March 13, 2003, 12:00 AM

Analytics tool takes metrics out of spreadsheets and puts them on the page

Omniture’s SiteCatalyst 9.0 superimposes the numbers over each relevant element on a web page to demystify analytics for marketers.


A new analytics tool from Omniture, Inc. takes site metrics reports out of spreadsheets and places them right over the relevant page elements so marketers can see the numbers in context, the company reports. The Optimum Path Click Map, a feature of the just-released Version 9.0 of Omniture`s SiteCatalyst web analytics product, superimposes clickstream and page view data on the actual pages of a site for a graphic depiction of how visitors are responding to content, placement and design.

“Our experience is that there are a lot of people in any organization who don’t really feel comfortable interpreting the classic web analytics report. So we’ve opened it up,” says Brett Error, CTO of Omniture.

Tags on the page display the number of visitors to that area, for example, as the user’s mouse moves over the elements or links on the page. A colored screen that appears behind the actual numbers intensifies with the level of visitor activity at each element tracked. Users also can generate and show the numbers for each element by customer segment.

The ClickMap is one of several features on the new release that the company says break new ground in web site analytics. Another new feature, called VISTA (for Visitor Identification, Segmentation and Transformation Architecture), lets users segment site visitors according to rules of their own choice and track the segment’s behavior on the site in real time.

“You can look at clickstream and segment out only site visitors who go on to make a purchase, for example. When you see their clickstream behavior, you can then look for things that appear to drive buying behavior or indicate that someone is ready to buy, so that you can be that much more ready to present them with the opportunity to buy,” says Error.

Other features of the new release include expanded fall-out reporting. The feature identifies the flow of traffic between two checkpoints–-for example, how many who view the privacy policy then go on to purchase–-regardless of how many steps or which path shoppers take between those two points. By contrast, says Error, most analytic tools track only a defined linear path between two selected checkpoints, with the result that data on customers who do touch both points but don’t take the defined path are lost.

9.0 also provides an A/B testing comparison framework, aimed at simplifying design changes with side-by-side comparisons of site performance across different segments, versions of web sites and time frames. The numbers are automatically weighted to allow for valid comparisons between samples of different sizes.

The new version also offers an alert feature for retailers too busy to continually monitor all the data as they change, says Error. Users can define a parameter–-such as when sales or traffic fall below a fixed level, for example--and set an alert to e-mail them if that happens.

“A web analytics report can be awfully abstract. This makes it more accessible,” says Error.


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