Part 5 of Framing the Future: Free Redefines the Market
Last but not least, we would be amiss if we did not address one of the biggest trends impacting the online analytics landscape in the last few years: the introduction of a free tool into the mix. Google is definitely re-defining the market and we will see a new role emerge for paid tools in the era of abundance of free analytics applications as free enables value to migrate to the next highest level.
Companies will now look to the paid tools to address more complex issues and demand that their quality overcomes the price hurdle. But free does not diminish the paid tools; rather it can be seen as a complement to existing paid tools as it opens the doors to new prospects that would otherwise never hear of or try out analytics. In fact, free tools should be embraced by the paid tools providers as it enables education, awareness, enlargement, and validation of online analytics. People will always pay to save time or mitigate risk, so the paid tools can address this with better set up or service or guaranteed privacy or data ownership, which can make the total cost of ownership of a paid tool even less than a free tool in the long run.
For example, if you are using a free tool but then need to invest heavily in consulting for customization or exporting of the data, your total cost could be higher than a paid tool that has intuitive capabilities or includes data exporting capabilities; additionally, if you are using a free tool but are then sued for not adhering to government required standards of privacy, then again, the free tool might also cost quite a bit more than the paid tool in the long run.
It is the responsibility of the paid tool providers now to make sure that their tool offers more value, or data privacy guarantees, or customizable service, or less risk, or more real time capabilities. In sum, there will now be a real difference between entry-level versus an enterprise level tool. The paid tools will now be required to be highly configurable and flexible in order to meet the educated demands of future users that are more aware than ever of what they should/or should not be paying for in an analytics solution.
Thus, anyone considering a new analytics provider in 2010 should be aware of the preceding trends and incorporate them into their decision making when evaluating an analytics solution.
This is Part 5: Free Redefines the Market, of a Five Part Series; See also Part 1: Data Trumps Everything, Part 2: The Real Time Web Reality, Part 3: Data Filtering and Visualization Capabilities Matter, and Part 4: Data Privacy Demands more Diligence.
Cecily Robyn Lough has over 15 years experience in pulling actionable insights from online marketing data. She is currently Director of International Sales at Webtrekk GmbH in Berlin. Please contact her through LinkedIn or at firstname.lastname@example.org.