The Battle of Web Analytics Solutions in 2013

I’m loudly claiming that 2013 will be a great year for web analytics solutions! Actually, that’s my two cents on this market I’m monitoring on an everyday basis from both a selling and a practical perspective.

So why 2013 should be a great year? Each of the top 4 web analytics solutions in North America (1) Google Analytics, (2) Adobe Analytics (ex-Adobe SiteCatalyst), (3) IBM Digital Analytics (ex-IBM Coremetrics) and (4) WebTrends, should all launch new features and it looks like it will be a battle of Titans. Furthermore, web analysts (not also to say financial analysts) will have to be delighted to adapt to these new features as the competition between these solutions will continue to be on the rise. In the following blog post, I will give you a personal overview of the state of the market.

Point 1 – State of the Market: Current Market Shares

In terms of market shares for each web analytics solution, the most recent table I have under the belt dates back from mid-October 2011 by Stephane Hamel. Since that publication, Google Analytics Premium was launched less than a month after, Yahoo Analytics was closed down for Halloween 2012, and I would bet a Benjamin that the top two enterprise solutions (Adobe Omniture and IBM Digital Analytics) have both gained a larger portion of the pie – even though it’s an augmented pie since you can have more than one web analytics solution – when it comes to top 500 North American retailers. According to the graph below, it is quite clear that Google owns a huge chunk of the market, but are they the best positioned to dominate in 2013 in terms of revenues generated? More to come in the next section, surprise, surprise!

web analytics solutions market share 2013
Web Analytics solutions market share 2011

Point 2 – My two cents about each web analytics solution

1. Google with Google Analytics Premium

Google is the only top web analytics solution to have both a free and an enterprise version. While the company may be considered to own the market for web analytics, this is only the case in terms of usage, but not in terms of revenues since Google Analytics is free and Google Analytics Premium is used by only a small amount of companies worldwide. Even though Google owns the free web analytics solutions market, the company is considered as a laggard when it comes to the enterprise web analytics solutions market, the market that generates revenues. Does this mean that the company is topped in terms of market share potential? My rough guess is yes, but this also means that there is plenty of potential to transfer some free clients to an enterprise–level solution, but for this to happen, Google needs to find a way to convince customers of the free version to convert to an enterprise solution that could be considered as good as other enterprise web analytics solutions. For the coming year, I’m expecting a lot from all features related to Universal Analytics that were first announced during the Google Analytics Certified Partner (GACP) Summit held in October 2012 in Mountain View.

2. Adobe with Adobe Analytics

Adobe did a lot for their web analytics solution Adobe Analytics since they acquired Omniture in 2009. To solidify the branding, the web analytics solution even changed name from Adobe SiteCatalyst to Adobe Analytics. With their latest release, a new report called Time Prior to Event was introduced, here is a summary of Ben Gaines upcoming presentation at the Adobe Summit Digital Marketing from March 4th to March 8th 2013 in Salt Lake City.

3. IBM with IBM Digital Analytics

I am a firm believer that IBM has all it takes to eventually become the leader in the web analytics solutions market, necessarily because of how IBM Digital Analytics could be integrated with other IBM solutions. The complete integration between Unica and Coremetrics is still not over, but more and more the IBM Digital Analytics solution – which changed name from the initial IBM Coremetrics name in December 2012 – really looks like it’s making a name for itself. The initial plan in 2010 when IBM realized they bought both Coremetrics and Unica in the same year, was that IBM Coremetrics should be the IBM web analytics solution combining the best features of both Unica and Coremetrics while IBM Unica should be the IBM campaign management solution combining the best campaign management features from Unica and Coremetrics. Furthermore, according to a study by Forrester published in 2011 (note that this link shows only to a single table of the report), IBM Digital was at that time considered as the best web analytics solutions in terms of features. I’m looking forward for the Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Nashville from May 21st to May 23rd 2013.

4. WebTrends
Webtrends was the first true web analytics solution to be launched, dating back in 1995. Even though WebTrends is a great web analytics solutions, it will need sleepless nights for its resellers to keep up with the pressure of the other three giants. Maybe the Engage Webtrends event taking place in San Francisco in less than a week (January 28th to January 30th) will kickstart the year 2013.

Point 3 – Ownership as a Proxy for Potential Revenue Growth for Each Web Analytics Solution

So which company has the highest potential for 2013? Based on the ownership and market capitalization of each company, the answer seems straightforward here. IBM (219.74B) and Google 231.50B) are the two companies with the highest Market Capitalization, Adobe is way much lower at 18.77B but less diluted, and Webtrends looks like a David against Goliaths in terms of Market Capitalization. Even though, WebTrends Market Capitalization is not available since the company is private – my rough guess as of January 20th 2013 is that WebTrends is worth between half a billion and a billion based on how Omniture was sold in 2009.

Top 3 Predictions for 2013

As a conclusion to this post, here are my top 3 predictions for 2013 based on the last 3 points:

1. Google Universal Analytics will change the state-of-the-market finally embracing the Business Intelligence market and leaving the traditional Web Analytics grounds.

