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#1 Adrian

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 05:42 AM

It looks like I'm going to have some time set aside soon to look over the stats tracking the company does, see if what we've currently got is good enough (I'm thinking it's not for the plans they have) or look over some alternatives and come up with some recommendations based on what we're after.

So, I'm probably going to be looking at some products suitable for a large number of small/medium sized web sites (anything form a 2/3 page site with a bit of info and some contact details, to sites with a few dozen or so pages, and possibly some ecommerce/shop type stuff coming up), and looking for a few recommendations of software to look at.

I'm already planning on looking at a few like ClickTracks, Unica Net Tracker, probably Google Analytics for comparison, and WebTrends, anyone got any others to have a look at? I'm thinking one or 2 or those I've just mentioned might well cost more than they really want to pay :)

We are going to be wanting a bit more info than the basics, visitor numbers, what systems they're using and referrer type stuff. I don't think GA is going to provide the level of stats we're going to start to want to be honest, so we are looking at something 'higher end' in terms of working out what's going on on clients sites, and running reports.

#2 rynert

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 07:22 AM

Hi Adrian, I have been using summary.net for a few years now and found it to be a good product, worth a look :)

#3 earlpearl

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 03:01 PM

Smarterstats has been an excellent analytics program for several years. I was pleased to learn that some webmasters and seo/sems I respect also liked the program.

Dave

#4 EGOL

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 05:48 PM

I use Clicktracks and Weblogexpert. Both do different things and have very different costs. I jumped in with weblogexpert because it is low cost then moved to Clicktracks because it has a "What's Changed" report and also has great graphing and data export options.

You can use Google analytics for free. We just installed it on one site and are anxious to see how it works.

#5 A.N.Onym

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 10:14 PM

Google Analytics offer quite a bit of data. For example, you can see what referrer, keyword, country or city drive the most conversions and stuff like that. Naturally, you'll need to setup conversion tracking (which helps).

#6 Adrian

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 03:43 AM

Thanks guys, that's gives me a bit more to look at. Not heard of Summary.net or SmarterStats before, so will include them in my research :)

I used to use WebLogExpert as well EGOL. I did quite like the way it presented the information it tracked, but did find it limiting after a while. But yeah, for the price, it offers some nicely formatted, easy to read stats.

I'm certainly going to have a bit of a look at Google Analytics, I use it a bit for my own sites, but they are very low traffic, and I'm not terribly fussed about that, so it's difficult to use them as a proper judge.
I'm not sure if some people will have issues with the idea of sending all that data to Google as well.

Problem is that I'm itching to get started, but we've got a few other projects to finish off first!

#7 A.N.Onym

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 04:08 AM

Adrian, I am sure people would appreciate to know your decision, as well as some reasoning, as well as some review you can do on the alternatives. The analytics you want is perhaps the next step after free analytics, so it'll be useful for some of us.

Thanks.

#8 Adrian

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 06:58 AM

Yep, already told an ex-collegue that I'd pass on any interesting points to her as well, so I'm sure I can do a bit of a write up.

Not sure when I'm going to get to do it yet, one of the problems with smaller companies, some of those sevrice improvement ideas get lower priority than just getting things done!

I think some more information from the SEOMoz inspired analytics comparison 'project' is due soon as well, so it'll be interesting to look at some of that.

#9 A.N.Onym

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 08:04 AM

Here's a couple of reviews on Web analytics that I have found:
http://www.stonetemp...-may-2007.shtml
http://www.networkco...icleID=20003001

Truth be told, such reviews are rare, as they require extensive effort and resources.

#10 Adrian

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 09:51 AM

Ah yes, that Stone Temple one is the one I was referring to about ebing SEOMoz inspired.

Can't say I'll be going into that much depth, more trying to get a good feel for the usefulnes of the stats, and how easy they are to use, all compared against price...

#11 Adrian

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 11:03 AM

Couple of quick early comments from doing a bit of browsing and looking over things today.

I've given SmarterStats (which is what we've already got!), Summary.Net and ClickTracks (the Appetizer 'trial' version) a bit of a go, and made a few notes.

Basically, SmarterStats, Summary.Net and WeblogExpert do pretty similar jobs. SmarterStas does seem the best of the 3, we have it setup on the server, profiles are created, it's told where the log files are, and crunches them once a day, creating html reports accessible via login on the internet.

Summary can be setup in a similar way it seems, but looks much less intuitive to use, and much less easy to read the stats. Smarterstats does seem to produce fairly nice graphs of data, which aren't as good in Summary. I found ease of reading the data is the main problem with stats software like analog. It just doesn't output it in easily readable ways.

WeblogExpert is more a case of tell it to analyze the logs when you want it to. Then look at locally created html reports. Nice graphs and all that, but it only does the minimum of data.

All 3 of these offer the usual stats like page view/visitor numbers, referrers, search engine keywords, platforms and browser numbers, basic spider numbers and that kind of thing.

