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houndtrack

Hound

A (very) simple tracking server

tl;dr

Hound tracks clicks of links and gives also tracking pixels. Hound can be installed and run directly after handling config.json

Installation

npm install -g houndtrack You then just need to set up the config.json file in the installation directory.

hound will launch hound.

Hound ?

What is Hound ?

Hound is a mini tracking server, capable of handling some analytics (think Google Analytics) and to some extent, tracking pixels.

What should I know before using Hound ?

You should have some knowledge on web analytics. If you got here for some reason, I would think you do.

However, I'm going to explain how to use Hound here :

How to use Hound ?

First of all:

  • Hound is intended for developers and handy users
  • The most difficult about Hound is that it does not have a user interface

Now that that's out of the way :

  • Hound gets analytics from URLs and redirects
  • Hound gets analytics from Tracking Pixels
  • Hound works via Campaigns and Tracking Pixels linked to Campaings (think Google Analytics)

If you are not a developer or don't know how to call an API, please reach to someone who does, or simply use Google Analytics. Hound is intended for micro-analytics, like link sending, not website tracking.

Elemental Notions

Campaign

A Campaign, or Analytics Campaign, or Tracking Campaign, is a timeframe where you need analytics to be collected for some resource.

You can think of a campaign as the advertising of a new product:

  • The campaign would be a time where you place ads of your product
  • Your ads are tracked (campaign, source, medium)
  • You know where users clicked the most and saw your ad

Tracking Pixel

A tracking pixel is a small image (1px * 1px, hence the name) that is requested along with some data. This allows the server to link the image to a campaign and add analytics.

Why is a tracking pixel needed ?

Hound works via redirections. As I stated before, it's intended for link sharing more than website tracking. This means that user interaction is needed (click). A Tracking Pixel is an embedded image requested by the browser, hence making the "same" request the user would by clicking.

When do I need a tracking pixel ?

You would place tracking pixels on emails / websites / marketing-mails that will request it when opened.

Campaing Analytics

Referrer

The referrer is the site where the user first found your link and clicked on it

Source

The source is where the campaign is coming from. You are free to set whatever you want, but here are some examples: newsletter, marketing-email, affiliate.

Medium

The campaign medium is how you are using your campaign: review, pay-per-click. You can set whatever you want.

Simple explanation

Hound will give you links to track clicks and tracking pixels. These can trigger webhooks for you to receive events. Hound also sets a cookie on the redirection link so it can track users. This cookie represents a user and will be available on all links your domain holds. This means that you can cross check users between campaigns.

API

Ok so you are ready to use the API ?

With the api you can create campaigns and tracking pixels. The latter must be linked to an exisiting campaign.

The api also offers some utility routes, that give you the link to send to your users when using redirects or tracking pixels.

And last but not least, the API offers simple analytics based on your campaigns.

Creation

POST /api/campaigns/new

  • Creates a new Campaign Parameters are
Name Required Type Description
id true String The id for the campaign (ex: 'MyCampaign')
redirect_uri true string The redirect uri your campaign will lead to. Not only is this required, but it's the most important part of Hound. (ex: http://mysupersite.com)
name false String The name of your campaign (ex: 'My Campaign')
description false String A simple description of yoour campaign
Response
  • Campaign

POST /api/pixels/new

  • Creates a new Pixel
Name Required Type Description
id true String The id for the campaign (ex: 'MyCampaign')
campaign true String The id of the associated campaign
Response
  • Campaign

POST /api/webhook

  • Creates a new webhook
Name Required Type Description
url true String The url that you need the webhook to call

More info on this later.

Data

GET /api/campaigns

Returns all current campaigns and RAW statistics

Response

[
    {
        "id": "TestCampaign",
        "name": "Testing Campaign",
        "redir": "http://poulet.com",
        "description": "Plep",
        "analytics": [
            {
                "r": "facebook",
                "s": "HubSpot",
                "m": "",
                "e": null,
                "u": "3c8a3b2b-f5c1-f6db-9353-d3e98cc36ba5",
                "d": 1509799687227
            }
        ]
    }
]

GET /api/pixels

Returns all current pixels Response

[
    {
        "id": "TestPixel",
        "campaign": "TestCampaign",
        "analytics": []
    }
]

Analytics

GET /api/analytics

Returns analytics on all current campaigns.

Analytics are pre-treated objects like so:

    [{
        "id": "TestCampaign",
        "name": "Testing Campaign",
        "analytics": {
            "users": 8,
            "referrers": {
                "facebook": 5,
                "twitter": 3
            },
            "sources": {
                "HubSpot": 5,
                "AnotherSource": 3
            },
            "mediums": {
                "(N/A)": 8
            },
            "dates": {
                "1509799687227": 1,
                "1509799728758": 1,
                "1509799744348": 1,
                "1509799764043": 1,
                "1509799805303": 1,
                "1509800092448": 1,
                "1509800152808": 1,
                "1509800183146": 1
            }
        }
    }]

GET /api/analytics/{id}

Returns analytics on given campaign id.

GET /api/analytics/pixels

Returns analytics on all current pixels. For the time being alias of GET api/pixels.

GET /api/analytics/pixels/{id}

Returns analytics for given pixel id.

Utility methods

GET /api/campaigns/{id}

Returns link to campaign with given query parameters .

Name Required Type Description
referrer false String The referrer for analytics, ex: facebook, linkedin
source false String The source for your campaign analytics
medium false String The medium for your campaign analytics
shorten false String In the future you would input the shortener to use. Right now only Bitly is supported. This will return both long url and bitly url
extra false String Some extra information you would like to add
redir_fallback false String An redirection fallback url in case all fails

GET /api/pixels/{id}

Returns link to tracking pixel with given query parameters. These all are the same than GET /api/campaigns/{id}

Webhook

Webhooks are triggered by events. In this case, a click or tracking pixel action.

You will receive data concerning the event, as well as the event name, beign link_clicked or tracking_pixel.