WAA Web Analytics Definitions compared with Unica's Affinium NetInsight

The Web Analytics Association’s Standards Committee is presenting the latest set of Web Analytics Definitions (from Sep 22 2008) in a public  webcast on November 6th. On that occasion, I promised the hard-working committee chairs, Angie Brown and Judith Pascual, to publish a comparison of the WAA terms to Unica’s web analytics solution, Affinium NetInsight.

I stuck pretty closely to the format set by the other helpful folks that came before me:

If I am not mistaken, the following is the first comparison to be published for one of the commercial web analytics solutions. Hopefully, the colleagues from Omniture, Coremetrics, and Webtrends won’t shy away from revealing how their solutions comply also.

In reading the table, it is important to know the following quick fact about Unica’s web analytics solution. Namely, NetInsight not only comes with the whole nine yards of out-of-box metrics & reports but all of these are also fully configurable and extendable by users. The configurability of the solution is more reminiscent of business intelligence solutions rather than traditional web analytics tools.

Since users can configure their metrics and dimensions any way they wish, a WAA compliance comparison is really only interesting for comparing what is “out of box” vs. the Standards terms. If a term is not ouf of box compliant with the WAA, then it can be either configured or customized to be compliant.

Legend: In column “Type”, D stands for dimension, and C for Count.

Compliant Term Type WAA Definition Selected Notes
Yes Page D An analyst definable unit of content.
Yes Page View C The number of times a page was viewed. Called “Views” or “Number of Views” in NetInsight. What is and is not treated as a page view is fully configurable.
Yes Visits (Sessions) C A visit is an interaction, by an individual, with a web site consisting of one or more requests for a page. If an individual has not taken another action (typically additional page views) on the site within a specified time period, the visit will terminate by timing out. Called “Visits” or “Number of Visits” in NetInsight. The visit timeout value is configurable with a default value of 30 min. Additionally, visits may not exceed a length of 24 hours. A visit is initiated with a page view.
Note: As of Nov 4th: The rest of this WAA Standards compliance comparison table has been turned into an official document meanwhile. It is available for free and public download from: UnicaWebAnalytics.com. Follow the link from the home page or click here for the PDF. Registration is required, but I hope readers will agree that this is only fair.

One of the best additions to the new WAA Standards document are the “Ask your vendor” suggested questions. My colleagues at Unica and I will work on completing the compliance comparison including those questions. The Standards committee is also formulating tricky scenarios for each vendor to explain how their solution would handle them.  Once we have all that answered too we will updated the comparison document available for download from UnicaWebAnalytics.com.

P.S.: Thanks go to my colleague Brian Perry who did most of the work behind the comparison.

5 Comments on “WAA Web Analytics Definitions compared with Unica's Affinium NetInsight

  1. Agreed Greg! It takes a “have nothing to fear” attitude though.

    Hmmm… what is your prediction as to how many years it will take until the Mobile Internet world and the immobile Internet conferences may merge? Well, no sooner than everybody has upgraded to the new iPhone-like devices I suppose.


  2. P.S.: Many thanks to one of the Standards commitee chairs who caught one error in the Visit Duration notes which I fixed.

    Namely, this was in regards to “Didn’t stay” visits. These visits are in fact counted when NetInsight calculates the average visit duration. These visits are part of the denominator in the calculation “total time online / total visits” .

    Thank you!

  3. Kudos, Akin! We’re thrilled to see this and congratulate you on a job well done. Thanks to you and to Brian for putting this together, and for being the first of the commercial vendors to publish!

    Angie Brown
    WAA Standards Co-Chair

  4. Thank you Angie!

    As I say in every occasion that I can. There wouldn’t be any WAA Standards if it weren’t for your leadership over so many years.

    And many thanks to Judith and all the other volunteers too, of course. Having been unable to dial in for the past couple months, I at least appreciate how difficult it is for all volunteers to keep making the time.

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