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Top 10 Web Analytics Tools for Media Sites

The Best Paid and Free Web Analytics

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Choose the right web analytics to learn more about your audience, what they're reading on your site and why they're leaving. Whether you want to expand your content or educate your sales team so it can tap into new revenue sources, these top 10 paid and free web analytics help you pinpoint opportunities to make your media site stronger.

1. Omniture's SiteCatalyst

Big-name media clients CNET.com, CBS, Brightcove and USAToday.com have all tracked visitors' habits through this web analytics tool. Omniture's been a pioneer in video tracking, which is a valuable feature for a news media site. Use it to see if website visitors just want the college football scores or whether they're clicking to watch your game highlights.

Type: Paid

2. Coremetrics

If your media site is in a heated competition with another website, Coremetrics can give you the data you need to move ahead of your archrival. Get analysis of both your site and your competitor's, like how much time visitors spend on your site versus theirs and the total stats for each site. That gives you a report card on which one's content is scoring better with visitors.

Type: Paid

3. HitsLink

Some of HitsLink's clients include WSJ.com, The New York Times, Forbes.com and CNN. Real-time results are especially useful when coupled with the instant alerts you get when your traffic spikes. So if you tweet about a news story and get a boost in traffic, you can tweet related content to continue the buzz. Watch the real-time results to see what people on your site look for next to quickly fill holes in your coverage.

Type: Paid

4. Webtrends

Get key demographic information about your visitors like age, income, family status and online likes and dislikes. Use this data to tailor your content to your audience. If your stats revealed your site's visitors are in the 18-34 demographic, you would know that you don't have to explain who Lady Gaga is in your articles.

Type: Paid

5. Unica NetInsight

Unica's star is the heat map overlay on your site. Instead of scrolling through endless reports and reading stats on individual links, you get an instant visual report. Shades of color show you the links that are being clicked and those that aren't. For example, a radio station could easily gauge whether people are clicking a link to win concert tickets or if they're only interested in the day's playlist.

Type: Paid

6. Google Analytics

Free doesn't have to mean bare bones. Google Analytics is a good alternative for small to medium sites that don't have a big budget to spend on high-priced analytic tools. With a little technical expertise, add code to track the stats important to you, from visitors' ages to their incomes. Set customizable goals for your media site and Google Analytics will chart your continued progress.

Type: Free

7. Deep Log Analyzer

Not only do you get typical stats but a Popular Paths report follows visitors as they navigate from page to page. See whether someone is scanning random content -- a murder story, a journalist's bio, a recipe -- or if they're seeking more focused content -- the weather forecast, current temperatures and local radar. Knowing the traffic flow helps you package your content to turn the skimmers into regular readers.

Type: Free and Paid Version

8. AWStats

Like most free web analytics, AWStats is unable to collect detailed information about your visitors' demographics. But if you're more interested in tracking all of your content, it's simple to see how well a certain story ranks over time. Say you have a story about high school dances, the article may show consistent stats throughout the year but gain traction during prom season. Capitalize on its growing popularity through tweets, related content and deep linking.

Type: Free

9. DailyStats

Break down your daily stats without needing a degree in statistics. By not getting bogged down in market research or overcomplicated reports, you can easily look at trending content to see what's holding its popularity from day to day. This gives you story ideas for maximum clicks when you hit on something that's sparked your readers' interests.

Type: Free

10. Webalizer

This web analytic is popular because it's usually included with web hosts using Cpanel. For small media sites, especially ones just starting out, Webalizer is a simple tool that gives you top 10 lists of basic information. While you won't see demographics, the simple rundowns help you make better content choices as your media site grows.

Type: Free

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