Monday, 30 July 2012

Open Web Analytics vs Google Analytics

Compairing Open Web Analytics and Google Analytics Part Two

Last time I compared the Dashboard of Open Web Analytics and Google Analytics.

This time I am going to dig into the Dashboard a little more and show some details that I feel make OWA a superior product out of the box to Google Analytics.

Right off the top Open Web Analytics shows traffic graph and visit overview that Google Analytics does. This data is important and certainly will be found in all analytics packages.

The first main difference on the OWA dashboard is the Top Content section (pictured below). This allows you to see what pages are the most 'popular' pages on your site.

As you can see our index page is the page with the most traffic.

You will notice the options at the top for 'Secondary Dimension' and 'Filter'. Filter does exactly what it says it is. Filter allows you to set-up a filter or filters that will allow you to drill down on a specific Secondary Dimension with options like Exactly Matching, Not Matching, Greater than, Less than and Contains.

What are Secondary Dimensions? Well it can be date related such as a specific day, week, month, year, etc Site, Visitor, Visit, System, Netowrk, Campaign, Visit Special, Geo, Content and Custom Vairables. In the image below you can see that I've selected the Operating System of our visitors which is under the 'System Secondary Dimension'.

There is a problem with the options however. It seems that if you select a Dimension that has no data the widget breaks and the page needs to be reloaded.

Like the Top Content getting information on the Top Referrers is just as easy. There is another widget called Top Referrers and it's default view lists the page sending traffic and the number of visits. You can of course filter and apply a Secondary Dimension to the widget to get even more specific data. If you click on one of the referrer pages you will be given even more data on the traffic which includes, a graph of the visits and the date for those visits, The total number of visits, The Avg. Time on site, Unique Visitors, Pages viewed per visit and the bounce rate.

The last widget of note on this page is the Latest Visits widget. This handy digit give you all kinds of great data on your visitors and lets you drill down for even more data.
In the widget you will find the date of the visit and their ISP, a geo location for the visitor, the browser they are using, how any pages they viewed, their visit length, the page they visited and how they found your site. So far we have seen, Direct, organic-search which also includes the Source (Search Engine) and Search Term and finally referral which includes the Source (the referring domain) and a link to the referring page using the page title and listing the actual URL under the link, similar to what the Search Engines Do.

You may notice quickly that some visitors have a 'new' banner over the avatar. I was excited to see this as it means each visitor is remembered and their visits to your site can be tracked. To view the data on the visitor there are two (2) links provided, Visit Detail and Visitor Detail.

The Visit Detail link takes you to a page which displays the same Visit overview that is in the Latest Visits widget for the visitor you are looking at. The page also lists in reverse chronological order the pages on your site the visitor viewed and at what time they viewed the page. The Click Stream as it is called allows you to quickly see the path taken and how long each page was viewed for.

The second option provided Visitor Detail gives you a complete Visitor History which includes the date of the First Visit to your and the total number of visits. This data is followed by the Latest Views Widget display for each visit. This may seem redundant but it allow you to drill down for each individual visit the visitor made allowing you to see their use of the site over time.

OWA captures a lot of data and the Dashboard is intelligently designed to allow the site owner to gather important data quickly and to drill down for even more specific data.

Next time we will look into the Page Detail portion of Open Web Analytics which includes Prior and Next pages viewed, Heatmaps, Domstreams and Dom Clicks.