2006 was a busy time for the web analytics industry in terms of mergers and acquisitions – see vendor timeline (pdf). Probably the most significant event was the announcement by Microsoft in May that it had acquired Deepmetrix – a Canadian based web analytics tool. The similarities with Google’s purchase of Urchin a year before (April 2005) are striking – both in terms of strategy of the parent company and the features of the product they acquired…
Both companies (Microsoft and Google) are major Search Engine players and both have Pay-Per-Click advertising networks. This is a clear signal that online marketing and measurement/accountability are now going to be mainstream. Only a year or so ago, web analytics was considered an optional extra for online marketing campaigns. Now the two will become synonymous. Much of this has already happened with Google Analytics, but it is significant that Microsoft has come to the same conclusion.
Microsoft in October said publicly that they will start to role out their version of Deepmetrix in late Spring 2007. What will be interesting is whether it will be free – as is the case for Google Analytics. I would say almost certainly so, but may only be to adCentre advertisers in the initial phase, as opposed to all users – as was the case for Google Analytics. That would enable them to scale more efficiently than Google did when they had to introduce their throttled invitation system one week after launch (it lasted 9 months!).
Similarities of Urchin v Deepmetrix*
- Both companies were of a similar size around 30-40 staff.
- Both companies had a similar sized and loyal customer base.
- Both companies have a hosted (ASP) service and software solution.
- Both companies targeted the market at similar price points (mid and high tier clients).
- Both companies have a very close feature set – site overlay, geo-overlay, campaign breakdown, x-segmentation etc.
*Since the launch of Google Analytics its feature set has moved on significantly. Also ,since the notice of the Microsoft acquisition, Deepmetrix is no longer available to trial. So it will be interesting to see what additional features Microsoft have added in the past 12 months – or maybe that time is required for the integration with MS’s adCenter…
Our web analytics market predictions for 2007…
- MS releases “DeepSoft” or whatever they rename Deepmetrix to. Likely to be free.
- 100% advertiser adoption – continued rapid growth in adoption of web analytics tools to the point where whenever you setup an online advertising campaign, analytics will be a part of it by default.
- The number of mergers and acquisitions will continue to increase. With both “DeepSoft” and Google Analytics, are there opportunities for other tools other than large well established vendors that provide heavy customisation i.e. WebSideStory, Omniture, Webtrends. Other tools, excellent though some are (e.g. Indextools, Moniforce, Nedstat, Xiti, Instadia, Redeye) I feel will have to merge or partner to survive – either with other vendors or with agencies that build their marketing services around such products (similar to Webtraffiq and Clicktracks in 2006).
- As has already started to happen in 2006, web analytics terminology will simplify and become more business orientated and less technical. Expect to see buzz words such as “accessibility” and “discoverability” in the near future. At some point even web analytics as an industry term may disappear as the technique merges with business intelligence (that’s probably 2 years away, but it will happen!).
Happy new year to our subscribers!