Marketing Lab integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM to provide online marketers a consolidated, real-time view into both online visitor activity and offline customer information..
    Omniture’s acquisition of Offermetica and TouchClarity and integration with Salesforce is yet another step in this direction.
    I expect to see this trend continuing in the next year.
    (Also see my recap of this and following predictions.)

  4. Prediction: Web Analytics will be about taking actions – More and more marketers would like to take actions and not just report the findings. It just won’t be about what happened, it will be about taking action to drive sales, user satisfaction, lead generation etc. Incentives and bonuses will be tied to the online KPIs. Optimization and Behavioral Targeting will become a common term used by marketers.

    Follow-up: Megan Burns of Forrester Research echoed the same thing in her Report: Web Analytics Market Pumped for Growth. She said “Many Web analytics companies started collecting data about Web site visits and providing reporting tools to analyze that data,” “Now they’re moving to the next level of value, which is enabling people to act on that data and becoming a platform for managing interactive marketing activities.” (Also see the follow-up I did earlier this year).
    Acquisition of Offermetica (Optimization) and TouchClarity (Behavioral Targeting) by Omniture are strong testament of my above prediction. Marketers are demanding a seamless way to not only learn from data but also to take actions to improve site performance. Some web analytics experts are now calling this Web Analytics 2.0. Here is what Josh James CEO of Omniture had to say when they acquired Offermetica
    “The acquisition is a key part of Omniture’s strategy to deliver the most comprehensive solution for optimizing online business. Offermatica leverages Omniture’s recent acquisition of Touch Clarity as the two are highly complementary and together address the spectrum from A/B testing and multivariate testing to behavioral targeting. Offermatica enables companies to define and test the structure and elements of their sites, and Omniture TouchClarity™ enables companies to deliver the optimal content to any individual at any time….This combination, with Omniture’s analytics as the underlying foundation, provides the industry’s first and only integrated site optimization suite.”..A year ago it became very clear to us that our customers wanted to leverage their data through a range of testing and optimization tools. Once we acquired the leading behavioral targeting technology, our customers continued to validate our thinking that in addition to behavioral targeting, A/B testing and multivariate testing were distinct and critical components of their long-term online strategy. Combining these capabilities into a single, integrated offering, built on patented behavioral targeting and testing technology, answers the market need for a complete optimization solution,”

  5. Prediction: Behavioral Targeting – Only few main behavioral network players will be left and some of the existing ones with poor networks will either go out of business or be sold. See my previous article on why size of network matter. Behavioral Targeting won’t exist in isolation. Web Analytics tool will have to support behavioral targeting and visa versa. Also, on-site behavioral targeting will become very common.

    Follow-up: Several acquisitions happened in Behavioral Targeting since I made the above prediction. Recent acquisition of Tacoda by AOL and BlueLithium by yahoo proved me right. I think Revenue Science is next in line and will be sold in next few months.
    Also acquisition of Touch Clarity by Omniture proves that web analytics tools have to support behavioral targeting and visa versa. It also proves my point that on-site behavioral targeting is becoming very common. (http://webanalysis.blogspot.com/2007/09/convergence-of-web-analytics-and.html see my post titled Convergence of Web Analytics and Behavioral Targeting.

Yes, I am 5/5 on my 2007 predictions.

What do I see next? I will be making my prediction soon, but this is what I see coming next

  1. A tighter integration will happen between ad serving and Web Analytics. Maybe Omniture will buy an ad serving company.
  2. Oracle gets into Web Analytics. Yes I think this is going to happen soon.(more on this later)
  3. Google Analytics becomes a strong competitor in enterprise Web Analytics space.

WebTrends CMO Departing

Nov 1st I reported about the management shakeup at Webtrends. The I did a follow-up after talking to several employees of Webtrends regarding these changes. Though I was offered an opportunity to talk to Tim Kopp, the Chief Marketing Officer of WebTrends whom I have met on several occasions, I could not talk to him because I was in a hurry to put my post out and also Tim had already provided his view to the press and I did not expect to hear anything other than what he already told others.

Today Eric Peterson reported that Tim Kopp is the latest executive to depart Webtrends.

Wow!!! this is definitely another huge news out of Webtrends in less than a months. As I understand Tim was a force behind all the comeback Webtrends was trying to make, so his departure seems to be a big blow to the company. I am sure there will be more turnover, now it will be the time for many old employees to leave. I have been through similar changes in past so I know that it takes time before everything settles down. At the end it might not be such a bad thing, but who knows, time will tell.

I would like to hear the views of Webtrends’ employees and of course WebTrends’ official words on it.

Web Analytics Survey by Eric Peterson

Twice a year Eric Peterson conducts a survey of the practitioner, vendor, and consultant landscape in an attempt to answer critical questions about web analytics.
This particular survey is focusing on web analytics tools and will examine their distribution of deployment and overall customer satisfaction with the tools and the vendors who supply them. The survey is completely anonymous, and if you have any questions about the survey, please email them Eric Peterson. Take the Web Analytics Demystified Fall 2007 Survey Right Now! It should take about 15 mins of your time.
Everyone who completes the survey will be given a discount code to purchase The Big Book of Key Performance Indicators for over 50% off the cover price (a savings of $10.00!) Additionally, all of the resulting research will be made freely available through Web Analytics Demystified’s web site (you can download research from our Spring 2007 survey here.)

