Analytics & Testing

The Visual Display of Information: Omniture vs Webtrends

We have clients that utilize both Omniture and Webtrends. Of course, if you’ve read this blog, you know that Webtrends is a client. That’s full disclosure that I may have a biased view of things… but hopefully one look at the new user interfaces developed for each version will provide you some food for thought.

I’ve said before that the problem with most analytics platforms is that they typically provide reports, but they lack the ability to visually display information so that you can make the appropriate decisions.

Here’s the latest improvements to Omniture SiteCatalyst 15 product as relayed through their recent video.

Ouch.

Webtrends Analytics 10 provides a new UI that is highly intuitive, refined and easy to navigate. The UI is designed for click and touch interfaces providing a highly visual way to look at your data. The user interface utilizes thumbnails to provide an image of the digital property you are tracking.

Webtrends is also introducing Spaces – A space is any application, website, or platform instance that you want to track. This could be your Facebook page, your website, your Android app, etc. Spaces auto-organize profiles. Profiles have long been a huge feature in Webtrends, providing great flexibility, but it came at a cost – organization. Now, profiles snap to Spaces.

Wow.

When John Lovett saw the preview, he put it best… “It looks like an Infographic!”. I think that tells the entire story… Webtrends Analytics 10 has evolved beyond reporting and is now visually displaying information in a manner that enables companies to make decisions.

11 Comments

  1. 1

    “looks like an infographic” is not necessarily praise! 🙂

    Anyway, this side by side presentation is the first I’ve seen, and thank you for it.

    Who would’ve guessed five years ago that the stodgiest of the stodgy (WT) would achieve something so visually sexy. Again, “visually sexy” is not necessarily praise.

    Doug, I am hoping you will delve into these two interfaces further … understandability, functionality, flexibility would be my favorite threads. Or maybe I will do so also, if I can find the time. Sooo busy.

    And, since you are always quite clear in your explanations, would you mind going into the Spaces thing more in another post and giving your reactions. Or point to something WebTrends has published that makes sense of it.

    Sorry if I seem pushy, but your posts and other contributions are really good and worth, um, exploiting.

    • 2

      CGrant, it’s great that you’re pushy!!! Re: Infographic, not sure where that could be a negative. Info graphics are visual displays that both combine data and display it uniquely to provide an impression that tells ‘the story’ better. Take a look at the two images above… Which one actually provides insight into the performance and targets that reaction specific to the page in question?

      • 3

        Yes, let’s get on the same page for definitions.

        True, the underlying meaning of infographic does contain the intention of telling the story better. However the term has also come to mean every dam’ thing that contains colors, images, a word cloud or two, variable font sizes and colors within a cell, plus the whole thing doesn’t follow a simple grid.

        So-called “infographics” today remind me of the early days of laser printers when everybody started designing their own flyers using clip art and fonts like mad, resulting in pure awfulness.

        So let’s stick with the good, noble version of the infographic label having to do with betterness as opposed to flashiness or trendiness.

        • 4

          I agree with cgrant. Webtrends really spent a lot of time resolving their “plain tables with dimensions and measures” visual issues of Webtrends 8 and earlier. You can tell that they’ve been focused on updating the visual interface because both of their last releases (9 and 10) have been extremely interface-focused. Sure Webtrends 9 introduced great data exportation features (REST API, etc) but in my opinion, the biggest change was the user-facing interface.

          This latest Analytics 10 update sure is a lot sexier, and hopefully more actionable. One additional feature that was mentioned at Engage is that each Page in the Pages report will get its own dashboard – that should be especially interesting, and useful!

          Of course, Omniture’s Summit this week focused on changes that Webtrends hasn’t considered since before … Version 6? Back-end platform changes! Upgrading to SiteCatalyst 15 will come chock full of changes behind-the-scenes. These changes will allow for all sorts of new capabilities with the tool; capabilities that Webtrends can only dream of until they decide to update their Processing Engine.

          One of these key changes – Instant Segmentation. Sure Google Analytics has had it for over a year now, but it’s time the Enterprise tools catch up. Based on the announcements at Engage last week, it does not seem that on-the-fly report building or segmentation has been even considered by Webtrends. Want to add a new Measure to your report? Contact your Administrator, who’s still dealing with the same interface he’s been dealing with for the last 4-5 years! Then decide to either re-analyze or only include it in reports going forward. Adding Metrics in Omniture is as simple as click-and-drag, and it sounds like it’s about to get even more flexible – thanks to the back-end improvements.

