Web Analytics Industry – International Pulse (US vs. EU)

This is the 1st post in a series of posts about the factual (quantitative researched) state of the web analytics Industry. I also recommend reading the WAA (Web Analytics Association) sponsored qualitative study Global Use and Attitudes Towards Web Analytics – March 2007 by Eric Peterson as well. However; I will be able to answer different questions – simply from super crunching millions of factual report and analysis requests.

As I am participating and speaking in a WAA Webcast titled: “Taking the Pulse of International Web Analytics” (15th Nov. Signup online through WebEx) – I decided for a somewhat provocative (fun) question as the foundation and kickoff of this series of post about the factual state of the web analytics Industry AND as the use-case for my WAA presentation.

Are US Web Analysts more advanced in their use of Web Analytics than European Web Analysts?

- A “Web Analyst” is defined as an enterprise user who signs into the web analytics tool and request reports and analysis.
- “Advanced” is defined as in the web analysts use of a set of subjective chosen sophisticated reports versus a set of simpler reports

Coming back to the question. Most people would say yes, just because that is the way it is supposed to be, some would say, myself included, that there is no difference (and I have voiced that opinion many times before, based on my experience working with clients in both regions). Let’s have a look at the data:

Period: Q3 2007
Total Report requests: 1,911,913
Total Report requests by Enterprise users: 470,320

- I defined an “Enterprise user“ as users of the high-end (Enterprise) version of IndexTools and as one who built and/or requested a custom report in the session analyzed. Making sure that the results, we are going to look at, are not skewed by the regional distribution of advanced report users versus simpler report users.

Advanced/simple subset:
Total Report requests by Enterprise users: 470,320
Advanced Report requests by Enterprise users: 18,091 (3.85%)
Simple Report requests by Enterprise users: 15,864 (3.37%)
- I defined the “Advanced Report requests” segment as combined usage of the Pivot Table like Custom Report Wizard and the Visitor Segmentation reports
- I defined the “Simple Report requests” segment as combined usage of Most Requested Pages, Referring Domains, Visits and Traffic Summary

This is of course subjective, as I decided for the definition of what “advanced” is. However; I trust we agree that the two pools are quite different and that they indeed represent two levels of sophistication. The reasoning for leaving out the middle segment is that it can be debated, and quite fairly so, whether a scenario analysis or path analysis is advanced or not.

Now that we have the data needed for our question – all we need to do is; to segment the data on the two regions in question.

GEO segmented Advanced/simple subset:
Advanced Report requests by Enterprise users (Europe): 4.04%
Advanced Report requests by Enterprise users (US): 3.45%
Simple Report requests by Enterprise users (Europe): 3.30%
Simple Report requests by Enterprise users (US): 3.59%

- Understand that this is of course not a comparison between “Advanced” and “Simple” – that would not make sense.

In contrary to what is commonly understood, European web analysts are on an average more advanced than US web analysts. This fact is based on two fundamental conclusions; namely that European Analysts are requesting and creating more Enterprise level reporting and analysis and working less with simpler reports.

Source: 1,911,913 reports requested by Web Analysts using IndexTools (Q3 2007)
(VisualRevenue.com/blog – Dennis R. Mortensen)

This is great fun and you should basically see the above as an appetizer for some of the conclusions that I will provide in this series… I must – of course – skip my trip to ad:tech New York in a couple of weeks, as I am most sure my US piers will hunt me down and force me to render null and void the post. :-)

Signup for the WAA Webcast and be entertained with the results for specific European countries as well, such as UK, Finland, Belgium and Italy – Why? Because that is where my fellow panellists (Steve Jackson, Michael Notte, Alessandro Zanzini and Vicky Brock) are from! :-)


  • Avinash Kaushik

    Dennis: Here’s something that might explain the delta….

    Most US “enterprise class” companies are complex and large where the role for the “analyst” is to be in the service of the business. That translates into setting up lots of simple reports (essentially custom views) to give the ultimate decision maker “data” that can translate into insights.

    In EU organizations are equally complex but the Web is in a different stage of evolution. The nice thing is that this translates into “flatter” organization structure on the web. This then translates into the rare analyst, or usually self service use by the final decision maker, digging data to find insights becuase they are responsible for driving change. Hence more “analysis”.

    But not to worry. I am fully confident that EU will make excellent progress on both the Web and Organizational fronts and in due course will reach the US level of reporting nirvana!

    Ahh…. the sweet smell of progress!! :)


  • Trinadh


    We should also add “Asia” to International pulse!

    I will connect with you & WAA offline on this.


