Yahoo Readies Small Biz Analytics Tool

Dashboard reports site traffic, online reputation

Google Analytics is arguably the Google of free site analytics dashboards, but that hasn’t stopped other companies from developing their own tools, including Yahoo, which today unveiled the Yahoo Marketing Dashboard for small businesses.

“The number of online marketing options are growing….It seems like a new company or a new way of reaching consumers emerges each day, and for small businesses who don’t have agencies or a lot of background support, this proliferation of options is pretty challenging to manage,” said Shannon Parker Hane, director of product marketing for Yahoo Small Business.

Small businesses can use the dashboard to track site traffic, monitor their search listings and check what people are saying about them on Facebook and Twitter. Parker Hane said the dashboard was designed for small business owners, not marketing experts, so that users can quickly eyeball important top-level reporting. Over time, she said, Yahoo plans to add an insight layer to help small businesses digest the reports. The tool is free, but Yahoo is offering a few add-ons for a fee.

The search and directory listings capability audits where and how a business is listed on sites like Yelp and recommends new listing opportunities. For $9.99 per month, businesses can use the dashboard to submit their information to more than 100 search engines and directories.

The dashboard also offers an online reputation manager that monitors a business’ mentions on up to 8,000 sources including Facebook and Twitter. The dashboard displays the two most recent reviews or mentions, but businesses can pay $19.99 per month to get full access to reviews, surface keywords found in those reviews and competitors’ online reputation information.

The dashboard’s site traffic analysis feature displays the number of a site’s unique visitors, visits, pageviews, time spent on the site and also breaks out what sites visitors came from. Yahoo already offers a site traffic tool for small businesses that use Yahoo’s Web-hosting offering, but the Marketing Dashboard can also pull in Google Analytics data.

Small businesses who are customers of email marketing vendor Constant Contact or who use OrangeSoda for search marketing can link their accounts so that campaign tracking stats from either or both firms can be displayed within the dashboard.

Users can link multiple businesses to their account, but each business would have its own separate dashboard rather than one interface that can display information side by side. Yahoo is outfitting the dashboard with advice blurbs to help small businesses with their online marketing and offering users 24/7 free customer support.

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