The wait is finally over. Beta 1 of our “Gatineau” web analytics product is finally open for business! Today, Monday October 29 (coincidentally, Justin’s birthday – happy birthday, Justin), we’ve started sending out beta signup invitation codes. So what can you expect in beta 1? Here’s the run-down:
As previously trailed, demographic segmentation – the ability t0 compare the behavior of men vs women, or different age groups who are using your site – is a key feature of Gatineau. All of Gatineau’s tabular reports support this segmentation capability, so you can compare bounce rates across segments, for example, or see which of your marketing campaigns played well with women, and which with men.
A neat feature of Gatineau beta 1 which hasn’t had much air-time is the ability to define a custom taxonomy (i.e. site structure) as you’re instrumenting your site. So, for example, if you use a CMS to manage your site, you can map the document hierarchy from your CMS into the instrumentation, and see this in the Gatineau reports. When you’re viewing page reports you can then select the custom taxonomy from the “Browse” menu drop-down at the top of the report box.
Of course, no web analytics product would be complete without a funnel report. We’ve put a bunch of effort into the one inside Gatineau – as well as providing a nice visualization of the drop-out through a defined process, it also shows the top entry points into the funnel, and the top exit destinations.
Outbound link tracking
Kinda kicking myself that I didn’t mention this at E-metrics last week in DC, given that Google then announced the same functionality the next day, but beta 1 provides automatic outbound link tracking. All you have to do to enable it is set a variable when you implement your tracking script, and all outbound links will be tracked – including downloads of things like PDFs. This is key functionality for folks who use server log-based reporting tools to track this aspect of site usage, as tag-based web analytics tools have historically not been great at tracking downloads.
Gatineau’s Inbound Referrals report is pretty much what you’d expect it to be; however, it includes a very useful “Not Referred” group which shows the amount of direct traffic to the site (i.e. people typing in the URL directly, or clicking on a link in an e-mail or other non-referrer-generating source).
One of Gatineau’s main goals is to provide marketers with a real view of how successful their marketing activities are. Beta 1 provides four ROI reports to achieve this – a Campaign Overview report which provides an all-up picture of marketing effectiveness, and E-mail, Banner and Offline Campaigns reports which provide more detail for – you’ve guessed it – e-mail, banner and offline campaigns. We’re still working out some technical details to integrate paid search data properly into Gatineau, and when we do, paid search (including automatic integration with Microsoft adCenter paid search) will appear in this report group.
Every website has goals – even ones which don’t take money from people. Gatineau’s Goals report shows how many visitors are reaching the goals you’ve defined for your site, so you can decide if you’re being successful or not.
Client system reports
Gatineau contains the usual array of reports about your users’ location and browser set-up. So, for example, you can see whether you can design your site based upon a 1024 x 768 resolution, or whether you still need to stick to 800 x 600.
Other stuff you need to know
There are some other things to bear in mind about this beta. The first is, if you’ve requested a beta invite, you’ll be on the list and will receive one in due course – but remember, some people have been in the line since January, so please be patient as we ramp up users slowly; there’s no need to remind us that you’re waiting.
The other thing that it’s worth reiterating here is that if you don’t have an adCenter account already, you’ll have to pay $5 to set one up in order to get access to the beta at this stage. Yes, we know this is – how can I put this? – regrettable. It’s a strictly temporary situation that has arisen for no other reason than some development timeline issues internally. As soon as we can remove the $5 requirement, we will, rest assured.
Resources & Feedback
To coincide with this beta launch, we’re putting some resources in place to help you get the best out of the beta. The first is a “Web Analytics” discussion board on our adCenter forum, at the following URL:
Secondly, we’ll be posting official announcements about Gatineau on the official adCenter blog, at the following URL:
Thirdly, even though Gatineau’s just in beta, we have support folk lined up to answer your queries. You can access this support through Gatineau’s online help system. Just click the “Get more help” link in the bottom right of the help window for any Gatineau help topic (the Gatineau UI is peppered with helpful little question marks which you can click to get help about that page). We’re testing out our support as well as our software in this process, so we need you to try it out and let us know what you think.
Fourthly, you can send us feedback about Gatineau using the following online form:
Please feel free to send us any feedback at all that you have about the product based upon actual usage of it. If you don’t have access to Gatineau yet, or you want to give us feedback about the product in general, or the beta process, please use the forum.
And finally, if you haven’t requested access to the beta yet, you can do so at the following URL:
We’re incredibly proud of this beta, even as we know that we have a good deal of work still to do. We hope you enjoy using the product that we’ve put together. And I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everybody at Microsoft who’s worked on the project thus far, and also our friends outside the organization who’ve taken the time to give us the benefit of their opinions about the project.