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May 06, 2008

Web Analytics Madness

Yahoo jumped at the opportunity to purchase Index Tools; an analytics provider that charges a relatively small fee to each client to track the hits and conversions going their sites. Yahoo has announced that they will start providing Index Tools free of charge to some users.

Google bought an analytics company, Urchin, several years ago in order to provide this sort of tracking. By offering it free they were able to attract more advertisers. Google Adwords Conversion Tracking, while distinct from Google Analytics, has seen recent improvements as well.

Index Tools and Google Analytics are worlds apart in appearance and user-interface, but as far as functionality, there is very little difference between the two. Google presents more aesthetic looking graphs, while Index Tools makes it easier to cross more data variables on user charts, but the virtually all the same information is accessible through either one.

Acquiring a comparable analytics provider will make them much more attractive for the future, but Google’s upgrades will make it tough still. Google Adwords Conversion Tracking is now able to track more than one type of conversion for the same client. This is phenomenal step forward. Many advertisers want to track when users fill out a standard form or a form for information, but the ability to track both was limited. Each user could only be counted once, but each form was counted as a transaction. Using that format an advertiser could determine how many users had completed both forms, they could not determine which form had been filled out if they were individual form conversions. Google Analytics could be used for this purpose, but the process to do so was time consuming and cumbersome.

Google Analytics has recently started beta testing the ability to track information by different time periods as well; hourly/daily/weekly. While the daily and weekly will save time when creating a report, the hourly reports are the best advancement out of the lot. Previously, one could track all kinds of data for the different times of the day such as clicks, but the conversions weren’t displayed hourly. That means that it was difficult to tell the conversion rates at different times of the day. For a PPC Specialist, the conversion rates are crucial. Let’s hope this offering comes out of beta-testing ASAP.

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