Analyzing Web Analytics for CRM

DoubleClick's exit from the Web-analytics space will have lasting impact on the marketplace, according to industry analysts, but not because of a major shift in market leadership. Instead, the benefits will be derived from a renewed focus on the value of analytics overall, helped in part by a consolidation of sales efforts among a shrinking number of vendors. According to estimates by Bob Chatham, principal analyst at Forrester Research, DoubleClick's SiteAdvance holds no more than 2.5 percent of the market--and came in last among Forrester's ranking of the top-14 analytics vendors' current offerings. The immediate impact on the industry may be small. Eric Peterson, an analyst at Jupiter Research, says the competitive landscape will remain fierce: "The feature-function battle is so intense that anytime anyone rolls out a fairly good piece of functionality, the others come out with something similar fairly quickly." Omniture, for example, recently announced SiteCatalyst 11, the latest version of the product to which SiteAdvance customers will be given the option of migrating. With one less competitor out there, analytics vendors are licking their chops. "It takes another person out of the market," says John Squire, vice president of product management for Coremetrics. "DoubleClick has decided they didn't have the resources or the development time line [to keep up]." There's a reason the demands grew burdensome, Squire says. "The Web-analytics industry has transformed from just looking at individual hits...[and] whether they're the same visitor or unique new visitors," he says. "Now vendors can define how well you're doing, [and] whether you're meeting unique individual customer needs. It's becoming imperative for [companies] to have a good analytics tool to see how they're driving their brand." Peterson says that particular industries are better positioned to capitalize on Web analytics, specifically those with high levels of transactional business, such as financial services and retail. According to Coremetrics' Squire, companies in those industries derive as much as 80 percent of the information they have on customers by analyzing customers' activity on their corporate Web sites. DoubleClick President David Rosenblatt tells CRM magazine, "analytics products are really two parts," each measuring a very different thing: customer behavior and the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. The deal with Omniture, Rosenblatt says, will prove the value of integrating Web-site behavioral analytics with the execution of marketing campaigns. DoubleClick's selection of SiteCatalyst was in part an appreciation of Omniture's overall approach. "They're focused on both merchants and publishers," he says, while other analytics players tend to focus only on merchants. In the end, Peterson says, companies looking to any
analytic vendor need to keep in mind that the software's "not that easy to use, [and even then] it's hard to know what to do with the data." He estimates that fewer than 20 percent of the companies that have invested in Web measurement have truly maximized the potential benefits. Regardless of what vendor they end up with, he adds, "companies should push themselves to find and get the full value of analytics." Related article: DoubleClick to Abandon Web Analytics
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