Web Analytics – The Present & Future of Digital Marketing

In just about one week I’ll be taking my test to get certified in Google Analytics, and I won’t even undermine the fact that I’m completely nervous about it. The only things I’ve heard about the GAIQ exam are that it’s intense, long, and daunting, but completely worth it. The importance of being certified in Google Analytics shouldn’t be underestimated, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity I have to become certified and add such an accomplishment to my resume. Not only do I want to pass the GAIQ exam, I want to be able to say I mastered it. This certification is a specific one that I believe will set me apart from other candidates during my internship search for this upcoming summer, and my post-graduation job search as well.

Web Analytics is not only collecting, measuring and analyzing web data, but it’s being able to do something important with that information found. For marketing, it’s the perfect way to provide full integration and understand just where your target market’s media habits are. It also allows businesses to measure the effectiveness of their websites and other media outlets. While reading The Forrester Wave: Web Analytics, Q2 2014 written by James McCormick, I learned that there is now a trend of much more emphasis on businesses using web analytics and not only the technical, IT department of a company.  For marketing specifically, it holds true that web analytics is where the digital era is at, and any company that implements this practice is ahead of the rest. According to this article, there are 4 core functionality categories that are used to differentiate different Web Analytics Vendors. These include data management and availability, reporting and analysis functionality, integration support, and services and support; each with their own evaluation questions/criteria that should be considered. In James McCormick’s article, he explains evaluation process used to find the leading Web Analytics vendors as well as the outcomes. The 75 components that made up the evaluation criteria can be categorized into three groups

  • Current Offerings (data handling; metrics, dimensions, & correlations; reporting and analysis; application usability and administration; integration; and service & support)
  • Strategy (how well each vendor is positioned for success given their strategies)
  • Market Presence (evaluation of financial strength, client base, & employee base)

In the final assessment, only 6 vendors were left: Adobe, AT Internet, Google, IBM, SAS Institute, and Webtrends. Of these 6, McCormick explains how each of them possessed the following

  • A significant base of enterprise-class clients
  • A healthy, sizable business
  • Invested in the future success of the product

The data showed Adobe, AT Internet, IBM and Webtrends as being the leaders of Web Analytics. Google Analytics is able to offer a more competitive option while SAS Institute offers Analytics for existing customers.

So… with all of these options, why Google Analytics? It’s simple. Not only does Google Analytics integrate the full picture across different sources of media content, but also different media sources, such as differentiating between a tablet and a smartphone. GA can help a company break down the path their consumers take on their way to a purchase, as well as the device(s) used to get there. This can help a company decide whether their presence in one area is lacking, or if it’s just right across the board. Google Analytics also offers a feature called In-Page Analytics. This tool is useful for visually understanding how customers interact with a businesses web page. A business can then learn what each customer likes, and tailor their marketing strategies to get the most out of their media and spending. There are endless routes a customer could take to eventually make a purchase, and Google Analytics helps you figure out just what it was that made them think “Yep! I’m buying it!”

Through my own research, I found that 67% of Forbes 500 Companies used Google Analytics as of 2014. The vendors that followed are Adobe, Webtrends, IBM, and Other. In 2014, IBM had a 42.9% decrease in its use among Forbes 500 Companies. Google Analytics has been on the rise for the last few years and it doesn’t look like that will be slowing down anytime soon! All the more reason I’m excited about being GA certified – those are the kinds of bragging rights I’m looking for 🙂

Don’t just take my word for it – check out these other articles that helped give me an even better understanding of just how important and useful Google Analytics really is!

Measuring the Impact of Google Analytics

Google Analytics Success Stories

How Many Websites Use Google Analytics?


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