I would suggest starting with Google Analytics. Yes, it is cookie-based, but that doesn’t mean that it will be grossly inaccurate. Not even IP based systems are 100% accurate, and 99% accurate is generally good enough for someone starting out.
Google Analytics is, without a doubt, the most universally supported tracking system across all channels, and relatively easy to implement as compared to those other options. From my experience, most errors in tracking due to improper implementation and not from inaccurate tracking technology. When you compare the price difference between GA and some of those other packages it is an easy decision.
You may discover that Google Analytics has far more capabilities than you currently need. Even if it doesn’t, your analytic skills will take time to develop and mature to the level that you need a higher-end package.
The 2 essential functions that you need from your tracking are:
- Bid management
- Conversion Optimization
Some things to consider before you decide are:
- What will be your bid management solution, will it integrate well with your analytics program?
- Does it have too many features, making it overly complicated, or missing essential features?
- Don’t rationalize a high cost, based solely on how much benefit it offers, but how much benefit it offers over other free solutions.
It’s easy to get taken in by great sounding features and benefits, but the reality is that you will probably use only a small subset of the features and there is no point paying for things that you are likely to not get much use out of.
I recommend that you start with the simplest solution and start benefiting right away from that package, as your analytic skills advance and you outgrow the easy and low-cost options you will know better which package is likely to serve as your next upgrade.