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WebSideStory adds keyword bid management to analytics suite

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WebSideStory last week announced a new keyword bid management solution as part of its Active Marketing Suite.

The San Diego-based Web analytics provider said the self-service solution combines Web analytics with comprehensive bid management so that marketers can manage volumes of paid keywords and analysis of campaigns in one place. Integration with its analytics product allows for conversion and ROI tracking for each keyword at a handful of the top search engines, according to the company.

The move was expected. WebSideStory announced last April a deal to acquire Atomz, a search and content management company.

WebSideStory also last week announced it has released the latest version of its analytics service. HBX Analytics 3.0 includes a new reporting capability called Active Dashboard, which depicts marketing analytics data graphically. The dashboard is designed to provide marketers with a less technical, more intuitive tool for reporting.

Analytics 3.0 is the core piece of the Active Marketing Suite that, along with the new bid management tool, also integrates content management and site search.

"Our customers are looking for a tool to manage everything in one place," said Erik Bratt, director of corporate communications at WebSideStory. "A big advantage is that [the bid management tool] is tightly integrated with our analytics product. Being able to measure and manage up to 100,000 keywords in one place makes sense for us. It's really a natural fit."

It is also part of a larger trend among Web analytics companies to provide additional services to marketers that are demanding it.

One analyst agreed: "We're seeing a convergence," said Eric Peterson, senior analyst at Jupiter Research and author of "Web Analytics Demystified: A Marketer's Guide to Understanding How Your Web Site Affects Your Business." Another example is CheetahMail's recent acquisition of Harvest Solutions, a Web analytics firm.

Solving the silo problem

"Technology providers are looking harder at how to solve the problem of multiple silos," Peterson said. That means capabilities such as search engine marketing and e-mail marketing are natural targets for consolidation.

"The analytics data is no good unless you take action," Bratt said. "We're making it easier for marketers to take action," he added. "We believe marketers are tired of skipping in and out of individual applications."

Peterson said further consolidation is inevitable. "I expect to see more," he said, adding that marketers will continue to demand tighter integration among marketing applications so that they can use customer data more strategically.

"Marketers are not able to do enough with the data, and usually the problem is it's too hard to consolidate the data from among a number of applications," Peterson said. "The analytics vendors don't have much of a choice. They either have to integrate or they will be marginalized."

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