Yesterday we received news that our application to G-Cloud 7 has been accepted.
Government Cloud Computing (also known as GCloud) is a programme that the UK Government has adopted to promote adoption of cloud computing technology to drive efficiencies and cost savings in the public sector.
Part of GCloud is a digital marketplace where Government agencies can purchase cloud based services from approved vendors.
With the framework agreement signed and returned we’re looking forward to being listed on the G-Cloud 7 Digital Marketplace as a supplier of Specialist Cloud Services for services associated with Webtrends and Google Analytics.
With electronic surveillance projects like PRISM catapulting data intrusion and collection issues into the headlines, privacy is becoming more and more high profile in today’s Big Data era. It’s a concern for consumers and providers of digital media alike. Consumers don’t like the idea of their browsing history being available to Big Brother, yet this same information is key for website-owning organisations to monitor and improve their performance. Organisations need to balance the need for data with the need to have the trust of their customers.
Recent EU legislation attempted to resolve this issue by forcing websites to obtain consent from visitors before serving cookies, but studies have shown that only a tiny minority of people (less than 2%) actually block cookies. So what’s going on? Are people really concerned by cookies? I think the answer is a qualified yes, despite the lack of action actually taken by the consumer. A survey by eConsultancy showed that 89% of those surveyed thought the EU cookie legislation was a positive step and that only 23% of people would be happy to accept cookies. So, people are clearly concerned about cookies and a potential invasion of privacy but have little understanding of what a cookie is and how it is used. Cookies essentially have an image problem!
Cookie Make Over
It is left to the analytics providers to take a lead in addressing public concerns in order to protect their customers’ (and their own) business interest. A cookie make-over is needed to increase trust and preserve loyalty in the face of fast changing public opinion. And that’s just what Webtrends has done by introducing their new IP-less cookie.
A step in the right direction
Traditionally Webtrends cookies have been constructed using the visitors IP address to generate a random value. In order to remove the IP address, Webtrends is phasing in the new cookie over the coming months. New visitors will receive the new IP-less cookie, while returning visitors will have the expiry date of their cookie (containing their IP address) set to 1st January 2014. Webtrends estimates that, as many visitors clear their cookies every month, by this date only 5% of visitors will have the old style cookie left on their machine. You don’t need to do anything to make this happen, the process will be automatic.
This reflects the increasing significance of these two areas to marketing and how important it is to be able to segment your Visitors in multiple ways so that you can gain a better understanding of them and hence target them more effectively.
The full list of new fields and their values is:
Is a mobile device (Yes or No)
Is a tablet (Yes or No)
Mobile brand name (e.g., Verizon, NTT DoCoMo)
Mobile model name (e.g., Galaxy Nexus, iPhone)
Mobile marketing name (e.g., Galaxy S3, which has two different models)
Mobile pointing method (e.g., physical keyboard, onscreen keyboard)
Mobile has QWERTY keyboard? (Yes or No)
Mobile is NFC supported? (Yes or No)
Mobile has cellular radio? (Yes or No)
Mobile has wifi? (Yes or No)
Social network (e.g., Google+, Facebook)
Social action (e.g., on Google+, when a user clicks the +1 button, the social action is plus)
Social action target (e.g., the content for which you clicked +1)
Content & Traffic
Hit type: (e.g. page, social, transaction)
Internal search term (Search terms used in a property’s internal search engine)
Internal search type (Searches confined to a specific category or area of a property e.g. Mens)
Audience / Users
Browser size (in pixels)
IP version (IPV4, IPV6)
Local currency code (currency code used in transaction)
They waited until 2nd April (so that no one thought it was an April Fool?), but Google’s Universal Analytics (the replacement to Google Analytics(GA)) has finally come out of beta. It now includes all the features that were only previously in GA:
Remarketing – that Google AdWords facility that appears to follow you round the internet putting up adverts for something you have (once) expressed an interest in
Audience Reporting a segmentation by both demographics (age and gender) and interest, so that you can see whether or not your visitors fit your target audience
(N.B. To obtain these reports you need to make a one line change to your tracking code and enable the option in Analytics).
There is the ability to assign a User Id to a visitor and track via that rather than by cookie (again minor tweaking required!). This is great for any site where people log on e.g. Intranets, Extranets and shopping carts. Included is even a new report which shows how the same people use different devices:
Finally, they have admitted that there are time zones other than Pacific Standard Time! If, like us, you get regular reports emailed to you, they should arrive in a more timely manner.
