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Microsoft Web Analytics Does Demographics

Microsoft finally announced Gatineau, the beta release of its free Web analytics solution, at the end of October. Focused primarily on those who use Redmond's AdCenter service, Gatineau will draw comparisons with Google Analytics, but it offers some interesting differentiation, such as the ability to derive demographic data from site visitors who have signed up for a Live ID through Microsoft's Hotmail or Messenger.
Microsoft has been making noise about its free Web analytics solution since January. The company finally announced the beta of Gatineau at the end of October.

Focused primarily on those who use Redmond's AdCenter service, Gatineau will draw comparisons with Google Analytics. However, Gatineau offers some interesting differentiation, such as the ability to derive demographic data from site visitors who have signed up for a Live ID through Microsoft's Hotmail or Messenger. Microsoft claims that all this data is made anonymous before being passed to Gatineau.While it's true that visitors who meet this criteria represent only a sample of visitors, the ability to get real market segmentation may be quite useful to those running campaigns or testing content.

Today, all Web analytics solutions tout the ability to do "behavioral" segmentation, but this is merely filtering based on how visitors interact with the site; it's not true segmentation in the marketing sense of the word.

Another feature of interest is the ability to define a custom taxonomy based on your content management system while you're tagging the site, and then see this recreated in Gatineau reports. It's not clear at this point what level of effort this will entail, but this may address content hierarchy reporting challenges common in other Web analytics solutions.

Perhaps the least flashy aspect to Gatineau, but one that may prove to be of high value to users, is that Microsoft includes an online help system with real people actually available to answer questions. Of course, time will tell whether they can handle the volume once the product goes into general availability, but it's an encouraging step.

You can sign up for a beta, but you may have a lot of people in queue ahead of you. If interested, go to: http://advertising.microsoft.com/gatineau

Phil Kemelor is Vice President of Strategic Consulting Services for Semphonic, a Web analytics consultancy. He is also a lead analyst with CMS Watch and consults with enterprises looking to select Web analytics technologies or apply best practices.Microsoft finally announced Gatineau, the beta release of its free Web analytics solution, at the end of October. Focused primarily on those who use Redmond's AdCenter service, Gatineau will draw comparisons with Google Analytics, but it offers some interesting differentiation, such as the ability to derive demographic data from site visitors who have signed up for a Live ID through Microsoft's Hotmail or Messenger.