The difference between Google Analytics and Urchin Software from Google

MoreVisibility - December 19, 2008

Recently, I’ve fielded a lot of questions regarding Urchin Software from Google, and how it compares to Google Analytics. Both Google Analytics and Urchin Software from Google are web analytics programs that can help you understand the traffic patterns and the visitor behavior of your site, along with any of the marketing efforts associated with your online business.

However, while they are both Google products that serve the same ultimate purpose, they are quite different from one another in many ways. There are things that Urchin can do that GA can’t, and vice-versa. Depending on your needs, you may find that one platform is a better fit for you versus the other platform. Below, I have created an image based on this page that will hopefully be able to show you what Urchin Software has to offer in comparison to some of the things that Google Analytics offers (an image that I hope is good enough for the folks at Junk Charts):

Urchin Software vs. Google Analytics

Let’s briefly cover each of these points:

Server Installation – You install Urchin Software on your server of choice
Firewall Protection – Perfect for a corporate or a school intranet protected by a firewall
Historical Data – With Urchin, you can always reprocess historical logfile data
Log-File Processing – You control how / how often your logfiles are processed
Collect Data via Tags – Urchin does not collect data via JavaScript tags; GA does
Robot Activity – Urchin can report on search engine robot / spider activity
Status Codes – Reports on server status / error codes w/ Urchin
AdWords Integration – This is something currently exclusive to Google Analytics
Paid Search Reporting – Both platforms can easily accomplish this
Ecommerce Reporting – Both can also track Revenue, Product, and Transaction data
Geo-Targeting – Both are also equipped with a Map Overlay report and Geo-specific data
Free (No Cost) – Google Analytics is FREE; Urchin costs $2,995.00
Visitor Path Analysis – Urchin allows for a much deeper level of visitor segmentation than GA
Raw Data Availability – Because Urchin is installed on your server, you have the freedom to download Raw Data and basically do whatever you’d like with it

I love Google Analytics, but Urchin Software allows for a lot of things that GA doesn’t do. Can I use both platforms simultaneously?

Yes, you can. With a touch of customization to the Google Analytics Tracking Code, you can run Urchin Software on your server, and have your website(s) coded for GA. Keep in mind that both platforms collect data differently (Urchin uses logfiles; Google Analytics uses JavaScript), which means that you will see different numbers when comparing the same report with the same date-range between one platform versus the other.

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