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ClickTracks: Powerful Data Without the Mess

By Adam Eisner, 12/15/2003

One of the most important tasks many Internet marketers must perform is the analysis
of site traffic and marketing data. More often than not, this is not an easy
job, as a busy Web site can produce mounds of information that has to be neatly
sliced, diced and served to clients.



To do this, most marketers rely on popular log analysis programs like WebTrends.
But while these programs are powerful, the individuals behind ClickTracks, a
Web analytics suite, felt there was room for improvement – particularly
in the areas of usability and license flexibility. The result is a powerful tool
that is easy to understand and simple to use.



Before getting into the nitty-gritty of the product, it is important to note
that ClickTracks is available in four flavors: a standalone Windows client (ClickTracks
Analyzer), a professional suite for Windows clients and servers (ClickTracks
Professional), a hosted version (ClickTracks Hosted), and a specialized per-domain
suite for ISPs (ClickTracks ISP). Prices and license agreements vary, but ClickTracks
Analyzer is the most affordable for a one-time purchase of $495. Technical support
for all products is available during regular west coast business hours.



One of ClickTracks’ main draws is the ability to view a site’s statistics
by browsing the site itself. Instead of having to memorize site structures and
filenames, users can simply click through the site using a custom browser provided
by ClickTracks. A wide range of data about each page is displayed, including
an interesting feature that tells users where visitors clicked to next. Most
data analyzed by ClickTracks can be exported to Adobe PDF or Microsoft Excel
documents.



ClickTracks also allows for the seamless integration of Pay-Per-Click and other
marketing data with regular site statistics. The software can import data reports
from Google and Overture, and can also be configured to track the performance
of other campaigns, like e-mail and banner ads. After importing campaign information,
users can slice the data in a number of ways, including by cost per visitor and
total cost, and by the number of visitors each campaign brought to the site.



Another feature unique to ClickTracks is its ability to provide in-depth information
about the browsing trends of visitors who arrived at a Web site through a Pay-Per-Click
ad as opposed to those who arrived through a simple search engine query. ClickTracks
can also track Pay-Per-Click conversion and revenue rates – although this
last feature is not available to users of the Analyzer version.



Marketers interested in splitting a Web site’s traffic base into specialized
groups will be impressed by ClickTracks’ powerful “tagging” abilities,
which allows users to identify and track site visitors by a wide range of conditions,
including referring site, keyword, whether they have seen a specific page, and
more. Members of these groups can be tracked throughout their entire visit, regardless
of how deep into a site they might click, and then compared to other “tagged” visitor
groups to see if there are any behavioral patterns or differences between them.



If you spend a great deal of time in the Google AdWords environment, ClickTracks’ Google
console may also be of interest to you. Certain versions of the software allow
users to edit their Google AdWords campaigns within the ClickTracks environment
while providing additional information the standalone control panels don’t
have, such as actual sales conversion rates, eliminating the need to jump from
one environment to the other.



One adjustment users of the Analyzer version will have to make is getting used
to downloading logfiles to a local computer instead of viewing them directly
on a server. ClickTracks can automatically download these logfiles using FTP,
though ClickTracks Professional is required to analyze data on sites that make
use of load balancing. The biggest advantage to analyzing logfiles on a local
machine is speed – in testing, ClickTracks analyzed a month’s worth
of high-traffic reports with ease. Of course, the downside is that real-time
reporting and tracking is not an option. Every time an update is required, a
new version of the site’s logfile has to be downloaded. Also, if you’re
a big fan of graphs and pie charts (aren’t we all?), you will find ClickTracks
slightly lacking.



Die-hard marketers may yearn for some more raw data and numbers, but the information
and analysis ClickTracks provides should be more than enough for most – particularly
marketers with multiple clients. Look for an updated version of ClickTracks early
in the New Year.



To download an evaluation copy of ClickTracks or for more information, visit
http://www.clicktracks.com.

Adam Eisner is a regular contributor to Traffick.com, and an account specialist with Page Zero Media, specializing in paid search campaigns. 

 

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