Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Web analytics industry transformation (con't)

Not to beat a dead horse - but after sharing my views on Adobe-Omniture, IBM-Coremetrics and speculation about Microsoft-Webtrends some people inquired about my views on the fate of other vendors.

Let's recap:
  • Adobe "branding & rich media marketing focus" will bring Omniture in this direction – shying away from anything that is beyond online marketing (from ads to presentation layer).
  • IBM history of "middleware integration" is in the opposite direction - probably bringing Coremetrics as an integral part of WebSphere (closer to the logic layer).
  • WebTrends, who's been trough rough times over the past 10 years still puts off a good fight as one of the major player. The single guy in the room will definitely be looking for a new mate - and I speculate Microsoft could be such a fit.
  • Google is Google, right? The mission remains so simplistic and so powerful "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful". They are on the right path but being at the top of the hill also makes you an easier target - including claims that Google Analytics is being subsidized trough Google AdWords... a practice that could be considered to be "unfair competition".

What else?

The “extremes” probably won’t remain between Google on the "low-end", and Omniture on the "high-end". I'm quoting those terms because they are mostly irrelevant by now. As Avinash put in his keynote at the last eMetrics Toronto "it's easy to do better than your competitors when you don't have to repeat their mistakes". Google Analytics will keep improving and in some respects it already offers more than some paid vendors. Furthermore, not everyone will want to venture in IBM long, expansive approach… and not everyone is a friend of Adobe either (not mentioning the dim future of Flash, one of the flagship product of the company).

As the market consolidates, new players can emerge and the online analytics ecosystem is still far from maturity. There are plenty of opportunities for innovative startups to fill specific needs.

Who else?

While thinking about other players I tried to extract the "unique selling point" - what makes this player different from others. Of course, this is my own appreciation and I would love to hear your feedback and own perspective.
  • Unica: Although I haven't had a chance to use Unica extensively, the feedback I hear about their data model and flexible interface is always positive. They are particularly well suited to integrate any data source and grow as more complex requirements emerge.
  • Webtrekk: The EU web analytics market is quite fragmented, but some players, like Berlin-headquartered Webtrekk, have developed the business within the unique requirements of this market. They are particularly sensible about privacy and legal considerations. As such, Webtrekk might be particularly good for some types of environment such as banking and other financial services.
  • AT Internet: The privately held, French company is not a new comer and boast an impressive client list in France. Their unique value proposition includes personalized consulting services, effectively avoiding the risk of "judge & jury" often found when the web agency developing the site is also the same reporting on site performance. I had also posted a review of AT Internet latest NX product.
  • KISSmetrics: the startup, which product is now available, is already sending very good vibes in the market. Crafted by experienced entrepreneurs and benefiting from strong financial backing, the fresh approach to web analytics promises to bring a powerful yet very intuitive interface specifically focused on people and conversion.

My take

Those are just a few players in the online analytics ecosystem - I didn't mention voice of customer players such as Kampyle or iPerceptions, or even very specialized tools such as Tynt or PostRank. As the market mature, larger players will continue to expend horizontally, aiming at acquisitions of complementary tools.

At the same time, nth generation vendors will come up with fresh alternatives that will bring a different perspective to such things as the tagging nightmare, real-time slicing & dicing capabilities, data integration and above all, a stronger business focus (as opposed to marketing-centricity).
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