Web Analytics Association Sets Measurement Standards
For almost two years, the WAA's Standards Committee worked with Web analytics vendors, agencies, practitioners and industry leaders like Omniture to develop standard definitions for the most widely used terms--namely "page views," "visits/sessions," and "visitors'"--and then expanded them this year, to include an additional 23 broader metrics.
According to Jason Burby, co-chair of the WAA standards committee, the standard definitions aren't just for tech-savvy number crunchers--the document is aimed at getting marketers, agencies and their Web analytics teams on the same page, as brands and agencies have increasingly been using Web site traffic, usability and conversion data to manage and evaluate both off- and online campaigns.
"Companies are using Web analytics to find out everything from how effective a huge offline media buy is at driving site traffic, to figuring out whether an ad should link to a home page, a special landing page or a product page for the most conversions," said Burby. "There needs to be a common framework for having those sorts of conversations."
Burby added that since Web analytics (and practitioners) are playing a relatively new role in corporate America, misuse of terms by all players--as well as conflicting definitions from Web analytics vendors--have the potential to retard the growth of the industry as a whole.
"There were no standards established--and the WAA decided to create a way for everyone to understand and speak the same language," said Burby. He said that it will take time for the Web analytics standards to be incorporated industry-wide, but since the initiative was conceived with input from analytics vendors, Web giants like Yahoo and Google, ad agencies and software providers, the likelihood is greater for a more widespread transition.