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Google introduces free website analytics tool

Google introduces free website analytics tool

Wednesday, December 14, 2005 16:54

Google has just launched its new statistical analysis tool, Google Analytics, which allows users to see how site visitors interact with their website and how well advertising campaigns are working. Based on the Urchin web statistics software that Google acquired in March, this new, free tool will shake up the website analytics market.


Prior to November 2005, Urchin was a market leading software package providing in-depth data on website usage. It originally cost users $495 per month, which was reduced to $199 per month following Google’s acquisition. It has now been made available free of charge!

Website owners can therefore now have access to a top-level full analytics package for free. It offers a host of features that allow site owners to track referral traffic, to monitor site visits, page views and length of time on the site. Google Analytics is available to anyone who can add the small piece of tracking code to each page of their website and then view that data online. However, there are some limitations to usage in this format and so to get the best from this tool, website owners will ideally be running a Google AdWords account.

In this format, a new interface allows AdWords advertisers to track their online advertising activity from all sources – including other PPC providers – and to differentiate visits and actions between paid and non-paid search traffic. You can also use cost data for these campaigns to calculate ROI (Return on Investment) from each source.

So why has Google introduced this product? Firstly, it wants to take advantage of its acquisition of Urchin. But to offer it for free? This will potentially destroy the market for established web statistics providers like WebTrends, LiveStats and ClickTracks as website owners migrate to this new tool. Google also wants to encourage more companies to sign up to Adwords and they are probably pre-empting the type of analysis tools that are expected from MSN’s new PPC service next year. In addition, Google will also be collecting a huge amount of data with this tool, that can be used at the general level for traffic analysis, market profiling and further product development.

In the first week of this tool being launched, the service crashed through overuse, which was indicative of the tremendous level of interest Google Analytics has created. We are currently testing this new service for a number of clients and will provide more information to our customers over the next few months to advise on how this tool can be used effectively.

If you’d like to know more about Google Analytics and how it could be used on your website, please contact us now for more information.

This article was written by the web search workshop, a search engine optimisation and marketing consultancy for UK business websites. Contact us today for a free assessment of your website.

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