How Many iPad Visits Did You Get?

Show traffic from the Apple iPad and iPhone separately in the Platforms report with a couple changes to a file. For users of the software.

Applies to WebTrends On Premises (Software)

Currently, the WebTrends report on Platforms reports on all the Apple iOS devices as one row of the Platforms report.

platform1

If you use WebTrends software (On-Premises), you can turn this one iOS row into four individual rows:  iPad, iPhone, iPodTouch, and iPod.  Just edit the WebTrends file called browsers.ini.

Your site designers will appreciate the extra data.  Designing for the iPad is a different proposition from the iPhone.

There are two or three copies of browsers.ini in your WebTrends installation folder, and you need to change all of them:  (it’s a good idea to keep a copy of the original as browsers.old or a similar name)

/WebTrends/modules/analysis/engine/8.7 (or 9.0, etc)
/WebTrends/storage/config/component/lookupdata/
/WebTrends/storage/config/engine/8.7 (or 9.0, etc)

Open one instance of browsers.ini with a proper text editor. By “proper” we mean something like TextPad as opposed to Notepad, because Notepad doesn’t play well with the system when the file is in use. With TextPad, you can [usually] take the risk of changing the file while WebTrends is running.

Do a search within the file for “iOS” and you’ll arrive at a section of four items.  It’ll be easy to see what to change when you get a look.  Change the four instances of “iOS” to “iPad,” “iPhone,” “iPodTouch,” and “iPod” in the places that will be obvious to you – you want to be changing the values of  lines starting with the string “text=”.  Once you’ve changed those four “text=” lines,  just to be safe you should check to be sure there will be no other occurrences of “iOS” in browsers.ini.

Save and close.  Don’t forget to copy the changed file to the other two locations.

Now your platform report will show all the Apple devices separately.

Postscripts

For this tip, I started with version 15 of browsers.ini.  You’ll find the file version on the third line of the file.    If you are using a different version, this tip may not apply. 

The next time you run the updating utility for browsers.ini, the installer will overwrite these changes.  For that reason it is a great idea to keep a README.TXT file in the same place, recording the changes that you have made manually that you think should be re-done in future versions.

If you have OnDemand and would like to ask WebTrends to make a change like this one, head on over to their user forums and say so.  The forum is at http://forums.webtrends.com.  WebTrends staff participate and take note of suggestions.

Use Webmaster Tools to Clean Up Organic Search URLs

You probably have listings in search indexes that incorrectly contain marketing parameters, resulting in incorrect campaign reporting. Get them out of the search index using Webmaster Tools.

If a search engine has, in its index, listings for your page URLs that contain campaign parameters such as WT.mc_id or even utm_campaign, you have a reporting problem.  Anybody who clicks on one of those organic listings will show up in your reporting as having come from the campaign AND having come from organic search.  The latter is good, the former is bad.  Your campaign stats will be incorrectly larger than actual.

Yes, Google, Bing, and Yahoo frequently do have, in their indexes, URLs with campaign parameters.  See our Canonical URLs post for a description of several ways those superfluous parameters sneak into the index.

To see if your own site has any, take a break right now and run a search on this phrase and scan all the results:

site:yoursitenamehere.com (yes, include “site:”)

If you found more campaign-identified links than you wanted to see, there are things you can do.

One is to use Canonical URLs in your page code.  However, be warned that only Google actively honors this – Yahoo and Bing still are not complying with the Canonical URL tag after two years!

So … forget the Canonical URL tag.  Use Google and Bing/Yahoo Webmaster Tools to keep superfluous URL parameters out of the indexes.

(These instructions assume you already have Webmaster Tools accounts on both Google and Bing.  If not, you are missing out!)

Below are the steps we use.

  1. Go first to Google Webmaster Tools (GWT).  Do not go to Bing/Yahoo first.
  2. In Google Webmaster Tools, go to Site Configurations >> Settings >>Parameter Handling tab
  3. GWT will show you a list of parameters that it has found during its crawls.
  4. For those parameters you want Google to omit from the URLs in its index, change the Action to “Ignore.”
  5. Print the list to paper – you’ll need it for the next step.
  6. Save and close GWT
  7. Go to Bing Webmaster Tools
  8. In Bing Webmaster Tools, go to Crawl >> Crawl Settings
  9. Using the list you printed, enter all the parameters you want suppressed

The tip embedded in the above is to use Google Webmaster Tools to get a pretty complete list of all possible parameters. In fact, you’ll probably see parameters you aren’t aware of or have forgotten about.  Then, with your sure-to-be-complete list of parameters, it’s easy to fill up the Bing/Yahoo list, which is a blank slate with no starter list like Google has.

