My colleague, Phil Kemelor, raised an interesting question when he asked is Google Analytics is the elephant in the room for Omniture. To me, the resounding answer must be YES. Google Analytis, especially after its recent update, has and will continue to pluck away low to mid range clients from SiteCatalyst. For better or worse, Omniture has shown an unwillingness to drop annual Site Catalyst contracts below the $10,000 to $14,000 threshold, which effectively removes a potential client base. If I were Omniture the part that would scare me the most is how closely Google Analytics sits from Google's core product. The recent recession, has shown that Google probably stretched their arms too far away from what matters most to them: ad revenue. But Google Analytics isn't an example of Google Video, its use has a direct relationship with ad spending. Should the Google Dragon awake from his slumber tomorrow and decide to truly invest in Google Analytics, the fair maiden atop her perch in Orem should be very afraid.
But I'm not writing this blog to support Phil and his Elephant theory. Instead, I wanted to point out another competitor to our friends in Orem -- themselves.
The typical Google Analytics users, with the low volumes and small investment in web analytics, sit at one end of the spectrum, while mega volume, mondo budget properties reside at the opposite end. The middle group is those who are best suited as Omniture clients, particularly with SiteCatalyst. They likely demand the flexibility, number of custom variables and variety of reporting options available in SiteCatalyst. And, more importantly, their usage volumes fit nicely within the SiteCatalyst framework.
The super sites of the world are a different story. Although it is the pockets of these companies that Omniture dips into the deepest, SiteCatalyst can hardly claim to fit all their needs. With the largest properties, variable cardinality limits, even when bumped to 500,000, can come into play just days into a month. This can leave huge volumes of key data, such as external search keywords, completely untracked. Even in the instance where everything in a particular variable slot is tracked (or a user is content with a fraction of the actual tracking), pulling up reports can be like pulling teeth. As the volume of variables in a report increases, so do the chances it will time out before the user ever becomes privy to the data. Reloading then becomes a game of Orem Roulette. Large site users that struggle to pull up large reports can forget about taking advantage of even basic sorting functions. Care to see a list of top brand keywords? Feel free to download and sort it yourself.
For the largest properties key SiteCatalyst tools like SAINT and ReportBuilder, which are so useful for midsized properties, become afterthoughts. SAINT quickly becomes cumbersome even the most basic classifications are like brain surgery when the volume of variables are staggering. ReportBuilder suffers from the same timing out and sorting issues as the SiteCatalyst user interface.
Without endearing themselves to the largest and most profitable clients, Omniture always runs the risk of seeing them walk away when another vendor creates a superior super enterprise level tool (see first paragraph) or a comparable vendor offers a deal that cannot be refused.
It reality it seems unlikely that there will be a mass exodus by Omniture's largest clients anytime in the foreseeable future. But I hope that doesn't lull Omniture into a false sense of security. Forget the ohh and ahh enhancements, the folks in Orem should make the most basic product features functional for their largest clients.