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Yahoo Takes on Google in the Analytics Game
Yahoo Takes on Google in the Analytics Game

By Jennifer LeClaire
April 17, 2007 9:49AM

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As Google moves ahead with its acquisition of online advertising powerhouse DoubleClick, Yahoo continues to wage its own battle with Google on several fronts, including in the field of Web analytics. While Google takes a give 'em all they could want and more approach, Yahoo aims to give Web marketers a more focused set of stats and graphs -- hopefully, just what they need.

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Brett Crosby, Sr., manager for Google Analytics, said as search has become more relevant and more people are using it, Web analytics has taken on a more important role in helping advertisers understand not only how customers are finding the site, but also what those visitors are doing when they get there. "Google Analytics helps advertisers get higher margins because they can use the data to create a better experience for their customers," said Crosby, who was one of the co-founders of Urchin.

Google Analytics allows for cross-segmentation of data in 18 different ways, including by keyword, location and browser. In all, there are 82 reports from which to analyze the data, such as by geographic location, site overlay (which allows Web site owners to see the Web site with analytics data overlaid on the site), and e-commerce tracking to measure the value of conversions.

"Google Analytics offers geotargeting," Crosby explained. "That means customers can not only identify new opportunities to advertise online, but they can also measure the impact of print campaigns by seeing if they get geographic bumps in regions where they advertised."

Too Much Information?

That's all well and good, but from where Yahoo's Apodaca sits, 82 reports are just too many for Internet marketers. That's why Yahoo Full Analytics offers only 14. According to Apodaca, Yahoo has streamlined its offering based on two principles: don't give search engine marketers information they don't need and don't give search engine marketers information they won't understand. "The marketing guys just want to know which five reports to look at," he explains. "They want a snapshot of how the campaign is performing."

To put it another way, they want to know how much money they spent on a given day and how many conversions it got them. Beyond that, search engine marketers can drill down into more detail and see the number of impressions and clicks on specific ad campaigns to see which are performing the best. They can also manage keywords and use filters that narrow the data field based on specific questions, such as the performance of banner ads or sponsored search. Yahoo Full Analytics can measure visitor activity all the way from the inbound click to the conversion.

"The way we deliver information to search engine marketers is different from Google," Apodaca said. "We aren't reporting on natural searches. We only report on campaign-related activity. We have the ability to provide something similar to Google Analytics but our philosophy is to arm advertisers with appropriate campaign information." (continued...)

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