July 25, 2002, 12:00 AM

With web analytics, reporting takes precedence over analysis, Jupiter says

Web site operators have a long way to go to make best use of the information that web site analytics provide, says a report from Jupiter Research.

Web merchants are discovering that small improvements can make big differences, thanks to tools from a new generation of analytics software that pinpoints web site trouble spots and then validates the effects of change. Web site operators, though, have a long way to go to make best use of the information that analytics provide, says a report from Jupiter Research Inc., “Web Site Analytics: Aligning Measurement and Business Goals to Drive ROI.”

Jupiter reports that only about a third of web site operators use analytics to profile or segment their customers. The proportion of web sites that use analytics to perform various tasks breaks down as follows, according to Jupiter:
Path analysis: 56%
Site performance: 53%
Customer profiling/segmentation: 34%
Visitor technographics: 33%
Registration conversion: 28%
Marketing and partner effectiveness: 23%
Merchandising analysis: 18%

Further, most sites focus on reporting of the data rather than analyzing it, Jupiter says.

Analytics can be useful in determining where customers are jumping out without buying or otherwise getting hung up in the buying process. “I don’t know how you get an overall clear picture other than by using this type of tool,” says Kent Zimmerman, e-commerce director at sporting goods apparel retailer Finish Line Inc. “It’s an absolute reporting necessity today.”

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