Ian Thomas, the man behind Microsoft Gatineau is making some bold predictions about the future of web analytics in his post titles Web Analytics is Dead. Long Live Web Analytics blog. He made two predictions:
- In three years there will be no Web Analytics vendors, but Web Analytics will be everywhere.
- In five years, all Web Analytics software will be free.
It is a great post and I like the way he is thinking. However I do not agree with him, here is my reply to his predictions:
- In three years there will be no Web Analytics vendor, but Web Analytics will be everywhere – I completely agree that Web Analytics will be everywhere in next few years. This is already happening, as he mentioned and provide several examples. However, I disagree that there will be no Web Analytics Vendor. Microsoft, Google, Oracle, Atlas, Doubleclick etc. will (or already do) provide web analytics as an add on to their products but there will still be a need for one web analytics product you can rely on to make strategic decisions. Can you imagine having 15 different web analytics solutions that all give you different numbers? There will still be a place for deeper and strategic web analytics tool. I agree that the functionality of web analytics tool will change and they will continue adding more products. They might not be known as web analytics vendor but web analytics will be a core product that they will provide. They will be providing more than web analytics and they are already moving in that direction.
(Side note: I also agree that Omniture will buy an ad serving company, I made the same prediction last year . I also predicted that Oracle will get into Web Analytics, because I believed that web analytics will become essential part of marketing automation, Online advertising, CRM etc. and Oracle won’t want to be left behind. And actually about 10 days after making the prediction they did buy a company that has web analytics product).
- In five year, all Web Analytics will be Free – There is no free lunch, we all know that. As John Levitt commented on his post, most of the tools that provide web analytics as an add-on product, provide very light analytics and reporting. Their web analytics offering is to support or enhance the value of their products and offerings, so that they can keep up with competition. There will still be a place for deeper and strategic web analytics and that will come for a price. Web Analytics maybe subsidized if you buy other products from a company like Omniture but it won’t be free (bundle discount).
A lot things can change in less than 5 year, Omniture can start using the web analytics data collected on the sites to create an online advertising network (they have pixels everywhere, they can buy an ad serving company, use touchclarity and offermetics to deliverer right ad to the right person at the right time) and then I can see that they can provide free web analytics tool if you let them aggregate user behavior and do targeted advertising. (My suspicion is that Google will be doing that soon too).
What do you think?