Web Analytics Giants in China Face Many Challenges

  |  September 1, 2011   |  Comments   |  

Here are three key challenges analytics companies have to deal with in China.

Current statistics on global market share for web analytics are mostly held by the big four giants: Omniture, Google Analytics, Coremetrics, and Webtrends.

Webtrends monopolised the log analysis era from 1995 to 2005 and is widely adopted by most of the very traditional enterprises, including the banking and oil industry, which are listed in the Fortune top 100. However, JavaScript mechanism has become more popular during the true e-commerce period since 2005. Around that year, Google acquired Urchin and launched Google Analytics (2005), Omniture (founded in 1996, the beginning of log era) was going public in 2006, and Coremetrics (founded in 1999) also established partnership with IBM in the same year.

Who would imagine both Omniture and Coremetrics were acquired by software giants Adobe and IBM in the same year in 2010? IBM also acquired Unica, another web analytics vendor on the list in 2010.

After the recent worldwide spate of mergers within the web analytics industry, are these giants still enjoying their China market share? In my point of view, they are facing the following three main challenges here in China:

1. Almost no habit to pay for software. Not only personal users, but also enterprises have almost no custom to truly purchase software at the reasonable price of fair value. People usually ignore intellectual property and knowledge accumulation behind the interface. Chinese marketers begin to access the web analytics concept recently and definitely are not prepared to purchase an isolated web analytics tool.

2. Localised flexibility: Not only pricing, but customisation as well. China has become the most dynamic market for digital in the world but with the most challenging advertisers. They are in bad need on a daily basis for real-time optimisation and hands-on guidance instead of regular reporting. Meanwhile, they expect analytics vendors to integrate almost every digital asset, from traditional web pages to Flash/Silverlight content, static pictures to video and even each purchased keywords.

3. Service, service, and service! Service means a lot in the country from flexible pricing structure, patience to the payment, customisation of the product, quick and even real-time response, and proactive digital marketing suggestions including localised user experience. Only those truly client-oriented companies can survive in China's web analytics and digital marketing sector.

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Michael Xu

Michael Y. Xu has more than 15 years of digital marketing and financial services experience serving Fortune 500 clients and China's top-tier state owned enterprises in both North American and Northeast Asian markets. He joined Gridsum, China's leading online business optimization company, in early 2008 as senior vice president of business operations. Michael manages Gridsum Technology's strategic cooperation, business development, and marketing teams, while determining how Gridsum Technology would use partner connection to deliver the best results for clients and the entire ecosystem. Under his leadership, Gridsum Technology successfully initiates solid partnership with iCrossing and Microsoft. Michael worked in the Strategic Investment Department of Sinochem, China's top national oil company with 19 times entries into Fortune 500, from 1994 to 1999, where he got deeply involved with major transactions, including China Unicom, Shanghai Grand Hyatt, Suzhou Industrial Park, WEPEC, and Zhejiang Aoshan National Petroleum Base. He then joined one of China's leading real estate companies as financial controller. Michael is currently the board of director of SEMPO and the co-chairman for SEMPO's Greater China Working Group and Member of Global Committee. Through his coordination, SEMPO Greater China formed in-depth partnership with Baidu, China's top search engine. He also speaks at conferences on online business optimization and SEO/SEM. Michael received his MBA and MS degrees from California State University in 2003, and his BA degree in Accounting from Renmin University of China in 1994.

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