Wednesday, October 22, 2008

eMetrics: Google Analytics now more enterprise sassy!

Right from the eMetrics Washington D.C. floor, Avinash Kaushik just announced new features for Google Analytics. Hold on to your hats, as I said earlier, the wind is changing!
  • UI improvements: Minor visual refreshes to “makes it look better” as Avinash puts it (ok... nice)
  • Account management: New account management interface, snapshot of all your sites KPIs and easier multiple-account management (quite useful)
  • Integration: new Ad Sense integration (just makes sense!)
  • Data visualization: bubble motion charts showing 3 dimensions over time! Overall, you can play with 5 dimensions of data at the same time! (this one is really cool!)
  • Custome reporting! As Avinash puts it, “web analytics is intensely personal”, so you can now drag & drop any metrics and create your own reports
  • Advanced segmentation: just as with custom reports, create live segments on the fly!
  • Historical data: everything announced above is available with your historical data
  • API: the long awaited Google Analytics API is finally available. Yeah! So obviously, this also includes feeding Google Analytics custom variables

Raising the bar

As the entry-level bar is raising, (and boy! did it raise today!) the mid-product market will get squeezed and will have a harder time competing with “free” and “more powerful”. Without the same level of resources and visibility Google has, and in face of the actual economic situation, lots of players are doomed. In Europe, where there are lots of smaller web analytics vendors, the value offer might include strong benefits such as awesome service and focus on the local environment characteristics. Otherwise, good luck...

Pushing the envolope

At the same time, innovations in the higher-end of the spectrum will be harder to come by, forcing those vendors to expand horizontally. We already see that happening with Omniture’s purchasing frenzy. At one point however, the “suite” approach will tip on the toes of much larger fishes (as Gartner’s Bill Grassman put it during his Industry Insight presentation) and might eventually become to pray to BI, or more likely, top retail engines, portals and CMS’s.

The Big 3

However, Google isn’t alone with a great “free” and “powerful” solution. We have to admit Yahoo! Analytics (formerly IndexTools) will be a contender in the hearts of web analysts. While speaking with Dennis Mortensen, founder of IndexTools, we touched on the difference in approach between the two companies. Just as Google is using Google Analytics hook people on spending more on ads, Yahoo! is also seeking customers who will be engaging with value-added services such as Yahoo! Store. For the 3rd player, Microsoft Gatineau, I must admit I’m not too sure it’s really picking up and what's the strategy there.