Choosing a Web Analytics Solution

December 26, 2008

As I mentioned in my last post, my first task was to find a web analytics solution. So let me get this straight, I need to find a web analytics solution and I do not know anything about web analytics or even which tools are the best ones to look at. So where do I start. Since this was several years ago and the web analytics landscape was slightly different than it exists today and most of the web analytics tools where still separate companies at that time. Here are the following steps that I took to help select a web analytics tools:
1. Sit down with the business owners (Marketing and IT in our company) and find out what they wanted to know about the site.
2. Go to Forrester Research and see who they listed at the top 10 web analytics companies.
3. Go to each of the sites and read more information about each of the sites solutions.
4. After reading more information, I cold called 6 of the 10 companies
a. Omniture, Coremetrics, Fireclick, Web Side Story, Net Tracker, Web Trends
5. Talked to the sales rep for each of the companies and ask them the business questions from the business owners.
6. Narrowed down the list of 6 down to 4 based on the answers that I felt would best answer the business questions and set up a demo for the 4 remaining companies.
a. Omniture, Coremetrics, Fireclick, Web Side Story

After we went through all of the demos for the four companies, I meet with the business owners to get their feedback. After the initial meeting, we eliminated another company (Fireclick). We then went through another demo with the remaining three companies. I meet with the business owners again and after the second demo, we could not decide on which company to go with. At this point, I asked each of the vendors if I could get access to a demo account so I play with the tool for a little while and run some basic reports. Each of the companies were very accommodating with this request and gave me access to a demo account for as long as I needed it. After using the demo accounts for each of the companies and meeting with the business owners again, we eliminated one more company (Web Site Story). At this point, it was down to Omniture and Coremetrics (which seems to happen a lot, even today). During the next several weeks, after playing with the demos more, we had a lot of questions come up and I called each of the companies with my questions. One of the companies did a better job answering my questions in a timely manner. Since I was working for a small eCommerce company at the time, customer service was very important to us and we had the same expectations of all of our vendors and if one vendor was going to take around a week to answer my questions, that was not acceptable to us. Since we were very impressed by both tool sets, we went with the company that had the better customer service at that time. We ultimately went with Coremetrics. Of course, at that time Omniture was organized slightly differently and they were not prepared to deal with a company of our small size, while Coremetrics was better fit to do so.

You will notice a common theme throughout this post, meeting with the business owners. I had to first find out what questions we wanted to answer before I could find the best tool for our company. Then I continuously met with the business owners to make sure the tools we were looking at were going to meet out business objectives. Obviously, there are a lot more web analytics tools than we looked, some of which did not exist then and some of which did exist. Really, you need to make sure you pick a tool for your site that best fits your business objects; whether that is an Omniture, Coremetrics, Click Tracks, or Google Analytics.

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