(this is an archived post from the WASP blog)
In November 2011, iPerceptions analyzed the top 500 retail websites to determine how many were using web analytics tools. Online retailers are recognized leaders when it comes to integrating new web applications. A fast-growing, conversion-driven group, their choices often foreshadow those of other industries.
The analysis employed iPerceptions’ Web Analytics Solution Profiler (WASP) tool. Specifically, the homepages of the Internet Retailer Top 500 Retail Websites were loaded into the WASP Pro version crawler and produced detailed web analytics tool information for the 493 websites that were operational at the time of the study.
Similar analyses were performed in 2009 and 2010, providing us with 3 years worth of data from which to draw conclusions.
Some noteworthy changes in late 2010 and 2011, including major acquisitions by Adobe and IBM, as well as the launch of many new vendors and technology solutions, were taken into account within the results.
Retail Analytics Results
The use of clickstream analytics was nearly universal among retail websites in 2011. There has been a steady increase in usage over the last 3 years, as retailers relied more and more on clickstream data to make website and business decisions. Only 2% of retail websites were not using clickstream technology this year.
Use of Clickstream Analytics by Vendor
Among the dominant clickstream analytics vendors, Google was the only one to gain market share in 2011. Adobe (Omniture) and IBM (Coremetrics, Unica) maintained their retail website presence. IBM’s Coremetrics has declined in popularity, likely due to its acquisition of Unica. There has been a significant increase in the presence of “Other” vendors, including Quantcast, ComScore, SpecificMedia, Yahoo! and WebTrends.
Use of Web Analytics by Category
In addition to the increase in the use of clickstream analytics, there were notable increases for just about every other category of web analytics. In 2011, more than half of all retail websites used ad network tools (up from one third) and the use of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) more than doubled to 20%. Voice of Customer (VoC) tools, such as iPerceptions’ webValidator Continuous Listening Solution and 4Q Suite, gained significant market share, suggesting that retailers are putting a stronger emphasis on Voice of Customer and online customer experience measurement tools.
Use of Multiple Web Analytics
One of the biggest trends in 2011 was retail websites’ implementation of multiple vendors and tool types. Until this year, the use of more than one tool was unusual, with the majority of retailers making decisions based on a single source of information. The use of multiple tools nearly doubled between 2010 and 2011, as retailers began to realize the importance of addressing the entire website visitor experience.
Use of Web Analytics by Number of Tools
In 2010, retail websites that were using more than one web analytics tool were almost certainly using Google Analytics. This decreased in 2011, with other vendors and tools being selected as the secondary solutions of choice. It seems retailers are branching out and experimenting with other tools. 2011 also saw a substantial increase in the share of retailers employing 4 or more tools, up to 15%, versus 1% just one year ago.
Clickstream analytics has become a de facto standard for the retail industry and Google Analytics is still the reigning champ. That said, the use of other, lesser-known clickstream and other web analytics tools is increasing among retailers. Nearly two thirds of retail websites ran more than one tool, which is a major jump compared to last year when one tool seemed sufficient. Ad Network tools increased significantly in popularity in 2011, along with SEM and VoC.
Disclaimer: There is no guaranty that the results of this report are 100% accurate. Even though WASP detects over 300 web analytics tools, the nature and implementation of certain tags and the fact that WASP is only scanning the home page allow for the possibility that some solutions are not being accounted for. However, since the same detection methodology has been used for the past 3 years, any systemic bias has been accounted for.
Top Vendors by Category
- Ad Network
- DART Floodlight and Spotlight
- Google AdWords Conversion
- Google Analytics (GA)
- Adobe Omniture SiteCatalyst
- IBM Coremetrics and Unica
- comScore Scorecard Research
- Atlas Search
- Channel Advisor
- Clear Saleing
- Search Ingnite
- Tynt Insight
- BTB Buckets
- Google Website Optimizer (Control)
- Adobe Omniture Test & Target
- Visual Website Optimizer
- iPerceptions 4Q Suite and webValidator
- eDigital Research
- Foresee Results