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Web Analytics Market Set to Explode

Figuring out who your Web site visitors are is essentially what Web analytics is all about. There are various levels of information-gathering available, from the basic log checking of click-stream analysis through complex data mining that reveals detailed profiles of users and their behavior.

It's a small but growing market, and IDC says it's poised for astonishing growth over the next few years. IDC expects Web analytics to mushroom from a $48 million industry in 1999 to $800 million in 2004. That works out to about 75 percent per year.

IDC also contends that the pure-play Web site analysis vendors that currently hold the lion's share of the market will be challenged by vendors in other analytics markets, including business intelligence and analytic applications.

"It is becoming clear that high-end pure-play product vendors will find it increasingly necessary to expand their functionality to encompass analysis of
non-Web site data," according to IDC analyst Dan Vesset.

Some major vendors of Web analytics software include WebTrends, Media Metrix, Accrue Software, SAS Institute, NetGenesis, E.phiphany and Microsoft.

Picking the right Web site analysis tool is an important consideration for an enterprise. They can be free or nearly free and take almost no time to set up, or cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and take months to implement. Howard Dresner, vice president and research director at GartnerGroup, says that you usually get what you pay for. Web analytics, he comments, "is not a panacea. If you're only doing click-stream you're suffering from business intelligence myopia. [Click-stream data] is valuable, yes, but complete, no. It's very limited in nature…with more information, the impact on the business is greater. For instance, you can do one-to-one marketing." - Keith Ward

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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