As you may know, I’m working on a project (FinWEB) to merge offline (CRM) with online (WEB) data for targeting. One key aspect in this project is the link between the CRM data from a company and the visitor behaviors on its website. I recently read a very interesting article from Eric T. Peterson – CEO and Principal Consultant at Web Analytics Demystified – entitled “The Coming Revolution in Web Analytics”.
According to Eric Peterson, offline and online should not be treated separately:
[…] Web Analytics Demystified believes that companies that persist in treating online and offline as “separate and different” will begin to cede ground to competitors who are willing to invest in the creation and use of a strategic, whole‐business data asset. These organizations are using third-generation digital analytics tools to effectively blur the lines between online and offline data—tools that bridge the gap between historical direct marketing and market research techniques and Internet generated data, affording their users unprecedented visibility into insights and opportunities.
He also asks very pertinent questions about the price of free services:
[…] ask yourself if you would allow your Internet provider to collect data about the sites you visit in exchange for free Internet service? Would you allow your mobile phone company to collect data about your movement in exchange for free mobile phone service? Would you let the sites you visit share your behavioral data with other sites in exchange for a discount on purchases? What if all connectivity to the Internet—mobile or otherwise—was completely free, and all you had to give up to get this free service was “data?”
A good proof that people will accept to loose a bit of privacy to gain free tools is Google:
Google is most visible among a handful of online companies that have learned that data about the transaction is as valuable as the transaction itself. And while some may respond that “Google is limited in what they can do with our information,” the reality is they are not. If Google wants to start using our data in a way they believe will create more value for Google, all they need to do is offer us something in return.
I think it’s a really important articles to read if you’re in the web analytics, behavioral targeting, data mining or customer intelligence fields. You can access the original article here: The Coming Revolution in Web Analytics. Note that the paper is sponsored by SAS. Feel free to share your opinion on this article.