I assume many of you out there aren’t familiar with too many if any analytics tools, but you’ve at least heard of Google Analytics. If you are totally new to analytics or would like to see or learn a little more about some of the things I talk about I’d suggest Google Analytics and Google Conversion University as good starting point.
Google Analytics was like when you had training wheels on your bike. You thought you were cool, because you could do something you couldn’t do before, but eventually you grow up (some of us anyway) and want something more powerful or useful, like the Ducati Monster, but I digress. Consider it a life stage that eventually you transition out of and that’s where Yahoo! is going to step in to you life.
Back in April Yahoo! announced its acquisition of IndexTools. There were a difference in opinions throughout the industry as to what this might mean, but what no one is denying is how powerful IndexTools was and should remain. IndexTools was an enterprise class solution that in many ways was superior to (insert you analytics platform of choice), because it did the one thing very well that no one else does well at all… Data Analysis. You see for the most part, analytics platforms are really giant “reporting tools”. Which means that the tool gathers data and regurgitates that data it just collected back to you in prettier format. Sadly, this is what most people spend WAY tooooo much time doing, building and looking at reports. This is BAD! VERY BAD! But what’s worse is that this activity almost always proves useless and futile when compared to what is gained from it, which is very little.
Think about this way, I can train a monkey to generate all those pretty reports. In fact I don’t even need the monkey, because I can automate those reports. What you need and want is the ability to ANALYZE that data to weed out what you don’t need, look at only what you need, and from that find the action or actions (actionable insights) that will move your company/client/website/etc “up and to the right”, (the positive and correct direction). And that is what humans are needed for.
This is what Yahoo! Analytics has the potential to do. While other solutions just give you the data, IndexTools (previously) made you work at it in a good way. It allowed you to group and create whatever you needed to create custom reports (as opposed to canned reports) for data analysis. The difference is slight, but here’s the premise… We can just give you the data and hope you will know what to do with it. Or we can make you think about what you are trying to do first and then maybe, just maybe, if you slow down enough to understand what you want you will understand why you want it, which should drive you to discovering the almighty “actionable insights”.
Currently no new members are being accepted, but Yahoo! is now accepting contact info to be notified when it’s fully released, which I hope is soon. If nothing else, so they don’t make a liar out of everything I just said about them!
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