This Blog Post is written by Aaron Lovelace. Aaron is an Analytics and Optimization Analyst on my team and he will be guest blogging on this blog.
One of the challenges in web analytics is knowing whether a spike or dip in web metrics is something to be worried about. One common way that we deal with knowing whether to ‘freak out’ or not is to conduct a historical baseline analysis. Now, if you are a WebTrends customer, there is an easier and less time consuming way. But first, let me explain how we normally go about it so that you can fully appreciate the new development.
For any given site, our team typically maps out historical trends and create a set of standard metrics to measure against. We call this process a “baseline analysis.” These baseline metrics can then be used to determine whether what we are seeing in our analytics is normal or not.
If you do this type of baseline analysis on your site and you notice that your metrics are abnormally good, you can turn whatever caused the spike into a best practice. If your metrics are unusually bad, try to avoid whatever caused the problem in the future. Easy enough, right? Well, sort of.
It is easy to see that conducting this type of research is a necessity if you are serious about success, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a time consuming and laborious process. If you hire a consultant to do a baseline analysis for you, it could get expensive.
So here is the good news— there is a now faster and more accurate way to track spikes and dips in WebTrends… and to know if you should freak out about them.
WebTrends recently announced a new service (through a partnership with Technology Leaders) called “Dynamic Alert.” Among other things, Dynamic Alert allows you to track spikes and dips that deviate from your website’s historical norms automatically.
It should be noted that SiteCatalyst has a feature called simply “Alerts” which allows you to be notified if your metrics exceed a pre-set metric that you specify. With Alerts, you still need to do a manual baseline analysis to figure out which number(s) to enter in the Alerts configuration.
This is what is so great about the new WebTrends tool—you don’t need to pick a number, it just does it for you by automatically analyzing your historical data. One feature I would like to see, however, is the ability to integrate with other analytics tools beyond WebTrends.
Keep an eye out for more information from WebTrends and Technology Leaders about this useful new tool. Although Dynamic Alerts was developed by a partner, if you sign-up through WebTrends, your bill for this service will just be added to your regular WebTrends bill.
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Technical Consultant for Internet Marketing and Web Analyticsat Unica (Waltham, MA)