You get fairly general numbers, a vague attempt at pathing info, but it's all headline info for knowing very generally what's going on. You're going to struggle to find out how people are using the site with any of these packages.

At $200 for use on 50 domains, SmarterStats isn't too bad a price if you need some basic stats for a bunch of web sites, a bit pricey if you're just tracking you're own though. Especially when you could probably get most of that same info from Google Analytics.

ClickTracks is a different ball game though. The level of detail availible, and the way it's laid out allows you much more insight into what's going on compared to any of the other 3 pieces of software I've tried so far.

There's page overlays, allowing you to see what internal links people are clicking on, along with other bits of general page info, broken down page by page.
More advanced referrer info and some details on the links that people have actually clicked on to get to you (I like the way it is laid out for easy interogation as well). This is teamed up with better info on search engine traffic, breakdowns for different types of SE traffic (organic/paid), colour coding stats that are performing better, breakdowns of things like time on site from different referrers, cost per visitor etc...

The what's changed reportt looks interesting as EGOL mentioned. Take 2 date ranges, and compare differences in referrers and keywords clickthroughs etc..

More detailed info on SE crawling from the bigger engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN, ASK and and couple others), stats on a page by page basis, when did the bots last visit, how often have they visited in the date range, how regularly do they visit, days since last visit.

It's also the only one of those I've looked at so far to do anything with funnels, though I'm fairly sure GA has some basic tools for that as well.
ClickTracks comes in software or hosted versions. Difference being software crunches logs, so you need a machine for the crunching, and the hosted version is a JS tagged version, hsoted by them, but can't do the bot reports, and also can't do emailing of reports, which is another nice feature if you have various stakeholders to keep informed.

The version I'd be interested in is the Pro software version, which starts at $800, with pricier versions that I think just add more support from ClickTracks themselves. For the kinds of stats ClickTracks provides, I certainly feels it's worth that kind of money, especially if you are going to use it to report to clients, as it can be a service you can charge for, and reclaim some of the costs.

I'm expecting a couple of the other packages to provide similar kinds of levels of detail as ClickTracks, so it'll be interesting to see how they compare to it, and how prices vary. They don't seem quite so easy to get hold of trial software though, I'm expecting some sales person to contact me from Unica about Net Tracker, when all I want is the software to test...

As much as I want to like Net Tracker based on my previous trial a few years ago, if they're going to do the hard sale thing, I'd be more likely to lean towards ClickTracks as my prefered package. Unless Net Tracker has something mindblowing.

#12 EGOL

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 11:47 AM

I am using crazyegg a lot. In confetti view you can see on page activity color coded by referrer/direct.

#13 earlpearl

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 12:38 PM

very nice review and thread. looking forward to hearing more comparisons.

Dave

#14 Adrian

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 03:21 PM

Crazyegg looks like it's designed for very specific stuff EGOL, literaly focusing on a few pages at a time to look for certain things and do split testing. Interesting, difficult to see how it would justify the price for the top plan though.

I imagine their market is relatively small, it's going to be the obsessives who are really trying to pick out the details of what makes their visitors tick on a select few pages.

#15 Black_Knight

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 07:49 PM

Adrian, before looking at the software at all, and trying to tie in how you'll use the data it provides, I'd really recommend working the other way around.

Consider what data is needed, by whom, and most importantly, precisely how that data will be accessed and used in real terms.

I'm a strong advocate of ClickTracks for particular scenarios - those where taking a kind of 'cognitive walkthrough' of the data is going to be not just possible, but the best overall working method.

Where the various 'owners' and persons responsible for the website, from the head of marketing down to the lowest IT guy who might touch the site, can all sit down and go through the stats together, using the overlays to make the figures really hit home to the (usually very visually oriented) marketers.

If the only way the top-most 'owners' responsible for web content are going to see the data is via reports and print-outs, clicktracks isn't my first choice. Of course, that's not my fist-choice scenario either.

If you can wrangle to get that monthly cognitive walkthrough on the agenda as a monthly meeting, then waste no further time and get it done and you'll never have any regrets about ClickTracks I'm certain.

But the software choice really is down to who will use the data, what data they'll use, and how they'll use it. Human nature means it is much easier to start with that reality, than to expect people to change much.

#16 A.N.Onym

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 08:32 PM

Adrian, ClickTracks shows clicks on links, but it doesn't differentiate between which link was clicked, if there are two links to the same page on one page. CrazyEgg and another page click tracking software I forgot the name of can track this, so this is pretty handy.

Some solid advice, Ammon.

#17 Adrian

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 04:49 AM

But the software choice really is down to who will use the data, what data they'll use, and how they'll use it. Human nature means it is much easier to start with that reality, than to expect people to change much.


Yeah, I had intended to have that discussion about requirements first, it just happened that there's a bit of a lul in projects to work on, and the bosses are away for a few days.

