Monday, July 14, 2008

XiTi: robust mid-range alternative

I met Fehmi, XiTi's local rep for Québec, a couple of months ago at a Web Analytics Wednesday I organized in Montréal. I've known XiTi as a long time web analytics player in Europe, and as my friend Jacques Warren said "The French have landed!". Last week I spent some time with Dennis Varganyi, country manager (Canada), a guy with a long term experience in web analytics who showed me what XiTi has to offer.

The base is covered, and more...

XiTi offers the full range of reports you would expect from any web analytics solution: page, visit and visitors analytics, but also external/internal search, podcasts, mobile, video, RSS and rich-media sites. Campaign management, dashboarding, custom reports, custom metrics, security, exports, are all there.

Great features

Some tidbits worth highlighting:
  • Affinities: Xiti's unique capability of defining "groups of sites" into affinity reports, then sites, sections, chapters and sub-chapters, sub-sub... makes it especially well geared for media sites.
  • Segmentation & filtering: XiTi is very powerful in this respect! Some competitors should look more closely at the way XiTi does it, which is much more powerful and still very easy to use than a lot of the solutions I've seen.
  • Dashboarding and vizualisation: I recently read Stephen Few's de facto reference "Information Dashboard Design". It's clear XiTi spent a lot of time on visualization. One example of that is dial graphs: they show min/max, average, standard deviation and the actual value in a very well designed way.
  • Campaigns: allocation, allocation, allocation... isn't it a nightmare in most cases? Which event or campaign should really get credited? Should it get 100% or just a fraction of the credit?
  • Security is managed at the group or individual level. This level of granularity is often found only in the high-end solutions.
  • Date range selection goes beyond the day/week/month/year and allows you to pick things like "All Mondays". Something I haven't seen in other tools and is especially useful if you are looking at things like day parting.
  • Real time is often more of a buzzword than really usefull (my opinion), but it's there :)
  • Local or server time? Another interesting concept, which I haven't seen in other solutions, is the ability to view reports based on the user's local time or the server time. Clever: if you want to know the real peak time during the day, you need to use the user's time. If you want to know when to do maintenance, you should look at your lowest trafficed server time.
  • Custom variables & reports: I was surprised by the flexibility of the framework, which makes it easy to extend and customize metrics and reports.
  • Heat maps: think of CrazyEgg integrated to your web analytics (as it should be!)
  • and others!


We know how "Free!" is the buzzword of the week month year and Xiti has been an early adopter of the concept. You can start small with Xiti Free, which is especially suited for personal and small web sites, and grow up to Xiti Analyzer II for 395$/month (1M page views).

My take

I would consider XiTi to be a strong contender if you are looking for something with more guts than Google Anlytics without investing in a high-end suite like Omniture. If you are in Europe, you need to have Xiti on your short list. Now that Xiti has a presence in North America, it's worth to have a look before jumping to a conclusion.
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