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Web Analytics Association Forms

Web analytics industry experts as well as leading vendors and organizations that use Web analytics announced yesterday the formation of the Web Analytics Association.

The Washington, DC-based not-for-profit group aims to unite and foster the interests of end users, vendors, consultants and educators involved in measuring the success of their online business initiatives.

“More than ever before, marketers are required to justify expenses based on metrics,” said Jim Sterne, president of the Web Analytics Association and president of Target Marketing, an Internet marketing strategy consultancy in Santa Barbara, CA. “Since the Web is a great medium for measurability and optimization, it's no wonder that marketers are drawn to the online world. But many organizations still don't realize the value of Web analytics or aren't empowered to take action.”

Sterne cited a recent survey of 1,000 executives by the CMO Council that found companies that measure results tend to outperform those that do not by up to 37 percent in terms of sales growth, market share and profitability. But only 17 percent of surveyed companies reported having a comprehensive measurement system in place for marketing.

The Web analytics market is growing, Sterne said. According to a 2005 Forrester Research report, 54 percent of companies expect to spend more or significantly more on Web analytics in 2005. Also, 80 vendors offer Web analytics currently.

“The market for Web analytic products and services is growing, but it is still constrained by issues such as awareness, common terminology and best practices,” said Bill Gassman, an industry analyst at Gartner. “An association of vendors, consultants and end users focused on these issues offers hope that businesses will achieve a better and a faster return on [their] Web analytic investments.”

The WAA, Sterne said, “sets out to promote issues like education, advocacy and standards to strengthen and stabilize the growing Web analytics industry.” Members may participate in key initiatives through committees. Committees and their mandates include:

· Advocacy. Build consensus, promote and advance an understanding of the legislative issues facing Web analytics.

· Education. Inform and educate the marketplace by developing focused, expert-level education programs to result in certification.

· International. Facilitate the promotion and understanding of regional issues.

· Research. Provide relevant data to identify trends, best practices and issues facing the Web analytics industry.

· Standards. Develop common measurement methodologies, metrics and terms.

· Technology. Drive the evolution of Web analytics technology by offering technical expertise and recommendations.

“One of the challenges end users face is not having a common language for measuring and reporting on key metrics such as conversions, unique visitors and abandonment,” said Seth Romanow, WAA vice president and director of worldwide customer knowledge management and analytics at Hewlett-Packard Co. “As one of our first tasks, WAA members will review and refine these definitions to provide a better understanding of key metrics and industry benchmarking.”

The founding members of the WAA board of directors are:

· Chairman Bryan Eisenberg, co-founder of Future Now Inc.

· President Jim Sterne.

· Vice president Seth Romanow.

· Secretary Andrea Hadley, president of NetSetGo Marketing.

· Treasurer Andrew Edwards, managing partner at Technology Leaders.

· Members Rand Schulman, chief marketing officer at WebSideStory; and Greg Drew, general manager at WebTrends.

Founding corporate members include Coremetrics, Omniture, Nedstat, IBM SurfAid, Visual Sciences, WebSideStory and WebTrends. Premiere corporate members include ClickTracks, Harvest Solutions, HP and Site Intelligence.

For more information, visit http://www.webanalyticsassociation.org.

Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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