A HitDynamics Hitch Promises Hitwise Success

Two providers of marketing campaign support announced the marriage of their services Tuesday. Web-based competitive intelligence company Hitwise acquired HitDynamics, a technology platform that administers support for conversion tracking, search reporting, and bid management. This is Hitwise's first strategic acquisition, and promises the impending birth of a service that will give clients access to important marketing data, as well as software to put it to direct use. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Currently running out of Scotland, HitDynamics provides the technology for its 1,200 global clients so that they can increase profit through upping traffic on their respective Web sites. HitDynamics focuses on all aspects of Web marketing, combining metrics and analysis for marketers to assess online traffic, search engine optimization, affiliate campaigns, and pay-per-click (PPC). HitDynamics will continue to function independently for the first few months.

Created in 1997, Hitwise provides clients with comparison analysis against competitors' Web sites to improve their own offerings based on proven success. By working with ISPs, Hitwise anonymously monitors over 25 million Internet users on more than 500,000 Web sites across 160 fields of business. Hitwise CEO Andrew Walsh describes the service as "essentially a great research, planning, and third-party tool."

Through incorporating the benefits of HitDynamic's software into its competitive intelligence services, Hitwise plans to allow its customers access to a more comprehensive tool. According to Walsh, the conflation of services will create "the first integrated platform that seamlessly leverages our unique, daily competitive intelligence data to drive cutting edge online customer acquisition, retention, and optimization of strategies." Hitwise will extend operations of its new platform into Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and the United States, all regions in which the company already operates.

If all goes well, the offspring of the two companies will bring a new dimension of all-inclusive marketing campaign support. Walsh asserts that once completed, the finished product will "bring together [the best of] of research, planning, execution, and reporting tools [that] we think will have a truly unique offering for marketers."

The acquisition adds to Hitwise's current offering, but Bill Gassman, research director at Gartner, says it won't build a complete solution. "Bid management and search reporting are important, but these features are increasingly available from Web-analytics vendors such as WebTrends, Omniture, and Coremetrics. It would make more sense for a Web-analytics vendor to acquire Hitwise." Gassman adds that the Web-analytics system is the center of the marketing universe, and can integrate many Web-oriented measurements. "Hitwise is coming at this as an orbit technology, not the center of gravity," Gassman says.

It's also important for companies to keep the design and layout of the Web site in mind when looking to drive conversion rates, Gassman says. "Getting people to the site is important, but once the visitor is there, organizations use Web analytics products to integrate customer acquisition with customer site behavior."

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