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Recommendations for Tracking/Conversion

What's everyone using?



10:09 pm on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Newbie here and I really appreciate everyone's postings. I've been put in charge of finding a good tracking/conversion program for two of our sites that have never really been tracked before. Most of our clicks come from PPC so we don't get many page views per day (but hopefully it will be a different story months from now).

A PPC company recommened Engine Ready, I see a lot of discussion about Webtrends. If we're just getting started, do we need to buy something right away or are there other programs that can get us started until we need to buy up.


10:22 pm on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member topr8 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

imo, you could seriously consider thinking hard about your requirements and getting a custom system built ... that is if you want raw data and are happy with that... especially if all you want to do is log the source of clicks and follow paths through the site unto the checkout.

we use a combination of 1. mach 5 to analyse search keyword traffic and referals and so on and 2. a custom script to track everybody's movements page by page, so we can see the exact path any buyer took through the site (this works well for us as we don't have 100s of sales a day)

if however you want lots of pretty graphs and a lot of not entirely useful info (do you really need to know the operating system of your customers?) then try a commercial product.

you need to really decide what you want to know, the high end products, like urchin, are very expensive (but very good)


5:25 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

For PPC analysis, the most important thing you can do is make sure that you'll have data that can be analyzed, and you need to double check that now and get it going. If you eventually get a solution that uses log files you'll want solid retrospective data dating back to, for example, now. If you eventually get a solution that uses page tags, you'll still want solid retrospective data, even though the old data won't have the stuff you can get from tags, specifically the dollar amount of purchases, discounts, and other things you'll pull from your receipt page to transmit to the analysis program.

For now, be sure that your incoming PPC traffic can be identified as to source (google adwords, etc) and keyword used. Make sure your site gives out a persistent cookie on every page. Make sure your servers are logging all the available fields, including the referrer and the user agent. Make sure the logs are not getting deleted.

Decide whether you want to invest in a custom program written for you (which will probably reinvent the wheel already done pretty capably by others who have made it their life's work to do so and who have already made & fixed all the mistakes you'll want to avoid). You don't have to avoid collecting and reporting on too many things as long as you feel you can not be distracted by the extra stats; they are free and might just be useful. Consult with somebody who knows what's possible with advanced, thought-provoking and insightful analysis for your kind of situation, and who can advise you on what to analyze (and how to use it) and who will match you up with the right tool, because every tool has its ins and outs that you don't find out about just from the sales talk. Decide what you are going to do with the analysis --- decide in detail, not just "it'll be 'helpful' to be able to follow individual visits" etc. Remember that you can always see individual visits by parsing the logs with Excel, and that stats programs are best used as tools that drill UP, not down, for patterns, and that will thereby help you find which visits to (occasionally, probably) look at step by step.

Make note of the "who have already made & fixed all the mistakes ..." remark and realize that all this stuff is much more difficult than it seems, that installing something out of the box and taking the defaults is risky if you care about accuracy. Have somebody who knows what they're doing set it up and teach you, because I'm sure your time is more valuable in the context of improving your site and your products.

Sheesh. Too much caffeine this morning. Sorry!


12:31 pm on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

A recent tool/app i've found is Clicktracks.

Didn't want to buy it just yet as it costs a bit but after using their trial version I really think this is an A-grade tool. They have a few different versions of their product, each with big price differences but their trial one i tested works on your server log file and gives you some pretty good info like User behaviour (ie; user came to this page, then went to this page, etc etc).

If anyone here has purchased it, could you message me with the version you purchased etc and how you find it? It is a little pricey...


1:22 pm on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I've used it and found it to be easy to implement, works in a lot of situations, is very fast, has some very nice features and a clean design, and I think it is really good as far as it goes. The support is good also, though my experience there is limited. But I find the breadth and depth of its reports is limited and it can't really be adapted to do some of the more interesting analyses that are out there, nor can you change most of the presets as far as I can tell. It's an entry level product, but an excellent one IMHO. I suggest you get and use the 15 day free trial intensively and actually apply the results. What decisions will the reports affect? Your own decisions, or will it be used on your custom prospects? Figure out if it has a payback for you or whether it's just a nice-to-have. Do you want it as a shortcut to something you could actually do with Excel if you just had the know-how and a little time.

The trial periods offered by some of these products are worth their weight in gold for people willing to invest some time. Even if you don't buy, you will be smarter for it. It would be nice if all the vendors would just relax about industrial espionage or theft or whatever they're worried about, and offer this kind of access instead of relying on secrecy and arm waving. (editorial comment)


10:49 pm on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

For many reasons, but especially if cost is an issue you might want to look at IRIS Metrics. Conversion rate marketers choose it for its pay for what you need.

Strong tool for tracking SEM efforts.


11:05 pm on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We use Hypertracker and Index Tools
No problems with either so far.



1:44 am on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

IRIS Metrics looks exactly like Engine Ready. So I did the ten day Engine Ready trial and it's still running two weeks in. I'm sure there's more functionality involved but since we're only getting 20 - 30 hits a day from our PPC I'm now able to point at specific visitors to see their behavior. I like the ease of use.

We're trying Webtrends On Demand on a 14 day trial but for some reason, it's not running correctly and there are no reports generated.

Thanks again for everyone chiming in.


10:44 am on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

be aware that Mach5 does not provide 'unique IP addresses' in their current release. so if that's important to you then get something else.

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