In the last year, we have seen leaps and bounds forward in the industry we profess to be in. Omniture now allows live segmentation within its basic tool and is now introducing Social Analytics. Google Analytics is altering how the visit metric is calculated and continually add functionality to its free tool. But this is the key word, FREE. Google Analytics is able to give analytical data to companies that could not afford to track their data. For this one reason, I thank Google for offering this service. For this one reason, I also hate Google for allowing this to be a free tool. If I remember correctly, there was an article that mentioned that nearly half of the companies that have an analytical tool actually has two; a paid version and Google Analytics! Marketers only see that this is a free tool which they can utilize to verify the accuracy of the data being collected. Or as a certain marketer I know, use this to put on a site if they waited too long to get the analytical team involved to put it on the new site. Web Analysts see this as a hindrance since we are spending more time trying to explain why these two tools are reporting different data than actually delving insight for the company.
Now do not get me wrong, I am using Google Analytics on my own blog due to the fact that it is free. In fact, if I had to pay for this service, even $5 a month, I would pass on this information as I do not have enough traffic at this time to justify the cost. I do believe that there are several good reasons to leave it free, but only to certain organisations. If you are a for profit organisation, than you should not have the option to use Google Analytics; at least do not allow this to be a free service for them. By doing this, we, as a business could eliminate the headache of trying to explain why there is a difference.
With that said, why should anyone have more than one Analytical tool attached to their site? The logic behind doing this is like having two CEO’s of a single company; why would you do this? If you do this, which of the two CEO’s is right? The simple logic is, no one can tell you definitely which tool or CEO is correct (or at least more accurately). Each has their benefits and depending on the traffic to your site, the answer could change. The bottom line is choose one tool and use it; do not give your analyst more work to do.
Finally, there is one true fact about web analytical tools; they show accurately the trends of your site which is the most important aspect of the tool. Are you driving more traffic to your site? Is this traffic converting? Who is driving the most traffic to your site? Is your site performing how it should? Google Analytics, Omniture, Webtrends, etc. can all tell you about these trends. The business only cares about if we are driving more traffic or conversion, not the actual figures.