Chart your Web site's success
Four Web analytics solutions deliver deep analysis of site performance
At a deeper level, reports clearly showed which pages visitors viewed most often and how frequently they visited them. I liked the way HBX allowed me to analyze my site’s content according to business organization. For example, I easily grouped visitors to a services area and determined whether they were also going to a section of hardware offerings.
HBX’s e-commerce analysis gives merchandise managers real-time reports in an effort to help them increase sales. I easily spotted not only the product categories and brands that sold the most but also those that responded best to promotions such as paid search placements. I could then use this information to build a strategy for selling similar items. Of note, HBX autosenses campaigns (such as pay-per-click keyword buys and banner ads), so managers don’t have to perform much system maintenance. Furthermore, HBX provides a number of cost models, including cost per click and cost per acquisition.
Similarly, HBX allows active segmentation. That is, from the browser user interface I dynamically created a segment of users from the United Kingdom who browsed for a solution on international banking but didn’t sign up for a local seminar. I then targeted members in that group for a direct mail campaign. This feature adds approximately 15 percent to the service’s cost, which is a very good deal compared with the 20- to 100-percent premium others charge for similar segmentation.
HBX On-Demand Web Analytics’ mature report-builder Excel plug-in proved to be the best of this group. It allowed me to access every bit of stored data using a wizard, run reports immediately or update figures on a set schedule, and e-mail reports to executives. The company also offers a suite of APIs that allow virtually any third party to access visitor profile data. For instance, the internal search function works with the Atomz hosted service, which enables you to see which terms visitors seek. Furthermore, HBX integrates with Salesforce.com, allowing you to follow up on sales leads.
For the price, HBX On-Demand Web Analytics proved to be the best overall choice. It easily harvested great detail about visitors and turned that data into detailed commerce reports, campaign analysis, and navigation measurements. In particular, usability shone, as did the service’s cross-channel integration with CRM tools.
Web analytics picks
You won’t go wrong with any of these products, but for general marketing needs, WebSideStory HBX On-Demand and Omniture SiteCatalyst are top picks. They combine outstanding presentation, real-time reporting, and data warehousing, plus they approach Coremetrics on the technical side, giving you almost immediate access to a large warehouse of historical data.
WebTrends has overcome stumbles in its earlier versions. Version 7.0 makes it easier to create reports and use the interface, and it includes greatly enhanced e-commerce functionality. Version 7.1, which was released as testing concluded, puts WebTrends even closer to the top with even better visual analysis.
Coremetrics is my pick for the vertical markets it tackles, and it will be a product to watch if the company takes a more general approach. In meeting general e-commerce requirements, WebSideStory is surprisingly strong, earning it the overall top score in this roundup.