Saturday, October 11, 2008

Automotive & Web Analytics in Europe – what are they using?

Web Analytics Solution Profiler by ImmeriaUPDATE: This post has been updated on the 31/10/2008 after the release of WASP 0.70 and a more detailed analysis of sites where no "recognized" solution was found.

As a follow-up of my previous post on automotive industry & Internet, I wanted to do a quick Web Analytics market research on the European automotive industry. I pointed out the importance for the automotive industry, of getting customer insights from the online channels to gain this little valuable advantage. So are automotive manufacturers using Web Analytics tools? And what are they using? To help me in my task, I used Stephane Hamel’s Web Analytics Solution Profiler (most know as WASP). Like Stephane Hamel did for the top 10 US & Canadian resellers, I had a go at European manufacturer websites. 

Research background
The research covered the 5 major markets in Europe: UK, Germany, France, Italy & Spain and 31 brands present on the European markets including premium and luxury ones. That represents 142 websites. Note I only looked at official manufacturer websites. For some luxury brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini or Lotus, there is only one global site (no local ones or only official country retailer sites). That’s explain the total number (no, I didn’t get my maths wrong ;-)).

I used WASP to detect solution used and focused only on “core” Web Analytics solutions. I did not considered Ad tracking solutions like Double Click, Atlas & others nor Voice Of Customer (VOC) tools (e.g. iPerception, Psyma).

The full results can be downloaded here.

And the results are…

Web Analytics usage in European automotive industrySo what does it tell us:
  • 31 % of the websites use an industry-specific Web Analytics solution: eMetrics solution from Sophus3 – a management information solutions provider specialized in the Automotive industry. It uses page-tagging for data collection based on TouchClarity script & technology (WASP recognizes it as "Omniture Test & Target" but it is a different version specifically customized for Sophus3)
  • Google Analytics has the largest share (23.2%) among traditional Web Analytics providers, before enterprise-class solutions. It seems to be used as a local solution rather than a global solution. Only KIA Motor, Maserati and Porsche implemented as group solution. It is often used in addition of other existing “group” solutions – probably used specifically for SEA campaign tracking (sometimes GA tag is only present on homepage or set of key pages).
  • WebTrends is leading the "traditional" paid solutions (18.3%) ahead of Omniture (12.7%). In most case WebTrends is used as a group solution. Only few are using it as local solution. Omniture is also primarily used as a group solution. Well, knowing the cost, the contrary would be surprising. 
  • Few European solutions are present as well: the Dutch Nedstat (8.5%) and French Weboscope (7.0%), mainly used by French manufacturers. Here and there other tools were found at local level: Weborama (Audi France), XiTi (Peugeot France) & OneStat (Huyndai UK).
  • For 10% of the websites, no known solution was found. It does not mean necessarily that these brands do not do any sort of Web Analytics but it may be limited. In some cases, like for Mercedes-Benz, an in-house solution seems to be used.
  • Most brands have at least a group solution implemented. Many brands have centralized Web hosting, content management & Web Analytics in order to reduce costs. In few cases, some national companies are not using the group solution. Only few like Huyndai, Mitsubishi and Subaru seem to have no consistent solution. For example, Mitsubishi uses Omniture in Germany, France & Spain while it uses Google Analytics in UK and Italy. In several cases (16.2%), more than one Web Analytics tool was found.
  • Finally, it worth to be noted that several premium & luxury brands are using the free Google Analytics like Porsche, Maserati & Lotus.
All in all the usage of Web Analytics in the European automotive industry is well developed. Surprisingly, it is a industry specific Web Analytics solution - Sophus3 eMetrics - that prevails over traditional Web Analytics solutions. Google Analytics adoption is quite important as it is used in many cases, often to complement existing solution (but not always). For the rest, there is quite a large mix of solutions – big ones (WebTrends, Omniture) and local ones (NedStat, Weboscope). The big absents: Coremetrics & IndexTools - sorry Yahoo! Web Analytics.

Of course, this only shows that most manufacturers have at least one Web Analytics tool implemented – it does not tell anything about how they use them and their level of “maturity” in Web Analytics practices.

If you have more details on tools used by any brand or notice errors, do not hesitate to let me know.

Feel free to comment.

Relate resources: WASP & other WASP Market researches
Note on Sophus3:
Sophus3 provides two types of online measurement products to automotive manufacturers. the first one, eMetrics is full Web Analytics solution used to measure & track websites activity like traditional Web Analytics solutions. The second one, eDataXchange is a collaborative benchmarking project for the automotive industry. A majority of manufacturers are participating to the eDataXchange project that uses  the same tagging technology as eMetrics - both based on TouchClarity script (now Omniture Test & target). However for the benchmarking project, only a subset of key pages are tagged. for more information, see Sophus3 website.


  1. Hi Michael,
    very good post!
    What you say is def right: Sophus provide two types of online measurement products: eMetrics and eDataXchange (collaborative benchmarking project).
    It would be great to understand if automotive companies "do use" eMetrics or the tags are just implemented for the eDataXchange, in which case Sophus is not the market leader in the Automotive industry for Web Analytics solutions.
    Is there any way to make this distinction based on the tags implemented on the websites?
    Some of the automotive companies use more than one solutions...
    I am pretty sure most of these automotive companies use Sophus just for the eDataXchange... but that's just my feeling :)
    Any way to show that?

  2. Hi Marco,

    When a manufacturer is using Sophus tag for eDataXchange, only key pages are usually tagged - not all site (e.g. homepage, car sections, request forms, dealer locator...) as goal is to do benchmarking only on key elements (global site visits, visits per car segment....).

    If they are using the eMetrics solution, normally all site should be tagged in order to measure full site activity.

    If you take a look at with WASP, you will see that "Omniture Test & target" (i.e. Sophus3 :-)) is detected on many pages but not on all non-car related sections like "Innovation", "Decouvrez Toyota".. But all pages are tagged with WebTrends.

    Hope it answers your questions.

    And thanks for commenting.


  3. Sophus3 web analytics is very weak - they get market share because some manufacturers assume that they need web analytics to be part of the benchmarking. I found Sophus has a large margin of error in the result it gabe vs. Google Analytics. Plus it didn't have effective goal setting acrosss the path to purchase. Overall, I would avoid Sophus3.


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