So, the time for procrastination is over and you should now upgrade if you haven’t already!
How can I have more visitors in a week than a month?
Recently we had a client who pulled up two visitor reports. One for the month of December and one for a custom date range, 1st – 25th December. He was startled to find that there had been 25 visitors between 1st – 25th yet only 13 in the whole of December. How could this possibly be true? It simply did not make sense.
To understand what had happened we need to first understand how the Webtrends Analytics package works out how many visitors visit your site in a given time period.
Webtrends will typically have buckets that it lumps visitors into.
If I visit the website today, I will be put into each of the Daily (Monday), Weekly & Monthly buckets.
If I visit tomorrow (and it’s the same week and month), I am only put in the daily bucket for Tuesday as I’m already in the Weekly & Monthly ones.
If I visit next week (and it’s the same month), I will be put in the daily and weekly bucket as I’m still in the Monthly one.
So, if I want to view a report that shows how many visitors there were for last Tuesday, Webtrends simply looks in the Day bucket for last Tuesday. Similarly if I want to see last week or January it can look in the relevant bucket.
But what happens if I want to view a custom date range? Webtrends does not have buckets for this, so it improvises and creates an approximation by summing visitors from the buckets it does have.
Let’s look at an example. We want the custom date range 1st December to 10th December. Webtrends will use a combination of the day buckets and week buckets to give us an approximation.
The problem is that visitors may be in more than one bucket and so could be double counted.
So in our example below, one guy visits on the 1st and then again during Week 1 whereas the rest of the gang only appear in one bucket. If we count up the visitors there are clearly 7 of them. But if we count them by bucket there are 8!
1 4 2 1
And if we look at the month bucket we see there are only 7 visitors.
This is the reason that sometimes, if you look at a custom date range, you will see more visitors in that shorter period than you do in a longer default time period. Because of this double counting you should therefore always be cautious when using custom date ranges and avoid them where possible.
Note that this calculation applies only to visitors. Visits & Page Views can be added together from their different buckets as they are not mutually exclusive between dates!
Yesterday I was at the Webtrends User Conference #Engage13, during which two exciting announcements were made in the keynote speeches that indicate the direction for Webtrends over the coming year:
This has been a front end to the Data Warehouse (or Visitor Data Mart as it was renamed) for some time and allows users to slice and dice the granular level. Effectively it is like having the functionality of a massive Excel pivot table on a database containing every hit.
So, nothing new there, you say! But the big announcement is that this functionality is coming to Analytics next year. No longer will we have those table size limits restricting the number of Pages that we can see or having users complain that they can’t see their new Page because it keeps being deleted off the end of the table.
All data restrictions are going away to create “Webtrends Unlimited”! What is more, Bruce Kenny (EVP of Products, Webtrends) said that this would be free for Webtrends OnDemand Analytics users. I look forward to the presentations appearing online to check that I heard that one right as it could have massive implications for customers with large number of profiles (that may not be required any longer?) or the VDM where it is used simply as a staging database to get the data captured by Webtrends into their Enterprise Data Warehouse.
One of the key advantages of Webtrends over Google Analytics has been the ability to capture many different metrics and create a wide variety of custom reports based on them. This advantage has been eroded significantly by Universal Analytics which will become ubiquitous (see more at http://elignum.co.uk/google-analytics-is-dead-all-hail-universal-analytics), however the power of Explore will take Webtrends to a new level in terms of being able to get exactly the data you want at any level of granularity without having to build new custom reports and reanalyse data.
Webtrends Lifetime Streams
At last year’s Engage conference, I sat and watched the demonstration of Streams and thought “what a beautiful visualisation of real-time data – there is a solution looking for a problem”.
However, this year, it became clear that there is at least one scenario where Streams fits and that is where basket abandoners can be emailed immediately, where “immediately” can be not just after the usual 30 minutes of inactivity defining the end of the session, but could be, say, 15 minutes after they look at a specific page, significantly improving conversion.
This happens through the Action Centre (https://help.webtrends.com/legacy/en/actioncenter/) which now has a Universal link in addition to the pre-integrated ones with specific email service providers, this means that you can now take the data and feed it anywhere you want in real-time.
