September 1, 2006, 12:00 AM

Beyond Zoom

(Page 3 of 3)

In June, web analytics provider Omniture Inc. launched one of the first tools to measure the performance of rich media on sites. Measuring the performance of rich media applications such as Flash has to date been a cumbersome process, requiring developers to manipulate data through both JavaScript and ActionScript, which is the programming language for Flash. Omniture’s ActionSource solution eliminates the programming language translation barrier by capturing data directly from ActionScript independent of JavaScript interaction, the company says.

Omniture is deploying the new analytics functionality with a number of retailers. However, the experience of a media company already using the tool illustrates how it works. Scripps Network’s House and Garden Television channel used ActionSource on the Flash-based media player on to measure traffic and conversion off streaming video which ran on the site during a recent promotion. The event, the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway, was a live on-air special immediately followed by a live online broadband presentation.

On-air, HGTV encouraged visitors to go to for live continuation of the on-air event: site visitors could, via the live video, tour the home for the first time with the winner who’d just been announced on the TV program. In one hour, registered more than 500,000 requests to its server, including 120,000 first-time visitors to the site as determined by the identification of unique IDs. The analytics tool also determined that 55,000 site visitors logged on to the live video.

Listening for clicks

ActionSource is built so as to allow site operators to measure Flash activity without having to code individual elements of the Flash application. The supporting feature, called AutoTrack, “listens” for click action to determine if the click is related to a button or to movie clip activity. It can automatically capture and send that data for reporting, according to Omniture.

And as part of a new service that hosts and produces podcasts and optimizes them for search, OneUpWeb in August launched PodTractor, which tracks the podcasts. Among other metrics, the service measures for podcasting retailers when, where and by whom the podcasts are downloaded; data that can be applied across the retailer’s marketing program.

While representing varying levels of sophistication, retailers’ use of enriched content is on the rise. The longer-established and more basic forms of rich content such as zoom are approaching the standard of best practice for retailers of scale. Rich content such as podcasts, video demos and product configurators, are heading toward more widespread adoption.

Leading sites’ use of such features, whether complex or simple, reflects a truth that bears consideration for every online retailer in plotting the future: it takes a lot more in the way of product display today to get shoppers to push the Buy button at a site than it did yesterday. And given the pace of web development, it will take even more tomorrow.


Click Here for the Internet Retailer Guide to Providers of Rich Media

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