What Is ‘Web Analytics’?

We’ve all been there. You’re meeting some people for the first time at a party or on a night out and the inevitable question comes up, ‘What do you do for a living?’. I always answer ‘I work in Web Analytics.’, the majority of the time leading to the question ‘Web analytics? What’s that?’.

What is Web Analytics?

Being the analyst I am (meaning I have a tendency to want to be precise) I always used to answer with a text-book comment along the lines of

‘Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of internet data for purposes of understanding and optimising web usage’ (which is the Web Analytics Associations official definition)

Which is perfectly fine as an answer, but with the amount of manager-speak and marketing-speak in it, I’d either end up with people looking at me as if I was a little bit ‘strange’ or just with very few people talking to me again for the rest of the evening! As a result, I started answering the ‘What’s that?’ question by saying

‘Web Analytics is a relatively new area of business based around people’s websites. What it involves is measuring and recording all of the activities that are performed on persons’/companies’ websites by the people who use it, so that we can analyse this to improve the website and make it work better for the people who own the website and the people that use it.’

Since I started saying this I no longer get ignored or treated as the ‘stuffy, boring one in the corner’, which is nice. In fact, it tends to open up quite a bit of conversation as I regularly get asked another question of either ‘Why would we want to do that?’ or ‘Why is Analytics important?’, which is coincidentally the subject of our next blog post.