Archive for Webtrends

Webtrends is in the game

Web Analytics shootouts are always useful to those who haven’t yet committed to a web analytics platform or who are looking for an alternative. Most web analytics users are using Google Analytics “free” and Something Else paid. Now that Google Analytics 360 has come along and isn’t as expensive as the old GA Premium many WA users want to take a look at all the tools and platforms available.

Webtrends has done a major rewrite of their pioneering offering and they are in the game with Webtrends Infinity. The features and capabilities checklist is rather impressive, with all the real-time capability. Infinity looks to address many of the issues and shortcomings of Webtrends older offerings as well as those of other vendors. I look forward to testing Infinity in the near future, especially since new web analytics deployments are facilitated with tag management tools.

Unlocking the Data Layer for web analytics

The LunaMetrics blog has a great writeup about the web analytics data layer aimed at non-techies. Actually, it’s perfect for techies as well. The vibe that I’m picking up so far is that many folks aren’t using a data layer in their web analytics implementations just yet. But once you master the data layer concept, it opens many new capabilities in web analytics data capture, especially when using a tag management tool.

I initially read about the data layer with regards to Google Tag Manager, and it seemed odd to me that more advanced web analytics tools such as Adobe Analytics and Webtrends weren’t using this method to facilitate data collection. Turns out that some SiteCatalyst implementations had already used this technique, but few people had written publicly about it. (Why?) Recently I used a data layer on my first Adobe Tag Manager implementation and I found it was the best decision I’d ever made since I learned how to configure a hybrid Webtrends data collection setup back in 2006.

So, the idea behind the data layer is that on the server-side the web developer will expose some data elements in a JSON-formatted block of JavaScript and then your tag management container will be able to pick up those data elements and propagate the data throughout the other tags in the container. Determining which data elements requires some forethought. In many cases, we’re referring to passing along ecommerce-related data elements here, such as tracking data, order totals, transaction numbers, product prices, tax, etc. Many other data elements can be picked up with existing web analytics data capture techniques.

So, take a look at the two links above, and feel free to leave a comment below and share your thoughts and questions. As for me, my next mini-project is to implement Google Tag Manager with a data layer on a VPASP ecommerce site. I will pass along my experience with this project in future posts.

At this link, Akin Arikan puts forth some great discussion of the Data Layer / Analytics Layer / Universal Variable concept for passing data between the web server and web analytics tags served through a Content Distribution Network (CDN) also known as a Tag Manager. Besides the paid Tag Manager tools such as Tealium, there is the free but proprietary Adobe Tag Manager (for Adobe customers only, so far) and the free Google Tag Manager offering open to anyone. Many installations have implemented Google Tag Manager with SiteCatalyst, Webtrends and other web analytics tags.

Anyway, the gist of Akin’s article is that there is some movement in the industry towards a standardization of the Data Layer data elements. The Data Layer is a key/value JavaScript Object variable. Some tools (such as GTM) have libraries to help developers make standard calls to get data into the data layer for the Tag Manager to pick up and inject the data elements into various tags as they ‘fire’.

Here’s a page at the W3C where the industry giants are building a draft standard for the web analytics data layer.

More to come on Tag Manager tools…. it’s an interesting time!

Raven offers the Google Analytics Configuration Tool, a little “sitelet” (focused microsite) which offers 8 tools to help folks jump start their Google Analytics setup. Most interesting are the complex setups such as sub-domains and multi-domain setups, as well as event tracking configuration and a URL builder for campaigns such as SEM links and email links.

In the middle of all this setup work, many advanced users hosting multiple tracking tags on their sites are using Google Tag Manager with Google Analytics and other top WA (er, should I say, DA?) tools. I just found this post from Lothaire, who related his experience implementing an updated Webtrends tag using Google Tag Manager. Brett Hale has integrated SiteCatalyst (now Adobe Analytics) tags using GTM as well. I’m working now myself with Adobe Tag Manager. I’ll keep you posted with my notes going forward. First note is that I haven’t found much info about using a Data Layer (a/k/a analytics layer or universal variable) with SiteCatalyst tags. Wonder why?

Mobile SEO

Sorry for the long dry spell – it’s been a busy time lately and I’ll soon have some new items up related to recent work and research into web analytics Tag Management using Adobe Tag Manager, SiteCatalyst, Webtrends, GTM and Google Analytics.

But first, here’s a great article about Mobile SEO recently posted on Search Engine Land. Enjoy these hot, slow, long summer days!

Universal Analytics marches onward

It is still in limited beta, but Google’s Universal Analytics continues to evolve. The more info I review, the more the tagging reminds me of Webtrends Source Data Collector tagging concepts. The new Javascript tag is called ‘analytics.js’ and it is documented at the Google Developers site, which includes links to the Universal Analytics Developer Preview Beta program as well. With the new tag is an extensive reference of methods, fields, limits/quotas and cookie specs.

I don’t see much written on linear conversion reports like you might think. They are a great way to monitor key metrics on a website, such as the steps in a site’s conversion funnel. While I have long known how to get these reports running in Adobe SiteCatalyst, I had never tried creating one in Google Analytics (tsk, tsk!!) until now. So, if you’re interested in learning how to get these reports for your own GA account, here’s a great how-to article from Tim Leighton-Boyce at entitled Get an Instant Checkout Health Check with this one-stop Report. The important thing about this post I’m citing is that it has been revised multiple times with more relevant information and improvements.

Enjoy, and please share your results, time permitting!

PS – I haven’t tried creating a horizontal conversion funnel in Webtrends – has anyone else tried?

Webtrends Presentations Channel on SlideShare

Just for fun I popped in to SlideShare today looking for Webtrends Engage presentations and I found that there is an entire channel of material ready to be used at any time. When you have a few moments to fill and you’re in need of a new idea for your analytics (any tool, really) you should have a look around!

Convergence Analytics

ClickZ is working towards coining a new term, Convergence Analytics, and so in writing this post, I guess I’m helping with that process. Besides sounding cool, it does nicely summarize what we’ve been doing the hard way for the past few years: joining data from various analytics tools into a single tool. Of course now, the tools we’re using are more savvy and accept data from other sources and that is what is enabling this convergence of data and data analytics. Google Analytics, SiteCatalyst, Webtrends, etc. are able to accept external data and join it with the ‘native’ data captured by the tool and process all the data together to formulate reports. As one of my business colleagues always mutters… ‘there’s never been a better time to be alive… (or a data analyst) with all this innovation around us!”

More to come on this topic – its just going to get better!

Stealth report rollback feature in Webtrends on Demand

Things had been quiet over at the Webtrends Outsider blog, but not now – they’ve got big news to report. It is now possible to do little (1-3 day) data rollbacks with their hosted web analytics product which will allow users to see the effects of newly added report configurations faster than waiting for the next update.

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