Tracking RSS feeds with Webtrends


Webtrends Analytics 8.x
Webtrends Analytics 9.x


The following three events relating to RSS feeds can be tracked using Webtrends:

1. Tracking the feed itself, that is, how many times the feed was pulled to an RSS aggregator. This can be measured by standard log file analysis from whatever server distributes the feeds. To do so, edit the link that goes out to the content and modify it to include parameters to make it identifiable in your reports. This may or may not be a useful statistic as it will likely be an inefficient use of page views, and it only indicates how many times the RSS aggregators grabbed the feed from the server, not how many times it was viewed or clicked.

2. Tracking article views. This will require using Webtrends’ SmartSource Data Collector (SDC) server as the logging server. When the article description from the RSS feed is viewed with a tool that allows Javascript, the Webtrends Javascript tag will insert a request for the dcs.gif image to be called from the SDC server, thereby tracking an view for the article. For viewers that don’t support Javascript, a hard-coded request for the dcs.gif will make a server call for the image, but will limit the scope of visitor tracking to only the page view. In viewers that do not even allow images to load, there will be no way to track the page view at all.

3. Tracking article clickthroughs from the viewer to the article page. To do this, tag the target page with an SDC tag, include the necessary parameters in the link from the article description to the target page (for example, WT.rss_ev=f), and then use whatever parameter-based reporting in Webtrends effectively tracks this event.

Dcsmultitrack code can also be used to bind on-click events within the article description to track clickthroughs of different links and distinguish views in the aggregator from someone who bookmarks the link within their browser.