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More attempts to make sense of Big Data
Saturday, 24th September 2011
Tim Buckley Owen
“If you can measure it you can manage it” the old saying goes – and with ever more computing power available you’d think it would be possible to measure more and more data with ever greater granularity. Not so, say three American advertising organisations, who are so unhappy with current web metrics that they’ve launched an initiative to try to make them better.
Making Measurement Make Sense is fronted by the Association of National Advertisers, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the American Association of Advertising Agencies. But, as more and more established companies jump onto the data analytics bandwagon, the implications go way beyond just advertising, potentially leaving no aspect of information management untouched.
Five principles underpin the ad men’s researches: measure what’s actually viewed, not just what’s served up; add reach and frequency reporting for those views; implement a classification and taxonomy for online ads; ensure you have well-defined, standardised and accredited metrics; and make sure the vendors are accredited too. The implication is that none of this is happening at the moment – although that’s not what some vendors might have us believe.
Twitter, for instance, has just announced Twitter Web Analytics, a tool to help website owners understand how much traffic they receive from Twitter and how effectively it integrates with their sites. Acknowledging that web analytics software hasn’t evolved as quickly as online sharing, Twitter is also committed to providing an analytics application programming interface for developers interested in incorporating the micoblogger into their products.
It was the acquisition of BackType, a social media analytics specialist, last July that enabled Twitter to enter the measurement game on its own account. And it’s by no means the only company recently to adopt the policy of analytics by acquisition.
Troubled Hewlett-Packard continues to plod towards its acquisition of Autonomy (see LiveWire background) – and other companies large and not so large seem to be following the same trail. Market Force Information, a United States-based customer intelligence solutions specialist, has just announced that it’s bought the British company Retail Eyes, allowing it to establish a European “centre of excellence” in customer intelligence on an integrated analytics platform.
Meanwhile the somewhat larger IBM has also been shopping – twice in fact. Just days after announcing its acquisition of i2, a provider of business analytics for crime and fraud prevention, the company added that it was also to acquire Algorithmics, a Toronto-based risk analytics firm used by banks, investors and insurance businesses.
It’s not long since the technology analyst Gartner warned against putting too much emphasis on how much stuff you’ve got and more on what you can learn from it (LiveWire coverage here). Looks as if the message is striking home.
By Tim Buckley Owen
Tim is an information skills trainer and writer on the information industry with over 40 years' experience in the profession. His career has encompassed information management, writing, editing, training, government policy advice and corporate media & marketing.
Besides writing for FreePint, Tim runs courses for training providers and private clients on enquiry handling, abstracting & summarising, information packaging & presentation and information management. The sixth edition of his classic handbook Successful Enquiry Answering Every Time is published by Facet Publishing. You can find details of Tim's training services at www.buckleyowen.com.
Tim can also be reached at email@example.com
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