2007/02/09

Essentials of Web Analytics Functions and Framework (Part 1)

For college students, newcomers in the real world, or aspiring enterprisers, e-business will be a likely career choice.

The growing popularity of UCC (User-Created Contents) coupled with the continuous expansion and success of online shopping malls and auctions have encouraged many small enterprises and self-employed enterprisers to dive into e-business, discovering a new opportunity in a new domain. Google took advantage of this opportunity in providing users with free web analytics service. More large portal sites are expected to follow with their free web analytics offerings.

In this hypercompetitive environment filled with merely product vendors and service providers, initiating marketing campaigns and holding promotional events to attract customers is the recent market trend. To implement the suitable strategy and operation assessment for e-business, enterprisers increasingly value the necessity of web analytics. Many large online shopping malls, portal sites, and financial sites have come to view web analytics as a prerequisite for improving online services and assessing marketing campaigns. Thus, continuous research is devoted to e-business advancement.

In the field of web analytics, what are the prerequisite analysis functions and framework? By applying past experiences in different fields, businesses can reconstruct their operating frameworks to suit different enterprise needs. Web analytics not only examines customer behavior, but it also proposes strategies and solutions to achieve operating objectives.

As mentioned before in a previous article, the definition of web analytics consists of five functions:

1. Measurement
2. Collection
3. Analysis
4. Reporting
5. Response Action

The five basic functions and their applications must not only extend beyond the e-business realm, but also expand business domain through business integration perspective and needs. In addition, with changes in the external environment, web administrators must first consider applying web analytics in customer communication platform.

- Expand Business Domain

For many years now, fewer users visit a securities company in person or call to execute transactions. Most people like to search stock news and execute online transactions via HTS (Home Trading System) terminal. Bank transactions have undergone the same change as more people opt to use online banking or ATM (Automated Teller Machine) rather than visit a bank counter in person.

In recent years, aside from managing traditional physical channel, enterprises have been striving to develop the basic framework of virtual channel. Conventional brick-and-mortar businesses such as insurance company or shopping mall have developed new operating platform via the Web. However, simply analyzing e-biz status hardly produces a complete picture of business operating results. If not for operating hardware or network measuring functions, web analytics needs to move beyond merely online data analysis and application. Enterprises currently employing web analytics not only operate e-biz, but also combine business and e-biz perspectives in attaining complete operating objectives and results.

- Broaden Customer Communication: Device Channel
Early this year at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, which combines features of mobile phone, Internet, MP3, PDA, etc. with touch input technology. Mobile phone providers and related online industries are now in a state of unease.
(Apple iPhone)
Building a convergence business by combining terminal and e-commerce via iPod, Apple plans to generate another new wave of interest. As of now, it is difficult to determine whether or not this type of terminal convergence can succeed in the future. However, newcomers in e-business will be affected by terminal convergence as well as the convergence business. As time goes by, this will become an important channel for traditional industries or partner-based businesses to reach a large amount of customers through sales, marketing, and service perspectives. The past few years have witnessed the emergence of many types of convergence, including mobile, PDA, car navigation, and home automation. Customers have many types of communication tools, including the Web. This obviously leads to enterprises rushing to expand and develop the business domain.

Based on various terminal convergence traits, customers have different preferences when choosing a platform. Their goals differ according to the type of terminal convergence. In addition, when enterprises understand customer preferences and goals, they can respond immediately as well as use the information as reference to marketing and sales adjustments. Thus, web analytics not only helps locate target users via the Web, but also tracks and applies diverse contact platforms through IT-based system. Integrated data is utilized by various platforms, expanding the application range of web analytics data.

Part 2 provides a detailed explanation about expanding application range.

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