Businesses bolstering web analytics with staff and strategy investment

10th Jun 2010

After years of focusing too much of their web analytics budgets on technology, organisations are finally waking up to the need for more effective strategy development and investment in building up staff expertise.

These are the findings of a survey undertaken among 600 companies and agencies by digital marketing advisors Econsultancy and online analytics consultancy, Lynchpin. The study revealed that technology now accounts for only about 30% of most respondents’ web analytics expenditure, down from 38% last year.

Instead, investment on internal staff resources now accounts for about 53% of the total, up from 42% in 2009, while the balance is made up by spend on consulting and services.

Andrew Hood, Lynchpin’s managing director, said: "A recurring theme of previous survey results has been that getting value from analytics is just as much about people as technology. It’s good to see that now starting to play out in terms of increasing investment in analysts from a skills and headcount perspective, but budgets and resourcing are still holding this back."

Such constraints are currently a fact of life for 57% of those questioned, up from 45% last year, indicating that the situation only appears to be getting worse. According to agencies, the biggest barrier to expenditure in terms of devising an effective online measurement strategy remains lack of understanding by clients, although the problem is less widespread than last year.

The third annual ‘Online Measurement and Strategy Report’, meanwhile, also indicated that the most popular paid-for web analytics tool was Omniture’s (used by 39% of respondents). Unsurprisingly, the most prevalent freebie was Google Analytics (employed by 87%), with 38% saying that it was the only tool they used, up from 23% last year.

According to Linus Gregoriadis, Econsultancy’s research director, this increased use of free software combined with the rising "commoditisation" of the web analytics market was resulting in paid-for vendors boosting the functionality of their offerings to include business performance tools such as multi-variate testing and optimisation.

Such tools are now used by 26% of respondents, with two-thirds of this category reporting a definite bottom line improvement as a result.

Nearly three quarters of those questioned also used some kind of tool to measure their online reputation and social media activity, while just over half had paid for media planning and competitor analysis services. Despite the growing importance of the mobile channel, however, only 12% were prepared to pay for suitable analytics tools here.


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