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Should you use a paid-for analytics tool?

Alex Christie

26 October 2011

Webtrends vs Google Analytics – a short comparison

With continuous advancements to free web analytics tool like Google Analytics, it’s often wise to ask the question: when is the right time to pay for paid analytics tools such as Webtrends or Omniture? And is it worth spending that much money on these expensive tools when small or medium size companies can easily get what they want from free tools like Google Analytics?

From a top-line perspective, having a paid tool like Webtrends usually provides additional features that you wouldn’t get with free tools like Google Analytics. This obviously allows analysts like myself to off more indepth analysis of a site’s data – though a lot of hardcore Google Analytics users will tell you that these additional features make very little difference when it comes to website analytics. So what is the truth?

What does a paid tool (Webtrends) do that an unpaid tool (Google Analytics) doesn’t?

Real-time data: Webtrends allows real-time collection of data, to display and evaluate of key metrics and KPIs

Story View: This means taking your analytics reports and turning them into be short narrative for emails, company presentations etc

Cross-domain tracking: Webtrends allows cross domain tracking of your website visitors across several different domains.

Site metrics Review: Webtrends allows reviewing site metrics in live Excel report, taken from live feeds.

It should be noted that unpaid tools often claim to do a lot of stuff that Webtrends can, but a lot of time it isn’t necessarily as easy or straight forward to do for all type of organisations.

I am personally in favour of using an excellent unpaid tool than spending money on something which is so expensive. However, regardless of what tool to be used, the more important focus should be on investing in people who know how to interpret the data and provide valuable analysis for decision makers to make changes and improve the websites.

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