Flashback: Data Analytics Infrastructure 1995-2015

by Jim Cain

Part 1 of a series based on my talk at the 2022 Marketing Analyics Summit. Watch the video or read the transcript below.


Let us go back to 1995. Will Smith is still cool, e-commerce is a thing, albeit a brand new thing, and larger businesses are starting to buy, and invest into their digital analytics and web presence in general. 

Digital analytics infrastructure was really incomplete in the early days of commercial web. What most organizations did was take the log file level performance reports from their web servers and marry them to other pieces of data that were more on the operations side of the business. They then put a front end reporting tool on top of that to turn IT data into marketing insights.The biggest player at this time would have been a company called Webtrends, which would log file level data to what we would call server side analytics.

As we move into the recent future (2015), we see client side analytics, or browser based data, being the king of the game – The Google Analytics, Omniture, or Adobe’s of the world. These reporting tools are fed by a combination of first and third party cookies, as well as different tags and triggers.

2015 was when we were starting to see infrastructure evolve to the point where we are seeing more tag managers. A much more sophisticated and detailed way of understanding, not just visits, but visitors, to a web property that was heavily dependent on cookies. First party cookies primarily for digital analytics, and third party cookies for understanding the breadth and impact of the digital advertising ecosystem. 

Can’t wait for Part 2? Watch the full recording.

Jim Cain

Chief Innovation Officer & Founder, Napkyn Analytics

Founding CEO of Napkyn Inc., it was Jim’s curiosity about how data can be leveraged by marketers that led to him establishing the company in 2009. He ideated, delivered and iterated all of the early services delivered by Napkyn to enterprise clients. Jim has a unique ability to connect the dots for where the industry and individual brands will and can go with their data-driven initiatives.

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