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We want more than traffic reports, we would like to analyse campaign data.
I have been looking into WebTrends 7.0, Urchin and Hitbox.
We're not an ecommerce site. So we don't need inventory analysis, etc...
Our site is more of a LEAD GENERATION site. So, this makes my life harder, because it's hard ot measure success. I have to measure email forms, downloads, etc...
I am getting more inclined towards WT. It seems to have the same features of Urchin, but cheaper.
Do you guys have any advice in the whole situation?
Maybe one of you went throught the sama thing.
Thanks a lot
You should definitely check out NetTracker. When I went through the process of choosing a tool, they were very helpful. The product is very detailed and has the campaign ability that you mention.
[edited by: rogerd at 3:04 pm (utc) on Jan. 19, 2005]
WebTrends is still the way to go. The only caveat is that, beginning with version 7.0 and Windows Server 2003, you can no longer use the ISAPI Cookie plugin to auto-generate the cookies. They are now going towards the Smartsoure Data Collector, which is a bit more cost from an infrastructure perspective.
Sane's NetTracker is still strictly logfile analysis and continues to copy WebTrends features and UI. WebTrends is moving towards pagetagging due to the add'l info gained on the client (plugin versions, connection speeds, etc...) and decrease in bot/spider traffic. Also, WebTrends is now moving to a PageView licensing model, so you should have a thorough understanding of your traffic volumes. We're working on this now with the expectation of realizing a significant amount of non-legit traffic will be excluded as it is being filtered out.
The problem with a pageview licensing model is that the more people that come to your site, the more you will have to pay. They are penalizing you for growing. The other problem with WebTrends is that they switched to work only on Windows platforms.
The WebTrends Smart Source data collection method ON PAPER looks like it's necessary for certain reports, i.e. the analysis engine has to find Smart Source types of parameters in the URL, especially in most of the Campaign reports and the way it differentiates paid from organic search engine hits.
However, that's on paper. In reality it's not very hard at all to tweak your URLs so that those exact parameters are present in regular server logs. The analysis engine doesn't care how the data got into the logs (and the company is happy to give you the parameter structure so you can do it).
Going further, there's an alternative to tweaking your site code to get those parameters. WebTrends has a certain amount of URL revision functionality available from the program's admin, and a lot can be done there to change names of parameters or insert the right ones. If that's not enough, the scripts etc to do this are not that difficult most of the time, and WebTrends will automatically run any preprocessing programs you specify before analyzing.
We have a Smart Source server set up, but we continue to find ways to work with clients' logs to get the same results, and in the end we far prefer server logs containing Smart Source parameters. Yes, some data (particularly cached pages) aren't tracked, but on the other hand logs give you a lot of server performance info - there's a long, long list of differences.
I would guess that other analysis programs that support both tags and logs and that use specialized parameters for auto-configuration of reports can be "tricked" the same way as you can do with WebTrends.
And check out the page view limits and the details of how that's calculated. You may find that for your situation the page view limits don't matter at all, or that the modest cost of raising the limit is okay. I was upset at first, but I now vastly prefer it to the old licensing limits which were based on the number of CPUs that serve the web site. That model penalized us for planning for high traffic period by adding servers.
The current v of WebTrends is 7.0, not 7.5.
joined:Jan 25, 2004
I am also into choosing a web report engine.
I've read documentation of webtrends and urchin but I still can't say if they will suit my needs in terms of the platforms, OSs and web servers I use.
What i don't understand is where do the limitations of each engine (urchin and webtrends) apply. For example, webtrends only runs on windows, but does this apply also to the machine running web server A? Are there other limitations in terms of the web servers A and B being used (IIS, Apache..) or the scripting languaje supported (PHP, ASP..)?
Thanks in advance.
This isn't the only thing I need help with so you'll be seeing me around. Thanks!
Along with a budget and I can recommend the best solution for your fit. I've run and tested just about every one out there. Send a PM if I don't respond!
Regarding WebTrends as bloatware ... WebTrends software has pretty much taken itself out of the cheapware end of the market, for sure. Not only is the minimum price $500 but it does say it needs its own machine (although I run a copy on my desktop for development and use a dedicated machine for production).
But the other side of the picture, to be fair, is that WebTrends is no longer in the same functional class as AWStats, no way! The current version took a millenium leap and is very, very powerful, with features and settings I still haven't explored even though I've been using it on all our clients since beta. Really. I just found some very cool features Friday.
Don't even consider it if all you want is basic stats that you can get anywhere. You'll hate the cost and the learning curve. On the other hand, if you understand site traffic enough to have some unanswerable questions you think will really help you, then do consider it, and possibly share a license with somebody else to bring the cost down, or find an agency that has already invested in the setup and has somebody on staff that knows all the features enough to set up reporting for you quickly.
I think WebTrends has been changing its market orientation considerably lately. They're leaving the low end market to the companies that used to be its competitors, and they've invested hugely in upgrading the product's functionality by leaps and bounds, ever since version 5. They consolidated their code base from all their various lines starting a couple years ago - it's like they started a new product that learned from the old one but didn't use the old one. And they've also invested in versatility in odd ways - for example, you can use either logs or tagged pages or both simultaneously, and you can migrate from one data collection method to another over time without losing historical data. It also offers *both* an ASP service and a software product (plus an interesting in-between option where they collect your tag data on their servers and ftp it to you for analysis on your software). They've changed their licensing so that other companies can buy a license and act as an ASP, which is what we are doing.
So ... if you don't know much about web traffic analysis and you want something inexpensive, there are a lot of really good programs like AWStats that will give you the basics and more.
And I don't want to claim that WebTrends is the only one that's upgrading its software dramatically. Some of their competitors, also formerly cheap or free, are going after a more sophisticated market and abandoning the low end.
I would add HitBox to this category also, and probably Net Tracker and the top level of Urchin.
The limitations we have found is that we would like the option of being able to track a 'checkout process' if you like, a pathway through a site, identifying areas where customers drop off, etc and highlight key areas that are losing us traffic - from what i have seen web trends excels in this area (still have to find out the costings though :( )
Also, the functionality of combining email reports and sales data looks promising, but i will definetly be looking into other software over the next few days - i have heard of one call 'WebAnalytics' - does anyone have any experience with this one?
Wlauzon, how did you uninstall the WT trial? I recently bought a new laptop and installed the latest trial version of WT. Now I can't shift it :-(
But all our clients are on webtrends, they like it and are used to it, so we won't be changing.
joined:Feb 13, 2003
That said, there is a learning curve to determining what info you really want from their system, and it's one of those systems where you can get buried in stats and not really know what stats are meaningful.
We are looking at upgrading our analytics to something more serious than the freebies out there.
I am curious what most people are actually paying/paid for a system that will:
- Track standard user info
- provide returning/long term user customer behaviours
- Track 2-4k+ PPC campaigns at a micro level
- Analyse logs with 2 million+ page views a month
- Look at product level eCommerce info
I'd prefer not to have it require a dedicated machine, must run on Linux and there is no way i'd use third party scripts/cookies like indextools or hitbox.
I also prefer something that doesn't require ongoing licensing fees or support.
Is it a pipe dream to imagine this is available for less then $4000 a month or can I get something for under a grand one time fee?
It is hard to justify these costs to the bean counters, just so I can know how often visitors took their hand off the mouse and scratched their ass.
Is NetTracker still based on the log files or do they do tagging now, too?
I've got the same deal as a couple of posts ago - 2 million page views, ecommerce site, etc.