Sunday, February 10, 2013

Yesterday’s Web Analytics is Today’s Digital Analytics

Web Analytics and Digital Analytics are interchangeable used today. Is there a difference? What changed and how did it change? are questions this blog will make an attempt to answer.

The word “analytics” when searched in online dictionary returns “The science of logical analysis”. In 2003 the analytics and online world were completely different. Internet was a sum of websites, most of the people had no idea what web analytics was? KPI was something people were talking about but most of indicators were not very useful. 

"Google Analytics" (Today’s market leader in quantity of accounts) was not even in the market, actually Urchin was not even acquired by Google yet. On right is a screenshot of Urchin website in 2003. Google Analytics is such a big hit since the acquisition leaving Urchin “Out of sight Out of Mind :)”

Page views and CTR’s were topics of discussion to analyze and suggest marketing changes but today’s applications involve more in-depth analysis on what the user/company is doing and how data can be meaningful for decision making. In other words, several different data categories and data sets are now turned into business intelligence.

A website design change to engage users on the website is no longer primary drivers for most of the users (company’s/businesses). Today’s users are interested in integrating different sets of data available from different channels internally and externally to arrive at strategic decision which can direct a fundamental shift in how the user is doing business to maximize revenue.

Capital spending on purchasing robust application tools and hiring analysts with database systems (DBS) backgrounds is increasing every year. Several analysts now concentrate on path to improve business metrics using vast data available from customer’s web usage reports.

Big enterprise users are now using analytics as “Digital Analytics” to drive complete integration by diving deep into vast data available to find excellent triggers for making strategic business decisions. Small business still use analytics as “Web Analytics” and are hesitant to spend more capital, time and resources in integrating different sets of data  and are content with both leading and lagging indicators basic analytics is providing.  

Figure on the left summarizes some highlights discussed above to distinguish what are changes since 2003 in the world of analytics.

In 2003, an organization that joins the efforts of many Analytics professionals around the world on topics relating to standards, best practices, Ethics, etc was formed and was named as “Web Analytics Association”. After 9 years in 2012 the group changed its name to “Digital Analytics Association” for similar reasons discussed in this blog (

In conclusion, Digital Analytics is more apt to reflect growing demand for in depth analytics. In near future even small businesses will start to use robust dashboards custom made that are more intelligent than current “Web Analytics” platforms. Opportunities that today’s technology provides is by no means confined to only web based actions and world is transforming into “Digital Analytics” at a rapid pace. Don’t miss the next big thing!  





  1. This is very informative. It would be great if you could point interested people to more resources to read about digital analytics. Very interesting.

  2. Another interesting article. I didn't know there is a difference between web-digital analytics.

  3. I had no idea there was a difference between digital and web. I have been using the terms interchangably.

  4. I guess I am in the same boat as others. Never realized there was a difference between Web and Digital Analytics. Thanks for the enlightenment Chola.

  5. Very enlightening and informative blog Chola.I'd be curious to know more and also see how the Digital Analytics services are being offered by the Management Consulting firms to the Industry. I would also check Gartner and Forrester research metrics on the shift in focus from Web Analytics to Digital. I am sure they have some surveys performed on these topics.

  6. Chola, great article on the comparisons of past analytics and today's digital analytics. Keep it up!