Under-appreciated feature: Content Group Paths

Content Group Paths. Every tried ’em? Truly a hidden Webtrends gem.


Content Group Pathing can give you fresh ideas of how people go through your site.   In my opinion, there are far more insights available in pathing than in tabulations of content groups.

I am not talking about page paths, which frankly don’t have a lot of value.  Too much information!

Content Group Pathing consolidates information and can tell stories.  For example, you might see one of these:

  • Half of those who land on an interior page tend to start using on-site search quite soon after landing, while people who enter at the home page hardly ever resort to searching.  Perhaps the home page is much better at orienting people to your site than the interior pages do?
  • A lot of visits flip-flop back and forth between product category C and product category F.  None of the other product categories – A, B, D, E – have this kind of back and forth pattern with another category.  Maybe there is some bad labeling of C or F?  Maybe C and F really are, in the customer mind, two facets of the same thing and should be merged?
  • Of this back-and-forth group of visits, people who go from C to F tend to stay in F, while people who go from F to C tend to go back to F.   Perhaps the value is in the F content for that [possibly confused] group?
  • People who enter at an interior page hardly ever see the home page.  If you have really important information that is only on the home page, then they are missing that content entirely!  Maybe you should add some of that important home page content to interior pages?  Or you could find out why they are entering on interior pages and try to steer them to the home page?
  • People who enter at the home page tend to return to it constantly, and their visits tend to be short, direct, and complete.   Not so for the visits using other entry points.  Again, it looks like the interior pages need some work.
  • The FAQ pages are visited primarily by people who never get down to product detail pages.   Is there something in FAQ material that makes people uninterested in looking closely at what you have?
  • Or, alternatively, many who get to the product detail page level then go quickly to the FAQ, while people who don’t see product details rarely look at the FAQ.   Is something missing from your detailed product information?
  • Although your store locator happens in about a third of all your visits, it appears that most of those visits consist of the store locator and not much else.  People looking at your products aren’t following through to find a store.  Uh oh, maybe that “33% of visits go to store locator” result isn’t something to crow about after all.

I could go on and on.

Almost all of those “stories” can, in fact, be discerned in tabulation-type reports, but you’d have to do a whole lot of them.  Content Paths reveal those stories with far less work.

That is, if you do Content Paths well.  You can also confuse yourself tremendously with Content Group pathing.

I recently experienced a great deal of that confusion looking at Google Analytics’ Flow reports.  Although these are sorta like content path reports in Webtrends, I think what Webtrends offers is a lot better.  Except, of course, Webtrends doesn’t have GA’s cool graphics (which, by the way, are basically Sankey diagrams, one of my all-time favorite data visualization methods).

So.  About “doing Content Paths well.”  I’ll talk about this more in another post.  It’s not that hard to get the hang of.  Stay tuned.






What Percent of Your Traffic Is Tablets? Smartphones?

Create reports that characterize mobile devices that visit your web site using Webtrends’ recently added Mobile Device Parameters.


We published a post on filtering for tablet (etc) traffic and almost instantly got a request for a Device Type custom dimension.

Device Type is one of thirty-four new Webtrends parameters related to mobile traffic on web sites.  The full list of mobile parameters is in this KB article.  Note that the KB article doesn’t list a couple of non-new parameters that are important:  WT.os (for operating system, whether device or computer) and WT.dm (device model).

Webtrends added all these parameters last year but didn’t make any of them into dimensions.  You can do that yourself.

Here is the general method for turning a query parameter into a dimension:

  1. In the Administration screen, Go to Custom Reports >> Dimensions
  2. Click on “New.”  In the following screen give it a name, a Column Name (which is the heading that will appear at the top of the table in the report), a category (if you use them), and a Help Card Description.  For the latter, “based on [parameter name]” should be enough.  This note to yourself will display at the bottom of the table if you have Help Card display turned on in your preferences.
  3. On the next screen, type in the name of the parameter you want to tabulate, for example WT.dv_type (for Device Type).  Ignore other settings on this screen.
  4. On the next screen, choose “all hits” for the When To Collect Data” field.
  5. On the next screen, click on “Save”.

To get your new dimension into a report, of course, you have to make that custom report and apply this dimension.  Then you have to attach the report to one of your profiles.  Ta-dah.


By the way, in that KB article, some of the parameters are more interesting than others.  When I saw the list I immediately made the following parameters into dimensions and, of course, reports:


Device type (you’ll see these types: tablet, mobile phone, game console, media player, ereader)


The OS name – this is not shown in the KB article because it’s legacy.  This will list OS’s for computers as well as mobile devices.


OS version number.  This will be confined to “devices.”


Whether or not the device has touch screen capability (this is a yes/no parameter)


The “marketing name” of the device, for example “Kindle Fire HD,” “Blackberry Z10,” “Playstation Vita”


And, some useful 2D reports using the above might be:

Device Type over Device Name

OS over OS version

Device Type over OS

I don’t often highlight other blogs …

A rockin’ approach to establishing website and customer value.

