Web Analytics v/s Digital Analytics – What’s the difference?

Web Analytics and Digital Analytics are quite often used interchangeably.  I have been asked, by my students and some clients, about the difference in these two, so I decided to write this short post to clarify the terms.

As you can see from the Google Trends graph, Google searches for “Digital Analytics” were nonexistent till Web Analytics Association changed its name to Digital Analytics Association. Since then the term “Digital Analytics” has started to pick up.
digital-analytics

In early days of internet, companies started to analyze website data such as users, visitors, visits, page views etc. and the term used to describe this analysis was called “ Web Analytics”.

Then came other forms of online (digital channels) such as email, search, social, mobile etc. and increasingly Digital Analytics folks were including this data and analysis of all these channels to provide a complete view of the “Digital” channels, marketing and customers. To fully include the scope of work of “Web Analysts” a new term “Digital Analytics” was coined.

“Web Analytics” companies like WebTrends, Omniture (now Adobe), Google Analytics etc. also started including data from other online channels and transformed from Web Analytics tools to Digital Analytics tools.

When I was on the board of “Web Analytics Association” from 2009 – 2011, we had several discussions regarding the name of the association. The general consensus was that our members were doing much more than traditional “Web Analytics” and association needs to change the name and scope to include the changing role of “Web Analytics”. Association finally changed the name to “Digital Analytics Association” on March 5th, 2012.

So back to the original question – What is the difference between Web Analytics and Digital Analytics?

Web Analytics is analysis of the website data.

Digital Analytics includes analysis of data from all digital channels that includes websites. Data from search, display advertising, social, email, mobile etc. is included to provide a complete view of the digital marketing and customers.

Though usage of Digital Analytics is picking up, “Web Analytics” is still searched more often than “Digital Analytics” as shown in the following Google Trends chart

web-analytics-vs-digital-analytics
Thoughts? Comments?

Finding (Not Provided) Keywords in Google Analytics

I rarely write tool specific posts on this blog but since I have recently been asked by a few people about this issue and it affects every web analytics tool, I decided to post it here.

A few months ago, Google, the search engine, started encrypting searches for user who are logged into their Google account while conducting the search. As a result of this encryption, the keyword that the visitors search to arrive to your site is not passed in the referring URL. Web Analytics tools rely on the keywords passed in the referring URL to build the search engine traffic report and in the absence of the keywords there is nothing to report, though they still see that the visits came from Google search. So Google Analytics now marks those visits that do not have a keyword but come from Google with “(not provided)” keyword instead of the actual keyword.

Finding those keywords

Google still tracks all the keywords search by logged in users but just does not pass it in the referrer to the site that the user clicks through to. These keywords are available in the Google Webmaster Tools.  To see the report you will have to register your sites in Google Webmaster Tool. Google Webmaster tools will allows you to see all the keywords that were searched, the number of clicks your site got, the average position of your site for those keywords and the landing pages.

 

If you are not using Google Analytics on your site then you will have to login to Webmaster Tools anytime you want to see those reports.

(All images provided by GAPremium.com – Google Analytics Tips and Tricks)

If you are using Google Analytics then you can connect Google Analytics reports and Google Webmaster tools to get Webmaster reporting within the Google Analytics interface.

However there are three issues with this report when used with Google Analytics (or any another web analytics tool)

  1. You don’t get other metric (e.g. goal conversion) about the visits that arrived from the keywords.
  2. This list of keywords includes not only the keywords marked with “(not provided)” but also the other keywords that you see in Organic traffic report. So you will have to do extra analysis to see which keywords are hidden under “(not provided)”.
  3. If you look at Google Webmaster tool report then you will notice that there are a lot more impressions and clicks than those displayed in the Webmaster report and the Google Analytics report (see below). I was not able to find a reason why Google is only displaying the partial number of keywords, if you know the reason then please let me know.
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