Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Got Web Analysis?



Thinking that web reporting and web analysis are synonymous is incorrect. While related, they are as different as apples and oranges. Not understanding the difference could cause your organization to sell itself short. Many companies and organizations invest a lot of time and money into web analytics. While reporting is important, web analysis provides the greatest benefit to your organization. I will discuss the difference between web reporting and web analysis to explain why web analysis is so valuable.

Web Reporting
Web reporting is the “process of organizing data into infor­ma­tional sum­maries in order to mon­i­tor how dif­fer­ent areas of a busi­ness are per­form­ing1.” Web reporting is produced by tools like Google Analytics. It is backwards looking and requires no action2. Therefore, not every word or number you receive from your analyst is web analysis3. A lot of the information you receive may be reporting.
Don’t get me wrong, reporting can be a great tool. Report­ing helps com­pa­nies mon­i­tor their business online. “Good report­ing should raise ques­tions about the busi­ness from its end users4.”

Web Analysis
Web analysis is the “process of explor­ing data and reports in order to extract mean­ing­ful insights, which can be used to bet­ter under­stand and improve busi­ness performance1.” Analytic tools are helpful but they still cannot replace people. Web analysis comes from the expertise of people making sense of the data that comes from web reporting. It is about knowing why something works (or doesn’t work); “developing KPI’s, creating insight and taking action2.

“Analy­sis trans­forms data and infor­ma­tion into insights. The goal of analy­sis is to answer ques­tions by inter­pret­ing the data at a deeper level and pro­vid­ing action­able rec­om­men­da­tions. Through the process of per­form­ing analy­sis you may raise addi­tional ques­tions, but the goal is to iden­tify answers, or at least poten­tial answers that can be tested. In sum­mary, report­ing shows you what is hap­pen­ing while analy­sis focuses on explain­ing why it is hap­pen­ing and what you can do about it4.”

Look at the reports you receive from your web analyst. Do they include web analysis? Do they give recommendations? Or do they spew data and information which is difficult to understand? Many companies and organizations get a lot of web reporting. There is a greater need for web analysis to move the company forward.