November 07, 2008

Online Webstats from Google Analytics, etc just keep improving for you.

Writing about web page http://www.google.com/analytics/indexu.html

Google Analytics showing Advanced Segments abd Custom ReportsI have recently been trying out the new Advanced Segments on Google Analytics. This is just one of several new ‘enterprize class’ features that have been introduced.

I have been using both Analytics online and Sawmill server log processing offline alongside each other for a couple of years. Initially the friendly, fast interface of Analytics could not match the ability of Sawmill to filter, then slice then slice again through the data. Sawmill needed loads of processing power but our two students who tackled data mining of the www.wmccm.co.uk visitor data last year still found most of their results using Sawmill. Their work also helped the team to use Google Analytics better.

Advanced segments represents an enormous catch-up move by Analytics. I have used this to pick out our visitors who view the tenders on CCM and confirmed that these represent about half of our company registrations with two easy clicks. I have not updated to the latest Sawmill release and I am sure that they are also progressing rapidly as a market leader.

It was looking at two /stats pages last night provided by ISPs or their web developer that shocked me into blogging about this topic. They were so outdated, and frankly pathetic, as to be of no real use. Neither even matched the basic free online Xtreme service of 3 years ago. The problem is that these depend on someone to update the stats package, to download the latest tools.

If you are professional enough to need to use a complete package such as Sawmill then there may still be a good business case to upgrade to their latest licence. But the real advantage of the ‘computing in the cloud’ offerings from Google, Microsoft in their Live Office SB suite, etc. is that they continue to improve without you having to do a thing!


- 4 comments by 1 or more people

  1. Tyler Havener

    My company recently consulted a client on their web site traffic, adding raw log processing using Sawmill to their usage of Google Analytics. Interestingly, we had to justify dramatic differences in the baseline metrics between the two packages by learning new things about each, and really paying attention to oft-ignored features.

    Unfortunately, no one solution is entirely accurate. And, it takes strong technical background, intricate knowledge of a company’s website initiatives, and a substantial time investment to dig out useful information. In the wrong hands, results can be grossly misinterpreted regardless of the quality of the stats package.

    04 Dec 2008, 00:23

  2. Rob McGonigle

    Yes, very wise words, Tyler.

    It took a couple of attempts to get the WMCCM Google Analytics
    to line up with Sawmill and this still leaves differences
    with their handling of return visitors and IPs.
    Google knows more about their logged in community.

    You should have seen the obsolete rubbish that set me off though!

    04 Dec 2008, 12:12

  3. mark

    I’m just giving crazyegg a bash, looks like it could be a useful app to accompany google analytics.

    17 Dec 2008, 14:05

  4. Robert McGonigle

    I have been taking Analytics back to its roots in combination with my clients Adwords to improve conversions and online sales. Google has become better at taking your cash so it is more important to measure what you get in return .

    29 Apr 2012, 23:00


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