What if the Google list shows parameters that you don’t understand or are not familiar with?

Here’s a second tip that we discovered by accident.  You can coax information from the Google Webmaster Tools parameter list that will help you figure out what some of the parameters are all about.  It won’t be a complete answer, but it will help.

You have to be using Internet Explorer or Chrome, probably Firefox.  Opera, our favorite ultra-fast browser for home use, doesn’t work for this.

The GWT list of parameters looks something like this:

GWTparams

In the screen shot, note that the second column, Action, is all drop-down lists.  If any of your rows are NOT dropdown lists on your screen, click on the “Edit” or “Reset” link at the far right.  The second column item should turn into a dropdown list.

With your mouse, click on the heading or the first parameter, drag, and copy it to the clipboard.

GWTparams3

Paste it into Word.  Not Paste Special, but Paste.  It should paste as messy HTML, with extra stuff, like this:

GWTparams4

Note the red arrow above.  The MS Word pasted copy shows TWO dropdown menus per row, not one!  The second dropdown is live.  Click on it and you’ll see the known values of the parameter, as below:

GWTparams5

This second dropdown has been there all along, but was coded to not display in a browser window.  Copying and pasting it to Word just happens to make it visible.  Cool eh?  You can also use a debugger such as Fiddler to break the invisibility in the browser window, but using Word is much faster.

Now you have more information on what the mystery parameters are all about.  Some will have only one value and might be typos in the code.  Others, like “denomination” above, is revealed to have values of 10, 20, 50, 100 and so on … which we immediately recognized as denominations for gift card purchases.  Not a necessary parameter.

So, with the new information, you can set even more parameters to “ignore” and clean up your organic listings further.

While you’re in Webmaster Tools, especially the Google one, look around.  There is some very useful stuff in there.

Software (On-Premises) Quick Trick for Keeping the Queue Clear

An easy way to keep Analysis Queue gridlock from happening when you inject a huge, many-day retroactive analysis into your routine, every-day profiles.

Applies to:  WebTrends On-Premises, i.e. WebTrends Software

Situation:

  1. Your WebTrends software has routine profiles that are scheduled to run every 4, 12, 24 (or whatever) hours
  2. You also have a one-time situation … you have to back-analyze a ton of retroactive data which will take many hours of WebTrends processing
  3. You don’t want the back-analyzing profile(s) to clog up the Scheduler and prevent the routine profiles from processing on time.
  4. You want to start the back-analysis profile(s) as soon as possible, but you want it/them to be out of the way when it’s time for the routine profiles to run.

There’s an easy way to keep gridlock from happening. 

Edit the back-analyzing profile(s) and  fiddle with Analysis Throttling and Scheduler as follows

In the Analysis Throttling admin panel:  (within the edit function of the individual profile)

  • Set “Maximum Data to Analyze” to be something that will take an hour or so to run.  For some profiles, this would be one day of data.  For others, it could be a month of data.  If you don’t already have an idea of analysis time for a day of data,  the Scheduler’s Job Status section can help.  Find the start and end time for the last run in the list of details.
  • Turn off “Rerun analysis immediately after maximum amount of data is analyzed.”  In other words, you want the profile to analyze for an hour or so, then close down (i.e. get out of the queue).

In the Analysis Scheduler: (again … you are doing this within the profile’s editing interface)

  • Set the analysis to happen every hour (the default setting is every day).

That’s all.  The only thing you need to do after the back-analysis profile(s) is finished is remember to set these settings back to normal, if you want that profile to continue to process new data  from now on.

How it works:  The back-analysis profile(s) will turn off after analyzing x days of data, whatever you specified in Maximum Data to Analyze.  At that point, everything in the queue moves up one step closer to the front … including your routine analysis event, which will the queue at its appointed time.  The Scheduler will put the back-analysis profile into the last position the analysis queue sometimes in the next 1-59 minutes.  The back-analysis profile will pick up from where it left off once it works its way to the front of the queue.

Caveats:

This method can cause some minutes’ delay in the start of the routine profiles compared to their scheduled time, but you gotta admit it’s far better than being stalled for many hours in the queue while the mammoth profile(s) continue processing. 

 This method also can delay the back-analysis profiles somewhat if you don’t find the right balance between Maximum Data to Analyze and Scheduler intervals.