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January 12, 2010

What’s another word for “Web Analytics”?

For as long as I’ve been involved with the field, the term “Web Analytics” has never felt like the very best way to describe, well, Web Analytics – it’s somewhat limiting in many ways (the “Web” part doesn’t help there), and the “Analytics” bit does seem a bit, well, geeky.But another, better, term has never emerged – Web Measurement, Web Stats, Clickstream Analysis and a blizzard of others all have their own limitations (and don’t even get me started on the egregious “eMetrics” – sorry, Jim).

Now it seems that folks at the Web Analytics association are finding the term too limiting too, at least in terms of what they consider their remit, as they’ve launched a survey to poll people’s views about whether they should change their organization’s name to something else, and, if so, what they should change it to. You can share your own thoughts here.

I can sympathize with the Association’s motivation here, but I’m not very thrilled about the way it seems their thinking is leaning. The survey contains a set of possible alternative names which mostly includes various permutations of including the word “Marketing” in the name of the body (such as the “Digital Marketing Association” – has no one at the WAA heard of the DMA?) I think  putting “Marketing” in the title is a mistake, since measuring online marketing effectiveness is only one application of web analytics. Worse, I think the M-word risks making the WAA sound like another wishy-washy Marketing industry organization (AMA, BMA, CMA, DMA, EMA, FMA, GMA anyone?)

My inclination would probably be for the WAA not to change its name – it’s unlikely that any new name would be so significantly better that it would overcome the drop in name recognition that would come with a name change. But if it really wants to change, my guidance would be to consider names which talk more about Digital Media rather than Digital (or Online, or e-)Marketing. Sure, there are lots of Digital Media this-and-thats, but the term is a broader church IMHO, and I think that will help the WAA to continue to serve a diverse audience in the future.

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