Web analysis is often seen as a group of disjointed tasks, each looking at a different aspect of a site's activity. Marketing performance is analyzed in terms of impressions and clickthroughs, while sales performance is examined with metrics such as shopping cart abandonment rates and average sales values.
In my opinion, this approach obscures rather than helps. It is used because that is the way the data is gathered, and few developers have paid any attention to presenting the gathered data in a way that can facilitate an understanding of the bottom line. Yet it is the bottom line that determines whether a site is successful or not. In addition, these traditional forms of web analytics data presentation do not give me the clear, easy-to-understand picture I need for reporting to senior management.
I propose a different approach, one in which each stage is seen as merely one step in a continuous process. This process commences with an ad impression and concludes with a credit card or contact form submission. I call this approach Integrated Path Analysis.
Many people already see web analysis this way, and it is implicit in much of what is taught. This article simply seeks to make Integrated Path Analysis explicit and obvious.
Author notes: Brandt Dainow is an independent web analytics consultant and the CEO of ThinkMetrics. Read full bio.