The world of statistics is not a popular one. I hated statistics in college and did poorly at it – it’s just abstract numbers. But when statistics actually help you, it’s entirely different. As a “web guy” for many years now, the number of visitors (traffic) has been of interest for a long time. Traffic tells me who comes, when they come, where they come from, and what content on my site is popular. For the longest time such analytics were basically just trends that give you long term stats. But a new analytic kid on the block is looking to change how analytics are viewed…that kid is Woopra.
I was tossed Woopra from a co-worker and went through the pitch on their site. What Woopra offers that others don’t is real-time statistics. They give you a client that lets you watch visitors come and go as it happens. While that’s a neat promise, I wondered how well it would work. Often adding third-party scripts to a web site will just slow the web site down and yield less-than-optimal results. So I gave Woopra a try…eventually. As it turns out, every site that requests a Woopra tag needs to get approved. So I submitted the Toast for approval and waited…and waited. It was actually so long since I made the request that I had forgotten I even request approval. But I remembered once I got my approval!
After a quick code addition (just like with Google) The Morning Toast was Woopra-ized. I then installed the client and gave it a whirl – and wow!
When they said “real-time,” they mean real-time. The client sat open and I watched as people came and went. I saw all the typical stats stuff, like where they came from, where they went, how long they spent…all that stuff — for some reason it’s much cooler when I know that person is on the site right then at that moment. It’s like watching the stock market. And as a matter of fact the client has a stock market-ish ticker at the bottom of the window that scrolls ups/downs of traffic stats…cute, but unnecessary.
Now, real-time are cool by themselves, but there’s one more thing Woopra does that no other stats package does…chat. This is bizzare and kind of scary. In the Woopra client, you see visitors as a number (Visitors #8) and you can click a link in the client for each visitor that is labeled as “Start a conversation.” Click this and a status bar notice slides up on the visitor’s browser and asks if they want to talk. Yes, you as the admin can talk with your visitors as they visit your site. I believe it’s purpose is for customer service, so it should be used sparingly, but that is so cool…but scary. Imagine being on a site like the Toast, an innocent little blog, and a little notice pops up and says, “hi there, whatcha doing?” So if that happens to you, don’t be afraid – it’s just me wanting to make sure you have the best Toast experience possible. Ha.
Let’s just say analytics and statistics have never been more addicting. But lets be honest with ourselves, there’s nothing really new here. Stats are stats. They’re just hard numbers and tell you the same thing that Google does. But the packaging makes all the difference. Not only is Woopra flashier than Google, it presents some of the number and stats better than Google does. One thing about stats is that it’s all about how you communicate those numbers to viewers. Google does it very well, but in some cases, Woopra does it better.