Where is web analytics headed in 2007

Here’s an interesting ClickZ article about what’s in store for us this year in the world of web analytics…

Proto-Analytics for 2007

By Shane Atchison | January 11, 2007

It’s now the new year and after a week’s vacation, I found myself reading all my favorite Web analytics writers: Avinash Kaushik, Jason Burby, and Craig Danuloff. They all made their predictions for 2007, and I thought I’d share mine as well.

* It’s a tale of two software vendors, continued. In 2006, we conducted over 50 analytics software evaluations for Fortune 2000 companies. Along the way, we saw the emergence of two clear-cut leaders in the enterprise analytics market: Omniture and WebSideStory. I expect that trend to continue.

For Omniture, the Genesis release has provided a great platform for third-party integration. I expect the company to continue in this direction and to acquire other companies, thanks to its very successful 2006 IPO.

It looks like most of WebSideStory’s enterprise customers will be encouraged to migrate to Visual Science. The reason? WebSideStory purchased Visual Science, and Jim McIntryre, founder of Visual Science, is now CEO of WebSideStory.

* Google Analytics will be a significant dark-horse vendor. Nowadays, everyone has his eyes on Google, wondering what this new player will do with its massive resources. Yet it hasn’t realized its potential in the analytics software business. I have great hope that it will develop some key innovations through its investment and perhaps acquisition of other companies.

* Innovation will come from third parties. Look for increased third-party integration in existing software platforms. In addition, we should get much better tools for behavioral content targeting, search bid management, and site and campaign optimization.

* Marketing executives will embrace Web analytics. 2007 will be the year the vast majority of CMOs and other marketing managers drink the Web analytics Kool-Aid. They’ll write marketing plans, project forecasts, creative briefs, and everything else with Web analytics as part of the process.

* Marketing execs’ biggest issue will be human capital. Wanting something and getting it are two entirely different things. While marketing professionals will want to add analytics to all their processes, the human resources needed to make those changes will be hard to find. If you’re looking for a job this year, having “Web analyst” at the head of your résumé will be a very good thing. Still, I and others in the industry worry that inexperience and unrealistic expectations will cause a lot of disappointment in companies trying to adopt data-driven processes.

* Employees will be held accountable for analytics. Nonetheless, at the ground level analytics will play an increased role in performance reviews. If you’re working in the Web organization of a Fortune 2000 company, expect to see an analytics dashboard or scorecard as part of your bonus structure.

* Optimization will be the hottest trend. It’s hard to think of a more promising area in analytics than optimization. Look to technology vendors such as Offermatica and Kefta to lead this space. These companies are prime candidates for additional capital and possible acquisition by Web analytics software vendors.

* Education will be huge. With the rising interest in analytics will come the arrival of many new books and materials on the field, including one by my colleague (and fellow ClickZ columnist) Jason Burby and myself.

Finally, it may be more of a wish than a prediction, but I hope universities will begin to create curricula around analytics. If there are any academics out there interested, please e-mail me. We need your help.

Have any questions, comments, or predictions of your own? E-mail me. I’d be happy to hear from you.