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What is different about measuring Web 2.0 sites?

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Sterne: With things like AJAX, it's all a matter of events. Somebody's trying to accomplish something on a Web site and you want to measure what tripwires they set off. If you're talking about a podcast, how much did they listen to? You can instrument the podcast with calls back to the server to monitor user interaction. You can obviously do this with video as well. On a Web site, you can track the X/Y coordinates of the mouse as well as the keystrokes. And the great thing is you can make the measurements as granular as you like.

What's the future of Web analytics?

Sterne: If you only care about how many people are coming to your Web site, that's a thing of the past. Today, it's "what does user behavior look like on my Web site?" Tomorrow, it will be about matching behavioral data of online customers with offline phone, call center and mobile phone interactions. What do I know about my customer and how can I profile them? That's the holistic picture.

How do you measure something like social media or user-generated content?

Sterne: The whole idea of reputation management, buzz metrics and tracking the blogosphere is clearly in the hands of the PR people. You have people actively subscribing to feeds and using search engines as a clipping service. It's an area that's becoming another data stream that can feed business and customer intelligence. The question is: How do you optimize the marketing value of this type of data?

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