Here we will be going through what we see are some of the fundamental problems with online analysis- basically trying to answer the question “with so much information at our finger tips why is online analysis seen as being so crap?” – call it a therapeutic  process

“sorry I don’t understand what is the difference between a page view, visit and visitor?”

How many times in the past have I heard this from a client when they look at a report or at a analytics providers ‘user friendly’ interface? Initially, as so many, you reel of the standard answer of “a person goes to you website and looks at the homepage and then leaves…” answer, however, the client is right- why when talking to a  particular client whose organisation does a very particular objective do we use such jargon?

The page view, visit or visitor is simply the easiest activity analysis can track and has became the standard as it did and still does mirror the requirement of  advertisers who are interested in click throughs and page impressions. Conversion has been tacked on to the list and often now this all encompassing phrase ‘engagement’, but often these great leaps in functionality mean very little to many many businesses, who use it just because they have to without it having any real meaning to them.

The problem is that all these terms generic, meaningful to online analysis in its own realm, but not to the clients own. It often leads to the key frustration on the part of the customer as they desperately try to convey in their terms what they require for the analyst to return with reports with these technical phrases. The hardest part of analysis and the most frightening is to lose the language and be bare to your customer’s actual non jargon requirements (the dreaded why? questions), as than you realise even though you have hundreds of graphs and tables how little useful and relevant information you have from only reports

In my experience, meaningful analysis invariably needs the analyst  to find a few key findings that take time and effort in combining the online results with other information that is offline stuck in their organisation somewhere, this is time consuming, does not find a standard pattern and often requires imaginative thinking to put it all into context.

Perhaps this is the key problem as this requires a completely different mentality and basic skill set and also requires the confession that the shiny new analytics system is absolutely useless if its data is not processed by that antiquated object: The human brain.