WebTrends, ExactTarget Tie Analytics to E-Mail

Web analytics provider WebTrends and email service provider ExactTarget have teamed to offer an integrated solution to track the performance of specific creative elements within an email campaign.

“What we set out to do every day is to help our customers to improve their marketing results,” said Greg Drew, general manager of WebTrends, a NetIQ business unit. “We’re not here to do anything else, and everything we do is to this end.”

WebTrends applies a visual overlay solution called SmartView to superimpose metrics directly on each email link, as it does on Web sites. Marketers can see how each link performed in terms of clickthrough, cart additions, conversion and revenue by clicking a button in the ExactTarget interface.

“Not surprisingly, over 90 percent of marketing executives believe measuring marketing performance is a top priority,” Drew said. “But less than 20 percent of these senior executives have developed a meaningful, comprehensive set of metrics for their organization. There is a huge gap.”

Marketers can also use the information gathered in WebTrends to target subsequent email campaigns based on past visitor behavior. A person who browses a site but doesn’t purchase, for example, can be sent a different offer than a person who abandons a shopping cart. Similar offerings have recently been announced by analytics providers Coremetrics, FireClick, and WebSideStory.

WebTrends also provides ExactTarget users with scenario analysis and advanced reporting tools. Thescenario analysis tool lets marketers create custom scenarios to visually analyze the conversion behavior of email respondents, from message open to completed checkout and resulting revenue. By examining how email respondents move through conversion steps, including abandonment paths taken, marketers can optimize email creative, landing page effectiveness and calls-to-action, Drew said.

“We needed to make sure customers could visually analyze the behavior from the open through the conversion; to see things from end to end, along with every intermediate step. We wanted to help them understand what happens after the first click, and not have this black hole,” Drew said.

Through the partnership, marketers can now integrate email metrics, Web metrics and cost data to find advanced metrics like revenue per opened email, or cost per sale. By using WebTrends’ SmartReports tool for Microsoft Excel, users can incorporate metrics from other campaigns — both online efforts such as search engines, and traditional efforts such as direct mail — to integrate into a single report for side-by-side comparisons.

According to Drew, a common problem for companies that have been around for more than a decade is they’ve built their entire demand creation model on the indirect paradigm of traditional media, while the Web is based on a direct marketing paradigm.

“They did radio, press and television, and looked at their results, but there’s a lot that happens in between,” he said. “On the Internet, you need to have all the direct marketing skills and techniques, but some of the companies don’t know where to begin. We’ve incorporated a lot of that intelligence into the application, and we can really help them shorten the time to business value.”

The ExactTarget-WebTrends integrated solution is expected to be available in December, and will be sold by both WebTrends and ExactTarget’s sales teams and select partners.

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