Big news this week. Google announced it is offering Web analytics services free to its AdWords customers. (See the New York Times Nov. 14 article.)
While not surprising given its recent acquisition of Web analytics company, Urchin, the big news is that Google apparantly also is giving the service away for non-Google applications.
Just as the Web analytics business shakes off the third-party cookie problems of this summer (see the July 20 ClickZ article), the news from Google will once again cause marketers to pause, and to re-address their long-term strategy on click-tracking.
For Google and the other major search engines, giving away Web analytics makes sense. The revenue is a pittance compared to their ad revenues and it is a great way to bring customers more deeply into their proprietary ad systems. I think we will continue to see these billion-dollar players eat away at the value chain for lead-generation services over the next few years in an attempt to outflank each other.
For email marketers, I think Google's Web analytics will be just one more system that marketers will want integrate with their email programs. For the long-term future, I think building and maintaining customer lists is still a ways out for the lead-focused search engine crowd, so I don't expect to see any shake ups in our part of the world ...at least not any time soon.