outstandingPicking the right web analytics tool / vendor is perhaps one of the most critical decisions you'll make. Given the general struggle by all Practitioners in the ecosystem it is apparent that many end up making a less than optimal decision.

There are lots of different web analytics vendors comparison reports / blog posts / analyst reviews / hidden, or not so hidden, agenda pieces.

[sidebar] [update]

Here are a couple of blog posts you might find to be of value, as you are trying to decide which web analytics vendor to pick for your company.

[/sidebar] [/update]

When Eric requested me to be on the panel at the Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose it provided a interesting opportunity for me to think about the web analytics industry. You see the talk was part of the track: Analyzing The Analytics Players.

Creating any presentation is part labor of love and part scary adventure, this one was a bit more of the latter due to the many hats that I wear. Author, Blogger, Founder, Analytics Evangelist.

In the end it was both a huge challenge to evaluate each web analytics vendor and a lot of fun to see if I could do it in a way that was very different.

My chosen methodology was to strip away all the marketing spin and micro-nuanced pages and pages of complexity – where everyone ends up having every feature – if only after paying enough or implementing "special" code (while standing on your hands and making a omelette and solving the Iraq problem all at the same time).

colbert soundbites complexmadesimple

I call it the soundbite methodology. Take away everything so that you are just left with the essence. Two sentences that try to do justice by capturing the most essential thought.

The result, I think, is a interesting presentation that, I think, you'll find to be of value, regardless of how long you've been in the field and regardless of which vendor you like or work with. In this post I want to share that presentation with you in a screencast format.

Here is what the video contains:

  • Brief introduction to the talk & yours truly.
  • Overview of how clickstream data is collected.
  • One big problem (and three challenges) that are driving vendors in new directions.
  • Comparison of web analytics vendors / tools (Omniture, WebTrends, CoreMetrics, WebSideStory / Visual Sciences, Indextools, Unica, ClickTracks, Google Analytics & Microsoft).
  • Parting thoughts: a call to action, standards rock.

And here are some caveats:

  • Running time is 47 mins 44 seconds.
  • If from the tone of my voice it sounds like I made the video in one sitting in the middle of the night then it is true. :) 0127 hrs to be precise, I am sure you'll forgive the lack of quality production.
  • You might not agree with some, or all, of it. I request you to give it a listen and you know where to find the feedback/comments form. :)

Here is the first version of the video, a high resolution version.

Flash player 7 or better is required to view this content.

You can play / pause using the controls. To skip forward simply click on the long strip you see after the stop button.

Here is the second version from Google Video. You know what to do with this one (although because of quality I do encourage you to give the above version a try):

If you want to download the video visit the Google Video site and you'll find a handy download button there.

If you would like to embed the video on your website / blog then visit the Google Video site and click the blue "Email – Blog – Post to MySpace" button and then click on the "Embed HTML" link. Copy / paste the code into any html document and you are in business.

I would very much love to have your feedback on any aspect of it (production quality, value of the content, positions taken, what's there, what's not there….).

What do you all think? Please share your perspectives, critique, brickbats via comments.

[Like this post? For more posts like this please click here, if it might be of interest please check out my book: Web Analytics: An Hour A Day.]

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