Digital marketing is maturing. It's no longer the up-and-coming thing, but it is displacing traditional advertising and consuming a large share of marketing budgets at most major corporations. Wal-Mart, for example, grew e-commerce sales 21 percent in the last quarter, while store sales have been flat for years. To drive this growth, Wal-Mart plans to invest $1.2-$1.5 billion on its e-commerce and digital operations.
And it's not just Wal-Mart and other industry giants that are spending more on digital marketing. Local businesses and SMBs of all types are finding that they need to spend on content creation, search advertising, social media branding, etc. What local restaurant can survive these days if they don't show up in a web search with decent ratings on Yelp? To manage and justify their ever-larger digital marketing budget, companies of all sizes increasingly rely on analytics data. Changing trends and strategies in digital marketing are going to impact web analytics in 2015.
Below are key analytics trends to look out for this year:
Consumerization of analytics data
The "must have" gadget last year was FitBit, a wearable device that produces analytics about your fitness level. Perhaps the most successful product to come out of the quantified self movement, FitBit epitomizes the trend that consumers are falling in love with data. And they want more. This year, analytics companies are going to need to adapt to providing tools that provide data to individual consumers. New companies and more products like FitBit will be born.
Analytics tailor-made for small businesses
Small and mid-sized businesses need data, too. They don't have data experts on staff to sift through tools like Google Analytics to analytics and develop insights about their business. SMBs will want to buy a ready-made report that tells them what digital marketing is working and what isn't. New digital marketing tools, like Single Platform, cater to this need for tailor-made data by including analytics that are specific to the needs of SMB owners like restaurants, spas, doctor's offices, and more.
Wearable devices present a new data challenge
With the anticipated release of the Apple Watch, and CES quickly approaching, more wearables are sure to make their debut. Shortly after that, analytics folks will be busy trying to figure out how to best measure engagement and conversion on these new devices.
It was a unique challenge when smartphones took off. Web analytics software was designed to measure user interactions on a large screen. Mobile users -- and particularly mobile apps -- presented a new analytics challenge and digital marketers should expect a similar task when it comes to wearables in 2015.
Analytics for the Internet of Things
Increasingly, the people on the internet are not always people but machines, like your Nest thermostat. The Internet of Things will present new analytics challenges. For example, what type of analytics makes sense for a home security system network like iControl? Each security company will want personalized reports and dashboards showing how well their products are performing. What will the metrics be? Who will provide the data -- will it be the software vendor (iControl) or a third party?Mark Hansen is founder and CEO at Megalytic.
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