Web site analytics help GM boost sales

Web measurement tools are evolving from simple page-hit counters to core business analysis applications. Demands on Web data are causing automakers to look for more robust measurement and reporting tools, notes Forrester Research.

Since implementing Web site analytics tool Omniture SiteCatalyst, General Motors has had the advantage of applying intuitive, detailed and accurate Web data beyond just Web design to OEM operations and strategy.

“With access to cleaner and more precise data points, carmakers will have an easier time finding true correlations between consumers’ online behaviour and their offline purchases – and turning that insight into more effective promotions, campaigns, distribution decisions and products,” Forrester Research suggests.

As reported by Forrester analysts Mark Dixon Bunger, Kate Delhagen and Carey Schwaber, GM’s Internet marketing specialist Ryan Zemmin revealed that their 24-hour test drive promotion last summer resulted in 35,000 of 130,000 participants buying GM vehicles.

SiteCatalyst gives visually engaging diagrams that illustrate complex user behaviours, report the analysts. The Optimum Path feature can trace Buick shoppers’ paths between sections of the site, using lines of varying thickness to show whether they went from the configurator to the request-a-quote section or dropped off.

Individual users can customize report details like start and end dates. A number of formats provide downloaded reports, ranging from flat to PowerPoint. These reports can be set up to be emailed to the user at a specific interval.

Cookies track individual users, who are kept anonymous. This eliminates external data inaccuracies that arise from traditional log-file-based reporting mechanisms like Web site spiders, Akamai caches and ISPs that dynamically distribute IP addresses, notes Forrester.

The analysts note that more accurate, easier-to-use analysis tools such as SiteCatalyst will improve management decision-making by enabling viewers to spend less time understanding the data and more time considering it.

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