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NetIQ Releases WebTrends Update

As tension builds in the Web traffic analysis space, NetIQ is taking the wraps off a major update to its flagship offering, WebTrends Reporting Center.

Version 5.0 of the San Jose, Calif.-based firm's WebTrends Reporting Center features a slew of new features, many of which were designed the make the job of analyzing visitor behavior simpler and more intuitive for marketing-types. NetIQ said its research has shown that many online marketers feel overwhelmed by the amount of disparate data they face.

One means of simplification comes in WRC's customizable "dashboard," which groups the most-used reports and graphs in a single, summary view -- making it easier for marketers to locate the information they need quickly, rather than requiring them to negotiate a series of different charts.

The dashboard also can be linked to show relevant data from outside of WebTrends -- such as from a third-party ad server.

For the first time, WRC also integrates with users' browsers to enable marketers to define paths through their site by clicking a button. That's critical because developing paths -- normally a relatively technical chore -- is fundamental to WebTrends' full operation, as the software segments visitors to the site by the paths they follow.

Additional tools further enhance WebTrends' ability to analyze exactly where on a site visitors are abandoning or converting.

In the software's higher-class Enterprise Edition, WebTrends Reporting Center features comparative reports, allowing marketers to compare, say, the buying habits of different segments of site visitors or marketing campaign recipients. Enterprise Edition also features customized reports and Scenario Analysis, helping marketers study ways to improve site design, offers and content.

The firm also said that the offering served to help simplify the company's analysis product lines between software -- like WRC -- and ASP offerings, like WebTrends Live.

"This makes our service-side and software side virtually identical," said WebTrends Group Product Manager Jeff Krist. "We shouldn't be forcing a customer to the service side because it has a particular feature they want."

The new software release comes on the heels of several major developments in the ASP Web traffic analysis space. On Monday, DoubleClick announced its intention to parlay its leadership in the ad serving market into a favorable position in the outsourced traffic analysis space, competing with WebTrends Live, WebSideStory and a number of other rivals.

Last week, San Diego, Calif.-based WebSideStory received a patent for its ASP solution.

But as competition heats up, NetIQ said it's already outlining enhancements for future offerings, focusing on ways to help e-commerce marketers better analyze factors contributing to or hindering conversions.

"WebTrends Reporting Center 5.0 begins to demystify Web analytics to non-IT users by providing a means to easily zero in on the data that is relevant to business users," said Rand Schulman, senior director of WebTrends products at NetIQ. "We are planning future product releases with the concept in mind that Web analytics is much like the measurement of traditional marketing strategies -- the main difference is its focus on the Web rather than offline channels."