Sunday, June 30, 2013

Web Analytics: a Precursor to Cognitive Enhancement

Any sufficiently complex, rapidly-responding, and self-adjusting computer system is sometimes heralded as the place that “AI could wake up,” but could be seen more broadly as the venue of algorithm development that might have extensive applicability, including for cognitive enhancement.

Some exemplar complex modern computing systems include big data analytics, high-frequency trading operations, multiplayer video game networks, weather-modeling systems, and now…mobile and web analytics. These latter platforms are becoming increasingly sophisticated, continually updating actual and predicted user behavior data and delivering this information in real-time. Web property owners can watch live engagement with their websites in a heads-up display (HUD) overlay on web pages, as Chartbeat demonstrated at an API-related mini-hackathon at their NYC offices on June 29, 2013.

Some of the most prominent mobile and web analytics companies currently include Google Analytics, Chartbeat, MixPanel, KISSmetrics, Omniture, and Visual Revenue.

The 800 pound gorilla of online metrics is the eCommerce use case, using metrics in endless iterations of A/B testing (e.g.; does version A or B of the website produce more click-throughs and product purchases?) However, it is now increasingly important to measure other kinds of web experiences, for example news consumption where the key metric is engagement time as opposed to a simple link click-through. The type of interaction is also important, where the user spends time on the page, and the type of engagement activity such as reading, commenting, and sharing/referring.

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