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Google TV illustrates what changes when the cloud becomes a major factor in how people watch television. That effect is starting to change how we view Web analytics.
Web analytics helps a website owner improve any number of aspects to their site. Analytics define how advertisers spend their dollars. Cloud computing will disrupt that model as more people use their television sets to watch programs and use the Internet.
AnalyticsMarket posted its views about how Google TV will affect Web analytics last June. That viewpoint is particularly relevant now that the service is available.
TV Traffic May Be Hard to Differentiate
The operating system description may give some idea that the viewer is watching television, but in most ways it will appear identical to other devices. With Google TV, the television sets will use the Chrome browser and will be capable of running Flash and almost any app, making its traffic further indistinguishable.
Metrics Lose Meaning
Televisions represent a different viewing experience than a personal computer or smartphone. For example, people often watch television while using another device. Now, what if someone uses three or four different devices? That makes traditional metrics not as relevant. "Unique visitors," "new visitors," "time since last visit," become more difficult to measure. As a result, analytics will rely on visits more than visitors.
Television is a social activity, too. Often, there are multiple people watching, making the "visitor" term even less applicable.
What About the Conversion?
Let's say a group of people are watching Google TV. They are checking out websites. They all go home. One of the people visits the site later on that evening on their laptop. There is no way to track the conversion from the television.That throws other measurements into question, such as the comparison for the number of conversions to the number of people who saw the ad on Google TV.
Open the scenario further and it gets a bit more complicated. If one of the people in the group suggests a site, how is it identified? Is it a new visit?
The group in our theoretical living room is navigating to different websites. There will be a host of influences that affect their decisions for which sites to visit, what to explore on the site, and perhaps what purchase to make. It's far different than viewing a site alone. The group dynamics change considerably. That means we will probably start seeing Web pages designed for groups of people watching television in their living rooms.
Apps Will Change TV
Google TV will release its SDK in 2011. The Android market will carry the Google TV apps. This will influence how sites are designed. This will change the way we use the TV set.
"Given the different restraints that TVs will place on navigating the web, companies may begin developing sites specifically for TVs, like they do for mobile phones. For both TV apps and TV sites, Web analysts will need to look at the reports from a fresh perspective."
What Will Happen to Web Analytics?
The future of Web analytics will have to be more encompassing with the advent of Google TV. But as much as the cloud creates issues, it offers new ways to measure as well. Big data will be the difference, helping us understand from a variety of viewpoints the way we watch TV and interact with the apps that will soon be offered.