Robust enterprise web analytic platform is a must if you work in a large enterprise filled with complex SQL/Oracle databases, CRM solutions and advanced data warehouse reporting systems. Google’s analytics team has added a lot of bells and whistles into its free analytics solution that most paid analytics lack. However, I still think GA has to cover a lot of ground areas before they can compete head to head with enterprise solutions.
Large number of enterprise use Google Analytics but mostly as a backup solution.
We will discuss five key reason why you need an enterprise paid web analytics platform if you truely are an analytics ninja.
#1. Multichannel Analytics Integration – Web analytics has evolved from being a niche segment of the online marketing world to becoming a big piece of the marketing optimization pie. Web analytics in 2011 is all about multi channel analytics. Offline marketing, partner and referral marketing systems are being integrated with web analytics tools and systems to provide a holistic view of the marketing & sales performance.
With the availability of sophisticated systems such as call tracking, QR codes, Google’s click to call, and new advancement in mobile technology it has become a lot easier to connect offline data with online.
Adobe Omniture offers Omniture Genesis and IBM Coremetrics offers Coremetrics Connect solutions to integrate with third party enterprise systems such as Salesforce, Marketo, Exact Target, Commission Junction, Instant Service, Mediaplex, and many more. These integrations allow quicker offline and/or third party data connections with regular online analytics allowing multichannel analysis and reporting.
#2. Customer Support – Customer support is one of the most critical pieces of analytics service offering. Starting from the implementation, development support and all the way to regular maintenance support can make the life of an enterprise analyst lot easier.
In my analytics career, there have been several instances of issues that could not have been resolved without analytics service provider support. Getting support from the free analytics provider is nearly impossible.
Back in May 2011 there was a popular issue with Google Analytics where all the April 2011 data for advanced segment disappeared. Users logged multiple help forum posts, and I personally logged a help forum post. The problem was resolved within 48 hours because it was impacting large set of users. Google updated the status on its analytics status dashboard.
You will face these issues with analytics software as with any other SaaS applications making customer support extremely important.
#3 Custom Metrics – Most web analytics solutions are equipped with the popular metrics, but your organizational complexities will often require you to create custom metrics. Small calculations like task completion rate, ROI, and goal to visit are critical for decision-making process. Custom metrics allows you to convert your organizational KPIs into web metrics that you can measure across timelines.
Additionally, you can mix and match various standard metrics to create your own version of combination metrics to measure intricate details of your visitor site behavior.
Omniture Discover offers “Calculated metrics” option to allow users to create customer metrics on the fly and apply to standard and custom reports.
Coremetrics also offers “Calculated Metric” option to allow users to build calculated metrics. The “calculated metrics can be use across standard and custom report metrics from third party integrations.
#4 Campaign Attribution – Unless your marketing efforts are only focused on one channel your visitors are bound to use multiple channels, including the offline channels to visit your website and convert. It is becoming extremely important to not only understand the search intent but also to dissect deeper on the visitor path to conversion. Savvy marketers will always try to find out the most efficient channel to invest in order to maximize ROI.
Visitors may see a display ad, search for the brand name and at a later date visit the website by typing the URL and convert. Google Analytics will mark this conversion as direct traffic because of the last click attribution. You may apply filters and hacks to pull the first click or the average click attribution but in most cases, the data is limited with Google Analytics. You can also use API and try to mess around with this data in a third party tool.
This is painful because I firmly believe that a web analyst should spend most of their time coming up with actionable recommendations rather than building databases and reports. Leave the job for building databases to Data Warehouse engineers. Let them worry about running query and programming APIs.
IBM Coremetrics is currently the only web analytics system that offers first, average and last click attribution as a part of their default analytics package. You can measure the success of your campaigns based on its attribution and contribution to conversion. You can optimize your campaign based on where it lies within the conversion path and do proactive budgeting to maximize returns.
Here is a screenshot of the Coremetrics Analytics user interface with first, last and average click attribution over 180 days for orders generated through multiple marketing channels. As you may notice, display traffic converts slightly less on the last click vs first click. Organic search traffic conversion is higher in the middle bucket (average click) because most users use the organic search for researching the brand or the product / services.
#5 Multi-dimensional time line – You can easily compare two periods / data at one time using most analytics solutions but what if you really want to understand the trends over multiple time periods. The only tool that offers this functionality is Omniture Discover where you can compare any metrics (including custom metrics) over multiple time periods. This is one of my most favorite features as it significantly improves analytics productivity.
Discover allows you to take any time frame and compare that to 3,4 or 10 different historical time lines so you can immediately identify patterns and trends accurately. The screen shot below shows an example of visitors to the website over four time span.
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