RealTime IT News

Omniture Out to Raise Web Analytics Bar

By Ron Miller

As e-commerce sites begin to mature, managers are looking for their Web analysis tools to mature too.

Analytics provider Omniture thinks it has just the grown-up answer with the release of SiteCatalyst 10, which provides an advanced set of tools to give users access to detailed Web analytics information in real time via an easy-to-use interface.

The latest version of the ASP-based software is another example of the "dashboard" approach to aggregating data analysis on one page for end users.

But in the new release, users can view their Web site data along side other relevant enterprise data in a single environment. Among the primary new features are enhanced segmentation, a new value allocation metrics tool and the ability to import existing enterprise data easily, something that wasn't possible in previous versions of the software.

Bill Gassman, an analyst at Gartner Group, sees the upgrade playing to Omniture's core market, which includes major e-commerce players eBay, VeriSign and Overstock.com.

"I think that Omniture is very focused on the shopping cart type of customers. This is an example of a number of features where they focused on these customers, figured out what they needed and added that to the software."

One key new feature is the improved segmentation tool, which enables customers to not only segment data from the time they define the segmentation, but to also go back in time and see historical segmentation data stored in a data warehouse.

Sandra Richards, a spokesperson for Omniture, said the feature helps provide a much broader view of Web segments and allows customers to view it in a single environment without launching a variety of tools. "A customer can go back in time and look at all visits over 15 minutes or purchases over $500. In the past you needed to go back to the data warehouse to get this data," Richards said.

The new version also includes a tool for generating reports based on information in the data warehouse, and a new API and wizard to give end users access to other company data such as CRM or Business Intelligence data, all from within SiteCatalyst 10.

"Most of the integration up until now has focused on exporting," said Gartner's Gassman, who called the integration piece exclusive to Omniture. "The company has turned that around and said 'we can now suck information [from other enterprise information repositories] into system. Other niche players do that, but this is unique among the [Web analytics] market leaders," he added.

David Schatsky of Jupiter Research said the feature gives users an opportunity to compare and contrast offline data with online data. "There is a big opportunity that companies have in exploiting the impact of the Web on offline business," Schatsky said. "In the past, this type of analysis was quite difficult to do, so even though it was valuable to know, it wasn't done very often. We think its a positive step to encourage and enable cross channel analysis." (Jupiter Research and this publication share the same parent company.)

Other new features in the release include value allocation, a participation metrics tool aimed at Web site designers. It provides a way to analyze how users are responding to the site and, based on this information, make changes to the site design.

Omniture's Richards explained how the feature works. "Last Christmas, one customer saw that the gift card link was getting pretty good traffic, and they were able to see that the particular link was generating a big revenue stream. Based on this information, they moved the link higher on the page and made it bigger."

Schatsky said he believes the tool could be easy enough to use to help spur more adoption of data analytics.

"We have found in surveying online marketing executives, that only a minority of them are using sophisticated segmentation strategies, beyond basic demographic data. One of the reasons is that it is costly and complicated and time consuming. By making it easier to do, to drive the segmentation, would lead to greater adoption," Schatsky said.