Enterprise Web Analytics Tools 2013: A Buyer’s Guide

Web analytics play a crucial role in nearly every enterprise’s digital marketing strategy, not only for tracking and measuring website traffic, but for tracking and measuring other digital channels, as well. With the explosive growth of social media, video, and mobile, the importance of understanding the contributions and relationships of these channels to website traffic and conversions has increased significantly. If you are considering adopting an enterprise web analytics tool, this report will help you decide whether or not you need to. The report has been completely updated since its August 2012 publication to include the latest industry statistics, developing market trends, and new vendor profiles and product updates.

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from “Enterprise Web Analytics Tools 2013“. You can download the report here free.

The Benefits of Using Web Analytics Tools

Web analytics are the foundation of successful digital marketing plans, providing enterprises with the ability to track, measure, and act upon the results of their digital campaigns. There are numerous benefits to using an enterprise web analytics tool, including the following:

  • A better understanding of user demographics. Web analytics software can show you where users come from geographically, and where they come from online to find your site (e.g., a search engine or email). You can track the devices, browsers, and operating systems they use. All of this data can be used to refine site content, site design, and marketing efforts that cross-sell or up-sell to targeted consumer segments.
  • Optimization of on-site user behavior. Web analytics can monitor the paths users take within your sites, as well as which traffic patterns are most likely to result in conversions. You can correlate navigation patterns to traffic sources and appropriate marketing resources to the highest-performing sites or channels.
  • Greater ability to monitor site performance and usability. Web analytics will show you how long pages take to load, and whether some pages, traffic sources, regions, or devices are slower than others. You can use this information to improve page load times and identify pain points through testing to optimize specific features and increase ROI.
  • Increased measurability and marketing effectiveness. Web analytics can track sales, leads, or other conversion metrics, and analyze them against time, user behavior, and marketing campaigns. It can measure how email, search advertising, display advertising, affiliate networks, and social media campaigns, affect conversions. Campaigns can be discontinued or refined based on more accurate data.

Do You Need an Enterprise Web Analytics Tool?

Deciding whether or not your company needs an enterprise-level web analytics tool calls for the same evaluative steps involved in any software adoption, including a comprehensive self-assessment of your organization’s business needs, staff capabilities, management support, and financial resources. Use the following questions as a guideline to determine the answers.

  1. Who will use the tool? Staffing is key to the effectiveness of any web analytics tool and that cost must be taken into account for a full understanding of total cost of ownership. Without the proper skilled human resources in place, the tool can end up becoming an expensive reservoir of untapped data with unfulfilled potential to increase revenue and improve user experiences.
  2. How much training will we need? Different platform vendors provide different levels of customer service – from self-serve to full-serve – and strategic consulting services. It’s important to have an idea of where you fall on the spectrum before interviewing potential web analytics tool partners. Training is essential. If the organization chooses not to hire internal staff, then serious consideration should be made to use add-on or third party consulting services.
  3. What level of data and data access do we need? Some web analytics tool vendors provide browser-based, individual-level data, and some provide sampled data that is representative of the whole. To maintain data accuracy, tools should feature filtering, auditing, and data sanity checks, which enable you to accept only transaction data within certain defined ranges to minimize bad data. Lastly, not all tools provide access to back-end, raw data. If data ownership is a concern for your organization, only consider tools that provide it.
  4. What are our reporting needs? What information do salespeople, customer support teams, and IT departments require from the site to improve decision making? You want to know the specific holes in your current reporting that will be filled by additional functionality, and more importantly, you want to be sure that that extra information will drive better decisions and ultimately more revenue and profit for your business.
  5. What is the total cost of ownership? With the exception of Google Analytics Premium, enterprise web analytics tools use on-demand pricing, meaning customers pay a monthly subscription price that will vary by traffic and volume. Across the board, marketers pay for server call volume, which can add up quickly for multiple sites and multimedia data downloads such as videos. Close examination of feature requirements will also be necessary, as modular pricing models mean vendors vary in their inclusion of some features as standard or add-on.
  6. How will we define success? What key performance indicators (KPIs) do we want to measure and what decisions will we be making based on web analytics data that will affect both the website itself and marketing activity? You should set in advance your businesses’ goals for the web analytics tools to be able to benchmark success later on. Without them, justifying the expense of the tool or digital marketing programs to C-suite executives will be difficult.

Choosing an Enterprise Web Analytics Vendor

Once you have determined that enterprise web analytics makes sense for your business, spend time researching individual vendors and their capabilities. Make a list of all the web analytics capabilities you currently have, those that you would like to have, and those that you can’t live without. This last category is critical, and will help you avoid making a costly mistake.

Questions To Ask Potential Vendors

  1. What specific tools or capabilities are included in the base price?
  2. How would I locate all the data associated with a specific visitor?
  3. How can I use the tool to update a near real-time content management system?
  4. How can I integrate mobile and tablet data?
  5. What’s the complete set of attribution models I can choose from?
  6. What limitations are there? (i.e., amount of data, speed of updates, types of segmentation, number of variables, etc.)
  7. What makes this platform technically unique from all the others?
  8. How does the company handle requests for product modifications?
  9. What new features are you considering? What’s the long-term roadmap and launch dates?
  10. Are there additional fees (consulting, add-on features, API, quotas)?
  11. Who pays if your system/team makes an error?
  12. Who will be the day-to-day contact?
  13. What is the minimum contract length? Is there a short-term contract or an ‘out’ clause if things don’t work out?

Learn More!

Download “Enterprise Web Analytics Tools 2013″ The 30-page PDF includes additional valuable information including:

  • Updates on the current trends and issues in enterprise web analytics, including omnichannel marketing, tag management, and mobile measurement and optimization.
  • Profiles of the 9 leading vendors.
  • Analysis of the impact of recent acquisitions and funding activity.
  • …and much more