Like most startups with a focus on quick execution and conservation of cash, we're looking for a good-enough analytics solution that provides us the minimum of amount of business specific measurement capability. A solution that provides the best balance of features with reasonable implementation time and reasonable cost.
Certaintly Google Analytics is a great start. However, the reason I said "analytics" vs. "web analytics" is because shortly after I get the normal metrics that a web analytics solution typically provides, I'd like metrics that are specific to my business. Examples of these metrics might be:
a) the number of repeat visitors (as measured by my site's user ids, not cookies) for each day, where I define "repeat" as coming back over multiple days, not multiple times per day, etc.
b) the number of users who take a given site-specific action (so if I'm an auction site maybe that action is making a bid)
etc. (I provide lots of specifics in (a) and (b) not because I'm looking for your answers to these questions but rather to demonstrate what I consider busines-specific requirements.)
My questions are:
How far will Google Analytics (or other free web analytics solutions) go in terms of providing business-specific metrics like the examples I gave above? Said differently, have people been able to use GA and other tools beyond providing the standard "web" metrics?
For resource-constrained startups, is the task of collecting and analyzing web-specific metrics ("web-specific" meaning data points like uniques, page views, etc.) a separate and distinct exercise (from a technology and process standpoint) from that of non web-specific metrics ("non web-specific" meaning qty of business-specific actions like bids or votes)? Or, is it possible based on tool capabilities to take a holistic approach? I make the web-specific vs. non web-specific distinction because the web is a channel whereas the business-specific metrics span channels.
I'm looking for an approach which doesn't break down (requiring me a lot of time and effort) the moment I ask questions that aren't part of the package defaults.