Sometimes, Tracking Less is More

Analytics Jul 20, 2007

For those who watch the Flash HitTail Demo, the words “WE’RE NOT ANALYTICS” is probably quite familiar. And for those who run multiple tracking systems, like HitTail plus Google Analytics, you will notice that HitTail doesn’t track everything.


That’s right. And I am often explaining why this is so brilliant, and saves users of HitTail so much time in zero’ing in on what’s important… actionable data!

Going against common logic, our patent-pending tracking system knows when to not listen to the activity on your site, and therefore it collects LESS data. And when you’re looking for long tail keywords that might be useful for making new content, less is more. Why? Because other systems that capture everything have to sort it out later, reducing the real-time services they can provide. They sometimes make you wait a day or more. Also, they can’t keep the data forever. And they have a more difficult time figuring out which of all the garbage data they collected is the meaningful stuff.

What sort of collected data is garbage, you may ask?

Think about it. Where are your hits coming from? Are YOU perhaps responsible for some of your hits (I think you are)? Should you include every search test you perform as part of your competitive intelligence data, especially when what you’re trying to do is get into the mind of your prospective website visitors? You’re actually polluting your own data with your webmaster testing activities. You’re telling yourself things you already know! And isn’t the same true of your competitors searching on your site? How many of their keyword tests should you allow to pollute your data? They might hand you over a few interesting terms. But on the whole, they’re going to be searching on a bunch of industry insider terms that don’t really represent the thoughts of your real prospects, and might be interesting to you maybe once–not over and over, as they’re doing.

So, HitTail filters all this ridiculous traffic at the source. In fact, when we detect such situations, our tracking system “goes quiet”, preventing excess Internet traffic, and makes your pages load even faster. This is one of the various reasons we are one of the most light-weight tracking systems on the Internet.

While HitTail is awesome for watching search hits that come to your site, indeed, almost hypnotizing, it doesn’t record EVERY search hit. It only records the search hit data of each visitor only once, then ignores subsequent visits during that browser session.

That disappoints a lot of people. But it shouldn’t. You should be shouting for joy that some tracking system is doing this for you.

Because in the end, you’re on the lookout for some very important events in the history of your website–events that every other tracking and analytics system ignores–for example, HitTail captures he first time a particular search led to your website… EVER!

Yep, that’s part of what HitTail does. And even that is just pre-filtering. We take this pre-filtered data, which is already throttled to prevent garbage, and it is to that we apply our writing suggestion-finding algorithm to determine which of the BRAND NEW topics (which never led to your site before) qualify as viable writing topic candidates.

The unique experience that this all produces is fueling HitTail’s incredibly positive reception.

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