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Web Analytics Group Releases Report Definitions

The Web Analytics Association (WAA) recently released its definitions of 26 common terms used for reporting and metrics. The standards are meant primarily for neophytes, but here's how veterans can use the document: First, determine how the vendor you're evaluating calculates and displays certain reports and metrics... Second, ask the vendors how their definitions map to WAA standards.
The Web Analytics Association (WAA) recently released its definitions of 26 common terms used for reporting and metrics. Those familiar with Web analytics will probably not learn a great deal from reading the standards; they are meant primarily for industry newcomers. However, here's a few ways you can use the document:• Determine how the vendor you're evaluating calculates and displays certain reports and metrics that may be of importance to you. For example, WAA defines "bounce rate" is defined as: Single page view visits divided by entry pages. However, some vendors provide this as a standard report; in others, you need to perform this as an off-line calculation.

• Ask the vendors you're evaluating how their definitions map to WAA standards, and ask them to explain any divergences. This will help you do "apples to apples" comparisons of report types.

WAA Standards Committee Co-Chair Jason Burby indicates that the WAA hopes to discuss with the larger analytics vendors how to leverage the standards in their offerings.

While I'm sure we can expect some vendors to tout that their compliant with WAA standards and perhaps even change some existing reporting terms, you may end up with more investigation work to validate these claims, i.e., what is simply a change in language vs. a change in how the metric is calculated. Using a standard vocabulary is a great first step, but remember: it's not about what vendors say they can do; for you the customer it's about what the products really do.

Phil Kemelor is Vice President of Strategic Consulting Services for Semphonic, a Web analytics consultancy. He is also a lead analyst with CMS Watch and consults with enterprises looking to select Web analytics technologies or apply best practices.The Web Analytics Association (WAA) recently released its definitions of 26 common terms used for reporting and metrics. The standards are meant primarily for neophytes, but here's how veterans can use the document: First, determine how the vendor you're evaluating calculates and displays certain reports and metrics... Second, ask the vendors how their definitions map to WAA standards.

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