Dave McClure puts down the Facebook crackpipe to grok about Google Analytics and how it represents another layer of Google’s online marketing dominance. And Dave’s right – Dave and I talked extensively about this notion back at the Web Analytics Summit in SF back in May (just took Dave 2 months to write the post amazing). Analytics now drives everything marketing related online – the more and better analytics the easier it is to justify business and marketing decisions. So much so that when hiring for various marketing roles over the past few years, I have transitioned away from hiring folks with traditional marketing backgrounds or marketing degrees in favor of folks with economics degrees and backgrounds. It’s all about the math these days. Online marketing is a science.
And Google is killing it with the tools they are providing for FREE. Web analytics and multi-variate testing for free are very powerful tools for marketers of all stripes to figure out what works and doesn’t – small or large. I am an avid user of Google Analytics and having used Omniture, Unica and Webtrends over the years – Google Analytics compares very well with those other commercial offerings. Now is Google doing this out of the goodness of its heart? Heck-no! The better you understand the 50% of your marketing that works – the more you are going to spend on Google advertising and at higher CPC’s. What’s interesting is Google not only becoming the Search OS but potentialy also the Advertising OS?
At the same time, to what Dave Winer and I have blogged about with regards to Google’s acqusition of Feedburner does show up with Google Analytics. Google Analytics shares a lot of deep ties with Google Adwords. They make it very, very easy to track your Adwords campaigns performance but not very easy to track your Yahoo or Ask.com search spend (it’s possible but a major PITA). So if you are locked into Google Analytics (and to an extent you are because you can’t export the historical data – another example of lock-in theme that Dave Winer has been talking about recently) – you are likely going to biased to use Google Adwords over other search marketing programs. So though free, there is a cost as a user to using Google’s free advertiser tools.