Analyzing The Trails Left By Web-Site Visitors - InformationWeek

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Software // Enterprise Applications
04:43 PM
Rick Whiting
Rick Whiting

Analyzing The Trails Left By Web-Site Visitors

Improved Web-site-analysis tools help businesses understand which content is popular and generates the most sales

NetIQ Corp. and Omniture Inc. have introduced products that provide new ways to analyze data generated by visits to Web sites.

Web-site-analysis tools are gaining popularity as companies expand their online presence and sell more goods through the Internet. The tools collect and analyze what's known as clickstream data, helping businesses understand which content is popular or generates the most sales, for example.

While some early vendors of the technology disappeared with the dot-com crash, sales of packaged and hosted Web-analytics software are expected to grow from $220 million in 2002 to $418 million in 2007, according to research firm IDC. Pricing ranges from several hundred to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the implementation and amount of Web-site traffic.

NetIQ's WebTrends 7 can analyze results of merchandising and marketing campaigns in more detail than earlier versions and uses diagrams to display visitor navigation paths. Analytical results can be integrated with data from sources such as customer databases and loaded into Microsoft Excel for further analysis.

Omniture's new SiteCatalyst 10 makes it easier to segment current and historical visitor data for analysis. Another feature helps companies determine how specific Web pages and navigation paths contribute to sales.

Carfax Inc., which has a site that sells research reports on automobiles to consumers, uses hosted software from another vendor, WebSideStory Inc., to examine navigation patterns and learn whether visitors came from a referring site, chief technology officer David Silversmith says. Using WebSideStory, Carfax found that even slight alterations of words or colors can affect sales.

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