Microsoft Gatineu Review – First Part

I’ve split off the Gatineau review in two parts. This first part is focused on the Gatineau setting and the second part will talk about the report interface.

Since I knew about the Gatineau Project I was very exited. It’s not just another tool, is the second big player in the free web analytics tools market, which could be translated into more competition and better products. Finally since we are all different, with different needs and desires, it is great having the chance to choose.

Actually, if you was following the Google Analytics’ update schedule you may probable finds out that they’ve launched more updates and with a higher frequency. Finally in my opinion those updates were definitely improvements. That’s why I think having more than just one big player in this market is very important.

Even when I’ve got pretty soon my Beta Test’s invitation (I guess Microsoft handle definitely good regarding this matter) because of lack of time I was not able to work on it until a month later.

Fist of all I felt a little uncomfortable with the idea of paying five dollars for accessing to the beta test. I think is important to mention that Gatineau share the same front end with the Microsoft Adcenter, then those who were not registered to the Microsoft Adcenter and want to test Gatineau should pay those 5 dollars that, aftermath, is a 5 dollars in Advertising credit. Even when they mention about it in the beta test registration form, later when receiving the Beta Test invitation lot of people felt uncomfortable with that idea and actually some of them haven’t registered because aftermath is nothing but paying for testing their product.

The famous 5 dollars

When people mentioned that they felt uncomfortable paying for testing their product the answer from Microsoft was, we are working in separating the registration process form the adcenter. My though was, how many time does Microsoft need to generate a separated registration process, in some point I think the people felt underestimated with this communication.
It’s also true that we were all advised from the very beginning about paying those 5 dollars and we’ve registered anyways.
So wrapping up I would say, that was not the “best” way to do it, but at the end of the day is not possible launching a project like Gatineau committing no mistakes.

The first thing came into my head when accessing to Gatinteau was; this is not even a beta. Even when the front end had more features than the announced for the beta (all the demographic data was supposed to be launched with the next version) it was working in a very unstable way.

Mensaje de error de Gatineau

Actually it keeps working very show at least from Argentina, and when I say “slow”, I mean most of the times the pre-loaders remains static for several minutes and I have to close the browser and start all the process again.

My first impression the first time I’ve access was that I was accessing just to the Adcenter since the new button “Analytics” was not highlighted and if it is your first time in the Adcenter you don’t know where you have to go.
After that two things came into my mind, one after the previews one. The fist was, it’s very cool they have integrated both, the analytics tool and the adcenter so I will be able to manage all from the same interface…you know INTEGRATION sounds like jumping to the next level, I was some kind of exited. Some seconds later I’ve got in the fact that both, Gatineau and the Adcenter just share the same Login, after that everything works separately. Everything from Gatineau works behind the Analytics button, while the rest of the buttons are from the Adcenter. In my opinions that sounds like a forced integration, or an integration attempt.

On the other hand is easily to think (if you are not familiarized with the Adcenter front end) that the entire front end is from Gatineau since at the top of the page the following buttons are displayed, “Campaigns”, “Accounts and Billings”, “Research”, “Reports” and “Analytics”. You can easily think that the entire menu is from Gatineau, why? Because almost all the most important Web Analytics tools count with features named “Campaigns”, “Accounts”, “Billings”, “Research”, and “Reports”.

Home Microsoft Ad Center

It would be great having a real integration, like when analyzing the Keywords in Gatineau we could take actions right there, for example shot down a some campaings that is not performing, or if some keywords are performing extraordinarily good, you can use the Keywork research tool to find out another keywords based on the ones that are having a higher performance.

Anyways, unfortunately all the information is separated, under the same front end, but separated. This doesn’t mean that is not possible a future integration, actually I think it would be a great idea to start integrating in the Gatineau fron end, the rest of the Adcenter Applications, I mean it could be done one by one. This is something very easy to implement (at least for Microsoft ;-) ) in a mid term, and could become the Core Competence of their tool.

Regarding the tools setting I must say that they’ve done a great job. Setting up Gatineau is very simple because instead of customizing the tracking code by your self, Gantineau has a “wizard”, by answering some questions you could get the tracking code customized for your particular tracking needs.

