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My Blogger Friends
I’m not going to presume to give the entire or perfect answer to the difference between reporting and analytics. But, here is a lovely start. Reporting could include creation of KPI dashboards, preparing results/reports to multiple data source integration. But analytics goes much deeper. Web analytics as a means to improve your site and company’s conversion rate and improve profitability and the use of web analytics to create action : ie, real strong sense of forward movement (ie, not just about ‘reporting’). Analytics services may include multi-variate testing, customer experience analysis, conversion analysis but the key is the actionable insights that emerge from these analyses.
The problem is that alot of the time, most people/companies/even some analytics consultancies (!) don’t differentiate clearly enough between reporting services and analytics services and in some cases don’t even see the difference between the two or assume that a KPI fashboard will give the insights as to why the site’s performance/conversion rate etc has changed. With web analytics we really need to get our hands dirty to find out why things are happening, come up with insights that are all about making things happen, taking action, testing and making things work better (increased conversion rate/other website holy grails such as increased engagement).
However here is an absolutely lovely analogy (courtesy of James Dutton): “So every day I get in my car and I drive to work; I have defined KPI”s for fuel, engine speed, speed (a dynamic metric), I have measures of success (for example averaging a certain mpg) and warning triggers (eg battery charge). In other words I have a dashboard, or in an analytics metaphor I have my site dashboard.
Now in the event that something goes wrong I may get an alert to tell me what has happened (eg “ABS failure, see technician”) but most of the time something will happen without warning – for example: overheating. Overheating is an awful problem; it happens very quickly, is disabling and has no direct signs of impending problems. Just like our site dashboard – if our conversion rate falls from 8.4% to 2.1% over the course of a month we may not realise until the next dashboard is due. The fix requires the diagnosis to proceed to rule out causator events, such as blocked radiator pipes.
Just as with web analytics the diagnosis process needs to be figured so that elements are ruled out as being a causator. The process may be simple, or may be a complex study, however it is still a process. Hence, our reporting services and our analysis services should be complementary, but without careful alignment in both process and definition will not be.”
I do love the idea of being website mechanic (not very glamourous but it’s actually quite exciting – you sort out the problem (overheating) and then you add on some bigger wheels, turbo-charge the engine and voila increase your car’s speed (website conversion rate). Oh wait, I am getting carried away.
If you agree or disagree or have any ideas then please do share.
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