Dashboard: To Boost Performance, Follow Visitors Beyond Your Site - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Software // Information Management

Dashboard: To Boost Performance, Follow Visitors Beyond Your Site

Internet marketers are working with companies to tell them where their customers came from and where they are going once they roam out of site.

What if brick and mortar marketers could follow you? It would be more than a little creepy to find someone following you, say, out of Banana Republic on one side of the mall and into The Gap on the other. Yet this style of analysis happens every day on the Internet.

Internet marketers are getting closer to stalker status by working with companies that analyze click-stream data in combination with cross-industry site performance statistics. The resulting analyses tell companies where their customers came from and where they are going once they roam out of site.

With this combination of data, "You can ask, 'Where is my competitor drawing his customers from and where am I losing them to?'" says Greg Dowling, a senior analyst at Jupiter Research. "If you are losing customers to Amazon, for example, you can ask, 'Are customers not able to make decisions based on the information my site provides?'"

Some services gather consumer and traffic information through panels of thousands of people who agree to place a device on their computer that monitors their every transaction. At least one company, Hitwise, also places monitors on ISP servers that monitor page views to and from various locations. Privacy hawks need not worry, however, as the information is aggregated and does not include detail on individual consumers.

If you're looking to target men over 45 who earn $100,000 and enjoy outdoor activities, companies like Quantcast can measure and analyze traffic patterns from all over the Web to try to provide the perfect advertising niche placement. "We can take that sort of definition and rank the whole Internet," says Quantcast cofounder Konrad Feldman. Quantcast can provide industry reports. For example, a recent bank survey shows that Washington Mutual online customers tend to be young and earn under $60,000, while Citibank's Web customers are 37 percent more likely than average online consumers to have graduate degrees and be big online shoppers.

The company then matches those profiles to demographic information it has gathered elsewhere. "Our data shows that Washington Mutual and Bank of America visitors are more likely to frequent sites such as BMW and Costco, whereas Citibank users have a higher affinity for Subaru and Sears," Feldman explains.

Data on competing Web sites can help gauge comparative site performance. For example, Keynote Systems measures customer experience among financial institutions. "We sent panelists to different banking sites and saw how they used and responded to them," says Keynote general manager of financial services Chris Musto. The company measures transaction speed, ease of use and customer satisfaction, among other things.

Gloria Chance, chief eCommerce officer of Wachovia Bank, which participated in the study, says her company uses its own site measurement tools in combination with Keynote's information on banking and nonbanking sites to plan site upgrades and other changes. "We go as far as looking at YouTube and MySpace to see how we can interact with our customers in a more value-added way," Chance says.

Ultimately, the uptake on services that follow consumers on the Web to gather intelligence will be enormous, Dowling says. "Every major Web property will subscribe to one of these services and use the data as a benchmark." --Rivka Gewirtz Little

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

Remote Work Tops SF, NYC for Most High-Paying Job Openings
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  7/20/2021
Blockchain Gets Real Across Industries
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  7/22/2021
Seeking a Competitive Edge vs. Chasing Savings in the Cloud
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  7/19/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Monitoring Critical Cloud Workloads Report
In this report, our experts will discuss how to advance your ability to monitor critical workloads as they move about the various cloud platforms in your company.
Flash Poll