On Wednesday, April 9, 2008, Yahoo! announced that it was buying IndexTools, a web analytics vendor. On the following Tuesday, Dennis Mortensen, the COO of IndexTools, announced on his blog that, "Yahoo! currently intends to provide the IndexTools Web Analytics service FREE of charge to clients and partners who accept the standard Yahoo! agreement."
In other words, at this point, three large vendors--Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!--now offer web analytics packages for free. Furthermore, they are not watered down versions, but functional products that any small- and medium-size business (SMB) would die for:
- Google (Google Analytics): Executive dashboard, custom reporting, map-based reports, search engine marketing cost analysis, landing page optimization, user segmentation, scenario analysis, and detailed help.
- Microsoft (Microsoft adCenter Analytics [currently in beta]): Summary reports, custom reporting, campaign reporting, user segmentation, and scenario analysis.
- Yahoo! (IndexTools): Executive dashboards, path analysis, custom and comparative reporting, workflow, search engine marketing cost analysis, campaign management, user segmentation, merchandise reporting, scenario analysis, and detailed help.
If you're an SMB and don't analyze how visitors behave on your website--how long they stay, where they come from, what pages do they bail from--then I'd encourage you to look at all three, pick the one you like, and use it.
If you work in a large enterprise, you probably use a different package, but investing twenty minutes in reading the Microsoft blog, the Yahoo! datasheet, and watching the Google video is a great way to get a mini-tutorial in web analytics. This is especially true if you've heard the web analytics term bandied about and either don't know much about it or are trying to figure out if you can do more with what you have.
If you're a Burton Group client, I'd encourage you to read two Collaboration and Content Strategies reports I've written on web analytics: