Web analytics grew organically out of the primordial ooze of “the World Wide Web”, html, and browsers. For years the web page was considered central and indispensable to both marketing and measurement. It still is.
But with the advent of social media and mobile media, no small amount of emphasis has shifted away from web pages as we had come to know them. What didn’t change: that the chief purpose behind what is now more accurately called “digital analytics” is to understand and drive better visitor conversion. In plainspeak, that means getting visitors to do what you wanted them to do.
Social media can reasonably be seen as a series of campaigns in different channels: Twitter/Mobile for instance. And where does conversion take place? In this example, it takes place–most likely–on the web. Despite the hullabaloo, there’s not much mystery in this from a functional standpoint. Campaigns drive traffic. The web site converts.
Now comes the art and science of the App. Often enough, stepping into an App means stepping away from the web, kind of the way the old lunar module separated from the command module on its way to the moon. Except the App never comes back to the mothership. More accurately, it’s alien. Many of them never had anything to do with the web. You don’t necessarily obtain it on the web, you don’t access the web, you don’t convert on the web.
The App can do all this on its own. In-app purchase? Yes. Web site conversion? No. So whither analytics?
Two kinds of measurement are coming into play. For example, BuddyMedia provides an application development kit that includes analytics as part of the package. So you can both create content and measure it too. They also let you build web site modules that self-convert and self-measure but that’s not the main thrust. They have created a self-aware content unit–anticipating the needs of marketers in ways the web never did. The likelihood that intelligent apps become the marketplace is high, given enough time. A question remains about objectivity of measurement (because the creator also measures)–but this legitimate concern seems not to have held back the market.
Kontagent, another entrant into application measurement, is more on the application measurement side and features less emphasis on content creation. The major vendors in web analytics are also fielding app measurement tools, and in a real twist, some of them even include content creation capability. Can trusty old analytics tools breed best content tools? Don’t count them out. This rapidly evolving subset of digital analytics is only now getting off the launching pad.
Put on your space-suit. Analytics is going for a ride.