WebSideStory eyes e-commerce ROI

WebSideStory is targeting small to mid-sized businesses with a new version of its Web analytics service that features enhanced...

WebSideStory is targeting small to mid-sized businesses with a new version of its Web analytics service that features enhanced e-commerce functionality.

HitBox Professional Version 3 provides users with the ability to gauge the effectiveness of a variety of e-commerce-related marketing campaigns and other selling strategies, according to Michael Christian, senior vice-president at HitBox.

The latest analytics features dish out real-time information about which e-mail promotions, banner ads and affiliated Web sites drive traffic and generate the most revenue.

Version 3 also allows companies to see which keyword purchases are the best value for money, Christian said. Keyword purchasing is a popular trend in which companies bid auction-style with search providers like Yahoo! or Google to have their URL displayed as the top result of a search based on certain keywords.

HitBox Professional Version 3 would allow in real-time via a browser how much ROI that keyword purchase is actually delivers, Christian said.

"There's a huge market for the attention of people doing searches online," said Christian. "If you have good Web analytics, you can make more informed decisions about what's working."

Version 3 is the second iteration of WebSideStory's subscription-based service for small to mid-sized customers. Site analysis is done via the placement of JavaScript or "beacons" on a Web site that feed information about traffic, customers and other data in real time to WebSideStory's servers. This approach contrasts with the Web server log monitoring that software companies - such as Webtrends - deploy widely.

According to Aberdeen Group analyst Guy Creese, the Web analytics industry as a whole is moving toward a hybrid model of both Web server log monitoring and JavaScript beacons.

WebSideStory also offers an Enterprise edition that comes with more in-depth support and consulting services, as well as customised analytics for individual Web sites.

"HitBox Professional is more of a self-serve service that is easy to implement, and it can't be as flexible [as Enterprise Edition] because it's trying to meet 95% of the needs of a target market - without customising," Christian said.

Other new features include real-time reporting on orders, revenue, and browse-to-buy ratios; the ability to generate reports based on specific date ranges; scheduled reports to be sent to specific parts of the organisation; and exporting of reports to Word or Excel.

Pricing for the service will start at $29.95 (£19.13) a month.

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