  • bloomsbury

    Not surprised that within your research the EU has indeed come out a little more advanced. There are 2x main reason for this in my view…

    1.) The US has for many years and still does believe that they are in some sort of a technological silo and for that matter a business and political silo also. In that not many people/countries outside the US have the same technical know how or even internet access at all. This of course is quite a dangerous assumption for the US because ‘rest of the world’ is developing new technologies quite nicely. Having taken a peek at the Universities comparisons for relevant courses you will find that Cambridge UK is out performing, Harvard in churning out ‘top’ level programmers and mathematicians. How does this make US analyst lag behind EU analyst? One phrase ‘superiority neuroses’. (Web2 is worldwide as will be Web3!)

    2.) EU business is more prudent than that of US. Whilst the US may lead in taking risks and opening up opportunities which of course is the main drive behind Capitalism. The EU has a slightly different business mind set in that it will wait and learn from ‘rest of the world’ mistakes and therefore, implement processes in a far more profound way. How does this effect the analyst for enterprise class companies? The analyst in the EU is expected to meticulously implement any BI systems. This method may take longer but by the time implementation is complete the business mind set has changed in order to accommodate the new way of making decisions based on the new system.

    Top line data has always been available for the CEO for both US and EU alike whether they have in the past decided to use the data for positive business changes is a matter of individual company ethos.

    nt: Have worked and lived 6 years in US and 9 years in UK.


    Marcos Richardson

  • Florian

    Dennis, Any insights in the ‘state of the industry” outside Western Europe and the US? Based on my experience in China and Asia Pac there is still a large gap in understanding the importance an application of web analytics. I strongly believe that this is tied to the development of the e-commerce industry. Any further insights are welcome.

    Florian Pihs
    Data & Analytics Program Director
    MRM Worldwide Beijing

  • René Dechamps Otamendi

    Hi Dennis,

    Thanks for this post. I think it’s an excellent idea to make this kind of comparisons and sharing as you do.

    From yesterday’s panel at eMetrics Stockholm the conclusion is that we can’t speak about more advanced countries. As Jim said in a previous eMetrics you find pockets of excellence a bit everywhere in the world.


    CEO OX2

  • Doug


    I agree with your assessment of (US. vs. EU). It seems to me that the European user of web analytics uses more of the advanced features of the products fro the start. In the US they seem to purchase a product or service for the more basic information and discover the advantages of the “real” answers after some additonal education. This is definately true with our Nextstat users. Doug Judson

  • Dennis R. Mortensen

    Hi Avinash,

    Thank you very much for your comments; I am sure you see that I am partly teasing my friends from abroad (not discounting the value in almost 2M reports requests though) ..

    As you recognised – I try not to give an explanation for WHY Europeans seems to be more advanced than their US counterparts. But I think you are actually not that far of in your comment: “
    “…or usually self service use by the final decision maker”

    AND if everything fails we can stage a wrestling match in NY next week at ad:tech. :-)


  • Dennis R. Mortensen

    Hi Florian and Trinadh

    Thank you for reminding me about a great emerging continent. I will try to expand the research to include ASIA as well.

    Cheers guys,

  • Dennis R. Mortensen

    Hi Marcos..

    he he… strong comments mate :-)

  • Dennis R. Mortensen

    Hi Rene,

    Thanks… and expect more exciting research to come/.

    > From yesterday’s panel at eMetrics Stockholm the conclusion is that we can’t speak about more advanced countries. As Jim said in a previous eMetrics you find pockets of excellence a bit everywhere in the world.

    I actually think that the research proves that we CAN! :-)
    Join me on the WAA webcast for more exciting insight..

    Cheers Rene

  • Lic. Juan Manuel Damia

    Very interesting post…but what about Latinamerica? Take a map and point USA with your finger (or a pen is also useful). Then move your finger from the top down to the south and you will find Mexico, from there to the very very south (Argentina and Chile) that’s all Latinamerica ;-). Just kidding Dennis, very good post.
    I’m carry on a research about Web Analytics in Latinamerica, as soon as I finish it I’ll share it with you (and with Avinash, and Eric off course!!!)

  • René Dechamps Otamendi

    Hi Dennis,

    I’m looking forward to the webcast to see what you can tell us ;-)

    And yes I’ll be attending as I’ve been requested to moderate it.



  • Dennis R. Mortensen

    >>And yes I’ll be attending as I’ve been requested to moderate it.

    ha ha… Sorry Rene. I thought Vicky would be doing that. See you there.. :-)


  • Dennis R. Mortensen

    Hi Juan,

    As posted to Florian and Trinadh – about Asia – Let me add both South America and Asia to the coming research comments.

    and I DO now where it is.. he he
    (we moved from Denmark to Trinidad & Tobago for a while, back when I sold my consultancy… – so 20 miles of the coast of SA :-)

    Cheers Juan..

  • Lars

    I like flat organizations!

    And I look forward to the webcast. :)

  • Anil Umachigi

    Hey Dennis!
    looking forward for the webcast,It would be interesting to see the status (pulse) of Non US and UK countries and how WAA will help evangelize Web Analytics.

    Web Analytics Pulse

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