I've been having a bit of the discussion with my colleagues anyway. At the moment, I'm not sure the sites we're running really warrant something like ClickTracks, but part of my problem is that I don't think the people I'm working with really know what can be tracked and the kinds of things stats packages can do.

My notes here probably exceed the notes I have written down on my desk, as at the moment I'm having a look over different things to see what's possible (though clearly I'm going to miss some stuff).

At which point I can get into a discussion with those higher up about what we want to do as far as providing better analytics for our clients, if any of them are interested in much beyond numbers of monthly visits/page views, or if we can use them internally to influence the kinds of sites we propose or want to improve.

At the moment, if I was to sit down with the company directors for a discussion about stats, my only experience of advanced stats for the last couple of years really is Hitbox, which really isn't what we want!
So I would worry that the discussion would be biased in favour of what we know can be done by apps like SmarterStats, as I don't think they've got any stats experience beyond that level.

I know if we got something more advanced, I could sit here happily all day chugging through sites making notes on how they are performing that would probably surprise the people involved, and give them some suggestions about what to change etc...
Unfortunately my main role is building web sites, not analysing them, and I don't know that other people have the interest or understanding of what Web Analytics can do to make real use of something like ClickTracks. So after all this discussion and trialing things, we might just end up with sticking with SmarterStats.

I'll keep posting some notes here on my general findings though. And I'm hoping Stone Temple are going to post the results of the tests they've been doing soon too :)

ClickTracks shows clicks on links, but it doesn't differentiate between which link was clicked, if there are two links to the same page on one page.


Yeah, I've seen that kind of behaviour, though even worse, with Hitbox before.
Again though, CrazyEgg's ability to track those differences still maintains the view of very specific uses, bearing in mind the licensing is based on the idea of having Crazyegg run on a few pages at a time. The free version allows 4 pages to be tracked. So on a fairly average site, you might have the home page, a couple of hub pages, or landing pages if that's your thing, maybe a few steps of the shopping cart process.

But you're going to be looking at specific aspects of a site in close detail, rather than see how a site is doing, how the whole sites being used etc...

#18 gasyoun

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Posted 31 August 2007 - 03:50 AM

Adrian, thank you for the informative reviews.
In my opinion there are only two tools one needs.
We've used Awstats for years - fed up with it. It
gives nothing, only numbers.
I use Google Analytics combined with Get Clicky (http://getclicky.com/12374) and
http://www.clicktrac...s/pro/index.php seem to be a nice tool. What is the best analyzer for web logs, that can trace every visitors path?

#19 Adrian

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Posted 31 August 2007 - 04:28 AM

What is the best analyzer for web logs, that can trace every visitors path?



NetTracker at least used to be very good at that, though I haven't tried it in 3 or 4 years to know what it's like these days. Whereas when i tried them before they were responsive and helpful, I've not had replies to my contacts now.

In my opinion there are only two tools one needs.


If GA and getclicky give you what you want/need, fair enough. I find GA limiting to be honest, I don't see how much of an improvement getclicky offers.

#20 gasyoun

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 03:07 AM

Why do you need Mint? Isn't Clicky enough? Google is the Standart, but without Clicky can't trace the people - it's a pitty that the filters are working quite bugy, but it is still better than nothing. Why Mint?

#21 Adrian

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 04:10 AM

I don't remember mentioning Mint.... or a specific need for it...

I have used it on a couple sites though, a slightly different tool again, as it's only designed for shorter term stats tracking, with it's big thing being the very live aspect of the data, and people going a bit refresh happy watching the traffic some in :)

Still not terribly advanced, the basic stats were fairly limited, though several of the addons made it more useful, and I don't know what's been added since I last used it 2 years ago. There were addons to show common IP addresses, and even resolve those IP's as host names I think, which were pretty handy too.

Overall though, Mint was a tool more aimed at say bloggers, who wanted a rough idea of traffic, and weren't too fussed about long term tracking of things. I'd been using it for a while before Google Analytics was launched, and I guess that has stolen much of Mint's thunder.

#22 gasyoun

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 10:50 PM

http://www.clicktale.net is kinda Clicky, but can remember the path, so it is even better in this "spy" aspect.

#23 pinkfluffybunny

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 03:25 PM

I recommend something that does scheduling.

Webtrends and surfstats does it.

Install it on the server, set up schedules for each site, have the files dump into a domain directory with directories and you have a stats server. no need to purchase a $10,000.00 web log analyzer server.

#24 A.N.Onym

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 05:35 AM

I am looking for a small/medium analytics package that:
- can track downloads
- can track button clicks
- doesn't use Javascript (optional)
- isn't Google Analytics

Can you recommend anything?

I was considering ClickTracks, but its close to $1k. IndexTools has been bought by Yahoo and will probably be only available to Yahoo customers.

The one I am currently evaluating is Getclicky.com, which is JS, sadly.

Thanks.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 21 May 2008 - 09:28 PM.




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