Web Analytics Is Just a Hammer

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It’s funny how you never know which conversations or presentations will stick with you for years. One of mine, that I didn’t realize at the time, was when John Lovett keynoted at ForeSee‘s user conference several years ago. He had a simple diagram in his presentation (this was John pre-Prezi!) that talked about different types of data: behavioral, attitudinal, and observational. That really resonated with me, to the point that it’s become one of my favorite soapboxes.

That soapbox (although hopefully presented in a much less preachy way than “soapbox” connotes) is one of the core elements of one of the eMetrics sessions I’ll be leading next month. And, I also got to try to capture those thoughts in a recent Practical eCommerce article. The premise for the article comes from the cliché that, when all you have is a hammer, all the world looks like a nail. Not a week goes by when I don’t have a co-worker or client view their “main” analytics or optimization platform as a universal tool.

Web analytics tell you what visitors did. Site surveys tell you what they wanted to do and, to a certain extent, who they are. Testing platforms let you construct a parallel universe. You get the idea.

Read more in the article itself.

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