Microsoft is the other main player, after Google Analytics, in the area of free Web Analytics tools for the analysis of browser centric web data. Microsoft’s adCenter Analytics is the successor to the former LiveSTATS thanks to Microsoft’s acquisition of DeepMetrix in April 20061.
Why search engines offer Web Analytics
Certainly the name Microsoft choose for its Web Analytics tool says a lot: with adCenter Analytics you know the priority is on advertising. Google has taken a softer approach with Google Analytics; sure there is and will be strong integration with AdWords, yet everyone is welcome to take advantage of Google Analytics even if they aren’t (yet) an AdWords client. The official line is that having experienced the power of measuring business results derived from a company’s web presence, marketing professionals will be more inclined to become AdWords clients. One presumes as well that the data collected by Google Analytics is used inside Google to measure the overall state of traffic on the web (including Google’s competitor’s market share – the benchmarking with other sites feature gives an idea of the possibilities). I hope that Microsoft will adopt a more enlightened Internet strategy and aggressively promote adCenter Analytics usage among non-adCenter clients. Google is a great company but could use some competition.
Microsoft’s adCenter Analytics and SEO
Companies focused on organic search engine optimization might find adCenter Analytics a worthy alternative to Google Analytics.
Microsoft currently breaks down search visits (e.g. search engines like Live.com and ISP portals which include web search like AOL and MSN) and keyword traffic for each local domain where this information is available. For search traffic from Google, there will be entries for Referrers > Inbound Totals > Referrals – Natural Search > google > phrase > www.google.it, www.google.ch, www.google.com, etc. This is a nice approach as it allows for a more detailed analysis as to which local search engines are driving visitors to our site and the key words specific to a certain geography. Hopefully Microsoft will bring usability enhancements to adCenter Analytics – to my mind natural search referrals are nested a bit too deeply in the menu hierarchy.
Nothing says that the needs, the desires of web site visitors from google.com.au, as expressed by keywords, will be the same as visitors from google.co.uk.
Unlike Google Analytics, adCenter Analytics also segments local variants of Yahoo Search without the need for any additional configuration.
Microsoft’s own Live Search supplies local market information in a parameter rather than with a hint in the domain name (such as www.live.it or it.live.com). Unfortunately AdCenter Analytics doesn’t recognized this information. All instances of Live Search referrals will be lumped together..
It isn’t currently possible to update or change the predefined search engine detection list. Nevertheless, the built-in list contains all the major international search engines, although it is a bit weak when it comes to important regional search engines.
I would like to thank the support staff behind adCenter Analytics, they were very cooperative in supplying the list of search engine match strings for the search engines recognized by adCenter Analytics.
In the following list I have attempted to link to the main site for each search engine. The list does seem a bit dated, some of the search engines are defunct or don’t seem to still be a serious search engine. The Microsoft adCenter Analytics support personnel stress, rightly so, that adCenter Analytics is still in beta. I hope that in a future release they will surprise us with functionality which will allow us to customize this list.
Last updated: 7 october 2008
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