Applies to Software, On Demand (for some extra $$)
Poking around in the WT admin interface you may have noticed many references to the “Visitor History.” Visitor history is used to save information about your users across visits. It enables WebTrends to keep track of and report on nice things like a particular visitor’s lifetime value or their most recent campaigns. What you may not know is that this information is saved in a flat csv file known as the visitor history file. If you’re using software and you’ve enabled “Visitor History” on the Analysis >> Visitor History screen of a profile the file can be found in /storage/config/vhexport/<Profile ID>. It’s conveniently saved as a csv file inside a zip file. If you use On Demand then you’ll have to pony up some cash to get access to it.
If you have access go take a look at one of yours (I’ll wait…). If you don’t have access then check out this little bitty sample of one:
Pretty cool, eh? It’s got just about a bazillion columns (ok, 42 columns) of information about your visitors. The neat thing is that each row represents an individual (at least as close to an individual as WebTrends will ever get) and all that data is there for you to do with as you please. Here are some fun things I’ve done with this data:
- Analyze it. Throw it in SPSS or even Excel and start slicing and dicing. What are your most profitable keywords? What day of the week do your most valuable customers first enter the site? How often do your most valuable customers visit? How long do they stay. Yes, you can answer almost all of these questions via custom reports, but you won’t be able to see everything all together in one file that you can easily manipulate offline.
- Mash it up. This is the best use of it. See that first column, the one titled “Visitorid”? That happens to be the same value that is stored in that visitor’s WebTrends cookie (assuming you’re using SDC with first party cookies), So here’s what you do: when someone converts (purchases, submits a contact form, whatever) pass their WT cookie identifier along with the rest of their info. Bingo, you now have a common key between a rich set of web analytics data and your CRM or customer file. If you’re in an industry that has a long sales cycle you can use this to tie final sales back to the inital web visit. It’s a great way to put real dollar amounts on your lead generation efforts — which really gets management’s attention!
- Re-use it. Your customers reveal a lot about themselves in this file. Why not use the info to help them out? If you export it to your website’s database you can use it to personalize their subsequent visits. Their search terms can reveal their interests, you can use the page or content group of interest columns to determine which content they want to see.
There are better ways to do most of this stuff, but they all require buying and installing more expensive software. This uses something you probably have access to right now.
What have you done with the Visitor History file?