How can real-time insights help businesses? Exclusive interview with Webtrends

By Chris Lee

The complexity of servicing multiple audiences in real time across the Web, social media and mobile platforms is a challenge for businesses in the era of the Social Web. According to Conrad Bennett of digital marketing technology company Webtrends, these new channels, combined with technological advancements, has meant the power of engagement is now in the hands of the consumer who has come to expect speed, ease-of-use and personalised experiences online.

This is where real-time analytics comes into its own, Bennett believes. When engagement and conversion comes down to a matter of seconds, retailers need to have the tools and solutions in place to be able to respond immediately with relevant content, personalised offers and experiences, he argues.

Real-time versus historical analysis

Bennett believes that traditional analytics have proved to be extremely valuable in providing insights that enable retailers to make decisions after a customer has engaged with the brand, and in informing future tactics around customer acquisition, conversion and on-going engagement. However, as consumer expectations continue to rise there is a pressing need for retailers to adapt new technologies that will enable as-it-happens visitor response, combining what they already know about a customer from prior visits with what is happening right now, he says.

“The ability to have data available within minutes or hours is a huge development,” he told NMK. “It enables retailers to make adjustments the same day, and more often than not, within a few hours. Retailers have the understanding of what is or isn’t working and the insight to justify changing it. Real-time analytics provides intelligence into visitor movement to, from and within a site, modifying messaging, content and offers to make immediate experiences more relevant, and to drive conversions.”

Understand trends as they happen

By harnessing the intelligence about customers behaviour while the customer is still on your site is key to delivering the most relevant experiences, Bennett advises.

“I stress the point that only by truly understanding the behaviour and trends of customers can a retailer make changes that will impact online experiences,” he said. “For example, as online retailers could enable content curators to change the featured products and articles in the background based on interest or preference, real-time data would provide immediate insight into the impacts of those changes.”

Take action on analytics

Data can be used to make important business decisions that can impact whether a sale is made or not, according to Bennett.

“Real-time insight empowers retailers to take instant action and takes away the fear of the unknown,” he added. “The pressure on retailers to provide seamless experiences online will continue to increase with the emergence of new digital touch points that are fuelled by customer expectations. The depth of insight into customer behaviours online has increased significantly, and the ability to access those insights to improve online experiences is evolving at the same rate.”

Bennett said digital analytics move fast, but customers move faster so the emphasis is on businesses in all sectors to keep up. < /p>

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