Hitwise plans to have almost all of its customers migrated onto its next-generation Audience View platform by the third quarter of next year.
Audience View is an analytics platform that interrogates data from Hitwise’s panel of three million UK web users tracking behaviour across nine million websites and 160 million search terms.
It is a powerful upgrade to Hitwise’s widely used online consumer intelligence tool and was launched in beta last year. After trials 20% of Hitwise’s customers are now using it.
It has been almost a year since Hitwise was bought from Experian by Los Angeles based Connexity, formerly Shopzilla, which specialises in ecommerce and fast-emerging programmatic marketing.
Nigel Wilson, Hitwise European vice-president and managing director, said under new ownership Hitwise will be able to further improve its product with the aim of making insights more actionable.
“The programmatic marketing piece is something we want to develop going forwards,” he said. “What we are battling against is research for research sake.
“A lot of client insight is great, but we want you to be able to act on it. Big marketers have disparate systems and but none are particularly joined up.
“The task for us is to make sure our insights are actionable so you can vary your advertising whether that’s SEO, SEM, your programmatic strategy, content, or affinity partnerships.
“It’s about how we constantly evolve our product sets to make insights as actionable as possible.”
Wilson said the Connexity buyout was an opportunity for Hitwise to step outside of a large corporate environment, take control of its own strategy and further establish its brand in the marketplace.
Hitwise remains a credible source of web data in the UK travel market and is subscribed to by many travel companies looking to identify their core customer base and benchmark performance.
The new Audience View platform promises a much richer insight into customer behaviour offering a more granular view and ability to hone in on a specific customer profile.
Crucially it now tracks the activity of website visitors up to five steps before and after the individual lands on a clients’ site. The old Hitwise was limited to just one step.
Emma Moorman, senior product manager, said this enables clients to work out where and when it can find its target audience and how to personalise their offering to maximise the opportunity.
“It’s clear from conversations with clients that there is a shift in companies’ thinking towards taking an audience-centric approach.
“It’s about creating a single a single true view of where your audience is and who to go after. You can create segments as simple or as complex as you like.
“If you know that you can tailor your campaigns to match the needs of the market. It allows acquisition of new customers and, from a competitive perspective, understand what’s different about your audience.”
Hitwise says a more detailed view of the customer can inform client strategies in all parts of their business including product development, offline, social, and blogger outreach as well as web marketing.
Wilson said: “If there’s a specific segment a client wants to identify we can work out where that audience can be reached and how they can bid for that audience.
“The great thing about programmatic is you can benchmark it. Programmatic is more established in the US where we have done more testing but in the UK there’s quite a lot of interest.”
Modern ‘Big Data’ analytics is challenging traditional marketing assumptions about what does and does not work and the validity of established customer segments, added Wilson.
“People are looking for that competitive edge, and they are doing that by understanding customer segments in new ways.
“It’s no longer about focusing on broad swathes of people who have bought something. It’s trying to understand people’s path to purchase, what routes people take to get to what sites.
“A lot of clients spend a lot of money trying to disrupt that path with different partnerships to get traffic to their site quicker and to make sure that audience is as sticky as possible.
“One of the big reasons people have subscribed to Hitwise is to spot emerging search terms and use that information to steal a competitive edge.”
Hitwise is currently beta testing international multi-market customer insights drawing together data from the UK, the US, Australia and New Zealand.
Hitwise has 350 UK customers with retail the biggest vertical followed by banking and finance.