Google announces plans to offer Google Analytics Opt-Out

Joe Stanhope

I was on client calls most of the day, and when I came up for air in the afternoon to check my RSS reader and Tweetdeck to see what what going on in the world I made a fascinating discovery.  Like many of you I came across the following post from the Google Analytics Blog:

http://analytics.blogspot.com/2010/03/more-choice-for-users-browser-based-opt.html

This was most unexpected, and my Thursday suddenly got alot more interesting.

Before we go any further let me state that I have not been briefed by Google on this news item.  This post is purely based on my own initial thoughts on the matter.

The blog post announces Google's plans to release a browser plug-in that would allow consumers to opt-out of Google Analytics tracking.  This offering is still in development, and the post offers no specifics on the release date, although it implies that this is only weeks away.

(Side note: It is also interesting to note the language used in the post.  The post leads with "As an enterprise-class web analytics solution..."  This isn't a surprising or entirely inappropriate assertion, but it strongly implies Google's aspirations for GA.)

There are many reasons why Google's course of action is counterintuitive.  Naturally, the marketer in me recoils at the idea of voluntarily allowing measurable data to slip through our hands.  Rationalizing web analytics data is already hard enough, and now this?  And we can certainly debate the true privacy impact of web analytics on consumers. 

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Welcome To The New Customer Intelligence Blog

Carlton Doty

Hello Customer Intelligence Pros:

In case you haven’t heard by now, Forrester just launched its new blog platform yesterday. Why bother you ask? Well, most importantly, we want to more easily allow you to follow individual analysts and streams of research that are most relevant to you. Here is what Cliff Condon, our guru of Forrester communities and blogs, has to say about the new platform. I urge you to please take a look around, and let me know what you think. Also, let me know what type of content and discussion you would like to see from the Customer Intelligence team in the near future.

Thanks,

Carl

Online Testing and Targeting Platforms - We want your input!

Joe Stanhope

Greetings from beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah, where I'm at the 2010 Omniture Summit. It's been a good week, I must say that my favorite part has been the opportunity to meet with so many web analytics practitioners, friends, Forrester clients and the Omniture team.  If you didn't attend but are interested in getting a feel for the event, check out the Twitter hashtag, #omtrsummit.

I am pleased to announce that this week we are initiating the research process for the inaugural Forrester Wave™ evaluation of Online Testing and Targeting platforms.  We plan to publish this Wave report in the third quarter of 2010. Upon completion this research will be distributed to senior marketing executives at hundreds of large marketing organizations globally.

The first phase of the process is to determine the field of vendors who comprise the Online Testing and Targeting landscape.  We have already identified and contacted a number of companies who participate in the market via previous research efforts.

Forrester is actively innovating our use of social media, and this extends to the research process.  I would like to solicit your input through two modes of participation:

1. If you are a practitioner, please share which Online Testing and Targeting vendors you currently or have previously used.  Also please let me know if you would be interested in receiving followup communications to discuss your experiences with vendors and online testing in general.

2. If you represent a vendor in the Online Testing and Targeting space and would like to be considered for inclusion in the Wave report please let me know and we'll send you  our preliminary vendor survey to complete and submit.

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Exciting times in Web Intelligence!

Joe Stanhope

Hello everyone, welcome to my first blog post as a Forrester Analyst.

I joined Forrester in late January after nearly six years at Alterian, an Enterprise Marketing software company, where I was Vice President of Platform Strategy, supporting Product Marketing, Analyst Relations and Corporate Development.

First and foremost, I’m thrilled to be on board at Forrester and I’m looking forward to getting to work!  Many thanks to the Forrester team and our clients who have been so supportive. 

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Welcome Joe Stanhope to the Customer Intelligence team!

Carlton Doty

Happy New Year!  Okay, a bit late on that. However, I have some exciting news. I’m thrilled to announce the newest addition to Forrester’s Customer Intelligence (CI) team—Senior Analyst, Joe Stanhope. Joe starts on January 25, and he will be our go-to analyst for site optimization strategy, which includes coverage of Web analytics as well as online testing and targeting platforms.

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What to do with Social Media and Market Research?

Brad Bortner

Social media is the interesting guest at the market research party that the hosts don't quite know what to do with. (My past blogs on this topic include: Social Media, Even Home Home on the Range, and Will Private Online Communities Transform Qualitative Research

Vast numbers of people are congregating online to discuss a vast variety of issues, ranging from their social lives to what is the best server to buy for their business. It is so vast, that it is troublesome getting a handle on it. Surely, any specific online community has lots of systematic biases, so it can't be treated as projectable to anything but that community, right? Of course, the same can be said of any qualitative research. Some of the approaches and techniques that are of interest to market researchers include:

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A Fond Farewell to John Lovett

Carlton Doty

About a year ago, I took over the management of what has become Forrester's Customer Intelligence (CI) team. In doing so, I've had the pleasure of working with Senior Analyst John Lovett, who joined the team after our acquisition of Jupiter Research last year. Regretfully, I must tell you that John has decided that it's time for a change of pace.

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Is The Other Shoe Dropping In Panel Quality?

Brad Bortner

Some recent events make me hopeful that major moves are afoot with enhancing panel quality.

Since the beginning of online surveys, there have been questions about how clean the online panels that enable them are. Questions abounded about representativeness, fraud, professional survey takers, inattentive survey takers and the like. The response from panel vendors has been that they have strong measures in place, and that the problems were overstated. Naysayers have claimed bad sample numbers that range from 20-30%. Buyer's of sample were largely in a "trust me" position, since most of the quality measures were in the hands of the panel vendor. Associations (such as ESOMAR and ARF), have come up with protocols that all good panels should follow, and many have.

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Will In-Sourcing Kill Full Service Research Firms? Some Notes From CASRO:

Brad Bortner

I just returned from presenting at CASRO. The topic was "Will In-sourcing Kill Full Service Market Research Firms." It was a review of the major economically driven trends around quantitative and qualitative research and why many of the online tool vendors for market research have had good years, while many full service research firms have not.

I was a bit jumpy about presenting to the CASRO audience, since it is almost all market research vendors, and I knew that some (who supply the enablers of in-sourcing) would like my presentation, and others (who are exclusively full service) would be less happy. As it turns out, the audience was gratifyingly enthusiastic. Everyone recognized that the self-service trend was indeed making some permanent changes in the research marketplace, but that full service would continue to exist in a slower growth form. Those who were on the full service side of the house were quite interested in discussing how to harness these trends to their advantage.  

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Why Do Businesses Put Up With Dubious Quality Research Panels?

Brad Bortner

Now that solutions are finally available to "clean up" panels, will buyers at last insist that providers use them, or will a myopic focus on price continue to be the rule when on-line sample is used?

The use of online panels for market research was highly contentious at one time. Traditional researchers thought that they would be prone to the same problems as traditional off-line panels: filled with respondents that are not representative of the general population motivated by the desire to earn money taking surveys.

Despite these misgivings, online panels have taken off in the US (and are coming on strong in Europe.)  Why? Because they allowed research to be conducted in one third the time at one fifth the cost. This allowed buyers to say to themselves, "ok, maybe its not quite as project-able, but give the savings it's worth it." Also, many panel vendors claimed to be doing something special to ensure that their panels were better, and indeed several of them did.

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