Web analytics is one of, if not the most important emerging Marketing technologies in the modern marketing environment, but because it is still a relatively new focus, the web analytic tools offered by companies are still being refined. Forrester’s analysis of the top 6 companies in the digital intelligence industry show that at the moment there are some clear leaders in the field, and some innovators who are quickly gaining ground.
Forrester identified Adobe, AT Internet, IBM and Webtrends as the current leaders of the industry, but each company handles their web analytics a little differently, with each giving the service a unique positioning within their product lineup. Adobe and IBM both group web analytics with their broad suite of marketing software, and are renown for their enterprise capabilities.
As the industry expands, not every firm will offer the same exact analysis package. I predict that through 2015, firms will begin to target specific areas of the business world and tweak their analysis to be the most beneficial to a specific customer base. Whether it is a more simple, straightforward analytics package for a recently-founded small business website, or an all-encompassing package for a fortune 500 company. Web analytics companies will be able to cater to the specific needs of their customers.
One of the biggest areas of potential use of web analytics is predicting the effect of marketing. As more data is gathered, stored and interpreted, the easier it will be for analytic programs to predict the outcome of a proposed form of marketing based on past events and conditions. For example, a company wants to know which type of advertisement would attract the most attention to their website, so they run each potential ad through the program, which then predicts which will have greatest effect on customers based on past promotions. This type of program could greatly improve the marketing process but it must also account for the ever changing needs and wants of consumers.
In my opinion, the current leaders in this market have the most to lose. Although they won’t necessarily lose the business they already have, I believe they will lose potential customers as more and more companies offer web analytics packages. Customers who choose to go with the current leaders of the industry might receive their suite of marketing tools and software, and become overwhelmed by it all. These programs might make sense to people in the industry who received the proper training on how to interpret the data presented by web analytics, but to someone who is just starting a business it can seem like another language.