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Web Site Optimization Firm Uses Predictive Analytics to Improve Web Site ROI

  • June 01 2004, 1:00am EDT

CATEGORY: Business Intelligence

REVIEWER: Ian Lurie, president of Portent Interactive.

BACKGROUND: Portent Interactive is a full-service Internet marketing agency in Seattle, Washington. The company's clients include Princess Alaska Lodges, Williams, Kastner and Gibbs, and WRQ Software.

PLATFORMS: Windows 2000 Professional on a Dell Inspiron 7500 and an Alienware Area 51.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Portent Interactive proactively works with its clients to deliver Web sites, e-mail, banner campaigns and high-ROI search optimization solutions. We use analytic software and a proven methodology to predict which key words will produce the best, measurable results for our clients. By analyzing customer demographics, Portent builds a profile that guides development of every aspect of our clients' campaigns. Precise analytic software, such as Insightful Miner, allows Portent marketers to make informed decisions regarding Web site design and architecture, opt-in e-mail campaigns, banner advertising and search engine optimization. For example, our team delivered an effective Web marketing strategy and campaign by analyzing ZIP codes and voluntary survey data collected over a three-year period. The knowledge gained from mining the heterogeneous data sources was used to improve decision making required to deliver an integrated marketing program that included an opt-in e-mail campaign, focused search engine marketing, online advertising and new site design. Data mining increased site traffic and lowered online advertising costs, with a much higher return on investment. Portent offers its clients a competitive advantage using the latest analytic tools to analyze and extract intelligence from dozens of variables. For Portent, mining data to find out what's most relevant and knowing what to discard can dramatically increase customers' return on their Internet marketing investment.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Insightful Miner is a highly scalable data analysis workbench that provides Portent with easy-to-use visual work maps. With this software, Portent marketers are able to apply its methodology on large data sets and create predictive models quickly. The easy-to-use interface makes it simple to aggregate data from heterogeneous databases and produce graphical views of data that can be easily communicated and applied by our clients.

STRENGTHS: The main strength of Insightful Miner is its ability to scale to large data sets in an accessible manner. Portent is inundated with data that is often fragmented, requiring analytic tools that can help transform raw data into actionable knowledge for our clients. As Internet marketers, we need to be able to provide our clients with a snapshot of their current reality and predict how their Web sites and marketing campaigns will perform in the future to produce optimal results. With Insightful Miner, we have access to cutting edge analytics and reporting tools to identify patterns, trends and relationships in data. The product's simplicity allows Portent staff to quickly aggregate, clean and analyze data. Most important, Insightful Miner's powerful reporting and modeling capabilities allow the same staff to deliver clear, usable analytics to designers and producers, as well as our customers. Insightful Miner makes it easy for Portent marketers with a transparent process that provides reports that make sense to our clients. Further, simple visual work maps make it easy to become productive quickly, which is critical when working in an Internet-based environment.

WEAKNESSES: Optimal performance requires newer Windows machines when working with larger data sets. Supported system requirements include Microsoft Windows: NT (SP6)/2000/XP/2003 (Desktop/Server), Microsoft Terminal Services or Sun Solaris 2.6, 7, 8, 9 (Server), 256MB RAM minimum (512MB RAM recommended), 300 MB free disk for installation, and 5x free disk to data minimum (10x recommended).

SELECTION CRITERIA: Portent selected this product because we needed to analyze large data sets and build robust predictive models to help our clients optimize search engine performance. Insightful Miner offers reliable, cutting edge statistics that provide us with the best information possible so we can present results to clients with confidence. Further, the flexible, extensible environment allows Portent to customize Web solutions to meet the unique needs of our clients.

DELIVERABLES: We produce the following reports using Insightful Miner: direct marketing (opt-in e-mail) performance analysis, pay-per-click (Google Adwords and banner advertising) performance analysis, demographic analysis and classification (decision tree analysis) and search engine keyword analysis (demographic comparison).

VENDOR SUPPORT: Vendor support for the product has been excellent.

DOCUMENTATION: Documentation is complete and easy to understand. The documentation provides the right information to allow our users to become productive quickly.

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