Do you often find yourself, standing in the confectionery isle of a supermarket, looking at around 7-10 different packets of biscuits, unsure of which to choose? The one with nuts, or the one with chocolate chunks, oh wait, what about the one with raisins & nuts? An odd analogy it may be, but it’s a similar situation when it comes to selecting a web analytics tool; which one do you choose? The one that’s free or the one that’s the most popular even though it may incur a cost to the business or the one which has the prettiest pictures? Well, to be honest, it could be any of those reasons but the main reason, the one which should really help you decide, is the tool which can be used to answer at least 80%, if not all of your business questions, such as:

  1. What is the online conversion rate?
  2. Which products are sold the most?
  3. Which products are viewed the most?
  4. Where are our customers coming from?
  5. How many visits did page x receive in the last week?

Every web analytics tool will offer you data for the volume of visits & page views, the level of bounce rates for aA few companies offering web analytics measurement toolsll pages, the type of visitors (new vs return), traffic sources (where the visitor has come from) and so on.

However,  the value comes from customising the tool by creating variables, reports and segments from which insight can be derived. Tools as such Google Analytics and Yahoo! Analytics are continuously being enhanced to provide such features for free. However, paid tools, such as Adobe and WebTrends  also offer similar features but are better equipped to help answer the most complicated business questions.  It is therefore highly recommended you first have a definitive list of business questions and then, according to those questions, decide whether a free tool can answer them or whether it would be better to invest in a paid tool.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, I like milk chocolate hobnobs – delish!