April 10, 2003, 12:00 AM

Analytics boost Discovery.com’s search engine traffic by 300%, sales by 35%

Discovery.com used SiteCatalyst to flag trouble spots as a way to guide home page redesign and other improvements.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

The online store at media web site Discovery.com saw a 300% increase in shopper traffic it received from search engine Google.com after it redesigned its home page based on analytics information gleaned from Omniture, Inc.’s SiteCatalyst analytics tool. Data from SiteCatalyst, which was implemented by Discovery.com late last year to gather visitor data and improve performance and revenues, revealed that the store’s traffic from Google was far below an industry average of 35%.

Determining that this was the result of its dynamic home page design, a format not easily recognized and grabbed by Google’s engine, Discovery redesigned the home page in a standard HTML format and saw the increase in traffic in just 30 days, says Matthew Welsh, Discovery Channel store producer.

SiteCatalyst also yielded data that helped the online store improve navigation and the customer shopping experience as well as better leverage its on-site promotions. Analytics reports showed that terms related to the show Trading Spaces accounted for the highest percentage of searches for merchandise. To capitalize on the popularity of the home decorating TV show, the Discovery’s online store boosted a Trading Spaces promotion to the largest promotional area on its home page, while moving the Discovery Channel catalog promotion that had formerly occupied that space to a sub area. The move led to a 35% increase in revenue from the Trading Spaces promotion, a 30% increase in catalog promotion revenue and a 35% increase in site-wide revenue overall, says Welsh.

SiteCatalyst also flagged Discovery on a high degree of shopper bailouts one step into its online checkout process. Hypothesizing that this was because visitors were looking for shipping information available only in the checkout process, the online store tested the theory by adding to product pages a pop-up window containing shipping information. “It was almost immediately apparent that our hypothesis was right–-we saw a significant decrease in shopping cart fallout,” says Welsh. “We’ve discovered that a better understanding of customer needs and behavior leads to significant increases in merchandising and sales.”

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