The Microsoft adCenter blog has announced a private beta of their web analytics program: Project Gatineau. The blog entry notes that features include:
- Click and visitor tracking reports
- Marketing campaign reporting and conversion tracking
- Unique demographic and geographic information from your site visitors
If you want to try it out, you can request an invitation. No word on how quickly the invites are being handed out. Gatineau is free, although it requires an adCenter account (which entails a $5 setup charge).
Rumors about Gatineau began early this year after Microsoft acquired DeepMetrix (the name “Gatineau” is a nod to DeepMetrix’s home city in Canada). In May (one year after the acquisition), the DeepMetrix site noted it was no longer updating the existing product suite due to work on “the next generation of Web analytics” — Project Gatineau. The site promised a beta launch over the summer. That beta launched finally happened yesterday. Surely it’s summer somewhere.
Microsoft is clearly lining up Gatineau to compete with Google Analytics, and although it’s free, analytics tied to adCenter may be a hard sell against analytics tied to AdWords. Of course, some site owners use analytics products independently from paid search. In addition, there’s been some talk that Gaineau may be able to work with non-adCenter ad product.
Microsoft also recently launched a private beta of their Webmaster Tools product. So far, there doesn’t appear to be integration between the two.
Search Marketing Gurus recently posted details about some of the functionality of the product, and noted no sign of “attribution” features. Microsoft Senior Vice President Brian McAndrews recently said that Microsoft was working on “conversion attribution” to measure the ad sources that influenced a purchase. He sees that lost measurement as a failing of current systems that only measure the ad clicked directly before purchase. It’s not unexpected that Gatineau doesn’t include this feature, however, as McAndrews came to Microsoft from AQuantive, where this work is taking place. After the acquisition, Microsoft restructured their advertising department and created an “advertiser and publisher solutions group” where all of these efforts are ultimately coming from.