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(this is an archived post from the WASP blog)

In January 2010, iPerceptions ran an analysis of 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. Using iPerceptions’ WASP Market Research, we fed the Internet Retailer Top 500 Retail Web Sites into the WASP crawler, and based our results on the 458 sites that were operational. Last January, Stéphane Hamel, founder of Immeria, wrote “An Immersion in Analytics” after conducting a similar study of the same sites. His results form our 2009 data.


In the last year, the use of clickstream analytics tools rose by 10% in the online retail space. External research confrmed a 9% growth in clickstream analytics technology in 2009, which suggests that technological growth is in line with market consumption.

Breakdown by Vendor

When the results were broken down by vendor, the use of Google Analytics increased by 19% — more than twice as much as the next leading vendor. Google Analytics is a free product, unlike the ones from Omniture and Coremetrics, which surely accounted for at least some of its growth. Among paid products, Omniture gained the most ground through 2009, confrming that these tools have a great deal of value.

Is one tool enough?

% of the Top 500 Sites Running Clickstream Analytics by Number of Tools

In the last year, the share of retail websites running more than one clickstream analytics tool increased by 9%, begging the question— why is one tool not enough? Are retailers comparing results from multiple tools to ensure accuracy of the data? Or, does no existing product satisfy all retailing analytics needs?

In January 2010, online retailers who were using more than one tool were almost certainly using Google Analytics. Results suggest that Google Analytics is the easy (and fnancially justifable) choice among retailers, but it is not always the frst choice among customers who are looking for specifc functionality and can afford it.

Other website tools

The second most popular tool, after clickstream analytics, was an advertising network (Ad network), used by approximately one-third of online retailers to host ads. Testing tools, such as Google Website Optimizer and Omniture Test and Target, came in third, followed by Search Engine Marketing (SEM) tools, such as ChannelAdvisor and comScore. Voice of Customer (VOC) tools, such as iPerceptions’ webValidator and 4Q Survey, were used by 8% of retailers (incidentally, a signifcantly higher use compared to other industry sites). Targeting, such as Amadesa, and Recorder tools, such as ClickTale have low adoption rates in this market. Social sharing tools, such as RPX and AddThis, are also on the rise, with more sites wanting to integrate social media components, liaise with social media/networking sites, and generally create a sense of community.


Running clickstream analytics tools is becoming increasingly important for major online retailers. Google Analytics is the most popular tool, and has gained signifcant market share. Still, there is evidence that paid products still have a safe hold. Based on the premise that retail websites predict behavior in other industries, the use of additional analytics tools will continue to gain momentum. Finally, as clickstream tools reach market saturation and retailers reach the limit of insights gain through these tools, they will increasingly turn to other analytics solution such as Testing, SEM, VoC to enhance the effciency and quality of their online experience.