September 15, 2008, 12:00 AM

Omniture combines analytics with site search

Omniture today launched a new product called SiteSearch. It allows retailers to use analytics to guide consumers to the best-selling items or most relevant content, and provides reports on site search activity.

Omniture Inc. announced today a new product called SiteSearch that allows retailers to use analytics to guide consumers to best-selling items and the most relevant content, and provides reports on site search activity. The product builds on technology acquired early this year when Omniture purchased competing analytics vendor Visual Sciences Inc.

The announcement is good news for former customers of Visual Sciences, which itself acquired the site search technology in a 2006 merger with WebSideStory, because it means Omniture will continue investing in the site search product, says Susan Aldrich of consulting firm Patricia Seybold Group.

While other site search vendors also offer tools to analyze site searches, Aldrich says, “you would expect Omniture to do it even better because they don’t just have a few people who think about analytics, but hundreds.” She says Omniture enhanced the WebSideStory technology in a number of ways, including adding a feature that automatically promotes best-selling products to the top of search results.

Another analyst briefed by Omniture on SiteSearch, John Lovett of JupiterResearch, says, “Historically, site search tools have offered basic analytics and methods to import data into web analytics solutions to provide better results, but never before has a powerful enterprise-class analytics solution been coupled with a site search tool within a common interface.” Jupiter recently was acquired by competing research and consulting firm Forrester Research.

One of the early users of Omniture SiteSearch is the online store of the National Geographic Society where visitors often type in broad one-word queries that could indicate an interest in hundreds of products. Using SiteSearch in conjunction with Omniture’s SiteCatalyst analytics tool, National Geographic can better understand what shoppers want and show them relevant results, says Alexander Chororos, director of the web store. With those Omniture technologies, he says, “we can present our customers with improved shopping search results that are fine-tuned over time based on real site usage data.”

Omniture says its SiteSearch product can rank search results based on any metric a web site operator chooses, such as most requested pages or best-selling items. It also can feed data into SiteCatalyst to provide detailed reports on search activity, such as most popular search terms and failed searches.

"Analytics-driven site search is more effective for online businesses because it achieves targeted results based on real data," says Aseem Chandra, senior vice president of product marketing at Omniture. "Commerce sites can set rules to automatically adjust search results based on shopper trends and seasonality of items, media sites can offer article popularity sorting into the presentation of their search results, and corporate sites can offer better self-service and support by promoting the most frequently sought after support content.”

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