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5 important tools for Web Analytics

Every business, big or small, start-up or established, needs to have a digital presence through a website. Websites are growing in the share of sales as well as new customer acquisition. Most consumers search for product reviews and pricing on the Internet prior to making purchases. Hence, understanding the performance of the evolving digital (web) channel is critical to success of your business.

Fortunately, there are a variety of tools available with varying capabilities to measure and analyse the websites called Web Analytics tools. Gartner defines Web Analytics applications as “specialized analytic applications used to understand and improve online channel user experience, visitor acquisition and actions, and to optimise digital marketing and advertising campaigns”. These products also have reporting, user behaviour analyses, pathing, segmentation and targeting capabilities, performance management and integration with other business, digital marketing and other data sources.

Web Analytics tools are customisable for any level of users from CXO to Web Analyst. The tools allow you to create dashboards, reports and alerts to monitor website performances.  In the following section, I will discuss some distinguishing features of the most popular tools in the industry.

1. Google Analytics:

  

This free tool comes with lots of great functionalities such as dashboards and custom reports. You can also create segmentation for deep dive analyses by audience, traffic source, advertising campaigns, site content (pages).  It integrates with Google Adwords seamlessly. You can set a number of goals for your conversion funnels.  It uses JavaScript tags for capturing data and implementation is very easy.  However, it is not real time and usually has a few hours of lag. It also does not allow user level data collection and integration with external data.

2. Adobe Sitecatalyst (previously known as Omniture):

 
Sitecatalyst is a widely used enterprise strength tool in industry. It provides various reporting, segmentation, conversion funnels, traffic source, advertising, sales channel analytics tools. Although it uses JavaScript tags, implementation is complex and requires upfront planning and configurations of eVars, sProps and events.  It also provides ClickMap tool as an add on. Many third party tools can integrate with Sitecatalyst. Adobe also provides many data adapters to bring in data from third party sources. The data is accessible real time. It also offers Discover tool (for an additional fee) to access the data warehouse for deep dive analytics. Adobe (and Omniture) has been acquiring many companies (e.g. Test and Target) to provide one stop shop for all the digital marketing needs.

3. Webtrends:

 

This is the only independent provider left that offers strong enterprise web analytics tool used across the industry. The tool offers visitor analyses, segmentation and behaviour analyses as well as testing and targeting capabilities for personalised experience. It has expanded to other digital channels such as mobile and social networks leading in capabilities.  It offers clickstream and pathing capabilities.

4. IBM Web analytics (previously knows as Coremetrics):


Acquired by IBM, now it is part of Enterprise Marketing Management solutions, along with other recent acquisitions.  This is designed for e-commerce from reporting to implementation.  It uses server side logs and implementation is relatively less complex.

5. AWStatsThis is a free tool that provides functionalities similar to Google Analytics, however using server log files. It is an open source application. Most web-hosting providers offer this tool bundled with the service. It is very easy to set up and provides basic metrics.   

You may also have a server log-based reporting created in your IT shop.  You may need to use multiple tools depending upon the business needs, urgency and depth of analyses. Try out different tools if you have not started yet and see which meets your needs most. Eventually you will gravitate to one or two tools to answer all your analytical needs.

Edited by Ankit Bhatnagar

The views expressed here are of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of afaqs! Campus.

Umesh

Umesh Choori

Umesh Choori is the VP, Marketing and Analytics at StepOut.com based in Mumbai and New York. He has over 18 years of experience in broad range of industries and fields. He is a business and technology savvy thought leader and understands the emerging digital marketing  field. An IITian, Choori obtained MBA from University of Michigan. He has extensive experience in the USA and knows the Indian consumers. A yoga and health fanatic, spends his free time stretching body, mind and intellect.

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