Name: Caleb Whitmore
Company: Analytics Pros
Job Title: Founder & CEO
Twitter Handle: Personal @calebwhitmore, Company @analyticspros
What is your favorite blog?
Honestly, my favorite blog is the RMI Expeditions blog at http://www.rmiguides.com/blog/. I've only made it to the top of one mountain, attempted another twice and not made the summit, but this blog lets me live out my mountain climbing dreams vicariously and get a bit of inspiration :).
In the digital analytics world there are a ton of folks that I respect, admire, and learn a lot from - it's hard to list just one. I've also been really impressed with some posts from Dan Barker (hi Dan, I don’t think we’ve met, but I’d like to meet you!) as he's had some great GA content in recent months and Rachael Gerson (great blogger, awesome person).
How is big data impacting the industry?
I think web analytics (now digital analytics) has always struggled to catch on in a big way. Big data, though, has really caught on! Just look at this Google Insights report showing how big data has far surpassed web analytics in interest level, now dwarfing it five-to-one. Big data seems to have put a shinier term on a topic that has remained relegated to us crazy technology geeks. Sure big data is more than just web or digital analytics, but when I think about it, digital analytics really is the perfect kind of really really big data. The volumes of data that come from measuring the digital landscape are huge. Ultimately, I think the Big Data revolution, if I could call it that, is forcing a maturation for Digital Analytics and an integration further into the mainstream of business and marketing management that is good for our industry.
What analytics tools do you find most useful?
I'll start with Google Analytics - it's what I've lived and breathed for the last eight years, co-authored a book on, and continue to believe is the best overall platform for Digital Analytics out there - and I'm happy to debate that with anyone who wants to ;). That said, it's by no means the only tool you should have. I often speak on my "toolbox" concept. GA is a great core solution for insight across your digital platforms and marketing at a high-level and down to a very granular level (granular can be, for example, really large unsampled data sets covering hundreds of millions of sessions like I analyzed today for one of our GA Premium clients).
GA is an open platform, meaning you don't have to use only the tools in the "suite". I greatly dislike the In-Page analytics feature in GA and instead favor Crazy Egg for page-level user experience and interaction analysis. I avoid, at all costs, using GA’s Content Experiments tool and prefer Optimizely for testing (which, by the way, has a great GA integration). I'm a notable fan of Google Tag Manager for Tag Management and we're a big user of Observepoint for tag auditing and monitoring at Analytics Pros. And, I've recently started getting a bit obsessed with some innovative, smaller, vendors in the space including MixPanel and Keen.IO as good additions for building a robust digital analytics capability.
What analytics myth is the most common?
Google Analytics is a "free enterprise analytics tool, and it’s easy too!" Tools are not the answer; free, easy, and enterprise don’t go together. Organizations that don't see the value and importance of people and think a software solution is the key are setup to fail from the start.
What is the greatest challenge facing the industry?
The delicate balance between customer privacy, regulation, and the realities of the ever-fragmented digital world are making our work harder. I see a lot of governmental hypocrisy and consumer naivety that are contributing to the perceptions around digital measurement that we, as an industry, need to wrestle through. This touches on education, both internal to the industry and external to consumers as well.
What is the greatest opportunity facing the industry?
At Analytics Pros we've defined our mission as "narrowing the distance between our clients and their customers through use of digital analytics." Ultimately, every organization exists because of its customers - whether they are for profit or non-profit, public or private, big or small. Measuring the digitally connected world provides an unprecedented opportunity for organizations to be closer to their customers. I love watching real-time Google Analytics reports stream across a screen, showing the pulse of a client's customers digitally. It's pretty powerful stuff, this digital analytics!