What’s another word for “Web Analytics”?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

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.

7 thoughts on “What’s another word for “Web Analytics”?”

  1. I think WAA was one of the main players fighting for better acknowledge of the importance of web analytics. Now that more and more people are starting to adopt it I think it is not a good idea to change the name… I got used to WAA and I like it 🙂

  2. I completely agree with you on this.
    I don’t work in Marketing.
    Marketing measurement is a small part of the measuring of success of any website or online presence.

  3. After a long fought battle trying to tell people what it is I do, I have personally reverted back to just “Digital Marketing”. I presently work as an SEO & Web Analytics consulting, but I reserve the WA or SEO Titles for anyone that isn’t either at the C-Level or within the Marketing industry. Anyone familiar with Digital Marketing will at least know what WA or SEO is (if you don’t…then how do you call yourself anything having to do with Digital Marketing).
    The WAA should NOT take the same approach. The goal is to promote the practice of Web Anatlyics as a whole (even if that is the your long lost kindergarten teacher). Let’s face it…branding is everything. Ok, maybe not everything, but it is a majority portion of the battle. Keep the name because it alone starts off the best conversation a organization can have with someone new, “so…what is that?”

  4. The problem with the “Web” in WAA is that Web analytics includes a lot more than just web. What about cross-marketing, podcasts, kiosks, and a myriad of other things that don’t quite fit the template?
    Personally I like “Digital Analytics Association” It is a little more encompassing that Web Analytics but doesn’t get us stuck in the marketing realm or have an “e” or “i” put in front of it.

  5. Crafting a term that covers so broad and shapeless area is really difficult. Ian suggests Digital Media rather than Digital only and I tend to agree. If it is only Digital, then anything that measures bits and bytes would qualify…

  6. To insert “Marketing” into the name is a short-sighted mistake. Back in the late 90’s, web analytics was the province of IT; about 10 years ago it moved into Marketing; in the future it will move into the business at large, as enterprises increasingly monitor the content creation and consumption lifecyle. Think of what enterprises currently do to monitor the supply chain; they will increasingly do the same for content.
    By the way, I’ll take the blame for the term “web analytics.” Back in 1999, it was called a variety of things, including “web analytics” and “clickstream analysis.” I wrote the first major analyst report on web analytics when I worked at Aberdeen Group, and I saw that web analytics would eventually encompass much more than just clickstream analysis (e.g., A/B testing, online surveys), so I went with the more inclusive term. I pondered going with “Internet analytics,” but that seemed too networky.
    So I published the report, it got a lot of circulation, and the accepted term in the industry became “web analytics.”

Comments are closed.