Over a year ago Jeff told me about a website called Woopra that allowed me to watch site traffic as it was happening on Checkered Flag.com. I was able to see what search phrase each visitor used to find us, where in the world they were, the configuration of their Internet connection, browser, and operating system along with many other things. I was immediately hooked! The learning experience from seeing things happen in real time is much stronger than viewing reports about what had already happened. Instead of all visitors being looked at on one page of report stats, I was performing tech-psychology on each person. How long did they spend on the finance application? What piece of inventory did they look at before submitting that finance application? Did they click the finance application link on the inventory page or from the nav bar? Did they use Google to find that piece of inventory and how much did they misspell things when they entered that search query into Google?
To the casual reader, these might sound like silly questions but they’re incredibly insightful to have the answers to when you’re building your website, SEM campaign, or BDC.
Unfortunately, a short time after installing Woopra, we discovered they were installing some sort of feeder on each of our visitors browsers that pinged back all Internet-surfing histories to Woopra. We quickly yanked the code and went without the live analytics for a while. EDIT: Woopra has commented on this – be sure to read the comments from this article.
Then I started speaking to Todd Smith at ActivEngage. We immediately hit it off on eCommerce philosophies and he mentioned to me that a big part of their chat tool is a live analytics piece. He had even more of my attention! In fact, he got enough of my attention to bring Checkered Flag on as a new ActivEngage client. Yes, we have live analytics again – I’m a happy man!
As I’m typing this article I am seeing that Cash for Clunkers is starting to die down on search phrases and used car searches are on the rise again (a trend I would have had to of waited days to see in regular site analytics). I am watching someone who came from Honda.com jump from used inventory searches on a Pilot to new inventory searches on the 2010 Pilot – that person is obviously doing price comparisons. That person is also looking at our Honda specials, so the 0% APR financing must be enticing that new car search. And now that person just left; spending about 5 minutes on the site….and guess what – there’s a lead sitting in the CRM on a new 2010 Pilot that just popped up. I wonder if that is the same person? He or she was the only one looking at Pilots.
Just one more example: I answered a chat from a Mrs. Greene this morning who wanted to know if a certain salesperson was still with us that she had bought a car from in the past. That was at 8:56 AM. She came on Checkered Flag.com at 8:51 AM and is still browsing the Honda used car inventory at 9:21 AM. She came to our site via a Used Car Honda SEM Campaign and has now looked at almost our entire Honda inventory while spending 3 minutes of that time looking at a Certified 2007 Accord EX-L in Silver. I have a feeling she called that salesperson and he is guiding her through the inventory and they finally landed on a car. I’ll check the CRM again in a few minutes to see if he got an appointment.
We are getting ready to launch a whole-new version of Checkered Flag.com and even though it won’t be 100% obvious what changes we’ve made to get away from the typical dealership website architecture, I can attribute that a lot of the theories and practices we’ve incorporated have come from the knowledge gained from Live Analytics.
Thank you Todd and everyone at ActivEngage!