The number of available web analytics tools may be overwhelming especially for businesses that may not understand how to use them. “The rule that is often referenced in this regard is the 90/10 rule, so if you have $100 to spend on analytics, spend $10 on reports and data, and $90 on paying someone to filter through all of that information. Because without a proper understanding of the information these services will provide you with, it remains just raw data” (Dubois, 2010).
There are a lot of analytics tools and vendors that can give an accurate assessment of the websites’ and marketing programs’ performance:
1) Google Analytics. It is considered as one of the most simplest and robust web analytics products.
2) Yahoo Web Analytics. It offers similar capabilities as Google Analytics, but in some way more innovative approaches to data collection and reporting.
3) Crazy Egg. “Crazy Egg uses color-coded maps. The heat map, for example, shows the “hot” and “cold” spots on a site: areas getting few clicks are blue, popular spots are red. When I show clients maps of their websites, they understand our design suggestions immediately” (McCorvey, 2011).
4) Omniture owned by Adobe Systems offers a variety of analysis and reporting options, creates dynamic dashboards and displays updated visitors’ information as they act online. The Adobe Marketing Suite includes Adobe Site Catalyst, Adobe Discover, and Adobe Survey which perform specific functions.
5) Google Website Optimizer which is now integrated with Google Analytics allows the user to rotate the website’s content in order to test what design is the most effective and has a higher conversion rate. It is an optimal solution for an A/B testing and multivariate testing.
6) 4Q by iPerceptions gains valuable insight about the customers’ actual experiences on the website via surveys.
… and many many more…
One of the biggest challenges of the analytics solutions listed above is that the majority of them provide the marketer with the activity occurring in the online world and do not connect them to the offline activities such as direct mail, exhibitions, conferences and other types of offline events. For instance, Omniture SiteCatalyst can accurately measure online sales that result from the last ad click, but it doesn’t record how other, offline in particular sources affect the buyer’s behavior.
Traditionally, the companies have measured the number of pages viewed and traffic generated on the website whereas currently large companies install upgraded web analytics tools to gather and scrutinize the online activity data at a more granular and sophisticated level. Nowadays, the marketers are interested in investigating if or how the marketing campaigns ‘bring traffic to the company’s website, how effective they are and how they can be improved. John Lovett, an analyst at New York-based Jupiter-Research LLC, says that “The rise of user-generated content has really forced brands to monitor what consumers are saying about them across all the pages of the Web. The ability to measure those comments and what is happening with the brand has become an important part of ensuring the integrity of the brand (Havenstein, 2008). Five years later this statement still holds true. Measuring the effectiveness of digital marketing programs has become a real challenge for the majority of marketers. The study that was conducted by Forrester in 2012 found that 59% of interactive marketers surveyed wanted a better system for measuring and analyzing the performance of programs that encompass multiple channels. Analysts who focus on any of these tools individually are often only seeing part of the picture” (Williams, http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidwilliams/2012/04/16/if-you-think-a-web-analytics-tool-is-enough-think-again/, 2012).