The importance of tracking how users find a site, enter a site, experience a site, and eventually leave a site has been recognized as important in online industry for some time. Early tracking tools relied on shaky methods to discern where traffic was coming from. With Google Analytics, the accuracy of the tracking has been enhanced significantly.
Beyond just the site tracking data, there are advanced tools that can be used to not only analyze, but also contrast and place estimated cost values on the different parts of the site use. Clear optimizations and changes can be made to site designs based on the concise information gleaned form the data sets.
Google Analytics is not without problems, though. Being a free service of a large search engine, there are some performance issues that can make the user experience very slow and tedious to work through.
There is also the issue of third party plug-ins. A handful of browser plug-ins are able to block the information needed to track users moving through a site (even when purchasing from the e-commerce portion). This is most common on the Firefox browser which currently holds a 32% share of the market.
The advanced features, all-in-one tracking and data analysis package offered by Google benefits even the smallest of companies with its ease of use and professional design. The added strength of the Google brand attached to the software, which is effectively tracking exactly what Google provides, makes the Analytics suite well worth looking at.