          For a more complete listing of Omniture’s improvements to SiteCatalyst in Version 15, check out Adam Greco’s article: http://adam.webanalyticsdemystified.com/2011/03/09/welcome-to-sitecatalyst-v15/

          Remember, not to judge a book by its cover. Just because Webtrends has a prettier landing page dashboard does not mean that it is more flexible nor actionable.

          Webtrends’ Social and Mobile Integration? Now that sh*t is cool!

          • 5

            The key difference between webtrends and Omniture, is the way data is being stored. In Webtrends you analyze logfiles and the report data then is stored in old school flat files.
            In Omniture you store the data in a relational DB. These two methods both has benefits and diadvantages.

            1. In webtrends you can reanalyse your data. This is extremely helpful in many way. You can test your setup or changes to your setup easily, you can setup new reports and see back in time, if they are not built on custom parameters. A classic is entry paghe by referring page, but there are tons of examples why this is handy. However since Webtrends is not running on a relational DB, you cannot “Query” the db live, with whatever you want. You have to build the report and the analyze the data.
            2. In Omniture you can “query” data live, because you use a relational DB. This allows for the Discovery VS Site Catalyst live segmentation. This means you cannot reanalyze your data, so testing is alot harder and you do get in trouble trying to measure stuff back in time, that you had not already set up. Also a relational DB has its limits as to how large datafiles it can handle, so usually (and I am no Omniture expert, so pleae correct me) when going above a few hundred thousand visits, Omniture “samples” the data to avoid insane query load times. This does pose a problem when you want to get the exact data and not a sample of data. Live segmentation is however REALLY cool and I wish Webtrends would at least make it possible to use the segments in Webtrends analytics, when having bought Segments (Discover counterpart of Webtrends)

            Basically, all Live segmentation really is, is filtering reports based on a list of cookie IDs. While Webtrends Analytics might not be able to easily implement this in Analytics 10, due to the non relational DB, they can rather easily build in the ability to use any user segment from their “Segments” tool as a filter for any report in Webtrends. In fact you can do that, but it would require you to export the Segmentt of your choice and manually make a filter with all the cookie IDs in it and use it as an include only filter.

            So, there are pros and cons of both setups. It is an interesting discussion, which one should prefer.

            Kind regards

          • 6

            Not sure if you are aware about Webtrends Visitor Data Mart – it transforms the flat files from Analytics to relational database which you can use for ad-hoc queries or even for on-the-fly segmentation through Segments interface. If I can compare, it is much actionable and more flexible than segments in Google Analytics and Site Catalyst. Visitor Data Mart is “add-on” to Analytics so you still have one user interface, one management etc. I think this is the best way as you can utilize the flat files optimized for reporting (e.g. no sampling) and the relational database for segmentation and other “on-line” tasks.

          • 7

            I do know VDM & Segments very well, but the bridge back to Analytics has yet to be built. You cannot today view for example your conversion scenarios, your path analysis, your campaign drill down or any other Analytics report in Webtrends Analytics for a Segment defined in Segments & VDM.

            In reality that particular integration could be fairly easily built, by simply adding filters based on a list of Cookie IDs from Segments. So let’s assume you built a Segment in VDM & Segments. The segment is all visitors at a bank website with a yearly salary of more than 100.000$ who are already a customer, but who do not have a Pension agreement and who has clicked an ad regarding extra pension within the last 30 days.

            You want to see what pages this Segment prefers, how they traverse the customer flash profiler and where they exit their web bank interface. Right now, that is not possible. You can build the Segment, but you can’t use that Segment in Analytics as a filter. All you’d really need is that particular segment’s Cookie IDs exported from Segments and created as a filter and voila, you would have your reports.

            That is the main feature I would add, if I could decide. Segments is still an amazing product and incredibly intuitive. But you need to be able to take the segment back into your analytics platform.

            Br ulrik

      • 8

        So, regarding better-ness. Looking closely at each, I would say that WebTrends designers made better choices about what to have on this opening screen … although it could still be improved. If I only had these screens to present to management, the WebTrends one would set off far better discussions and result in more specific questions for further analysis.

        The WebTrends one would also simply make a better impression on management. Dare I say that your average management person is just as wowed by trendy interfaces as they are by good data?

      • 9

        Hmm, my second comment displays above my first comment in this interface. They should be read in bottom-to-top order.

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