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Table of Contents
Section I: Market Overview
Section II: Market Trends
Section III: Enterprise Web Analytics Tools Capabilities
Section IV: Choosing an Enterprise Web Analytics Tool
Section V: Vendor Profiles
"Enterprise Web Analytics: The Marketer’s Guide" editorial team:
Jim Sterne, Founding President and Chairman, Digital Analytics Association, and President, Target Marketing
Claire Schoen, Digital Marketing Depot
comScore Digital Analytix
IBM Coremetrics Digital Marketing Optimization Suite
Finding the appropriate web analytics tool in today’s multichannel digital marketing landscape can be challenging. This guide will help enterprises make an informed decision based on market trends, an assessment of internal needs, and a comparison of leading web analytics vendors.
Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from "Enterprise Web Analytics: The Marketer’s Guide," published in September 2012. You can download the full report here.
The practice of web analytics is the foundation of successful digital marketing plans, providing companies with the ability to track and measure the results of their online campaigns. The primary benefits of using web analytics tools include the following:
Deciding whether or not your company needs an enterprise-level web analytics tool calls for the same evaluative steps involved in any software adoption, including a comprehensive self-assessment of your organization’s internal strengths, challenges, and needs from a business, staffing, and technology perspective. This includes asking questions such as: What are the primary objectives we wish to achieve? Who will use the tool and what is their skill level? What systems will need to be integrated?
The next step is to consider – and answer – the following questions:
Digital marketers face a proliferation of channels to track, manage, and optimize, and a wide range of choices when it comes to web analytics tools. For example, IBM Coremetrics and Adobe SiteCatalyst include a core set of analytics capabilities as well as many add-on tools that range from content recommendation engines, to social analytics platforms, tag management solutions, and marketing automation tools.
Every organization is unique and at a different level of maturity in its social, mobile, and cross-channel marketing efforts, and must carefully weigh its current analytics needs against future goals in a quest to maximize return on web analytics and marketing investments. The following section examines some of the most important features and capabilities offered by the leading enterprise web analytics vendors (see Table 9).
Most web analytics tools track a similar set of web, social, and mobile metrics ranging from bounce rates and geo-location, to Facebook ads and likes, to mobile device types and models (see Table 10). Real-time analytics has become a standard offering for the vendors profiled in this report.
Standard social metrics include referrals, sharing activity, and attributed conversions for the leading social networks with an open API, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Vendors vary in their inclusion of social streams and sentiment analysis capabilities. Marketers with advanced social marketing initiatives may still want to engage the services of a specialized social software vendor such as Sysomos, Radian6 or Crimson Hexagon.
Device-specific metrics for mobile web activity and an SDK for tracking mobile application activity are now standard offerings from the web analytics vendors profiled in this report. Deeper mobile capabilities vary, and some marketers may also choose an advanced mobile analytics tool such as Localytics or Flurry.
All of the leading web analytics vendors profiled in the full report offer customizable drag-and-drop dashboards, preconfigured and customizable KPIs, and dozens of out-of-the-box and customized reports targeted to specific vertical industries. More advanced reporting features include triggered reports that can be sent at scheduled intervals in various formats such as a web link, Excel, CSV, or PDF, and dashboard customization based on user profiles.
Standard Website, Social and Mobile Metrics
Landing vs. exit page
Length of visit
New Vs. Repeat visitors
Page views, visits or sessions
Page views per visit
Page exit ratio
Referrer/IP name and page
Conversions, direct and indirect
Facebook pages, apps, ads, likes
Twitter referrals and shares
Video viewing activity (YouTube)
Screen size and resolution
Mobile web and application activity
Offline app activity
|Source: Third Door Media|
Conversion paths in the digital, multichannel world are nearly infinite, with each conversion the result of some combination of direct navigation, search, display advertising, affiliates, social and mobile activity, email, and any other channel with which the marketer is engaged. Multichannel attribution tools try to understand these paths by channel and over time, and use statistical models to assign appropriate and accurate weights to each consumer interaction for the purposes of optimizing budgets and allocating resources.
Each enterprise web analytics vendor offers several attribution models – which can include first click, last click, and time decay – that may or may not be included in the base price. More advanced capabilities include side-by-side model comparisons, the creation of custom models, and the collection of enough historical data to provide a more complete picture of the customer journey.
Vendors differ in their approach to data visualization, including using Venn diagrams, funnel imagery, or grids. For marketers, internal expertise in attribution modeling will determine the importance of more advanced capabilities, such as custom modeling and the type of visualization preferred, along with the potential need for advanced or add-on training to interpret and take action on the data.
Marketers are increasingly demanding a single interface to track referrals, view reports and take action on data from multiple online and offline channels. To that end, all of the enterprise web analytics vendors profiled in this report offer APIs, and FTP or CSV integration that can import or export data to and from other systems such as search, display, social, inventory, CRM, or offline transactions.
Vendors currently use a range of partnerships, along with in-house capabilities provided through add-on tools, to enable the execution of email campaigns, content adjustments, product recommendations, and personalization. Social and mobile analytics tools such as Radian6 and Localytics can often be integrated as well.
To improve the customer experience and increase ROI, testing has become an important part of web analytics tools. All of the vendors profiled in this report offer testing through integrated or add-on tools.
A/B tests are the most common and easiest type of landing-page test to conduct. They consist of creating alternative pages for a specific page or URL, and showing each of them to a certain percentage of visitors. Multivariate tests, on the other hand, experiment with elements inside specific pages (i.e., a picture, text or button) and provide different alternatives of each element. The resulting combinations are derived from the number of elements multiplied by the number of element variations, hence the label, "multivariate."
Benchmarking enables marketers to compare their performance on key metrics against aggregated performance data from other companies in their vertical industry. Metrics may include clickthrough rates, time on site, average order value, and digital campaign effectiveness. Benchmarking is particularly useful in understanding the effects of market conditions as well as shifts in consumer behavior. For example, IBM Coremetrics publishes a yearly benchmarking report on holiday retail activity that illuminates important trends such as the shift to mobile shopping.
Tag management has become an important issue due to the proliferation of site optimization partners, ad networks, ad servers, affiliate networks, and others serving tags on any given page. Engaging with a tag management solution can decrease page load times, reduce IT issues and involvement, and significantly speed up tag deployment.
Some web analytics vendors, including Adobe SiteCatalyst, AT Internet and IBM Coremetrics, have built their own tag management capabilities, allowing marketers to bypass IT by automatically generating and deploying tags from the analytics system itself. Marketers should consider the sophistication of the tool, vendor lock-in, and IT requirements, when deciding between a native and a third-party tag management tool.
Ready to talk to web analytics vendors? Here are six questions you should ask internally before reaching out:
The following Web Analytics Vendors are profiled in the report, Enterprise Web Analytics: A Buyer’s Guide:
Download "Enterprise Web Analytics: A Buyer’s Guide". The 32 page PDF includes additional valuable information including: