It’s always sad to hear a tool is going to the dead pool. Last week Yahoo! announced the end of an era, with closure of it’s Web Analytics offering. It’s really too bad. I never got the chance to ever play around with it, partially because getting access to it, was based on a restrictive criteria, that kept Yahoo from ever getting the market share it could have achieved. Nevertheless, in spite of never having access I always heard such great things about it, I was jealous of those who did get the chance. The people I am most concerned for are the talented staff at Yahoo who built such a great product, and the customers who are now wondering what do they do next. Thankfully, even with a short deadline of August 31st, 2012, the transition is relatively painless. With that being said, here is some information for transition to Google Analytics and Piwik.
Transition from Yahoo Analytics to Google Analytics
Both being web-based it’s really easy to get going with Google. Unfortunately you will lose your historical data, because you cannot import anything into Google. On a positive note, setting Google Analytics up is relatively easy. One trick for users coming from Yahoo, will be from a campaign tracking perspective. All those tags using the YWA campaign tags are still out there. But don’t fret about the nightmare of re-tagging all your campaigns. With Google Analytics you are saved. When you set up your tracking code, what you want to do, is click the advanced tab, and check the box that says: “My online campaigns from other providers use different tags than those used by Google Analytics”. Then fill in the data tags from YWA, for exampe use Term for “kw”.
As much as the set up for Google Analytics will be easy, all of your pages on your site will still need major work. Yahoo and Google tags are not the same. Unfortunately, Google (out of the box) is missing lots of the functionality of Yahoo Analytics you will be accustomed to. This does not mean you will not be able to make most things to work the way you had them, but it does mean you will need to get started as soon as possible to make it happen. Also you will lose some features in the transition, like non-sampled data and real-time segmentation. For companies that have the money Google Premium might be the answer to most of the feature loss, but the 100K price tag might be somewhat prohibitive.
Transition from Yahoo Analytics to Piwik
To me the best solution if it’s possible would be to use Piwik. There are many reasons to love Piwik including the fact it’s open source and you own the data. The way I look at it, if you’re going to use a new analytics provider, why not future proof your system. By using Piwik you ensure you never need to worry about your vendor closing or restricting features from you. Piwik Analytics is robust. It will allow you to easily customize your tags, and allows you to import logs of data. While I am not sure how the data export report from Yahoo Analytics looks, with this functionality available, it certainly can be explored to bring your old data into your new tool. The Dev team and community of Piwik is super friendly and helpful. They also offer professional services which might help in making the transition fromYahoo even quicker.
There are certainly other option available to you besides the two above, but in my view they are the most stable long term options. Regardless of what you choose, it’s important to get the proper help in implementing it properly. Tracking your customers on your site is an important need of any business, and it is not worth risking it by going cheap or alone.