Google Analytics is a powerful tool that provides a ton of information and statistics that, if installed and interpreted correctly, will provide most of the answers you are seeking about your website’s strengths, weaknesses, and overall performance. So if Google Analytics is so great, and so free, why would anyone pay to utilize a website activity tracking program? Well, there are a couple of reasons that might make you decide to shell out some of your budget towards a paid tracking tool.
One major drawback to Google Analytics is that it does not store historical data for you. If your website, perhaps the coding or the tagging encounters problems or changes that interrupt Google Analytics, you can lose a lot of data. Forever. With a couple of paid programs out there, however, you can retrieve that lost info without problem.
On Linkedin a little while ago, I actually read a conversation about how the tagging on someone’s website had, for some unknown reason, been changed and as a result Google Analytics had stopped capturing data. They ended up losing a whole bunch of unrecoverable data.
At a conference a little while back, Tim Armstrong, SVP, Google, admitted that Google Analytics needed to improve upon capturing ROI. This is not new information; anyone that makes a living providing online marketing help can tell you that tracking and measuring ROI is not as easy as pasting some code on a client’s site. We also know that this is not an issue that is unique to Google Analytics. Every program out there has its strengths and weaknesses. I am hopeful that Google will improve Analytics ability to measure ROI soon. Until then, however, many of us are utilizing a combination of Analytics and other tracking programs to in an effort to provide data and ROI measurement to clients.