Setting up Gatineau
1- Select profile name and time zone.

Name and Time Zone Gatineau

2- Generating the tracking code: In this stage there is a “Wizard” (the above mentioned) that will help you generate your tracking code by answering some questions. First if your site has a single or multiple domains. If multiple is necessary to type in the free text field the main domain name (root domain).
Then, in the same step, we have to select if the code is for secure pages (https) or non-secure pages (http). With all this information Gatineau generates the tracking code automatically. This is in my opinion a great feature since Gatineau if focused mainly on SMB’s and end users that have no Analytics department so it should be very simple and take very low time to implement it.
3- Then is possible to setting up the following features:
a. Exclude query parameters: 
This feature is similar to the google analytics one and is very useful; I highly recommend using it. If you have query parameters in your string and don’t use, in the content report you will get a very long list of urls from the same url. For example, if you have the query parameter userid in your url string, you will get the same url repeated for any user making impossible to count how many traffic does that page had.
b. Setting up Goals and Funnels: Unlike Google Analytics, Gatineau requires setting up Goals and Funnels by separated. I don’t know if this is an advantage or not, probably will depend on preferences, but definitely is easier for people to understand it this way. Everytime people ask me about what the difference between a goal and a funnel. Actually some people told me that they wanted to setup goals but Google Analytics require to setup funnels. This could be something basic, but it is not, remember that we are talking about a free tool that is mainly used by SMB’s and end users.
i. Goals. Definitely they made this process very easy, you only need to type the url in an open text field and that’s it.

Goals at Gatineau

ii. Funnels: The process of setting up funnels start with typing the name of each step and its url, then it’s necessary to click “add” if you need another step.
It has also a very interesting feature that allows you to search the url you want to track in that step, it reduces the possibilities of lose information for incorrect url typing.
Once the funnel is saved you could edit the current steps but not adding new ones. I have no Idea if I’m missing anything, because it has no sense.
Another thing that in my opinion Gatineau must improve, and is not hard at all, is generating a restriction in case you add the same URL into two different steps producing serious confusion in the data (remember that both, GA and Gatineau, process the information once, if it is not correct you will keep it incorrect for ever).
Regarding the quantity of steps you could have in the funnel, you have the same 10 steps restriction than Google Analytics. I would like to know what best practices says that no one needs more than 10 steps…never mind.

Setting up Funnels Gatineau

c. Setting up campaigns: This is a very useful feature that allows you to:
i. Paid Links (not yet implemented in this beta version).
ii. Email Marketing.
 Offline: This is definitely fabulous since it is focused on the Analytics 2.0 idea of integration and homogeneous information. In order to identify information from offline campaigns you should define a landing page you are using as call to action in your offline campaigns. Even when it requires some fine tuning they are definitely going in the right way.

Setting up Offline campaigns - Gatineau

d. Exclude IP addresses: Almost all the current available web analytics tools count with this feature (fortunately). It allows you to filter traffic from an IP in particular like the one from your company.
e. View reports (I will talk about reports in the second part of this review)..
f. Generate tracking codes (I have already talked about it).

Profile Manager

Here ends the review from the setup part, soon I’ll be posting the second part with the reporting interface review.
I will also be posting about some stuff in particular like how to setup offline, online and paid search campaigns step by step among other features (Any suggestion?).


  1. For a second, I thought that I was the only person to get the invite. The help center is yet to even have one post on Gatineau (I know it’s in beta, but they could at least list it).

  2. Hi Josh, thanks for your comment. It is weird that there is not much information about it. I haven’t see good reviews about it yet, everything is pretty secret.
    I don’t know if you do agree with me, but the tools looks pretty promising (even when it needs lot of work to be done) and no one is talking about that.

  3. This is a great review Juan. Small quirks aside there are so many wonderful features and innovative things in Gatineau. I think the experience of setting up goals and funnels as well as the offline campaigns is so nice.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with all of us.


  4. Juan,

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Looking forward to part 2!

    We are working as hard as we can to remove the $5 sign-up fee – we should be able to do this at our next beta refresh.


  5. Hi Ian, thank you very much for the information about removing the 5 dollars fee. Could you give us some information about what the next beta refresh improvements? Thanks again!

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