I don’t often highlight other blogs.  But if you’d like to see an example of combining web analytics with other methods in a truly next-generation project, read Gary Angel’s game-changing post on Establishing Website and Customer Value (for non-ecomm sites).  Read it once, read it again, and make sure you grasp what he’s doing.   This is how the big boys play it.

A Filter for Tablet Traffic … or SmartPhones … or …

Look at just Tablet traffic, or just iPhone traffic, with this custom Webtrends filter.

You can make a report that only shows results for tablet devices.  Or phones, consoles, media players or desktop devices.

Those are the five device categories that Webtrends shows when reporting on Device Type.  The parameter that allows these reports to happen is WT.dv_type.  You have access to this parameter if you use OnDemand, but not (at this time) OnPremises.  It’s only in OnDemand because of the way Webtrends implemented it — the OnDemand program is applying a lot of lookup tables (well, something like that) to the Browser-Platform information that is already being collected.  Those lookups are not in the 9.x software.

Here’s how to create a custom filter that will include or exclude Tablet devices in a custom report, using WT.dv_type.  Note that there are other ways to do the same thing, because Webtrends also has individual parameters for individual device types.  Check this article in the Knowledge Base if you want to see the whole list.

  1. Create a filter and name it.
  2. Click the Hit filter radio button.
  3. (It doesn’t matter whether the filter should match Any versus All)
  4. Filter on:  URL, with page expression equal to *  (do not check Regular Expression box)
  5. Go to “New URL parameter”
  6. Parameter name is WT.dv_type
  7. Parameter value is Tablet
  8. Check the “regular expression” box

That’s it.  Save it by finishing the configuration.  Apply it to the custom report of your choice.

Note:  if you don’t want to filter for Tablet, here are your choices overall, as they appear in Webtrends:

  • Tablet
  • Mobile Phone
  • Game Console
  • Media Player
  • None (this is “none of the above” and highly likely to be a desktop or laptop computer)

“None” won’t work like the others.  Typing “None” in the “Parameter Value is Equal To” box fails.  Instead, choose “Parameter Value is Not Equal To” and enter this regular expression in the box, being sure to specify that it’s a regex match:     ^[a-zA-Z0-9].+


A couple odd things we found are:

  • Match type for the parameter value has to be Regular Expression; text match failed for us.
  • The filter has to be based on the query parameter WT.dv_type, not the dimension “Device Type”.
  • A report using this filter won’t be processed in Express Analysis or Real Time mode.
  • You can’t make a filter like this for an entire profile.



Can’t Make a Browser Filter? No Problemo.

It’s not obvious how to make a filter for an individual browser in Webtrends. But it sure is easy once you know how.

As you know, it’s easy to create a custom report filter in Webtrends.  It involves selecting the basis of your filter from long dropdown lists of hit properties or visit properties.

But for some reason “Browser” and “Browser Version” aren’t  on those dropdown lists.   Out of the box, you can’t make a custom report that excludes Internet Explorer or just looks at Chrome 28.

Here’s how to quickly remedy this oversight.

To make “Browser” and “Browser Version” show up in the dropdown list of filter basis properties, just do this:

  1. Create a custom dimension called “Browser”.  Choose “Browser” from the “Based On” dropdown.
  2. Create a custom dimension called “Browser Version.”  Choose “Browser Version from the “Based On” dropdown.

That’s all it takes.  From now on, “Browser” and “Browser Version” will be available in the Hit Filter creation dropdowns.  By combining Browser and Browser Version in the same filter, you can get really tight, specific filtering if you want.

By the way, when creating those filters, you need to type in the browser name as Webtrends uses it.  Be careful of your text matching, in other words.  Webtrends’ names can be seen in the out-of-the-box Browsers report, but for your convenience, here are all the browser names Webtrends shows  in a recent month for one of our sites:

  • Google Chrome
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Safari
  • Firefox
  • Chrome Mobile
  • Android Browser
  • Amazon Silk
  • Opera
  • Internet Explorer Mobile
  • Mozilla Variant
  • BlackBerry Browser
  • webOS Browser
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer Mobile
  • Unknown
  • UC Browser
  • Opera Mobile
  • Not Logged
  • NetFront
  • Google Android Browser
  • Obigo

Among other things, note that a regex for “Chrome” will return both the desktop and mobile versions of the Chrome browser.  You may not want that.

Check the Browser Versions report for similar information on how the version numbers appear in Webtrends.


  1. Yes, it’s possible to build a browser filter  on “Agent” (User Agent), but that’s not for the fainthearted — the User Agent string is full of pitfalls.  For example not everybody will know that building an Agent-based filter for Chrome requires far more than just filtering on the string “chrome.”  And if you’re wanting to filter on browser *version,* you’re in a world of hurt.
  2. For those of you who think you don’t need browser filters ….  we are uncovering all sorts of ugly things by looking at filtered results for individual browser versions.  We have found strange interactions with Webtrends tagging for IE, Safari, and Firefox (sometimes only certain versions – recent Firefox being a prime example of messiness).    We also see interactions between browsers and tagging for SiteCatalyst and Google Analytics, by the way!   The most common report we use is a browser-specific 2D report, where Browser Version is the first dimension and Page, Transaction ID or Referrer is the second dimension.