Companies are investing more in both people and technology in order to make more sense of the web analytics data they gather, with almost half of firms plan to increase the number of employees in this area over the next 12 months. 

This is just one of the findings of Econsultancy’s Online Measurement and Strategy Report 2010, produced in association with Lynchpin

Here are a few highlights from the report… 

Greater investment in internal staff

Companies are investing more in people as well as technology in order to get ‘actionable’ information from their web data. There are encouraging signs that businesses are equipping their own staff with the skills to develop and implement their own online measurement strategies.

48% of responding companies are planning to increase the number of employees they have dedicated to web data analysis. Meanwhile, 32% say they aim to increase outsourced analysis over the next 12 months, and 20% want to increase the number of regular contractors.

Spending on internal staff now accounts for more than half (53%) of web analytics budget, and this is up from 42% last year. Technology spending now accounts for 30% of this budget, down from 38% last year and 45% in 2008. Spending on consulting and services makes up approximately 17%.

Only 22% of companies do not have any employees dedicated to web analytics. A big change from last year’s study, in which 46% of firms did not have any dedicated web analysts.

Analytics tools used

87% of companies surveyed are using Google Analytics for online measurement. Of these firms, 38% are now using this tool exclusively, while 49% are using it alongside along with another measurement tool.

The proportion of companies using Google Analytics exclusively has risen significantly; from 23% last year to 38% in this study. 

This shows how Google is eating into the market share of paid analytics vendors, who have responded by broadening their offerings for clients. 

Of the companies which are using paid analytics tools, 41% do so because they don’t believe Google Analytics is sophisticated enough for their needs, while 30% don’t want to be too reliant on Google. 

Measuring online reputation

The vast majority of companies (73%) are using some sort of measuring tool to assess their online reputation and social media activity, while only 27% are not measuring at all.

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Just under a quarter of companies are using a combination of free and paid-for solutions, as well as their web analytics tool. 21% are using a free tool, while 19% are using their web analytics tool to measure their social media activity. Just 9% of companies are using paid-for solutions exclusively.

Turning insight into action

The majority of companies are using online measurement to drive actionable recommendations which can make a difference to performance. 

89% of companies say that web analytics definitely (31%) or sometimes (58%) drive actionable recommendations, an increase on last year’s report. 88% of agency respondents think that insights gathered produced useful recommendations.