Even before the bubble burst and the banks stopped lending, the web analytics market was evolving rapidly. Google’s decision to provide their solution for free in late 2005 sent shockwaves through the industry. Since then the successful analytics vendors have been innovating so as to differentiate themselves from the free systems.
The recent economic uncertainty has done nothing to slow this drive. Indeed, the signs are that innovation is accelerating and will continue to do so. The gap between the free stat’s systems and the paid for business optimisation solutions is widening and although both occupy the space we currently call “web analytics” they are now very different.
The recent downturn has caused every business to re-evaluate its cost structure. In some cases businesses have simply cut costs across the board. Since there are free solutions for “web analytics” they have moved to one of the free solutions for their reporting. Other businesses have taken a more considered approach and instead of wholesale cuts have worked to optimise their expenditure. These “enterprise” businesses want to cut costs in the right place and increase the effectiveness of every pound, euro or dollar spent. In order to do this successfully they need a business and marketing optimisation platform rather than just a web stats reporting system.
As a direct result of this market polarisation, analytics vendors have seen a marked change in the type of enquiries received. Most organisations are now interested in using the insights available to optimise their marketing and business systems; they want to put their web analytics information to work. In the enterprise space, the old days of only using “web analytics” for weekly and monthly management reports have gone forever. The availability of visitor centric information means that it is possible to automate the integration of website visitor behaviour with CMS, Email and CRM. It is this area that creates the most interest since it can solve some of the biggest issues facing marketing teams. Behaviorally targeted communications can provide spectacular results and completely alter the relative effectiveness of email, SEO, PPC and advertising. Far sighted organisations that embrace this opportunity are re-allocating budgets and reducing costs without affecting their top line. It is these innovative organisations that will weather the storm and be best placed to take advantage of the up-turn when it comes.