Web analytics is a tool that studies the impact of a website on the users. It measures, collects, analyzes and reports web data to understand and optimize web usage. Web analytic software is used to determine whether sites and pages are working correctly. Website publishers use this software to measure specific details such as number of visitors, number of unique visitors, method of direction to the site, keywords searched on the search engine, time spent on the site, links clicked on the site, etc. There are two types of web analytics; off-site and on-site web analytics. Off-site web analytics refers to analysis and web measurement of the Internet as a whole. On-site web analytics measures a visitor's behavior on the user’s own website, including its drivers and conversions and thereby measures the website’s performance in a commercial context. Some of the key application areas include business and market research, online advertising, behavioral targeting, global traffic management, digital rights management, online fraud detection, personalization and others.
Enhancement of marketing activities to remain at par with the competitors in the present competitive environment is one of the key drivers to the growth of this market. Companies need to track their website’s performance and improve their marketing. Companies are also keen to understand the geographic distribution of their customers in order to alter their marketing strategies accordingly. Web analytics helps in a better understanding of user demographics. Increase in the demand of mobile analytics is expected to be another crucial market driver. Proliferation of smartphones has led to the increase of traffic to websites through mobile devices. Many marketers use smartphones in their campaigns which consequently increases website traffic. Apple’s iPhones, however, direct consumers to applications instead of websites which may result in a slight decline of mobile analytics. There is a shortage of skilled labor which can be a restraint to the growth of this market. Analysis and comprehension of the results obtained from web analytics requires high expertise and skill.
Key vendors include Google Analytics, Omniture Inc., Webtrends Corp., and Yahoo Analytics among others. Google Analytics is aimed at marketers as opposed to technologists and webmasters who were initially targeted by the web analytics industry. It generates detailed website traffic statistics. It also determines the source of the traffic by tracking visitors from all referrers including direct visits, search engines, social networks and other sources. Additionally, it also helps to measures conversions and sales.
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