Finally, the announcement of Lifetime Streams means that additional information on the Visitor such as a Webtrends Segment or Lifetime Value can be added to the event data and be available within those same milliseconds as before, enabling additional filtering to take place before deciding what action to take.
All in all, I left feeling that Webtrends have moved forwards again significantly in the Analytics Arena – excelling at collecting the data and making it available to their customers to use in whatever way suits them best…
Webtrends have just issued their new price list for 2014 and there is welcome news for those customers who have been constrained in their analysis by the cost of add-ons. We were greatly encouraged in the recent release (V10.7) with the ability to reanalyse the data back for 3 months at no cost (not to mention how easy it is to do!). This has always been a thorn in the side for both development, waiting to see data in that report to test it, and the users, who often request a new report because they are interested in finding out what caused an anomaly in the recent past. The passing on to their customers of the presumed decrease in resource costs is continuing, and Webtrends have announced that OnDemand will include 100 profiles rather than the current 5 in 2014 (current customers will have to wait until renewal, although additional packs can still be purchased beforehand). This will enable many customers to segment their data far more than they do currently and set up profiles to get all their reports by e.g. area of the site, so that each of the Webtrends Report Viewers will be able to see their reports based on just their own data rather than having to make educated guesses on e.g. the number of Visitors to their area of responsibility. Other announcements include unlimited Custom Reports – also welcome since the arrival of all the V10 ones. So, as we move into December and start preparing for next year, think about what you can use all those extra profiles for next year…!
Over the past year we have been working with Universal Analytics (a more advanced version of the classic Google Analytics (GA)). This is produced by Google themselves and therefore we have been surprised at the lack of people that have heard of it! The new, big announcement is that Google now provide an upgrade path (http://ow.ly/qlDE1) so that you can take advantage of the new features such as:
Custom dimensions and metrics enabling more sophisticated reporting
Simplified tracking code that can reduce page load times
Better cross-domain and cross-device tracking support
and combine it with your historic GA data so that you no longer have to look at two systems.
What do you need to do?
Edit: all properties have now been auto-transferred to Universal Analytics.
Over the next few weeks a new tool will become available in your Property Settings.
This will enable you to transfer all your Google Analytics data into Universal Analytics, at which point you just need to change the tag on your site and you’re away! N.B. Data will still be collected by the old tag while the tag changes take place and it is important that you run the upgrade before changing the tag or you will lose data. If you do nothing, eventually your properties will be auto-transferred (in Phase 2 of Google’s release plan), following which Google have promised to process all data from the Classic tag for up to 2 years. However, we think this is a wonderful opportunity to review your analytics and take advantage of the new functionality that is becoming available in the new Universal Analytics! Up until now, the recommendation has been to run both, side by side, as there were still some things in GA (particularly related to the integration with Google AdWords) that were not available within Universal Analytics. N.B. If this is true for you, then you should seek advice and probably wait until Phase 3 of the Universal Analytics Upgrade when it will be out of beta and all features are promised to be supported. Finally, to date, we have achieved the currently required dual tagging using the Google Tag Manager to minimise the work required by the web developers as that allows us to make tag changes without needing to worry them and we have found this very effective. As you need to be changing the tagging at some point anyway, we strongly advise that you move to the Google Tag Manager when you do so, to minimise future web development costs.
Two years ago Google began encrypting organic Search terms for anyone who was logged in to Google, preventing webmasters understanding what terms drove traffic to their site from those Visitors. At the time, Google said that this would apply to only a single digit percentage of Visitors; however it is clear that the actual figure has slowly climbed and can be 50% or more. All users will now be switched to secure search; as reported by Search Engine Watch (http://ow.ly/pbF5x) who were told by Google:
“We added SSL encryption for our signed-in search users in 2011, as well as searches from the Chrome omnibox earlier this year. We are now working to bring this extra protection to more users who are not signed in”.
All the other Search Engines will still provide Search Terms and Google’s Webmaster Tools will let you see the terms for Paid Search. However, that still leaves webmasters with the problem of understanding what terms are working from an SEO point of view and, whilst there are techniques available to get more information if you have a Webmaster Tools account, these involve some effort to set up and are approximate at best. N.B. The alleged reason for this is privacy, although I can see no logic for organic searching needing to be private, but not paid searching! The industry view is that it is a ploy by Google to encourage site owners to use paid search – what do you think?