Another big news from Webtrends today. After acquiring the testing and targeting solution Widemile not so long ago, they have re-launched the platform under the Webtrends Optimize name. The company is finally getting seriously involved in the testing, targeting and optimization market, where Omniture has been active for some time now, especially with their Test & Target solutions.
Back in 2005 when at Bell Canada, I was Offermatica’s Canadian partner (now the Test part of Test & Target), and boy did we have big dreams about testing, especially in its multi-variate form. It turned out that the market here wasn’t ready to tackle testing, although it was obvious that it was the absolute way to go. At one point, don’t we get all bored with counting visitors and visits? Anyway, since then, I must say I haven’t been impressed with testing adoption rate. Sure, many companies do it now, but it is still an insignificant percentage of the market. I mean, look at the free Google Web Site Optimizer; nobody can say it’s been the success that Google Analytics has been so far!
One of the reasons why testing is not more widely adopted presented itself clearly when I was pitching Offermatica circa 2006. Although impressed with the huge power of MVT, all Web managers I met then quickly realized that testing implied a lot of indirect time, efforts, and costs, too. Sure, it’s great to be able to test 5 variations of 4 different elements, and get a statistically significant winner with a great confidence level. But it’s certainly not as great to have to create and produce all those content variations that will feed the test. Managers would rapidly get their bubble burst as soon as they started thinking about what it meant to have all those new creatives done (IT, agencies, costs, supervision, etc.). I must say this was one of the major reasons not to go ahead. Oh, yes, and there was direct costs of the application! Offermatica wasn’t cheap then (still isn’t I hear).
This is probably why Webtrends Optimize offers managed services that also includes taking care of the creative. With such sophisticated solutions, you need to know what you’re doing, especially with the test planning and design, if you want to have really significant results within a reasonable time frame.
I have only seen the data sheet that’s been made public today, but I can tell so far that the acquired solution seems to be quite powerful and flexible. First, no arcane debates about the merit of Full Factorial versus Fractional Factorial methodologies. You can do either. Also, it seems that the platform is based on a new approach of Fractional Factorial, better known under its Taguchi form, that makes it even faster to get a signal (i.e. results with a good level of confidence).
I must say however that I am a little puzzled with the claim made about geo-location segmentation. I wonder if Optmize uses the same technology as Webtrends Analytics. Experience has shown me that this is one area of fuzzy results in Web Analytics (all products, not only Webtrends).
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that the re-branded product is out now. I am sure that you share my curiosity, and want to learn more about Webtrends Optimize. It the meantime, you can see the site section about it.