Organisations using free analytics solutions like Google Analytics and Microsoft’s upcoming ‘Project Gatineau’ are less likely to follow best practices, according to a report by Web Analytics Demystified.

The consultancy found companies using free software were more likely to treat analytics as a “casual endeavour”, with 35% of respondents using free solutions reporting only ad hoc use of the tools.

Less than 20% of organisations with licensed solutions admitted the same thing – although, of course, that’s at least partly because Google Analytics users tend to be new to the analytics world.

For the same reason, we suspect, the report found 42% of organisations with free tools had no dedicated analytics resources, compared to 18% of those using paid-for solutions.

Individuals using free tools also had less experience – 64% had less than two years, compared to 32% of their paying counterparts.

In a nut, the findings don’t suggest to us that Google Analytics is a bad thing – it’s helped get analytics on the radar of thousands of sites.

Most of its users, we feel, are less likely to follow best practices because they’re finding their way in, and are likely to scale up to a paid-for platform with dedicated staff, conversion tracking and so on once they see the potential returns.

And the results don’t look perfect for paying users either.

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