What is Web Analytics’ Purple Cow?

What is Web Analytics’ Purple Cow?

Seth Godin, author of Purple Cow, All Marketers are Liars and most recently The Dip, was the keynote speaker at Search Engine Strategies (SES) Toronto yesterday. Yet again, Seth railed at us for shouting at our customers about how fabulous we and our products are. Our customers get to decide how remarkable we are. And to be remarkable, create Purple Cows that matter.

Following Seth’s keynote was a first-ever SES session in which the audience could submit their websites to a panel to be “workshopped” for Purple Cows. Rand Fishkin moderated the panel of Peter Mosley (Peter Mosley & Associates), Raja Bhatia (HomeStars) , Ian McAnerin (McAnerin Networks) and Rebecca Lieb (The ClickZ Network).

Purple Cows are unique experiences that rise above the marketing clamour, are worth talking about and are talked about without need for supporting noise. Purple Cows are benefits, not advantages. So I submitted my site, but I was mainly interested in what a Purple Cow might be for web analytics. Unfortunately, web analytics is sometimes considered as welcome as bitter medicinal gruel. Difficult to take, has some possible temporary sour side effects in some situations but good for you. How can we turn this around? What’s might be an emotional, personal benefit worth talking about and doing something with?

I was indeed lucky to be one of a dozen picked (and then torn apart). Anyway, it was fun. We didn’t come up with a Purple Cow for web analytics but we got a bit clearer on benefits versus advantages:

  • Rebecca Lieb observed that most people treat their web analytics tools like fitness equipment. The Nordictrack is in the basement unused.
  • Peter Mosley said, but ah, people don’t exercise to get fit. Getting fit is an advantage. They want a date! Getting a date is the benefit of exercise equipment.
    …at which point, Rand smoothly moved the conversation on to the next site.

So… web analytics = … = date.

Anyone have any ideas for a web analytics’ Purple Cow?

[ After the Google Analytics Documentation Errors (but not GA beefs) contest is over, should we have a Purple Cow contest? ]

June Li


By |2019-07-12T14:25:37-04:00June 14th, 2007|5 Comments


  1. tamera kremer June 15, 2007 at 10:05 am

    As a marketer, I find that taking the time to get to know analytics and what they are valuable for saves a ton of time and money in planning over the long-term.

    Analytics = your time returned 😉

  2. June Li June 15, 2007 at 10:55 am

    Thanks Tamera. And this could lead to…

    Analytics = more golf 🙂

    BTW…your SES presentation, which stressed that building WOM needs to be a long-term process, was excellent and needed. Tough to be the last speaker in the last session, but you held my attention.

  3. tamera kremer June 17, 2007 at 9:22 am

    Now more golf I can certainly get behind! 🙂

    Thanks for the kind words June, I appreciate the feedback.


  4. Andrew Goodman June 17, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    You ladies golf? I am starting to get a sense of my summer shaping up :)… Don’t tell my clients, publisher, etc. (unless we invite them)… thanks to both of you for speaking and raising the bar.

  5. June Li June 19, 2007 at 7:45 am

    SEM + analytics = more golf 🙂

    Andrew – awesome job you did at SES. Happy to have been able to contribute.


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