|Free: Reliance upon Communities
Premium version provides access to staff via the phone
Strong Support network
Intuitive, easy for new users
Advanced and Customizable but takes some training
A relational table with limitless variables that can be used for categorizing
|Security||Google owns the data||Data belongs to you|
|Cookies||Customizable, First party cookie||Customizable, First and Third Party cookie|
80 Custom events option to purchase more
|Custom Variables||more info on comparison||
80 with option to purchase more
Open Data Sources architecture for importing offline metrics
Integration with Vendors (Genesis, additional cost)
Excel Client- allows manipulation and interaction with data in Excel
Adwords reporting integration
Automation through Marketing Channel report
Customizable dashboard not quite as robust
Many Customizable dashboards options
Google Analytics and Aobe Omniture SiteCatalyst are both distinguished solutions for web analytics insight. They can provide business intelligence to determine return on investment and the ability to employ powerful optimization strategies. Each solution has strengths and weaknesses.
This article was originally written to address Google Analytics' free version, but Google has since produced a premium paid for version. SiteCatalyst has also gone through changes like an acquisition by tech giant Adobe. The product itself is now on version 15. The date at the top of the article states when I have updated to reflect the changing environment.
I look to experts like Avinash Kaushik and Justin Cutroni for information on Google as well as Brett Error at the yearly Omniture Summit for product specific information. If you have budget vendors like Forrester and Gartner can provide much further detailed product information.
Google's Premium product offering has brought the two sytems much closer for comparison purposes. GA has an intuitive user interface, instant segmentation, and SEM integration. The user interface is easy to use. New users and those that are new to analytics in general can easily begin using the platform. It is apparent much attention is paid to user interface (UI) and user experience (UX).
Omniture excels with customization, data classification, and integration. Rich customization, designed to fit any set of requirements, allow SiteCatalyst to achieve superior levels of robust functionality. Classifications allow relational data points for exponential reporting options that can be changed retroactively. Data manipulation through excel client, access to raw data through Data Warehouse (additional cost), and importing data through Data sources allow for immense integration abilities. There are also numerous companies that offer pre-packaged integrations.
Before making a choice of analytics packages one must look into the resources available to dedicate to the solution and measurement requirements well defined up front. The most important question to ask is, "Do I have enough resources dedicated to assessing and improving my site(s)?" This is where money can be wasted on an underutilized resource. An internal resource or external contractor/agency is needed for SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics Premium to truly be effective, ideally at least one dedicated web analyst.
A blend of reporting platforms is ideal for arming an enterprise with the insight needed to most effectively optimize.
Brian Clifton's Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics, Third Edition
Note* both products continually update their feature sets. This will be regularly updated.