Forbes.com Uses Visual Sciences to Get A Better Picture of its Analytics
Problem: Forbes.com the New York-based provider of financial and business news, wanted to update its Web analytics system to find an easier and more efficient way to analyze and view all of the data it had been collecting.
Solution: The company tuned to Visual Sciences Inc., formerly WebSideStory, Inc., and its tools to build an easy-to-read, 360-degree, lifetime view of the online behavior of individual customers.
Results: Data analytics are easier to read, and less time is required of employees to be trained on Web analytics.
Online financial and business news provider Forbes.com, New York, had been doing just fine when it came to Web analytics. It had a system in place that allowed the company to get a clear view of who was visiting its site and how they were using it.
But after meeting earlier this year with San Diego-based Visual Sciences, Inc., a provider of real-time analytics applications, it quickly realized it could upgrade its Web analytics and visualization program and get a quicker method of collecting and analyzing the very large amounts of data it was collecting.
"We've been very active with Web analytics for many, many years, and it's a discipline we take very seriously," says Michael Smith, vice president and general manager of operations at Forbes.com. "But after we saw Visual Sciences' product's functionality, we thought it could really benefit our Web analytics program.
"The decision to choose Visual Sciences wasn't born out of a deficiency in our processes; were just wowed by what they were doing," he adds.
In June, Forbes.com began working with Visual Site from Visual Sciences, which, Smith says, allows the Web site to analyze large amounts of activity across multiple Web sessions, while quickly adapting to changing visitor requirements and developing a lifetime view of its customers.
In addition, Visual Site provides Forbes.com with ad-hoc segmentation capabilities to create and analyze customer groups on the fly based on any given set of behavioral or customer attributes in order to identify potential improvements in content and advertising performance.
"Visual Site data helps us offer the best possible user experience on Forbes.com by providing insights to site visitor behavior," Smith says. "This will augment our existing efforts to design the site according to user needs and will ultimately lead to increased customer retention and loyalty."
A key feature of the tool is its enhanced visualization features.
"You can zero in on a region you are interested in looking at -- say New Jersey -- and with the click of a mouse learn which visitors have come to the Web site from that region and whether or not they have come directly to the site or got there by linking from another Web site or search engine."
In addition, since the tool is so easy to use, Smith says, it trims employee training time.
"Because of the ease of use of the tool, my staff and I don't have to attend training classes and spend three days just learning how to use a Web analytics tool." he says. "It is just more efficient all around."