ClickTracks Keeps Analytics Simple - Page 2

By Dan Muse
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In the Real World
Matt Bailey, Web marketing director at The Karcher Group, said he had been using ClickTracks with e-commerce customers because of its focus on site visitor behavior, but relying on other Web analytics products for deeper technical analysis.

"We have been using ClickTracks primarily for usability studies, to see where the roadblocks were for getting from Point A to Point B, to find out where people were dropping out."

The Karcher Group has been testing version 5.0 prior to its release, and Bailey said he was impressed by the new features. "5.0 lets us show in one screen what it would have taken us three hours to get across in text and graphs. The What's Changed Report is a huge addition."

What sets ClickTracks 5.0 apart from competitors is that rival solutions aren't as intuitive to set up or use, he added.

"WebTrends has always been the biggest and the baddest, but you almost need an advanced computer science degree to set it up," Bailey said. "You need a network admin, a marketing person and an IT person to run it."

"It's possible set up ClickTracks Analyzer in the time it takes to get a cup of coffee — it's the easiest thing I've seen," he added. However, using the Professional version is a little more complicated, he said. "You need someone who understands servers."

Like previous versions, ClickTracks 5.0 is available as both a hosted product and a server-based one. The former works by requiring you to add a small bit of code to each page. The server product analyzes log files, which you may need to get from your hosting provider.

Despite the convenience and real-time analysis offered by the hosted, or ASP-based, version, Marshall and Bailey agreed that the trend is moving toward log-file analysis.

"Most customers are buying the log-file version because they want to use multiple analytics tools," Marshall said. "They like ClickTracks for the non-Web master kind of data. It's like a company executive who uses Excel but also has an accountant."

Bailey said he prefers the log-file approach for another reason. "We chose to keep the pages as light as possible. It's just a little JavaScript, but it adds up." He also describes the need for real-time data as "not so important" as most customers are looking for trends.

Overall, Bailey said, e-commerce businesses are using some kind of analytics if selling over the Internet is their main objective. Where that's not the case is with "larger offline, brick-and-mortar companies that decide to go online. They spend a lot of money with no idea."

Dan Muse is executive editor of internet.com's Small Business Channel and EarthWeb's Networking & Communications Channel.

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This article was originally published on April 08, 2004
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