Omniture, WebTrends and the Web Analytics Industry

Last week saw pretty big changes in Web Analytics Industry. Omniture bought one of it’s biggest competitor Visual Science and later in the week there was management shakeout at WebTrends.

“This has been one of the weirder weeks in Web analytics ever. One of the biggest publicly traded companies gets acquired, and another lets its executives go. Now I’m afraid to wake up tomorrow and find out what else might be going on,” said Eric Peterson to ClickZ.

I agree, the changes in Web Analytics Industry happened so fast that you never know what might next. As I was writing this post I was worried that I will have to change the post by the time I finish it.

Omniture’s purchase of Visual Sciences was the first big news of the week. It was great news for Visual Science investors and Omniture. Omniture bought one of their biggest competitors and further strengthened their position as a market leader in Web Analytics industry.
One of the beneficiaries of Omniture/Visual Sciences deal is going be WebTrends. Just like Omniture and other Web Analytics vendors, WebTrends will also have to compete in a market with one less competitor. Not everybody who would have gone with Visual Sciences will now go with OmnitureVisualScience.

I have found that there are generally 3 types of customer. One those who always like to go with number one vendor in the market, they will go with Omniture (and would have anyway) even though it might not give them everything they need for the price they need. There are those who make rational decision based on through due-diligence, they will choose Omniture, WebTrend or whatever tool makes most sense given their needs and budget. And then are those who will go with number 2 or number 3 just to make sure they don’t become prisoners of the market leader and make sure they don’t empower a company to become a monopoly. These customers will choose anybody but Omniture.

Recent changes at WebTrends however have caused some concern in the market. Blogger and Reporters in Web Analytics field have been speculating about what it means to WebTrends and Web Analytics industry. There are conflicting reports on if these changes are to put WebTrends on a path to be acquired in next few months or if they are to better prepare WebTrends to take on Omniture.

In my opinion, it will not be good for web analytics industry if Omniture also acquires WebTrends. As Sean Burton commented on my blog post blog post about WebTrends Management changes “I doubt that Omniture would be looking to buy WT at the junction, and it would be a crying shame if they did.

The competition between the two companies has driven the market forwards, and has resulted in numerous improvements for the end customer.”

WebTrends is a top competitor to Omniture today. As long as these two companies are competing there will be innovation, at least in near future. We certainly need more than one player in the market to continue innovation.

After coming back from WebTrends Engage Conference I came to the conclusion that WebTrends was on the right track with their new products and I expected them to give Omniture run for its money. At that time I did not even think about the management changes that just happened.

I am very impressed with Marketing Lab 2 and hope that WebTrends investors (Francisco Partners) don’t sell the company. If they do decide to sell then they should sell it someone who can keep the competition going on in this market. It is very critical for the growth of Omniture, the other tool vendors and this industry overall.

The sentiment at WebTrends is very positive and all the people I have talked to or heard from did not give any indication that the company is getting ready for a sale, on the contrary they are excited to move forward in this red hot web analytics market.

Here is one of the comments that an employee of WebTrends left on my blog:
“Wild speculation and facts on the ground are, it turns out, two very different things. I am employed @ WebTrends presently, and can tell you that the change in management is a viewed positively by employees. The partners could have sold the company, which is a net positive asset in anyone’s eyes (consider the brand, customers, product set, years of exp. developing solutions in the verticals, 2X growth since divestiture, etc, etc.). But they chose the strategic move, retrenching, which will require further investment but reflects a longer-term view. The interior culture had eroded badly due to the lack of strategically cohesive vision, employee engagement, unity among the functional business units, and execution in the channel. The surgery performed removes the chief architects of the disaster that was our management team. Certainly the partners could now cut staff levels to improve the marketability of the company in the hope of selling. Omniture would be an unlikely suitor given the VS buy (cash, FCC, etc. make their being the only enterprise vendor in the space unlikely). If the worst that happened is acquisition by a better funded SW behemoth as a stand alone business unit I don’t think you’d hear much opposition from employees, and it could radically improve WebTrends position. Change happens in SW. This is just another new day for a company that has grown accustomed to high-velocity change.”

Another former employee (recent) of WebTrends, also seemed very confident in Marketing Lab 2 (ML2) and WebTrends ability to take on Omniture.

One of the current employee said that Webtrends has seen YOY growth in last year and investors did not have to put any more money, which is a good sign but the growth is not what board was expecting based on how fast the industry is growing.
He also said that there is no plan for “fire sale” as a reporter from Portland Business Journal reported. The reporter could not contact the management of WebTrends and reported based on the speculation. He added that the WebTrends Visitor index and Scoring are getting good market traction. More than what WebTrends can currently handle. They have to do some more work on technical side and services to further improve WebTrends position in the market. He said we are rated number one in integration with other vendors such email, behavioral targeting etc. and board wants to continue use these strengths and take the company to next level.

