WebTrends' 7.5 Includes a Recipe for Cookie Cutters
WebTrends today unveiled a first-party cookie-management tool to help companies increase accuracy in a time of increasing cookie rejection. It is available as an on demand service or software as part of the company's newest release, WebTrends 7.5. "Our product release focuses on three primary areas: action...accuracy, and expertise," says Jeff Seacrist, WebTrends director of product marketing. "The information that analytic vendors collect about an individual needs to be stitched together so you understand they belong to the same visitor. The longevity of your relationship with that user is all based on your ability to set that cookie."
WebTrends 7.5 comes two months after Jupiter Research released a report outlining the growing problem of cookie rejection and a call for vendors to find a technology-based solution. "Since the beginning, WebTrends demonstrated thought leadership in Web analytics, " says Eric Peterson, principle author of "Measuring Unique Visitors" and senior analyst at Jupiter Research. "Not all of WebTrends' competitors will be able to get the same level of granularity when the third-party cookie fails." When purchasing analytic solutions, 69 percent of executives cite accuracy as the primary concern, according to Peterson. "If what they're telling us is the truth, this announcement at least merits a close look," he says. "My suspicion is people will respond to this. They'll choose a solution that addresses the issue of levels of accuracy." The release does not address cookie deletion.
WebTrends has tracked cookie acceptance for the past 16 months. "The trend for blocking or deleting means a lot of the data we collect is invisible to us," Seacrist says. "We've developed an approach to [take] the customer's cookie they're already setting and use that...as part of our analytics process, which doesn't require us to set this third-party cookie. Our hosted analytics looks a lot more like the customer doing it themselves within their own environment."
Enoch Moeller, CIO of Quaero says the new product is a good first step. "It's not a fool-proof solution, but it's a better solution," he says. "It gives the overall approach of everything coming from one location, which will give users a better feeling about the site they're visiting." What the product doesn't address is that although most machines set third-party cookie rejection as a default, Internet users also can opt to reject first-party cookies, although less people do it. "Anyone going into this thinking this will solve all their problems needs to keep this in context," he says.
In addition to its cookie solution, WebTrends 7.5 provide users with the ability to target information they want all in one view with one click, and can create bookmarks so other employees can share the query results. The release provides around-the-clock support and free Web-based training.
Peterson doubts companies will abandon their current analytics vendors to switch to WebTrends, but believes competitors will be quick to offer similar solutions based on customer demand. "[This] is a great opportunity for WebTrends customers to enhance their accuracy of reporting simply by upgrading to 7.5," he says. "Now how do Omniture, Coremetrics and WebSideStory respond? I suspect we're not done hearing about it yet."
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