How To Better Navigate The Analytics And BI Landscape

Bravely navigate the analytics space


The web analytics landscape can be pretty confusing. As an online company grows and continues to amass customer data, the importance of understanding the full picture of the customer journey magnifies. In the early stages of any online business, Google Analytics, which tracks and collects simple events such as pages viewed, the user flow between pages and which device was used, will suffice. At a later stage, however, you’ll need deeper behavioral insights.

The advanced analytics landscape is filled with many seeming similar solutions. But how do you know which one to choose?

It’s complicated, because there isn’t necessarily one solution that’s right for you, but rather a combination of solutions. And a perfectly good solution that samples basic user data – such as Google Analytics – might be sufficient when a company is quickly taking off, but not when it’s going through a more advanced stage of growth.

After collecting all the relevant information from leading publications and experts in the field of web analytics and business intelligence, a community resource was created so that you can better navigate the analytics and BI landscape.

This post gives you a few questions and answers about analytics and BI that give you a quick overview of the space.

What baseline web analytics metrics should you track?

The first step in analytics, is to define your performance. Commonly referred to as KPIs, they include metrics such as:

  • How many new vs returning visitors came to your site
  • From which referring channel did they come
  • The average session duration
  • Clicks on key pages

A rise in unique visitors or increased traffic from social channels, for example, can demonstrate a successful campaign or a new mention of your product, whereas a higher bounce rate can show that the page is irrelevant to the user’s search. A high session duration shows a success in user engagement.

These are just a few examples of KPIs that must be constantly measured right from the start.

When do you need more specialized analytics?

Once you’ve mastered measuring your KPIs, you’ll want to take it a step further.

Deeper analytics can give you a better understanding of your user behavior. Specialized analytics, such as mobile, gaming or e-commerce analytics, give you data that corresponds to your industry.

For instance, if you’re in the e-commerce industry, you’ll want to be able to measure e-commerce analytics such as average revenue per user (ARPU). If you’re a gaming company or platform, you’ll want to leverage game analytics to measure the lifetime value (LTV) for each player. For content and media publishers, you’ll want to measure content and media analytics such as virality.

You’ll also want to understand what is the path to successful purchase of each segment or cohort of customers, and compare it with the path of the users that didn’t purchase. Such advanced path analysis is quite common with advanced solutions that analyze user events data.

When do you need analytics, and when do you need in-page analytics?

Let’s assume you’re in e-commerce and your website is quickly taking off. You’ve already got Google Analytics in place and you can collect, measure, and analyze data from your website. You’ll want to continually monitor the baseline metrics – or what we mean when we say analytics; the number of web visitors you have, the time these visitors spend on your page, bounce rates, and conversions, etc.

You’ll also want to explore a whole new level of analytics – what we call in-page analytics. In-page analytics give you an idea of what’s going on inside your page. With in-page analytics you’ll receive a record of heatmaps and session records of which buttons and links were clicked the most.

When do you need to go beyond your analytics to business intelligence?

When you’re looking for answers to standard questions, and a sampling of your traffic will do, common web analytics solutions will do the job. But when you get to a stage of needing to ask more complex business questions that rely on raw user data, unification of multiple data sources (like from your website and mobile app), or handle sessionization, it becomes more complex. Business intelligence is built to serve the need of many online businesses to track tons of user data from multiple sources, organize and analyze it.

What on earth is digital intelligence, and when should you consider it?

Business intelligence solutions aren’t for fast-growing business that need to have quick answers to dynamically changing needs.

Digital intelligence quickly delivers actionable insights for the most important business questions, without having to commit to predefined scale or plan all your needs in advance. A digital intelligence solution that allows for scalability and a time-based approach to user behavior that suits the businesses dynamic is what these fast-growing businesses need.

Each phase of your business warrants a different type of business strategy, skills, and even analytics solutions. Now you have an expert resource available – a community Web Analytics and BI wiki – so that you can have a better idea about at which point in your business to consider each type of tool or combination. 


Guy Greenberg is the Co-Founder & President at CoolaData, a leading behavioral analytics platform. Before founding Cooladata, he was the co-founder and CEO of Gilon Business Insight, which was acquired by Ness Technologies in 2010. At Ness Technologies, Guy served as Senior Vice President for Global BI and Big Data, where he worked with some of the largest corporations in the world. With over 20 years of experience in big data and startups, he is an active angel investor and adviser of several Big Data startups.

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