First before I begin today’s blog, I would like to wish you a Happy (belated) Easter!
For today’s topic, I want to talk about something you may have heard of called web analytics. Today I am going to discuss the various vendors that support analytics, why you should use analytics and how they connect to marketing, and lastly share my experience with the six units of digital analytics fundamentals course.
Analytics in short, is studying the impact a site has on its users. Why is it important? It helps optimize your site. Analytics provide quantitative feedback based on site traffic that can help lead you to creating a more user-friendly experience; benefitting your users and your business.
The first piece I read was written by a research and advisory firm known as Forrester. The article was titled The Forrester Wave: Web Analytics, Q2 2014. It began to familiarize me with the six top vendors of web analytics. Throughout the article they assess six vendors: Adobe, AT Internet, Google, IBM, SAS Institute, & Webtrends. In terms of enterprises they named Adobe, AT Internet, & Webtrends as the top leaders. They noted these three leaders have “proven to be successful in a maturing market due to their strong focus and commitment to building enterprise capabilities into their web analytics products.” Sounds tough to beat, right? Wrong. Although Google did not make the top three web analytic tools, they are still very much a top contender, especially when it comes to usability and accessibility. For example, Google Analytics is free! Every business can afford free. Whether your business is a startup or the budget of a larger corporation has been stretched, GA remains a viable option. Google Analytics is also very easy to use. The process of learning how Google Analytics works was very straight-forward. Their site provides informative videos along with supplemental quizzes and exams to help retain what you learn as you go. They even provide a web forum where other users can chat about specific questions and answers. Forrester seems to agree. They stated, “Google offers a competitive option to enterprise platforms. With its premium web analytics product, Google has maintained its focus on ease of use while ensuring rapid time-to-value.”
As I was reading a separate article on web analytics by Stephanie Hamel, she stated that even some companies who pay for “enterprise solutions” choose Goggle analytics. Not because it’s free, but simply because it answers needs and expectations today. Google analytics caters to a vast majority of organizations that have not achieved the highest levels of maturity. She goes on to say it is fast, simple, flexible, reliable, and enriched with a strong ecosystem of knowledge, services, and ancillary tools. Not to mention again, it’s free. Plus, if Google continues to gain momentum with its premium web analytics product, then it very likely could surpass its way to the front of the pack at some point in the future.
Now that you know a little bit more about analytics along with some vendors, you might be wondering why is this so important and what does it have to do with marketing?
The analytics derived from web analytics software is used to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of a company’s online presence. Improvement can be achieved by objectives like increasing sales, attracting more visitors, or improving customer engagement and retention. Ultimately, the data received from analytical software, helps identify how marketing expenditures should be allocated. Basically, web analytics are awesome and extremely helpful to marketers!
Now on to the analytics tools from Google. As I went through the six units of the Digital Analytics Fundamentals, a lot of new information was thrown at me. Might I add, in a neat and segmented way. Like I said earlier, Google provides helpful videos explaining and outlining examples to help you understand along the way. In addition, they supply additional links that walk one through step-by-step directions in case you’re still lost. I am already beginning to see why Google was named the most user-friendly vendor. After going through each of the six units, I gradually started to develop a much clearer understanding of web analytics and its vast capabilities. No wonder employers are so interested in new hires having this certification! I believe out of all the six units, I learned the most from unit 4. In this unit, they advise you on how to create an account. They then proceeded to teach me how to make and edit my practice account to experiment with settings. This hands-on interactive learning experience really helped me grasp the highlighted concepts. As far as web analytic vendors go, I can happily say I had a very satisfying experience with Google. Perhaps you will be able to say the same. Ready…….Go!