Web Analytics? Google it! (You do it for everything else anyways)

Forrester Research Inc. is a publicly traded company whose share prices stand at 36.62 as of April 6th at 8:00 am (PST). A reasonably sized company, Forrester’s publications are based around a combination of “annual surveys of more than 500,000 consumers and business leaders worldwide, rigorous and objective methodologies, and the shared wisdom of [their] most innovative clients” (https://www.forrester.com/marketing/about/about-us.html). Published in May 2014 by James McCormick, The Forrester Wave™: Web Analytics,
Q2 2014
identifies and rates the six most prevalent providers of web analytics. According to Forester these providers are Adobe, AT Internet, Google, IBM, SAS Institute, and Webtrends.

In my own opinion Forrester’s reports fall short of where they should be. Basing this report off of product evaluations, interviews with the six vendor companies, and 14 end user companies, the report gives a lot of weight to the words someone used to describe their personal opinions and/or professionally obligated excitement about the product. All of these companies are considered healthy businesses so no smaller companies are considered. Fortune regularly looks for up-and-coming companies in different industries and analytics is no different. Published a month after the Forrester report, Fortune’s These big data companies are ones to watch article is also based around interviews. These interviews named MapRMemSQL, DatabricksPlatforaSplunkTeradata, PalantirPremiseDatameerCloudera, HortonworksMongoDB, and Trifacta as companies to watch (Noyes). 2015 could be the year another company starts to garner support or the year any of these companies fall.

That being said, there is a reason that Google is in this report among other industry heavyweights such as Adobe and IBM. One of those reasons is Google’s ever-growing prevalence. If I had not given you the links to the companies from the Fortune article I’m guessing you would have used Google to search for them. If I told you to “Google it” you likely would have known what I meant. The companies from the Fortune article were likely not bookmarked in your browser either. I was unable to find a solid number of people who have Google set as their homepage, but I’ll also hazard a guess that you have, or have had, Google.com set as your homepage at one time or another. If you use Google Chrome that’s like having Google.com always available. You can search for anything in the space where once you could only enter URLs.

When it comes to Google’s analytics it is the only provider whose product version that was evaluated in the Forrester report could not be listed because it went through continuous changes throughout the year. This is a strength only if these changes don’t come with a difficult learning curve. Google is known for making its products easy to use and this stands true for its analytics products. Google hasn’t upset Adobe, but give it enough time without Adobe making some key changes and it just might do that. The Forrester report sums up Adobe’s possible problem nicely by starting that for it “to maintain its leadership position, “Adobe must make advanced analytics more accessible to business users” (McCormick 9).

As might be expected Google is no slouch when it comes to telling people why they should use Google Analytics. While focusing on building the customer’s audience as their first selling point, a point which draws in the entrepreneurial crowd and those concerned about their company presence, the ability for a customer to act on the data collected is perhaps the most significant selling point. At the same time it’s a selling point that just about every other analytics company can use to sell their product. Combine that with Google’s easy to use programs however and you’ll quickly see why Google is a strong contender in this market.

Having the ability to review online campaigns during your campaign means that you don’t have to wait for the campaign to finish before you can determine if it has been successful or not. There is a free version which gives new businesses an in to the world of analytics that would have cost them a bundle had they decided to start with Adobe. Google doesn’t offer much in the way of one-on-one support, but it does have plenty of online resources so that someone can help themselves if they encounter any problems.

If you’re at all confused about why you should use analytics in the first place the answer is fairly simple; if you don’t gather your data you’re acting on assumptions. Predictable analytics, the ability to take past data and use it to predict future dates, demonstrates that data analysis has a bright future. You would not be able to do that accurately off assumptions alone.



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