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In Focus: Analytics, Content and Search: Perfect Together

Between Hot Banana's recent alliance with Web Trends and WebSideStory's announcement that it will purchase Atomz, it seems like the intersection of site analytics, content management and search is getting busy.
We've been writing about the accelerating convergence of content and data management at Intelligent Enterprise, but perhaps we've underplayed the example of Web analytics and Web content management coming together.

Between Hot Banana's recent alliance with Web Trends and WebSideStory's February 8, 2005, announcement that it will purchase Atomz, it seems like the intersection of site analytics, content management and search is getting busy.

"There's no reason that good search can't drive the entire e-commerce experience, but when you add analytics, you get something very powerful," says John Bresee, president and cofounder of backcountry.com.

A $27-million online retailer of camping and hiking gear, backcountry.com is among the nearly 20 percent of WebSideStory's on-demand analytics customers that were already using Atomz on-demand search, on-demand content management or both. WebSideStory says it will blend all three offerings into an Active Marketing Suite that will also include an on-demand keyword bid-management service designed to optimize keyword advertising expenditures across Google, Overture and other networks.

backcountry.com uses WebSideStory to track the performance of five sites with stats including traffic, traffic changes by week/month/year, unique visitors, conversion rates, average cart expenditure and revenue per unique visitor. Atomz provides the retailer with search-guided navigation that helps visitors quickly find the merchandize by gender, sale item and brand within just a few clicks.

"I believe in using ASPs when you shouldn't have to be the expert, and search and analytics are two great examples," Bresee says. "There's just no way that we could handle the flood of data churned out by analytics; search is incredibly complex, and we're still in the dawn of that technology."

Whether delivered on demand or through conventional software, the combination of analytics and content management is also powerful because it can help media and content-driven sites improve personalization and, therefore, performance. In the wake of last year's Indian Ocean Tsunami, for example, charity WorldVision improved donation conversion rates on its site with the help of an integration between WebTrends's Web analytics software and Hot Banana's Web content management system (CMS).

In our February story, "BI and Content Increase Donations," WorldVision E-marketing Manager Adam Hadley said that "by integrating analytics with our CMS, we gained an automated way to tag and test our Web pages." He noted that the integration has minimized hand-coded errors when preparing data for analysis of behavioral data.

Leading content management vendors, including Stellent and Vignette, offer their own analytics tools. But as revenues tied to e-commerce and marketing campaigns grow more significant, sophisticated analytics will have to work in harmony with search and content management. Digital marketing expenditures have increased by 40 percent in the last year according to Forrester Research.

--Doug Henschen, Editor, Managing Content

Resources:

a. For more details on WebSideStory's acquisition of Atomz, visit: http://www.bizintelligencepipeline.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=60300168

b. The story on WorldVision's combination of analytics and content management is at: http://www.intelligententerprise.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=57702245

c. Our January cover story on leading examples of convergence is at: http://www.intelligententerprise.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=56200344

d. Find previous editions of In Focus here: http://www.intelligententerprise.com/mcontent/