Wednesday, 18 November 2009

In beta: Web analytics tools market share in Nordic news outlets

I was inspired by KAIZEN Analytics recent post on web analytics tools market shares in the automotive industry, to do a similar study on online news outlets in the Nordic countries, specifically Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

Just as Kaizen, I will use WASP to inquire each web site what tools they use. Moreover, I only care about core web analytics, not ad trackers etc. I also took the liberty to add the LinkPulse numbers (as WASP does not recognize it, but I know who they are).

I would like to emphasize at this point that this is a research project in the making, and I'm publishing preliminary results to see if there's interest in these numbers out there. For now, I have far more data for Norway than for the other countries because it's much easier for me to decide which ones to count and which ones not to count. Basically I've tried to include web sites that correspond to daily news papers, as well as online only sites which center around dissemination of news, may be portals or niche sites such as sports or economics. Another criteria I've been considering is amount of traffic according to official metrics, but haven't followed this strictly so far.

Further work on this research will include establishing more rigid selection criteria and gathering more data from the other Nordic countries. Other considerations to make are groups of sites that buy tools collectively because of common ownership, as well as using the fact that most sites have more than one tool.

Another interesting possibility is to factor in each sites' official traffic numbers. Thereby we could see something about what tools account for the most traffic, or some such.

As of now, I have counted the tools on 66 sites, of which a little under half are Norwegian.

One difficulty is to account for at least two "disturbing" factors in the data. One being that one of the tools, Google Analytics, is free and therefore has a far lower threshold for use than the other tools. The other disturbance is that all the Nordic countries have one tool that is used across the board due to common agreement to provide official metrics.

I haven't decided how to account for some of these issues and therefore present the data with a big juicy footnote to consider it largely incomplete. I think, nonetheless they give an interesting view of what is being used generally in news sites.

Nordic countries
The first pie shows the usage of web analytics tools in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, weighted so that it totals to 100% even though some sites use more than one tool. These numbers are schewed by the fact that almost half the data are from Norwegian sites. Another difficulty is that TNS metrix and Gemius are "forced" tools in some countries, but also used voluntarily in other countries. This is an issue that I will work to solve.

Norway only
The second pie focuses on the Norwegian data only. Also I have removed both Google Analytics and TNS Metrix. Google Analytics is free and therefore used by virtually everyone and TNS Metrix is the official tool in Norway, therefore used by literally everyone (at least all the sites that I gathered data about). The usage of these may be interesting in and of itself, but may overshadow interesting facts about usage of the other tools.

 No conclusions

Since this endeavor has just started, and since there are yet so many issues to be resolve, I refrain from making any sort of conclusions about the data so far. I just let the pies stand as they are.

What I would like to get comments on is if these sorts of numbers are interesting for anyone out there to follow, as well as suggestions on how to resolve some of the issues I have raised that may schew the data.

Also, if you know of anyone else doing similar research, I'd love to know about it, especially if it's related to online news media.

Of course, if there's anything else you have on your mind about any of this, feel free to leave a note.

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