Monday, February 17, 2014

The Web Analytics Association to Digital Analytics Association

Figure 1: The Digital Analytics Association: Your Community, Your Collaboration, Your DAA


DAA Background 

The Web Analytics Association

Figure 2: WAA Logo
Sometime in the year 2003, three people came together in order to unite the individuals and organizations participating in analytical roles throughout the web industry. These three individuals, Jim Sterne, Bryan Eisenberg and Andrew Edwards all all joined forces with the purpose of creating an organization that would foster the Web Analytics industry [1], by allowing individuals to come together to accomplish and determine best practice methods for data acquisition, exploration, analysis and application. By 2004, the organization came to be known as the Web Analytics Association (WAA), providing individuals with the opportunity to add value through education, community, research and advocacy [2]. At the time, the WAA's scope was centered around analytical concepts and techniques related to website analysis. At this point in time, web analytics could be defined as data that has been captured and collected on an exclusive silo'ed data source. Some examples of early web analytics can include a marketing department analyzing their eCommerce trends, adjusting parameters as they see to best take advantage of the current trend. This basic type of web analytics pertains to associating data from one channel and source of traffic. The year 2011 would define a turning point in which the WAA recognized a new trend within the analytics world.

The Digital Analytics Association 

Figure 3: DAA Logo
2011 brought some change to how the WAA approaches analytics, mostly due to increasing use and wanted insight from external third party traffic sources. These third party traffic sources can include things like social media websites, forums and review websites. Through the transformation of Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, the WAA reacted properly, allowing them to maintain their foothold at the forefront of  the digital analytics industry. By adapting to this change, the Web Analytics Association re-branded themselves in 2011, becoming the Digital Analytics Association (DAA). The renewed mission of the DAA was to no longer silo off analytics to a single website, but rather to "...account for the analyst's changing role of weaving together data from multiple sources and channels" [2].

DAA Transformation

Web to digital transformation


The adaptation by the now DAA, shows its innate ability to understand the analytical industry. This adaptation allowed the DAA to stay relevant in the analytics industry as well as help provide input and training for organizations on how to use analytics in Web 2.0 as opposed to Web 1.0.

Figure 4: Web 1.0 vs. Web 2.0
When the WAA first started operating in the early 2000's, the internet was functioning in what we call Web 1.0. The concept of Web 1.0 dates to the early inception of the World Wide Web until sometime in the mid 2000's. Web 1.0 encapsulated websites that essentially could only be consumed, "content creators were few in Web 1.0 with the vast majority of users simply acting as consumers of content" [3]. For the most part, analytical power was centered on the main website page and web pages with the most traffic. In addition to this, analysis was was all mostly internally focused.

The change to Web 2.0 brought changes to how users not only absorb content but also react to content. One sided content pull has transformed into push/pull content generation and getting rid of old static web pages to allow for collaboration and interaction between internal and external users of your website. This two sided content exchange allowed for analysts to connect customer behavior to the bottom line of the company, by "...tie[ing] outcomes to profits..." [4].

The expansion of Web 2.0 brought on the creation of social networks, websites dedicated to allowing network like structures of individuals to communicate and exchange user generated content with one another. Types of social media mediums can include the following:
Figure 5: Social Media Websites
  • Forums
  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Social Networks
  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Pictures 
The shift in thinking of the DAA allowed for these external channels to be included within its web analytics standards. Their view on analytics now not only encompasses a website that has the most visitors or the web page that generates the most traffic but rather using all of these different channels, to create a single seamless digital footprint. This single footprint can then be used to see how web media is doing no longer as a part but in its entirety.

Leveraging the DAA 

What does the DAA provide?


Figure 6
So we have already gone through a basic rendition of what the Digital Analytics Organization is and how it came to be. With all of this general background information, I have not included information on exactly what the Digital Analytics Association provides. Ultimately, the DAA's value to the industry can be seen through its supplemental resources of:
  • Education
  • Community
  • Research
  • Advocacy 
Education includes the DAA provides individuals with online courses and certifications. Online courses are provided by the University of British Columbia, focusing in introduction to web analytics, site optimization, measuring online marketing campaigns and creating and managing business analytics culture.Certification for analysts is called the DAA Certified Web Analytists. This certification is a computer based test that allows individuals to demonstrate their expertise in best practices regarding web analytics.

The DAA community is similar to many other association communities in existence. The main purpose of the community imposed by the DAA allows for individuals and organizations to actively participate in helping shape web analytics standards. The DAA website states that through their communities, they are able to:
  • Offer group training and certification
  • Encourage institutions of higher learning to add web analytics to circula
  • Attemyp to unite web analytics professions to agree on
    • Standards
    • Definitions
    • Define and promote web analytics world wide [5]

Research is another thing that the DAA provides for individuals and organizations. The DAA is constantly researching and advancing their standards. New knowledge sources and industry trends are being published all the time. The DAA provides users with the Knowledge Center. This page on their website houses information related to new industry trends, current and developing analytics standards, hyperlinks to peer reviewed journals and other industry active blogs.

The DAA is constantly looking not only to its communities but also to the industry in order to form advcacy groups to put some standardization into web analytics. This can include holding public and private analytics based events, promoting higher ed institutions to the use of analytics in education programs and utilizing their industry power to advocate for standardization. 

The DAA and Future

What does the DAA have planned for the future?


Figure 7: The Future is Next
With Web 2.0 functionality currently in full effect, the current state of the Digital Analytics Association has adapted properly. With more and more social channels and mediums being used on the internet, analysts and organizations will need to constantly apply new Web 2.0 analytics standards recommended by the DAA in order to best add value to their bottom line. By attending current conferences and symposiums put on by the DAA, organizations and individuals will have the opportunity to have first hand knowledge with how the industry is currently acting and ways in which the industry can be moving. In addition to applying these concepts, analysts also need to be wary on how they can provide insight and help others understand what their are seeing. This ever evolving concept is something that the DAA needs to be at constant understanding with. By adapting standards and advocacy to new digital trends, analysis and analysis standards across the internet can become a coherent seamless tool that organizations can leverage to best add value to something that used to be so simple.


[1] Waisberg, Daniel. "Web Analytics Association: A Special University." Online-Behavior., May 2010. Web. Feb. 2014.
[2] | Digital Analytics Association." Digital Analytics Association., Digital Analytics Association, n.d. Web. Feb. 2014.
[3] Cormode, Graham, and Balachander Krishnamurthy. "Key Differences between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 | Cormode | First Monday." Key Differences between Web 1.0 and Web 2., N.p., 15 Feb. 2008. Web. 17 Feb. 2014.

[4] Kaushik, A., Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability & Science of Customer Centricity Wiley, 2010

[5] Digital Analytics Association | Communities." Digital Analytics Association., N.p., n.d. Web. Feb. 2014.

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