Web statistics. Kind of like politicians - they say a lot, but you often come away feeling like they haven't really told you much at all.
I've been using a web analytics tool called ClickTracks for some time now. I love this product because it quickly makes sense out of nonsense, and it does so in such a fun and useful way.
Those unfamiliar with ClickTracks might like to look at a few past reviews here and here. In essence, it's a log file analyzer that visually displays how visitors interact with your site. Thanks to it's easy-to-use visitor tagging and tracking features, it's especially useful to those at the pro end of the SEM market, usability analysts and those who need to measure and track ROI.
ClickTracks are just about to release version Five of this popular product, so I had a chat with the ever affable John Marshall, CEO of ClickTracks, to see what's new. For this review, I choose to look at two major feature additions to the product line, "The ClickTracks Way" and "The What's Changed" report.
The ClickTracks Way
Generally speaking, help files are rubbish. You can seldom find the help you're after, and they tend to infuriate, rather than educate.
Clicktracks v5 has addressed this problem by including a context sensitive, regularly updated side panel they call "The ClickTracks Way". This side bar serves as a prompt context-sensitive, in-program mechanism that suggests tips, articles, movies and other appropriate content. Functioning under the premise that 'you don't know what you don't know,' The Way brings to the marketers' attention ways of looking at or interpreting the data that they might not have thought of before.
The data for the side bar is updated regularly and, unlike that MS paperClip, is genuinely useful. It's a nice way of exposing the rich complexity of this product without being annoying or intrusive.
The What's Changed Report
Google's Zeitgeist is cool. Spotting rising and falling trends is central to marketing strategy, and search marketing is no exception. Ever craved one of your own?
ClickTracks have included a superb feature in the Pro release that calculates the zeitgeist for your own sites. At a glance, you can see what visitor areas are rising, the areas that are falling and respond accordingly.
For example, I discovered that I'm getting a surge in popularity from, of all places, China. So, Ni Hao! I am, however, getting less popular in ...erm.. Bulgaria.
You win some, you lose some.
You could also use this feature to instantly track new links, or other new surges of activity in your marketing strategy that may otherwise drift under the radar. Search marketers can use this feature to spot rising and falling search queries and adjust their campaigns accordingly.
In essence, ClickTracks are expanding on their original idea whilst staying true to their roots. The product provides useful, visual analysis, rather than dry statistics.
As search marketing moves further into the realm of professional marketing, professional standard analytics will play an increasingly important role in client acquisition and retention.
For those search marketers
considering their toolset acquisitions for the
coming year would do well to test drive this product.
it a whirl at www.clicktracks.com.
Summary - New features in this release include:
-The What's Changed Report:
-The Before and After Visitor Label
-Easier Server Configuration
-The ClickTracks Way
-Page Views Per Visitor
Peter Da Vanzo is the founder of Search Engine Blog.com, a news resource for the search engine marketing industry. Peter runs a private consultancy, Gofish Media Ltd, which offers search engine marketing services to clients. 35-year-old Peter lives in Wellington, New Zealand, with his wife, dependent cat, and out-of-control garden.
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