Coremetrics releases new Web analytics tool

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Coremetrics this week is releasing an updated version of its Web analytics product with enhanced abilities to track visitor activity within Web sites, as well as monitor marketing investments across multiple channels such as call centers and catalogs.

Coremetrics' most recent major update was released last September.

"It's important to understand a customer's search and buying history, and what triggers and influences sales conversion in sequence and across time, and not just sales in isolation," said Brian Tomz, director of product strategy at Coremetrics. "In this way, you can invest in the resources that brought visitors to your site for the fourth time, for example, and enable you to put more marketing spend to what led them to convert."

The upgrade, called Coremetrics Spring 2007, includes new features addressing Web 2.0 capabilities that are changing the way visitors interact with Web site features.

Traditional Web metrics have focused on the number of single page views. However, as Web visitors interact with various modern features on single pages—interactive Flash, Ajax or video, for example—marketers are finding the page view metric to be less relevant.

"The number of page views is still valuable, but the context has changed," Tomz said. "I now care about what happens in the interim page view and what other actions are taking place there."

Tomz said this new feature is particularly useful in analyzing visitor actions within portal sites, which have various "portlet" ingredients that visitors interact with without moving off that page. Knowing this, he said, helps companies understand the elements that appeal to potential customers.

Coremetrics' upgrade also gives companies the ability to track customer engagement across various sales channels, such as call centers, kiosks, stores and catalogs. A feature called Intelligent Offer, for example, can extract a customer's Web history for the benefit of call center personnel, who can make additional product recommendations.

Also new is the ability to import catalog metrics from client data warehouses and compare them with same-product sales from the Web site, call center or retail store to determine the marketing channel that influenced the purchase, as well as which products are viewed, bought or abandoned.

"Customers with multiple touch points besides the Web want to understand where their sales are coming from," Tomz said. He said this new feature is particularly important for b-to-b companies, whose customers typically use Web searches for research, then complete a sale through some other channel.

"Coremetrics is looking at things that are major frustrations in the market," said Megan Burns, a senior analyst at Forrester Research. "We're seeing a growing acknowledgment that customers interact with an organization over time and across multiple channels to complete their goals. The more visibility people have into that process, the more they really understand customer buying behavior."

In this sense, Coremetrics' Web analytics product is evolving to an overall campaign marketing package.

"Companies are concerned about what types of campaigns contribute to a final purchase," said Kevin Heisler, an analyst at JupiterResearch. "They don't want to look at that last click just before purchase, but rather which banner ads, or off-line campaigns such as radio and TV, contributed to the sale.

"Coremetrics' upgrade is one of the few technologies that make this possible."

Another new feature lets users assign value to keywords, whether brand-specific or general, that visitors search for, lead to a particular Web site and result in a sale. This augments another new feature, a tool to automate keyword bid strategies based on daily pricing volatility or market trends.

"Bid management is definitely a trend," Heisler said. "What you're seeing is the marketing loop finally being closed across channels, where the statistics coming in can be made to make more intelligent bidding decisions."

Tomz said Coremetrics' licenses start at about $2,000 a month, based on the volume of traffic a Web site receives. The service includes consultations that help clients analyze their data and make decisions about Web design or keyword purchases, he said.

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