On-demand behavioral analytics provider Quantivo recently announced a product to integrate with Omniture's Web analytics solution SiteCatalyst. Whereas Omniture tracks the number of visitors to a company's Web site, Quantivo's integration product, which Chief Executive Officer Brian Kelly calls "the adapter," will help SiteCatalyst users make sense of the identities of those visitors. In doing so, companies can better understand customer behavioral patterns -- based on Web-site visits, transactions, marketing responses, and other events -- and improve the targeting accuracy of marketing messages and on-site recommendations.
According to Kelly, trends in online customer behaviors are emerging, changing, and disappearing so quickly that companies now demand a solution that can handle a sudden influx of data and quickly turn that data into something meaningful. "Big massive trends develop and diminish within a week," Kelly says. "You don't have time for some Ph.D. statistician to build a predictive model. [Oftentimes], it's not something you can predict." In other words, while historical transaction data (and common sense) may help predict that sweater sales rise in the winter, that information is of little use for a retailer hoping to foresee which color will be most popular.
That's why, Kelly says, marketers need to quickly discern these patterns and tailor the online experience to increase consumer relevance, visit duration, and, ultimately, transactions. Whatever the latest trend may be -- a hot color, hot fabric, hot product -- companies need to be on top of it and deliver a highly relevant experience to the consumer. Kelly claims that the solution is, in a sense, "democratizing" Amazon.com's well-known recommendation engine -- offering a similar engine via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model designed for everyday use.
Quantivo is tapping into what Hung LeHong, a research vice president at Gartner, calls second-generation analytics capabilities -- capabilities that can quickly analyze and navigate patterns of data, whereas the first generation focused primarily on "operational" metrics (e.g., how many people viewed a given page, how many clicked where). "To analyze behavior, over time, of a repeat customer is something that SiteCatalyst can't do very easily," LeHong says. "There are some things that Quantivo can do that SiteCatalyst cannot, [and] there are some areas of overlap but Quantivo just does [those] significantly faster."
The power of Quantivo's offering lies in what the company refers to as "train-of-thought" analysis, which allows users to move "seamlessly between analytic tools, from standard reports to affinities to segmentation and back." In doing so, the company says, users can "run any of these queries on any slice of the data or with any target." The result is that users can then
- "understand their purchase, marketing, online, or other performance from all angles;
- analyze behavior at any channel, category, or product level; and
- prove or disprove hypotheses in real time."
LeHong says that, historically, queries were built using predicted patterns established ahead of time, patterns that were also known as the "drill path." With SiteCatalyst and similar tools, users would build and optimize findings based on the set drill path. Merchants and analysts, however, don't always know what they're looking for ahead of time. What they need, LeHong says, is to be able "to access all the data and drill down a number of paths in any way, shape, or form."
The challenge for Quantivo now is helping retailers and other companies understand that this second-generation analytics is actually available -- and what it's capable of. "Because only a handful of [vendors] offer that capability," LeHong says, "companies don't really know what can be done. They need to be educated first -- they just don't know what they can get, period." Once companies are made aware, he says, the market will clamor for more. In an effort to achieve that level of awareness, Quantivo is offering a 30-day, risk-free trial of the adapter for any Omniture customers.
Fortunately for Quantivo, the adapter isn't the company's first stab at this level of analytics. What Quantivo is doing with data from SiteCatalyst is no different from its efforts with retail in-store data, efforts that date back to Quantivo's inception in 2005.
Omniture is certainly no stranger to partnership and integration -- a strategy that, from LeHong's perspective, makes sense. "There are only a handful of best-of-breed companies like Quantivo," he says. "Build[ing] those capabilities right now would take [Omniture] a lot of time to do." Quantivo, for its part, gets to buddy-up with a huge player in the Web analytics space -- a natural move to expand its reach.
Here's a list of recent Omniture partnerships and integrations, in reverse chronological order, as reported by the company:
- To expand its online marketing suite, Omniture partners with 24/7 Real Media, an advertising, marketing, and communication services firm (April 21, 2009);
- Omniture SiteCatalyst integrates data from Twitter (March 9, 2009);
- To enhance marketing ROI, Omniture partners with WPP, an advertising, marketing, and communication services company (Jan. 29, 2009);
- Omniture Genesis Network surpasses 200 Marketing Integration Partners (Dec. 18, 2008); and
- Omniture partners with social media monitoring platform Lithium Technologies (Sept. 16, 2008)
[Editors' Note: Earlier versions of this article referred inaccurately to the date of Quantivo's inception. The company was founded in 2005. The editors regret any confusion this may have caused.]
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