Omniture Improves Flash Application Measurement Tools

A new tool from Web analytics vendor Omniture promises to improve analytics for rich Internet applications (RIA) utilizing Flash, Flex and AJAX.

Omniture and its competitors have been able to track Flash interaction with JavaScript for years. The difference now is that Omniture ActionSource provides native support for ActionScript, the programming language for Flash, Flex and AJAX. That means developers no longer need to worry about developing extra scripts to enable analytics, and it eliminates performance bottlenecks and interaction points where inaccuracies can be introduced, according to Greg Dowling, senior analyst at Jupiter Research.

“It’s a significant improvement in a process that used to be cumbersome,” Dowling told ClickZ. “When Flash was used mostly to add a little bit of interactivity, using JavaScript was acceptable, even with its drawbacks. Now, with applications becoming more rich, the timing is right for a better solution.”

Omniture ActionSource captures data directly from the application, independent of any JavaScript interaction. That makes it less resource-intensive when the application runs, which improves the user’s experience with the application, according to Gail Ennis, Omniture’s senior VP of marketing.

“Some of the most important projects CMOs are working on center around improving the user experience. They’re using rich Internet applications to build rich, video-based applications on their Web site, on mobile devices, and even on gaming devices,” Ennis told ClickZ.

ActionSource can measure applications automatically, using an AutoTrack feature that “listens” for click activity to determine how it relates to a button or movie clip, then automatically capture that data. That approach saves time and effort, since it requires no coding from the application developers, but could overload a marketer with information, Dowling said.

The process is also easier for developers to implement manually than JavaScript-based approaches, since the ActionSource module it integrated into the development environment as a shared object. That makes it easier for developers to use, and makes a better fit into the development cycle, he said.

With ActionSource, Omniture can now extend its ClickMap site overlay tool to Flash applications, so marketers can see exactly where users clicked, and what that click resulted in, Ennis said.

Scripps Networks deployed ActionSource earlier this year for the Flash-based media player in their HGTV Dream Home Giveaway. In the hour following a live TV broadcast that referred viewers online, more than 55,000 site visitors logging on to the live video event on the site, while response time remained 65 percent better than industry average, according to Chad Parizman, director of online analytics at Scripps Networks.

“Omniture ActionSource accurately measures and optimizes the impact and appeal our media are generating — without compromising performance or the quality of the user experience,” Parizman said.

Another customer, e-commerce application developer Allurent, is using ActionSource for its RIA-based shopping cart.

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