2. Adobe and IBM will continue to fight as top enterprise solutions players, trying to convert Google Analytics users to web analytics enterprise solutions users before Google Analytics Premium become more competitive.

3. WebTrends will have to be sold to a bigger player to stay in the race, either Google or Microsoft may be buyers.


As it is looking right now, in this Chinese year of the snake, the web analytics solution market will not be for snake charmers but more for bloody fight involving pythons and boas. Something is sure, whatever the web analytics solution used, what is most important is not the web analytics solution, it’s the web analyst using the solution :-),

Have a great year 2013 everyone,

Jean-Francois Belisle

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5 thoughts on “The Battle of Web Analytics Solutions in 2013”

  1. Interesting take on the market evolution.

    While you don’t address other (smaller) players like AT Internet, or niche players like KISSmetrics, I think your view of the market is interesting. That being said… I have on my todo list to redo the Fortune 1000 and Retail 500 study – pretty sure the picture has continued to shift toward GA, but we’ll see.

    In the actual case, I don’t think success correlates with market cap – both IBM and Adobe have significantly diluted the importance of their respective tools in the grand scheme of product strategy. On the other end, I’m not sure if IBM would be of any interest to Microsoft (been there with Gatineau, done that, lost it) and Google (what would they do with it anyway?). But I could see one of the other BI vendos – SAS, Oracle – grabbing it in a blink of an eye.

    One thing for sure, Google Universal Analytics is a major step forward and will open a ton of opportunities not only for better analytics, but also new creative solutions.

    Are we living an exciting time or what! 🙂

  2. Hello Jean-François,

    Truly a great update on what’s going on out there in the Web Analytics Solution eco-system and having guided a couple of clients on what solution to consider you may want to factor this one in your prediction:

    The Status Quo i.e. not doing any upgrade, migration or consolidation of the current web analytics tool being used for the simple and realistic reason that it will cost the company more than keep on educating their C-Level executives about the quantitative and qualitative value of all this data to the bottom line.

    I am heading to the Adobe Digital Marketing Summit 2013 in Salt Lake City on March 5th, 2013 not to know what cool 15 new features we can find in the Adobe Analytics (SiteCatalyst 15) solution or why some Omniture employees still have challenges with understanding that the brand new Adobe office in Lehi, UT is slowly “replacing” the old one that was part of their company history. Nope – I am there to allow two senior managers learn 101 Digital Marketing in 48 hours since taking a course at HEC or McGill will take months and most likely have outdated content anyway. They would have very little understanding of “Time Prior To Event” when the something like Pinterest still seems to be the New Kid On The Block with their management who none have an active Twitter account or idea what a click costs on their “Submit” button on the landing page.

    We are not educating Generation Y that was over represented at the eMetrics Montreal seminar, but the Generation X and last bunch of Baby Boomers who still refuse to buy a tablet to replace their desktop PC.

    If you want some information from the Adobe Summit let me know and I will send you an executive summary.

    Wishing you nothing but success in 2013 and thank you for hosting eMetrics Montreal with Stephane Hamel and Jim Sterne.


  3. @Stephane. Thanks for the comments. I must admit, I voluntarily focused on the North American Market and didn’t considered smaller players such as AT Internet – which I know is much bigger in Europe – or niche players like KissMetrics. This could be another interesting post to focus on niches.

    I agree that Market Capitalization is a long-shot proxy regarding its relationship to a firm’s success. However, since these companies are all technological firms, this could be more of a proxy in terms of how the web analytics solutions can be integrated with other complementary solutions such as statistical packages like SPSS for IBM, or simply Google Adwords for Google for instance.

    Like you say, I’m looking forward to see how Google Universal Analytics will change the state-of-the-market.

    @Martin. Thanks for the great refreshing comment. I truly agree with your comment that conventions or summits are a great way to get education that can be: (1) learned fast, (2) top quality, and (3) specific. I also agree with you that Gen X and Gen Y don’t learn the same way. However, if there is a place where Gen Y can benefit from tricks from Gen X is in the way of conducting deep and serious analysis. A tendency I generally see is that Gen Y knows all about the new tools, while Gen X generally know more how to integrate multiple data sources to dig deeper and find insights, it’s mainly a tradeoff between trendiness and experience.

    I won’t be at the Adobe Summit, so for sure I would really like to receive an executive summary from you.

  4. Bonjour Jean-Francois,

    very nice article, just found it. And the Top 3 predictions now at a very different spotlight, with half of 2014 already gone. Number 2 definitely true (as for all High-End players, not only for the US-giants). Number 3 surely also a wish of the Webtrends-CEO, but still not realized. This will get critical…


    PS: By the way: GAP to me is very welcome in the market, since their pricing is so high and their commission structure for the agencies (50% commission of 150.000 Dollar fixed price) so un-transparent to end-users, that lots of users turn away from GAP after using GA before.

  5. Thanks Ralf,

    Happy you liked it. Thanks for the PS also, great insights about GAP, I wasn’t knowing about the 50% commission to be honest since IBM was mainly the top enterprise software we were selling. Still sad that not so much have evolved since 18 months. Looking forward to see what will be going on for 2015.

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