Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Web Analytics Tools – Back to Basics


With the recent spikes in web analytics, several companies are competing for the perfect tools to analyze web traffic and data.
We’re going to explore, in a high level, critical components when it comes to choose these tools.
Let’s start our journey by asking ourselves these questions.

What do we want to accomplish by acquiring a tool or hiring a company to analyze our data? 
Critical question. We need to make sure our goals are set and our data needs have gone throughout an exhaustive process before we decide which tool/company we're going to get. It's crucial to understand our business model and most important, understand our goals before hiring or purchasing these tools.

How will this company charge me to analyze my data?
This is very important. Are these providers charging a percentage based on the data I’m providing? Are they charging per day, hour, report, application, software, etc.? 

Can the tool/company reanalyze data if we decide to change something?
If for whatever reason, the output we got from the tool or company is not what we wanted, we should be able to make changes and reanalyze our data. This should be mentioned or researched before hiring or purchasing an analysis tool.



Does it come with a dashboard?

Our data needs to be in a dashboard or reporting setting. The dashboard needs to be able to provide different statistic intervals with set or custom ranges. We need to be able to pull the data shown in the dashboard and export it to different  file formats.



Will this company/tool allow me to export data to different formats?
What good is an analysis tool if the output can’t be exported to our preferred file format? We need to make sure the tool provides this option. If there’s an extra charge for this, we might need to look at other solutions.

How many page views per month can the solution track?
The tool or company needs to provide sufficient quantity and quality of service. In a web analytics environment, it's critical to know if these tools can track who visits our website and all the details that come with these visits (More on that later)

Can our web goals be accomplished by using free web analytics tools?
If the company has the time to explore open-source or free alternatives, there are tools out there that can provide great service. If exploring free tools is not an option or we don't want our data to all of a sudden become public, then it'd be better to explore other alternatives.

Visitor Details
I can't stress enough the level of details a good web analytics tool needs to have. This is basically the heart of a web analysis tool. Things like users' behavior while visiting a web page, clicks, browsed content, where the user is coming from, user's location, time spent on a page, purchases, etc., mark the difference between a great tool and a non-desirable one.

We have discussed the “back to the basics” when it comes to Web Analytics Tool.
I wanted to leave you with some of the companies that provide excellent tools and are on the top list of web analytics providers.
Happy research!

Coremetrics – http://ibm.co/GKOv2z
Adobe SiteCatalyst – http://adobe.ly/KaMApv
WebTrends – http://trnd.me/d7ohc
Google Analytics – http://bit.ly/LhPL


References

Top Ten Reviews - http://bit.ly/cn2tI
Occam's Razor by Avinash Kaushik - http://bit.ly/OZU98i
Microsoft Images - http://bit.ly/blwe4G