"If you talked to most analysts these days, they will say there's pretty much feature parity among products," Crosby said. "We have features other products don't have, other products have some features we don't have."
Crosby also defended Google's support model. The third-party consultants who provide support can access the application through a web browser, just like anyone else, he said. Even without more extensive access, consultants have done quite a bit of development, integrating Google Analytics with shopping carts, data sources and email marketing systems, he said.
"Google isn't a professional services company, which is why when we looked at this we decided to flip the model and it's worked out extremely well," Crosby said.
While CMS Watch doesn't believe the new version of Google Analytics improves back-end services, Kemelor praised the enhanced user interface. "What they've done is create a dashboard that's very easy to configure. You can get pretty much all of the reports you need without having to leave your screen," he says. "The work they've done on the interface is significant, and I think that's going to be an important factor in influencing where the other vendors go in their interface development."
The other vendors reviewed by CMS Watch include ClickTracks, Coremetrics, Omniture and WebTrends. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, Kemelor said.
Omniture, for example, provides multiple data export and import options, but is complicated to implement and maintain. Coremetrics provides out-of-the-box capabilities for such specific industries as retail, but the tool's reports don't provide enough analytic firepower for sophisticated users, the analyst firm said.
Omniture starts at $1,000 a month, and Coremetrics costs $70,000 to $110,000 per year.