Aug 17 2007
My boss had a recent conversation with Yahoo! the other day about web analytics tools; specifically Google Analytics, so I am curious to find out if they too will be releasing a “free” tool soon. They wanted to know the strategies behind our utilization and our general opinion about the capabilities of Google Analytics.
Here was my response:
There is a time and place for everything and that applies to making a choice of what analytics vendor to go with on a website. Google Analytics is NOT an enterprise solution and nor should it be used as a long term solution for businesses investing in their web presence. However; I do believe there are reasons why some companies should opt to utilize a free solution like Google Analytics. Small to Medium businesses are the target audience for this type of solution. Small traffic, small online commerce presence is the user audience. Ignorance breeds bad decisions and if resources are limited; including funding, then I will always recommend the minimum investment of implementing a free solution. Having had the opportunity to implement GA on small business sites as well as large sites where we are pushing the limits the strengths and weaknesses of GA become apparent. There are ups and downs to every story:
· Free & Easy to Implement
· Direct integration into Google AdWords (no need for additional tagging)
· Flexibility of setting up multiple profiles to track multiple domains or support testing needs
· GA Filters enable advanced insights
· Large community willing to share customizations for free (GA filtering techniques, Cart tracking customizations, etc…)
· Interface is easy to use/navigate and load times are relatively quick
· Inability to customize reports and setup auto-delivery
· Limited commerce tracking (only 4 success events can be tracked)
· Inability to define customized metrics and integrate into reports
· Tracking exit links and downloads take additional coding
· Inability to customize Page-Overlay click reports; don’t display actual values, limited metrics
· Inability to integrate with third-party systems easily (CRM, Email, Ad Serving, etc…)
· Customer Support is inadequate and must rely on GA community for most answers and customizations
You really need to take the time to weigh all the pros and cons to each tool that is in your price range but if you are looking for flexibility Free is probably not where you want to be. The “Free” tier is growing as we eagerly await the release of Microsoft’s “Gatineau” and these tools are working to provide enhanced features but they still can’t replace the functionality a paid solution can provide.
Until next time… Safe Analyzing.