Why must cookies be used for Path Analysis to work?


Webtrends Analytics 9.x
Webtrends Analytics 8.x


Why must cookies be used for Path Analysis to work?


Attempting to accurately track a user’s path through a web site with the session tracking method set as IP/User Agent is highly unreliable. With cookies, we can positively identify users and their movements on the site. The preference is a persistent cookie. This will allow Webtrends to identify if a visitor has previously visited the site. Session cookies will work, but with session cookies the total number of visitors will not be accurate because a session cookie expires when a visitor leaves the site, and a returning visitor will look like a new visitor due to the cookie being different than the one used on the first visit, as it will on all subsequent visits. The other problem with a session cookie is if the visitor is idle on the site past the expiration time of the cookie, the next page they go to will look like an entry page and the complete path for the visitor will be broken. While this might not happen frequently, it has the potential for happening enough to skew the results from the path analysis.