Friday, May 4, 2007

CMS Watch Web Analytics Report - revisited

A few days ago I blogged about the newly released report from CMS Watch: "The Web Analytics Report". Since I contributed to it, I was able to get a copy and quickly took a glimpse at it and read the first few pages. Other early readers also reported about it, all of us saying it looked great but didn't have time to read it.

Today I was on my way to eMetrics and had plenty of time to read it... plane took off one hour late, flew for 6 hours, and turned around another 45 minutes.

My take

If you are new to web analytics, or if you are yet to decide on which solution you will use, the first part of the report is an absolute must. But at $1,175 it's expensive for an introductory book. The biggest value is in part 6: Web Analytics Software Vendors.

Worth it?

Some people, like web analytics guru Avinash Kaushik, openly says if you don't have a product, you can start with a free one; Google Analytics or Microsoft Gatineau for example. So why spend the time and money on the report? The problem is once you're started, you are likely to stick with the free tool, or think all web analytics solutions are like Google Analytics and constantly refer to it as a base point. There are some very good reasons to look at other products right from the start. That's where the report will help you pick the two or three products that looks like the most valid fit for your business.

The product evaluation appears to be pretty good, at least for the products I know. And I learned a few things about them.


Funnily, the report says on page 3 that "it is interesting to note that a definition of Web analytics cannot be found on the Web Analytics Association website'... But right at the top of the About page of the WAA site it's there:
The Official WAA Definition of Web Analytics
Web Analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of Internet data for the purposes of understanding and optimizing Web usage.
I think we can excuse this small glitch because in the end, if you are going to spend tens of thousand of dollars a year on a solution, you should probably start by doing your homework and gathering the most valuable data. It doesn't mean to go blindfold and use only the CMS Report, but it certainly ease the decision process, which amounts to saved time and effort worth more than the report price.