Back in 2005 Google acquired a great little analytics company, Urchin and shortly afterwards shook up the web analysis world by offering the previously chargeable product for free. It’s progress over the last 5 years has been one of Google’s great success stories and around half of the respectable commercial sites in the world use the application to provide web analytics. It’s great. Except that as features have been added it has got progressively more complex to use. But does it need to be this complex that you have to hire Accenture to provide you with the clarity to read GA results? Google think so and started an Analytics Authorised Consultant programme to provide support, skills and management to accompany it’s free application.
I don’t think it needs to be that complex. True, most organisations will have some specific needs but 90% of the needs of most marketers should be simple to provide in an easy-to-digest application as most really only need to know:
# Which traffic streams generate what business and how much does that cost
# What is the conversion rate for each of the traffic streams and calls-to-action
# What’s the availability of the web service like and how does the outside world see it’s performance
# How are my A/B tests going, winners and losers please
# If I am using profiling on the web what are the relative performance metrics for each of the profiles
# Some historical reporting on overall performance
Google does indeed do most of this and if you had the time and inclination you could learn how to use the systems and pick out the 10 or so important metrics. Many marketers don’t. This is further hampered by the self-serving approach of most GA Authorised Consultants, as we all know that the first recommendation a consultant makes it order more consultancy!
This has been bugging us (and our clients) for a while so we’re in the process of developing a simpler web performance tool that focusses on the needs of marketers. We’re not suggesting you dump GA quite yet, merely that you consider a simpler, clearer approach to understanding web performance. KISS.