SOURCE: WebTrends Inc.

July 26, 2005 09:00 ET

WebTrends Customers Switch to First-Party Cookies and See Accuracy Skyrocket by More Than 300 Percent

Hundreds of On Demand Customers Adopt WebTrends Cookie Best Practices as Third-Party Cookie Blocking Continues to Inch Up

PORTLAND, OR -- (MARKET WIRE) -- July 26, 2005 -- WebTrends Inc., the global web analytics leader, today announced that hundreds of its hosted, On Demand customers have switched to its first-party cookie solution since the company unveiled the industry's broadest third-party cookie rejection study two months ago. The first quarterly update to this research shows that third-party cookie blocking continues to increase at varying, unpredictable rates, immediately affecting the accuracy of all metrics. Initial migrations to WebTrends first-party cookie solution show that customers are experiencing a more than 300% increase in accuracy when compared to data collected with third-party cookies, due to the less than 1% to 4% rejection rate of first-party cookies.

"The impact third-party cookies have on accuracy extends from the most basic of visitor segments, new versus repeat, to all conversion metrics, undermining advanced segmentation efforts from the get-go," said Ryan Stolte, founder and CTO, Bay Dynamics. "We've implemented WebTrends first-party cookie solution for a number of clients and found that it was an easy, automated process that immediately brings clarity to customers' business metrics."

The use of WebTrends first-party cookie solution has resulted in sites tracking on average 10-15% more unique visitors and 13-30% more repeat visitors than the numbers they see using third-party cookies over the same time period. Further analysis shows an incremental impact on the number of visitors attributed to campaigns, with some sites tracking 10-30% more visitors responding to specific campaigns.

As first announced, WebTrends patent-pending first-party cookie solution is available at no additional charge to customers and adheres to the best practices in the industry by enabling customers to automatically add legitimate first-party cookie tracking, while retaining ownership and management of their SSL certificates -- something that is not commonly supported by other hosted web analytics solutions. WebTrends first-party cookie solution is an easy, automatic process that maintains the integrity of historical visitor records by automatically stitching values from third-party cookies to new first-party cookies. WebTrends also uniquely offers cookie-less fallback sessionization methods for unique visitor and visit-tracking, including authenticated usernames, session IDs and IP+Agent, so that businesses can be assured of the most complete and accurate insight for precise decision-making.

"Customer data shows third-party cookie rejection has a dramatic impact on the ability to benchmark performance over time, in addition to eroding retention-based metrics," said Greg Drew, CEO and president, WebTrends Inc. "We've taken a leadership role on the accuracy issue, and have seen rapid adoption of our first-party cookie solution. We're extremely proud knowing that we're offering customers the most accurate and actionable analytics in the industry."

Research Update: Cookie Rejection

In updating the original study, WebTrends found that average third-party cookie rejection rates have continued to inch up, increasing by 5.2% from April-June 2005 to an average rate of 13.2% across all industries. Retail continues to be the most affected industry vertical with a 16% average third-party cookie rejection rate, followed closely by Healthcare/Pharmaceuticals at 15.4%, Automotive/Manufacturing at 13.8%, and Media/Entertainment at 13.2%. The verticals that experienced the highest growth in rejection from April-June 2005 include:

--  Technology, increasing by 29.3% to an average third-party rejection
    rate of 12.5%
--  Travel/Hospitality, increasing by 18.4% to an average third-party
    rejection rate of 12.4%
--  Retail, increasing by 9.2% to an average third-party rejection rate of
    16%
    
According to WebTrends, third-party cookies were blocked by 2.8% of web site visitors in January 2004, 18 months ago.

Methodology for WebTrends Cookie Research

WebTrends analyzed visitor sessions from a sampling of the top trafficked web sites on its hosted On Demand service using third-party cookies to create a quarterly index. Sites were grouped according to Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes and an average third-party cookie rejection rate was calculated for each month (April-June) to produce the vertical-specific growth rates. The overall third-party rejection trend is an average of all sites in the index, representing more than 13 industry verticals.

Sites included in the index may change from quarter-to-quarter, as On Demand customers transition to first-party cookies and as traffic to specific sites fluctuates seasonally.

About WebTrends

Thousands of web-smart organizations worldwide, including more than half of the Fortune and Global 500, rely on WebTrends to improve their web site conversions and optimize their marketing performance for maximum return on investment. As the worldwide market leader for web analytics, WebTrends has become the trusted standard not only for award-winning technology, but also for a full range of consulting services and unmatched industry expertise. By delivering accurate and actionable metrics through both on-demand and software options, WebTrends ensures that its customers are positioned for both immediate and long-term success with a solution that can adapt to ever-changing business and technical requirements. For more information, visit www.WebTrends.com.

WebTrends and WebTrends On Demand are trademarks or registered trademarks of WebTrends Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners.

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