Eric over at Webanalyticsdemystified published the 2nd set of research based on a survey in March 07. Here his interesting key findings:
"-Those deploying free web analytics solutions are more likely to treat web analytics as a casual endeavor, with 35 percent of survey respondents using free solutions reporting only an ad hoc use of their measurement tools, compared to less than 20 percent of those using licensed solutions.
- Companies using free tools are dramatically understaffed for web analytics, with 42 percent of respondents using free tools reporting having no dedicated resources, compared to only 18 percent of those using licensed solutions.
- Individuals using free tools have less experience with web analytics in general, with 64 percent of respondents using free tools reporting less than two years of experience, compared to 32 percent of those using licensed solutions."
A lot of Web analytics folks already commented on Erics' findings, so I just want to give my 2 (unimportant) Cents:
Even that Eric findings show, that a licenced solution seems to have a greater impact on a business, I believe that a free solution like Google Analytics, Gatineau, Sitemeter... makes a lot of sense for the majority of websites.
Eric's results clearly show that if you can afford it, you probably should go with a paid vs. a free solution. However I think, that most businesses don't even explore the full power of their web analytics product, independant if the product is free or not.
For most businesses the interest and knowledge of the web marketer / web analyst / responsible person... is much more important than the choice of a free (Google Analytics, Gatineau...) or licensed tool.