The other day I had the privilege of doing a interview with Jeff Lawrence, President of Sonicko Consulting. It was a lot of fun to do the interview because Jeff had such great questions.
Two of his questions put me in a bit of a quandary (aren't all good questions supposed to do that?). Question three because it would have me postulate on what I would like to see in Microsoft Gatineau, a tool that is pretty much a done deal from what I know. Question four because well you’ll see.
Here is, if I had a four wishes, my wish-list of what I would love to see in Microsoft’s upcoming web analytics application: Gatineau:
3. What tools, features, and reports would you like to see in the upcoming Microsoft Gatineau product?
Hmm…. I don’t think my friend Ian Thomas has quite the luxury to build whatever I want, but let’s assume he does.
# 1: I hope that with Gatineau Microsoft figures out exactly who their target audience is and then delivers a tool exactly and specifically just for that audience. Being all things to all people means being nothing to anyone.
I guess I am saying I hope their tool does not have a billion standard reports out of the box, just the six that their target audience needs. Atleast initially.
# 2: Efficient segmentation. In four clicks (see I am generous!) anyone should be able to segment out traffic from the search engines or from a top referring url /’s or visitors who see x number of pages or come on a particular campaign (whose id is in the url or cookie).
It is very hard to dumb down the ability to do intelligent segmentation, yet that is the key to finding actionable insights.
# 3: Useful reporting for Search Engine Optimization. I love free traffic and with all the changes (especially at Google, such as increased “personalization”) the PPC gravy train is going to pause. SEO will become more effective at getting the right kinds of traffic yet today most tools pay lip service to the measurement of the results of SEO efforts, all you can do is measure organic traffic and if it goes up (that is hardly a measure of SEO).
I hope Gatineau can atleast tap into the MSN data and providing effective reporting for atleast MSN SEO efforts, it will definitely get a leg up on others if it does even this little bit.
# 4: Ok maybe I will ask for a reporting feature. I hope that all the reports will show one extra time period by default.
For example show eight days in a “weekly” trend and thirteen months in a “yearly” trend. Seems like a small thing but most web analytics tools are not great at giving context, and context is king. If you look at a eight day trend you could compare this Monday to last Monday and get a feeling for if you are doing better or worse this Monday, with most tools you don’t see last Monday. Ditto for this month vs. same month last year.
It gives context to your past performance and is a “internal benchmark” that can frame current performance. Might not scream answers at you but will get you to ask the right “why” and “what” questions.
There is nothing uniquely Microsoft Gatineau about the above three requests, though if they are really starting with a open mind it might be easier for them to consider requests from random bloggers such as myself.
4. Do you foresee a decline in the major players in the web analytics field such as Omniture and WebSideStory based upon free web analytics packages, or do you believe that they fulfill a niche and will remain?
For the answer to this question please read Jeff’s interview, you’ll find a interesting answer and learn a new term: YATR (Yet Another Tsunami of Reports). Curious? Click here.
What do you all think? Is my wish-list a good one? Too simple? Too much?
Do you have your own wish-list of what you would want to see in a web analytics tool (Gatineau or others)? If not a whole list would you care to share your number one wish from any web analytics tool?
Please share your feedback via comments.
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