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Google Analytics Vs The World


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6 replies to this topic

#1 hulio

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 01:22 PM

I have what I think is a simple question:

Why shouldn't I be using Google Analytics?

First I used Urchin - seems like eons ago. Then, naturally, I switched to Google Analytics. Now however, the company I currently work for uses Webtends. As a stats tracking tool, it seems reasonably decent, however anytime I try to actually learn or implement more advanced tracking methods (even just tracking PPC clicks, or email newsletter clicks), I hit roadblocks. The documentation is unclear at best, and to get 'support' requires me to talk to condescending sales and tech guys that charge through the nose. I haven't gotten very far in their user forum either.

Ultimately, is there anything that Webtrends can do that Google Analytics can't (and might convince me to not propose a switch to my employer)? I'm hoping that someone with experience with both GA and WT can help me out.

Normally I'm not one to give up on something, but under the circumstances, it comes down cost. How much time I've put in, the people before me have put in, and the cost of the software, and the crazy support session costs.

Thanks

Doug

#2 Jill

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 03:01 PM

QUOTE
Why shouldn't I be using Google Analytics?


No reason that I know of. I recommend it to all my clients.

#3 hulio

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 03:35 PM

QUOTE(Jill @ Feb 4 2011, 05:01 PM) View Post
No reason that I know of. I recommend it to all my clients.


Well, I knew you would, Jill ;-) As do I, however, the company has already put in a lot of time and money, it *almost* seems a shame to dump WT without due diligence. Mind you I've already set the end of fiscal (next month) as deadline.

#4 torka

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 04:13 PM

I can think of a few differences off the top of my head.

IIRC, Webtrends is a log-based analytics package, while GA uses JavaScript. This means that GA will not track visitors that don't (or can't) run JavaScript -- for instance, bots and spiders. So if you're using GA and want to see when and how often Bing is spidering your site, for instance, you'll have to find out through other means. Log based applications like Webtrends will track everybody, bots/spiders included, but that means you might have to tweak your configuration a bit to make sure you aren't accidentally counting some new/unknown bot as a human visitor.

The "side effect" of that difference is that you will potentially see major differences in your visitor and page view numbers between Webtrends and GA. Doesn't mean either one or the other is "right" or "wrong" -- just that they measure traffic differently. You might find this article interesting, as it explains in more detail and outlines one person's experiences switching from WT to GA.

Second big difference is that, last I checked, GA won't let you see IP addresses for your visitors. With a log-based app, you can "follow" individual visitors as they navigate around your site, by looking at the log-file trail of pages visited by each IP address. GA only gives you aggregate-level information about visitor paths.

Third major difference is in timing. Webtrends advertising "real time" stats, while GA is always on a time delay.

Fourth difference is in support. While you do indeed pay through the nose for tech support with Webtrends, if you have a problem with GA, your alternatives are basically to hope it's covered in the FAQs, email Google and hope for a useful response, or go out and start haunting forums in search of somebody who can offer a good answer. "Free" is a hard-to-beat price, and as long as everything works OK you'll be fine... but if you run into an esoteric issue, you could find yourself pretty much on your own.

For most sites, GA will likely meet their needs (or at least, enough of them to make it worthwhile, especially considering the price). You just need to make sure you can live without the stuff that Webtrends offers. (If you can't, maybe you could look into other log-based alternatives. Webtrends has a reputation as being particularly difficult to configure. Others may offer equivalent features and be easier to use.)

--Torka mf_prop.gif

#5 Michael Martinez

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 06:32 PM

One thing I hate about Google Analytics is that it strips all dynamic parameters off URLs in the referral data. So if you see a lot of visitors coming in from a specific forum, good luck finding the discussion that led those people to your site.

Another thing I hate about Google Analytics is that it doesn't connect the pieces very well. For example, it teases you with the idea that if you drill down into the visitor map you might be able to see which pages those visitors were looking at or what search queries they were using to find you. NOPE. Doesn't do that (nor, for the record, do most analytics packages).

The interface implies more connectivity and/or cross-referencing than is really there.

On the plus side, some people who don't mind dealing with the mindlessness of regular expressions have developed some interesting custom reports and filters. Not many analytics packages allow you to do that.

In the end, the choice is yours: to use it or not.

It won't capture all your visitors nor show you all the search referrals that drive traffic to your sites but it will provide you with a wealth of data and that data can, over time, be used for trends analysis.

#6 hulio

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 09:34 PM

QUOTE(Michael Martinez @ Feb 7 2011, 08:32 PM) View Post
In the end, the choice is yours: to use it or not.


Martinez, do you use any other analytics package other than GA?

The techies that I've been able to talk to for WebTrends have told me the extent of the tracking abilities of WT is nothing short of magical.

Amongst them, the ability to track users from a ppc click, through our site, and out the other side to one of industry partners, and ultimately though their site to our desired conversion (all this without me having access to our partners website)...

#7 Michael Martinez

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 12:54 PM

QUOTE(hulio @ Feb 7 2011, 06:34 PM) View Post
Martinez, do you use any other analytics package other than GA?


I am using, or have in the past used BrightEdge, http-analyze, Webalyzer, Webtrends, Sitemeter, Google Webmaster Tools, and a couple of ancient packages whose names I don't recall as well as having had to review Omniture and some others.

QUOTE
The techies that I've been able to talk to for WebTrends have told me the extent of the tracking abilities of WT is nothing short of magical.


I'm less than thrilled by the WebTrends user interface.






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