Yahoo's Web analytics tool upgrade takes a non-Google approach

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Yahoo has upgraded its Web analytics tool with a new version that adds functions and makes it available to search and display advertisers working with the company. While some coverage has implied that the new product is a sign that Yahoo is attempting to compete with Google in this sector, analysts say the company is actually trying to focus its analytics efforts with a different approach.

“I think some of the buzz and chatter is somewhat misinformed,” says John Lovett, a senior research analyst at Forrester. “Google has more than 70% of the market share for Web analytics and Yahoo realizes it can't swallow that — so it is taking a different approach to its analytics tool.”

The analytics tool was first rolled out to Yahoo Store merchants at the end of April, and the announcement that it is being made to search and display advertisers is a new rollout phase. “You or I couldn't get access, so it's a different market than Google Analytics,” says Lovett. “It's a very methodical approach to go after different segments — you basically have to have a relationship with Yahoo to get this product."

He adds that he believes this is a strong move for Yahoo, as it removes the “action chasm” that often afflicts Web analytics tools: “One of the historic problems with Web analytics is that the tools are very good at providing mountains of data, but notoriously poor at driving insight from that data.”

Yahoo's upgrade provides new ways for search and display advertisers to gain more data insight, he says,including easier ways to analyze by demographics such as gender and age, as well as psychographics including user interests.

“With most Web analytics tools, you can access this information, but it's difficult,” he explains. “This makes it more accessible to the average marketer.”

The new Yahoo tools, he concludes, assures scalability for the company in this sector. “If you're going to provide analytics to everyone, you need to scale in order to collect the massive amounts of data required and provide it in a timely fashion,” he says. “This tiered rollout phase assures Yahoo can provide the services their users are seeking.”

A Yahoo spokesperson could not be reached for comment by publication.


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