It wasn't long ago that only the largest companies had the tools to understand customer experience online -- to see what was working on their websites, what was broken and why. These tools, collectively called web analytics, are now within the reach of even the smallest sites.

Jupiter's recent Web Analytics Buyer's Guide found that nearly 90 percent of businesses with public-facing websites use a web analytics tool. And more and more, these tools are free, features are abundant and installation time has never been faster. Executives know what the term "page views" means, and all kinds of people within companies -- not just analysts -- use website data to drive business decisions. As the Jupiter report notes, "The feature war is over and now marketers need to know how to leverage the increased accessibility of analytics tools to develop more usable tracking strategies."

People generally look at web analytics as a way to learn about customer behavior. Used correctly, however, web analytics will reveal something that is possibly even more important: customer intent. Information gleaned through analytics data provides a peek into the hearts and minds of your customers, revealing their most pressing needs and wants. And the results are not always obvious: people's intent on a website can differ wildly from what the web designer had in mind.

Get the full story at iMedia Connection