Yahoo has started rolling out a beta version of a new web Analytics tool that it said will provide up-to-date reports and graphs showing metrics like sales, page views and sources of traffic to website operators.

The new Yahoo Web Analytics tool set is based on technology Yahoo gained through its April acquisition of IndexTools, blogged Jitendra Kavathekar, Yahoo's vice president of web analytics. The tool is Yahoo's answer to rival Google's Analytics offering.

"Nothing is worse for site owners-and consumers-than bad marketing or a lousy user experience," Kavathekar said. "[Web Analytics] creates a helpful feedback loop for e-merchants, website owners, advertisers, and developers based on how well they did with you in critical moments like these."

Yahoo will be rolling out the new service in phases for the rest of 2008 and next year, Kavathekar added. The service will first be made available to the 13,000 users of the Yahoo Small Business hosted e-commerce service.

Yahoo also has started to roll out the service to advertisers seeking Yahoo's help in building custom micro-sites, and to third-party developers who are members of the Yahoo Developer Network or use Yahoo's freely available APIs.
The Yahoo offering is different from other analytics tools in various ways, Yahoo said.

First, it said, while some tools produce data 24-48 hours after collecting it, Yahoo's tool reflects changes within minutes. Thus, users can quickly see how new ad campaigns are performing, allowing them to be tweaked as needed. The tool also lets users quickly identify usability issues if popular pages suddenly see a dip in key performance metrics.

In addition, while some other analytics tools store aggregated data in pre-canned reports, Yahoo stores data in non-aggregated raw form so that users can ask different questions and create new reports using both current and historical data, according to Yahoo.

Finally, Yahoo said the tool provides drag-and-drop access to features like data filtering and segmentation, allowing users to quickly build reports and create ad hoc scenarios to answer questions as they come up.