Articles Comments

» Web Analytics » With Looming Recession, Will High Priced Web Analytics Be A Thing of The Past?

With Looming Recession, Will High Priced Web Analytics Be A Thing of The Past?

Not to sound like a pessimist with a recession looming, but with all of the signals of a significant cut in advertising spend as well as resulting layoffs in the Newspaper Industry, see news article on Philly Newspapers announce layoffs from WPVI Channel, companies are going to eventually look to cutting back on online expenses, and instead of cutting PPC spend, they should re-evaluate whether the high cost analytics companies such as Omniture, WebTrends, Atlas and others are really worth keeping around. Let’s discuss….

We need to watch the other Media Channels:
I think that with major newspapers laying off employees due to a continuous drop in Ad Revenues is a significant downward trend that all online marketers need to pay attention to. It’s just a matter of time until these changes will start effecting the online world. It is inevitable. Now, with that said, I would think that cutting $2k – $10k/month in just analytics/reporting costs would be the first to go. Furthermore, I am not recommending getting rid of analytics, In fact, I am suggesting shopping for a lower cost solution that will give you want you need and hence enable you to either keep the extra cash or put that money back in your online ad spend. PPC spend is only going to get higher, so now is the time to start thinking about how and where your budget should be allocated.

The Benefit of going with a Lower Cost Analytics Solution:
Let’s face it, do you really need 1,000 ways to look at data, or find (1) or (2) good ways that make sense to you and your business. Why come out of pocket for fancy "bells and whistles" that you may not pay much attention to when you can focus on the reports that give you what really  matters to your business such as ROI%, ROAS%, CPA and basic attribution and traffic data of all other "tracked" online media vehicles.

Web Analytics is here to stay, just not the "over priced" ones:
With the increased market share of PPC spend in the world, tracking the performance of every penny will never go away. However, the magnitude of high priced dashboards, bid automation, and fancy rules sets, as well as manual "dicing and massaging" of data maybe on the fringe of  non-existence. I know this is a strong statement to make and will have some negative responses to this, but this is in effect all about simplifying the data and lessening the monthly cost of getting overloaded with too much data that honestly doesn’t make an impact on your business.

Here’s the Bottom line:
Knowing what is profitable vs. not profitable is more important than how many lbs. of Hypo Allergenic Dog Food was sold on a Thursday vs. Dog Collars on a Friday. Get the point! In my "tunneled view", Analytics is about enabling us to make decisions that are much more intelligent than just "winging it". I get the sense from some analytics companies who pride themselves on putting on "too good to be true" powerpoint presentations where they want to look "smarter" than anyone else. Problem. Acting smart DOES NOT make it important.

When shopping for a new car, are you going to buy one that comes with a LCD TV, a toaster and a microwave. Of course not. The car makers could accommodate it for you (why?), but it’s gonna cost you extra and all that could matter to you is gas mileage, safety and four wheel drive. After writing this analogy, I often think of the Simpson’s Episode "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" when Homer is given the job to create the car of his dreams. In the end, that "dream car" which had all of these "bells & whistles" actually ruined his brother’s company. I know, bad example, but I think it proves the point.

Filed under: Web Analytics

3 Responses to "With Looming Recession, Will High Priced Web Analytics Be A Thing of The Past?"

  1. Let’s hope that high-priced analysts don’t become a thing of the past.
    Though I believe in the power of the Omni-present analytic providers, the majority of online companies are not suited internally to harness the benefits that those tools provide. An analytical culture needs to be established. The free and low-tier tools are more than suitable in creating the proper environment for analysis to thrive. Of course, too many executives are willing to buy a “Homer” before they see what the actual product will be.

  2. Alex says:

    Hey Greg,
    That *is* a good episode of the Simpsons.
    There are different classes of analytics tools, usually divided by entry level, mid-market and enterprise class.
    Like Avinash advocates in his book, I strongly encourage company’s to start with a free or cheap tool. That way, they can quickly discover what their business questions are. Then they are in a better position to determine the right tool to answer those questions.
    There are genuine differences among tools. For example, Google Analytics does not currently allow you to import cost data from other engines (or, rather, they don’t let Google). That is a notable limitation for search marketers. Omniture, on the other hand, has trouble aggregating all referring sources in one report.
    I think the moral of the story here is that good results require people, process and tools. As more money flows online, people are demanding accountability. I believe the smart ones will make wiser investments in each area.

  3. jamesgilmoursimpson says:

    Great post – and spot on;
    I like working with masses of data as much as the next guy – however I have found that one of the most effective and foundational analytic tools you need is simple page/site rank tracking.
    I have settled on using , because I can create projects with differents sets of keywords, url’s and search engines – and graphically view the ranking results over time. As I try different SEO tactices & methods – I use these graphs to asses the material impact in rankings.
    This wont help you with conversion and ROI – but it is a simple first step that many people overlook.

Leave a Reply