Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Preview: Measure Map

I recently reviewed Google Analytics as a way of getting usage statistics for my blog. At the time, I said that it was geared towards web sites (particularily AdSense users) rather than for bloggers. To be fair the service performance has improved quite a bit since it's early shaky days although I haven't really noticed any new features. At the time I did the review, I was eagerly awaiting the release of MeasureMap which is supposedly geared toward bloggers and a few weeks back I got a preview invitation. It's important to remember that MeasureMap is still in the very early stages while Google Analytics is a released product.

The products are very different - MeasureMap is clearly aimed at Bloggers. For example, as part of setup, MeasureMap asks which blogging service you use so that it can understand the structure of posts (if you don't use one of the big blogging engines, it's likely you'll be out of luck). MeasureMap collects / displays data in near real time while there is typically a delay of a day for data to be collected by Analytics. Both services require you to add javascript to your blog template - Blogger doesn't have a template for the ATOM feed so you can't collect statistics for people who read your blog in an aggregator unless you use a service like FeedBurner.

Analytics has more detailed analysis tools however - the MeasureMap location dashboard displays a map of the world but can only isolate the location of a user to within the country of origin. Analytics displays the city of origin for the user (which is really nice!) although I've never been able to find a way to make the map any bigger...

As I said, MeasureMap restricts itself to blogs so it can make assumptions about the structure of the site. Given this, it tracks comments / posts / links in and search terms used. The analytic tools offered by MeasureMap are more limited but they are a better fit for what I am trying to track. My favorite feature is that you can get an RSS feed for your blog statistics.

These products are clearly geared at different market segments - currently there is a lot of value in running both services because 1) both offer an interesting set of analysis tools (for example, I really like the geographic user info from Analytics) and 2) measuring usage with two independent services gives you more data to guess at what the real usage is. Again, MeasureMap is still in alpha release but it's off to a promising start.


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