Others have tried -- most notably DoubleClick-with mixed success.
Search providers like Google and Yahoo contend that creating better data analysis for customers will only drive search marketing to greater heights.
'Higher conversion rates'
Better analytics leads to "higher conversion rates, which leads to more money spent on ads," says Brett Crosby, senior product marketing manager for Google Analytics. While many large-scale advertisers already have access to Web analytics tools, Google's AdWords has always been about democratizing the ad-buying process. The same is true with the free Google Analytics tool. "The more data we provide to the rest of the market, the more we level the playing field," Mr. Crosby says.
Marketers can use Google Analytics as a standalone tool to track their Web site traffic in general. In addition, "analytics" is now available as a tab within the Google AdWords interface. Clicking on that tab provides simplified, to-the-point dashboards and tools to help advertisers optimize and understand their keyword-driven Web traffic. Marketers using the tools include CK Restaurants and Re/Max International.
Yahoo Search Marketing
Somewhat quietly, Yahoo Search Marketing (formerly Overture) has been providing similar analytical tools -- albeit focused exclusively on keyword ad analysis -- for several years now.
Yahoo's premier tool, Search Optimizer, gives users the ability to manage their entire online keyword ad campaign performance, whether on the Yahoo or a competitive network and spanning search, banner and even e-mail campaigns.
The focus is on simplicity: "Tell us your business goals, how many leads you want, what your revenue goals are, and we manage all the details below the line," says Tom Hochstatter, Yahoo Search Marketing's senior director of analytics.
Rather than build its own Web analytics product, Yahoo opted to partner with third-party analytics vendors.
Insight into user behavior via those partnerships helps Yahoo close the marketing loop for keyword ad customers, providing them with a full picture of customer activity, Mr. Hochstatter says.