Many web site owners use a “free” analytics software program to monitor of their website’s traffic. For example, our clients use Google Analytics, which is currently free from Google. Google’s benefit from offering this, of course, is the wealth of data it gets from all the sites it provides Analytics for. This is no small thing for a company that develops software for use in the next generations of the Internet and “connectivity”.
Anyone that has used Google Analytics over the past several years can recall how it has changed. There are many new capabilities for segmenting the web traffic to a site with an Analytics account, there are additional ways to share that data, and there are data elements, such as keyword, that have diminished in value to the point of not being useable.
And it has all been free from Google unless you’ve had the $150,000 for Google Premium.
Clearly most businesses won’t be able to afford $150K on their website alone, let alone for measuring the results of their web activity. Also, clearly, there’s an opportunity for better tiering of pricing with Google Analytics, and at some point we can expect it.
There are items that the free version of Google Analytics do not provide very well that could be quite attractive in a paid model, especially when you consider statistical content that is available also in Google’s Adwords and Webmaster Tools. In addition to keyword search in general, there are the regional capabilities of search (if you were a plumber, wouldn’t it be great to know how your site ranked and results for the term “plumber” in your metropolitan area?), there is better network and IP tracking possibilities, etc.
So this post is really just a word to the wise – you should expect at some point to be paying for your web site’s analytics software/programs – because you’ll want the quality and the capabilities of the data available at that point. This isn’t a call to worry you that the free version will disappear – just that there’s more data and tools that you are going to want, and at some point you should expect to pay for it.