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The Price To Pay
Users of Google Analytics and Yahoo's Panama Full Analytics have their own views.
Yahoo's Panama is not nearly as robust as Google Analytics, according to Tom Bianco, CEO of Atlantic Consulting and Sales, an e-commerce consulting firm. "Google Analytics is graphically superior, with more charts, geo maps, [and] the all-important site overlay so you can do multivariate testing," he says. But, in Bianco's opinion, neither Google nor Yahoo does a good job of segmenting the opposition's pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns.
Another difference between Google Analytics and Yahoo's Full Analytics option within Panama is the price. Google Analytics is free whereas Yahoo is charging a premium for access to its Full Analytics. Apodaca declined to disclose the fee, but Cindy Krum, a senior Search Engine Optimization analyst at Blue Moon Works, an interactive marketing agency with clients like Timex and Bluefly, noted that the Full Analytics option is only available to gold level users who spend more than $6,000 on SEM per year.
"It has yet to be seen if Yahoo will parlay advances made with the Panama update into a more universal and sophisticated free Web analytics software that tracks and reports on all site traffic, like Google Analytics," Krum said. She noted that Panama offers robust event and conversion tracking that is similar to the pay-per-click tracking available in Google Analytics, though she said it's not much better than the PPC tracking Google currently offers in AdWords.
At the end of the day, analytics beauty may be in the eye of the beholder. Clearly, Google Analytics and the Full Analytics option in Panama are two entirely different programs, yet with a common goal: to track Web site activity. Your choice of programs, really, depends on how much of that activity you want to track and on which search engine you choose to deploy your advertising spend. Google Analytics though, may have an offer search engine marketers can't refuse: it's free.