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Yahoo Takes on Google in the Analytics Game
Yahoo Takes on Google in the Analytics Game
By Jennifer LeClaire / NewsFactor Network Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
Search engine marketers rely on Web analytics to tell them which key words are working -- and which ones are not. So when Yahoo launched a "Full Analytics" option within its new Panama search-marketing system, it turned a few heads.

Despite the buzz, however, there is still plenty of marketplace confusion surrounding Yahoo's analytics platform and how it compares to and contrasts with what Google Analytics has to offer. In fact, some Search Engine Marketing (SEM) consultants interviewed for this column were unaware that Yahoo even offers anything beyond the simple metrics it has historically made available to online marketers through its Advertiser Web Services program.

Although some experts might not think of Yahoo as a big player in the Web analytics game, Yahoo would beg to differ.

The Players

In case you haven't been keeping an eye on the blow-by-blow competition between Yahoo and Google on the analytics front, here's a little history to bring you up to speed.

When Yahoo acquired Overture in 2003, it inherited Keylime Software's analytics and paid-search management tools. Overture had snapped up Keylime for $9.5 million just before Yahoo closed its $1.63 billion buyout of the popular platform. And now, Keylime's deep analysis software is being used as the foundation for the analytics capabilities included in Yahoo's Panama search-marketing system.

On the other side of the board is Google who acquired Urchin Software, a Web analytics firm that measured traffic to thousands of popular Internet sites, in March 2005 for an undisclosed amount. Google said its motive for acquiring Urchin was to provide Web site owners the information they need to optimize the user experience and generate greater ROI on their advertising spending.

The Yahoo Approach

Paul Apodaca, who is the director of program management for Yahoo Search Marketing shared his insights with us about Yahoo's strategy.

"Our Web analytics program," he explained, "was developed from the standpoint of someone trying to understand their Web site's performance, whether that be a marketer or an IT person. But our Full Analytics program doesn't show all of those reports. We have tailored the display to suit the specific needs of search engine marketers."

Apodaca just hinted at the first major difference between Yahoo's Full Analytics offering and Google Analytics: Yahoo isn't giving search engine marketers information it deems unnecessary to their online advertising mission.

The Google Way

Google, by contrast, uses its Urchin roots to track and display all visitor data, from visitors and pageviews to conversion funnels and so on. In short, Google Analytics offers a more comprehensive view of a Web site's activity -- not just search engine activity. (continued...)

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