Another senior employee of WebTrends said that these changes were welcome and somewhat expected by the senior team here. He said that the mood was very positive at WebTrends. He said that they know that they are number two in a very hot market, but also are the only sizeable player with new products, a big team in EMEA, partners in Asia Pac, etc., plus $80 million in revenue. According to him, it is okay to be number two, the underdog for once. He was enthusiastic about Webtrend’s new direction and said that they are ready to steal some market share from Omniture. He said “We’ve won some big deals from them recently, so why should we not take more?”

I wish Greg Drew and Jason Palmer good luck in their new ventures. I am sure they will continue to be a part of this growing industry. I also hope that WebTrends will continue to be a strong market force and provide the competitive landscape that this industry needs to keep innvovating.

Thoughts? Comments?

Management Shakeup at WebTrends

According to a news by Portland Business Journal CEO Greg Drew and three other executives at WebTrends Inc. have left the company. Details of their departure remain unclear.
The other executives that are missing from the list on the WebTrends site are Jason Palmer, vice president of product management; Tore Steen, vice president of business and corporate development; and Hamid Bahadori, vice president of product development and hosted operations.

Bruce T. Coleman, CEO of El Salto Advisors, a consulting firm that provides interim management to computer software and service companies is listed as the CEO of WebTrends.

According to the report, a number of former WebTrends employees believe that a quick sale of the company is imminent. They speculate that with its market share slipping, WebTrends management wanted to sell the company to its biggest rival, Omniture Inc., a publicly traded, $107 million company based in Orem, Utah.

Wow, this changes the whole web analytics landscape. Will Omniture buy WebTrends now? I believed that WebTrends was making a comeback and was ready to give Omniture a hard time but I guess I was wrong. Will Omniture buy them and coremetrics right now and just own the whole Web Analytics space?

Comments?

Behavioral Targeting and Privacy

Behavioral Targeting and Online Privacy is taking an interesting turn. Yesterday I wrote about Privacy groups proposal to create “Do-Not-Track” for online behavioral targeting just like “Do-Not-Call” list to stop telemarketers from contacting the people on the list.

To counter these groups, AOL took a proactive step by announcing the launch of Privacy education program for Behaviorally Targeted Advertising.

AOL is doing exactly what I wrote in April of this year in an article related to privacy

“I believe that if consumers are provided proper education then they can in fact benefit from Behavioral Targeting. It will be a win-win situation for all the parties involved. Proper education and disclosures by advertisers, publishers and networks will ease the concerns regarding Behavioral Targeting. Consumers have the right to opt out of Behavioral Targeting but what is lacking is proper education on how to do so.”

According to an AOL press release:

Program Will Provide Greater Transparency, Enhanced Notice of How Targeted Advertising Works, and Patent-Pending Technology to Protect Consumers’ Opt-Out Choices; The Program Will Reach More Than 91% of Online Consumers

“Our goal with this program is to engender greater trust for targeted advertising by communicating with consumers in a more visible way, and by providing them more information about their choices,” said Curt Viebranz, President of Platform-A. “AOL believes that doing more to explain to users the choices they have over the way their data is used, and helping them exercise those preferences will help them feel more in control.”

I also wrote in the previous article:

“The networks currently opt-in users by default; however, in my opinion the proper process should be opt-out by default and opt-in if user chooses to opt-in, just like we do for emails and newsletters. This process will move the burden from users to the advertisers, publishers and networks.”

I don’t think we are going to get opt-in process in near future, here is what AOL talked about the opt-out process:

The expanded use of the TACODA opt-out technology will help better preserve consumer choices. Today, users who opt-out of behavioral targeting by using an opt-out cookie risk having their preference lost if they later delete their cookies. TACODA leverages a Web cache technique to preserve a consumers’ opt-out choice even if they delete their browser cookies, something other opt-out systems cannot currently do. AOL is also exploring opportunities to license this technology on a royalty-free basis for use exclusively in consumer privacy protection programs.

“We want to make the opt-out process as simple and transparent as possible,” said Jules Polonetsky, Chief Privacy Officer, AOL. “We urge the industry to join us in ensuring that users who take steps to minimize the data they provide have their choices maintained.”

In another article titled “Online Marketers Joining Internet Privacy Efforts” NYTimes.com writes:

AOL says it is setting up a new Web site that will link consumers directly to opt-out lists run by the largest advertising networks. The site’s technology will ensure that people’s preferences are not erased later.
There is a silver lining for marketers, however: the AOL site will try to persuade people that they should choose to share some personal data in order to get pitches for products they might like. Most Web sites, including AOL, already collect data about users to send them specific ads — but AOL is choosing to become more open about the practice and will run advertisements about it in coming months.

I think this is a very smart move by AOL/Tacoda, if it can convince consumers about the benefit of Behavioral Targeting then why not take one step further and have these consumers provide more information about themselves.

Other posts that I recommend
1. Privacy
1. Behavioral Targeting

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