Secondly, there is more and more interest in data-integration. Offline data is used to integrate with online data for marketing, merchandizing, and optimization purposes. Purchase transaction data (always more accurate in a back-end system than in a web analytics solution), call-center data, catalogue purchases and registrations – basically, all the tools traditionally managed by a BI team, are increasingly being married to online web behavior. This is all good, but at the same time, does it really make sense to push data to an Omniture or WebTrends if the sole purpose is to pull it back to your database?
Thirdly, there is the increasing issue of cookie deletion and cookie rejection. Whether you’re using first-party or third-party cookies, the elephant in the room suggests as much as a 3-7% rejection rate, depending on what kind of site you have. Media sites have a smallish rejection rate, but it tends to be higher for retail and financial services sites, where visitors are more naturally inclined to increase their privacy settings (and imagine what this rate might be for adult entertainment sites!). Solutions like Omniture can still track visitors based on IP Address or other hints, but customized tracking remains problematic. Cookie-deletion is also a problem: Norton AntiVirus Software now labels DoubleClick, Omniture, WebTrends, and other web measurement cookies as a “non-virus tracking cookie”, with “low risk”, but nevertheless recommends their deletion after a scheduled computer scan. This obviously has an impact on visitor measurement over time. My out-of-the-box Norton Antivirus software runs once a week.