Web analytics go 2.0

GCN Insider | Products & trends that affect the way government uses technology

Agency Web employees may be eager to try out newfangled Web 2.0 technologies such as podcasting, blogging or video content, but they should still apply analytics to understand how these new offerings are being used, said Phil Kemelor, principal at consulting firm PKWeb Communications. Kemelor spoke about analytics at the Gilbane conference for content management held recently in Washington. Kemelor is the author of the CMS Watch Web Analytics Report.

To address this new style of Web interaction, analytics companies such as Omniture, WebTrends, Unica and Coremetrics have started to add capabilities to measure Web 2.0 usage. 'Vendors have had capabilities to capture Web 2.0 events for a while, but now with the popularity of Web 2.0, they're trying to make reporting on these events easier to break out from static pages,' he said later, speaking to GCN.

Web analytics software measures traffic on large Web sites. It can show how many visitors a site gets, when most people visit, what terms they search for, what pages they view and other data that could help Web managers better tailor their sites' content. Web 2.0 technologies could offer a whole new set of metrics, Kemelor said. How many people download podcasts on a regular basis? How many people watch a Flash presentation all the way to the end? How many people, after reading an organizational blog, jump to some other section of a Web site?

Kemelor advised the buyer to beware when considering Web analytics tools, though. Although most companies claim to offer reporting capabilities for Web 2.0 technologies, the abilities must, in many cases, be developed through the use of custom reports. Because of this, Kemelor said, potential customers should ask tough questions about how much work it takes to measure Web 2.0 usage. In some cases, an organization could rack up expensive professional-services fees trying to tweak the software to measure Web usage, he said.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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