We systematically ask our prospects the following question: “How long did it take you to deploy your Web Analytics solution?” The response, of course, varies depending on the solution used and on the level of accuracy required. However, the following response never ceases to amaze me “We were able to tag more than half of our sites over the period of a few months, and should be able to finish the implementation process in a few months time.” This response is surprising for two key reasons: first of all the website and analysis requirements will probably have evolved in the space of a few months, and secondly because this means that the site was managed somewhat blindly. However, what appears to be the most strange is that these people are really enthusiastic about the layout of the site, they have mixed feelings of both satisfaction and relief; satisfaction because they have successfully completed such a task, and relief because they can finally move onto something else.

What can be done to make such an approach easier and to obtain the level of agility required so that the analyses correspond to the rate at which your site evolves?

Let’s have another look at the different reasons which explain why the tagging process is a complex and therefore expensive one:

  • First of all a tagging plan is drawn up according to analysis needs. Despite the assistance of a web analyst, it is often difficult to accurately evaluate the exact depth of needs required before examining the first sets of data which are published on the interface of a web analytics solution.
  • The final user of the analyses (e.g. a company’s marketing service) may not have much contact with the service which will implement the tags (e.g. the IT service or a web agency). As a result there are many exchanges between these different services before the exact tagging plan is successfully created.
  • The structure of the sites and the programming language do not always lead to an identical and standard approach which is used on the entire of network of sites. Dynamic and static pages coming from a CMS, etc. are examples which make tag generation a more complex process.
  • Due to reasons of flexibility, a number of Web Analytics solutions require that all of the variables be integrated into the tag, meaning that they need to be integrated before the tagging process takes place.

The consequences associated with this trend go beyond the initial installation costs. Analysis needs evolve just as fast as the Internet does, maybe at an even quicker rate:

  • There are several different methods which can be used to acquire traffic, including: custom landing pages, promotional mini-sites, multi-channel campaigns etc. We can see that with each different action that is used, the decision-making process becomes much shorter and shorter, for example a mini-site may need to go live in the space of a few hours, the site needs to be tagged immediately and information about its web traffic needs to be obtained straight away so that the mini-site can be modified and optimised. This is an iterative process which even the most innovative marketing services are faced with.
  • The final user needs to be in total control of the tool that they are using. Would we ever imagine contacting our IT service every time we wanted to create a new Word document? Up until a few years ago web analytics solutions provided users with more information than they needed, and basic information was more than often enough since we started out with a lack of information and ended up with a lot of new data. This is, however, no longer the case as the user is now an expert and their needs change on a daily basis, e.g. to meet the requirements of a particular business project or a request made by their manager.
  • The Internet has increased the number of programming languages (HTML4, HTML5, JS, Ajax, Flash, Silverlight, etc.) and supports available (web sites, mobile sites, mobile applications, Rich Media, social networks, etc.). How is it possible to keep up to date with all the variables of a tag, all this technology, and all the different implementation methods?

AT Internet has always tried to develop the simplest tagging solutions available in the market, however, this is no longer sufficient enough for us. AT Internet is investing more than ever before in research and development in this domain so that it can:

  1. Simplify the technical knowledge required for tagging.
  2. Avoid changes being made to the tag, even when it comes to using a new feature of the solution.
  3. Place the features of the tag (characteristics, customisation) into the configuration interface rather than into the tag itself.
  4. Separate tagging rules from the implementation method.

With this in mind AT Internet is developing a new tagging system which will not only give the company a major advantage over all of its competitors in terms of tag deployment, but will also reduce the difficulty, time and cost associated with tagging client sites.

Take note beta testers…





Chief Technology Officer Sébastien joined AT Internet in 1996 and became a Partner in 1998. Sebastien has played a key role in establishing XiTi® as the industry standard in France. In ten years, he has built a wide network within the worldwide online community. He currently supervises the development projects at XiTi® Labs and manages the entire technical team. A pioneer in web analytics in Europe, Sébastien also created site-centric Hit Parade in 1997 before working on XiTi®.

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