The world of web site analytics is about to enter a competition over what will appear as the web marketing analytic system of record, says Matthew Berk, an independent analyst who specializes in web analytics technology.
"Right now it’s a struggle between business intelligence software, site analytics, e-mail analytics, search analytics, home-grown reporting" and other applications, says Berk, a former web technology analyst with Jupiter Research.
Berk says that one key trend he’s watching is better support for integrating marketing performance metrics into common application tools like Excel spreadsheets.
He adds that the web analytics industry is evolving in four stages: data reporting, correlating, optimizing and predicting. The first two of those stages, reporting and correlating, are already meeting many of the needs of online retailers, he says. "Many web site operators can still get great value by covering the basics of reporting and correlating," he says.
Meantime, analytics software vendors are already moving toward offering the final two stages of data optimizing and predicting in marketing analysis tools, he says. "Site analytics is really all about optimization," Berk says. "That’s where the ROI comes in."