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Web Archiving (introducing, Zoetrope!) and Web Analytics

Wouldn’t life be easier for web analysts if we could easily look at our data with full knowledge of the context in which it was gathered, including what was happening on competitor websites? Google’s Site Overlay Report is one example aimed at providing a “data + context” tool. But this report’s simplicity (not to mention technical limitations with many site codings!) make it pale in comparison to a cool new system that allows interacting with archived websites.

MIT’s Technology Review today came out with news on a new system and interface for tracking and analysis of temporal changes to websites. It’s called Zoetrope, was designed by researchers at Adobe and the University of Washington, and could really up the bar for analytics intelligence!

Features:

  • a query language
  • indexing that allows quick processing
  • visualizations

What you can do:

  • temporally scroll entire sites, or just portions of site (multiple at once, if desired)
  • view news stories on a time line
  • generate visualizations of temporal data on multiple sites at once
  • export data to present elsewhere (Google docs and Motion Charts are plugged as a suggestion

It’s easy to see how useful this could be. One of the biggest causes of analytics “murkiness” is the fact that in saturated markets, where innovation is rapid and constant, it can take hours to investigate why numbers might be down, usually by researching the actions of competitors, consumers, etc. By allowing quick, easy comparative monitoring across sites, Zoetrope could revolutionize business intelligence mining. We could scroll through and visualize competitors’ price data, for instance, in order to investigate why purchases on an e-commerce site might be unusually low (or high). At the same time, a relevant news source for the industry could be scrolled through or the topics visualized over time, providing a comprehensive view of the market.

The only drawback? We have to wait just a bit longer, while additional features are being designed, before Zoetrope can be released.

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One Response to "Web Archiving (introducing, Zoetrope!) and Web Analytics"

  • web analytics
    January 23, 2009 - 4:41 pm Reply

    These are very nice visualizations. i am still learning about web analytics.

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