WebSite analytics is big business, and getting bigger. Unfortunately, most companies still do not see how web analytics can “save” their websites. Which I just don’t get. In my speaking around the country, I always talk about the importance of analytics, how every decision about the site can be made from intelligence gained from the analytics. Yet, I always hear the same excuse, “It’s something I know I should be doing, but it seems boring.”

I think it comes down to two main issues:

1. People aren’t sure which questions to ask about their stats (which metrics matter).

2. People are overwhelmed by their stats as hundreds of charts and graphs aren’t intuitive.

I would always suggest learning more about stats and how to interpret that data. You’ll get every penny out of it in savings on your website. Usability problems can be uncovered by evaluating your site data, search engine effectiveness can be evaluated, market segments and trends can be uncovered, if you know where to look. Find where to look, and you will be rewarded.

Xavier points to the following events in the past few months:

“(1) Coremetrics’ $31M series D funding (company has raised $62M to date), which nicely prolongs a series of other impressive moves in the WA space – (2) WebSideStory’s Visual Sciences acquisition for $57M, (3) Omniture’s $40M round last year, and their plans to go public this year, (4) Google offering Urchin for free, thereby killing the lower end of the market, (5) Webtrends going back to being privately owned.”

This graph is very telling of no clear leader in the Analytics market, but yet significant growth:

Analytics Forecast and Market Share

What I don’t see is the amount of WebTrends sitting on the shelf. I talk to companies every week that have WebTrends, but either doesn’t know how to use it, are frustrated with it, or haven’t even installed it. Site stats seem to be one of the many contentions between marketing and IT departments, which causes one of the most critical elements of the marketing strategy to fail.

I am a big fan of ClickTracks, and I think they make the most of a marketer’s view of analytics. The more questions you have, the better information you can gather from the program. It is one of the most intuitive and easiest to set up programs, within 10 minutes of using it, you’ll see your site in a whole new light.