Maher of Hitwise discusses what marketers look for in database development
Q: How does Hitwise generate its view of what’s happening on the Web?
A: Through partnering with a range of Internet service providers and opt-in panel providers, we collect anonymous information from our data partners. Then, we make sure those data are accurate, summarize that information and provide those insights for our clients so they can make better and more timely decisions about their online marketing initiatives. This allows us to tell how more than 25 million users interact with more than 1 million Web sites every day.
Q: What are the most useful metrics for direct marketers?
A: Web site rankings or the popularity lists in terms of visits and basic demographics are clearly important. I think our most popular metrics are upstream and downstream measurements to a Web site – that is really the best way for our clients to identify and evaluate partners for themselves. Another very important metric is mosaic or lifestyle demographics, which really get into the psychographics and the more qualitative behavior of consumers. These are for clients who are very focused on segmenting their audience for acquisition and retention.
Q: What plans does Hitwise have for a mobile marketing measurement?
A: The technology that we use for the Internet is very scalable and makes it very easy for us to launch into new channels. So, we’re actively perusing opportunities in mobile, not only on our own but as part of the bigger Experian initiatives.
Q: What are the major challenges of tracking online behavior?
A: The major challenge that we see is really education – whether it’s educating the marketplace or educating the company that is looking at vendors like Hitwise and helping them to understand in a transparent way what we do, how we do it and ultimately how they can take the information and service around our data and apply it to their business.
Q: How has the economy affected Hitwise?
A: It has been challenging for us, as it probably has for every company across every industry. But, we are continuing to align our resources to help our clients during this time. Our clients really look at us as a partner. The byproduct of that, which has been a very positive thing for our business, is when a company faces difficult decisions, the choices tend to move up the food chain. So, we are actually moving up within these organizations that we work with to more senior people. We are getting a clearer picture of what these clients are going through, and it lets us deal with them on a more custom level.
Q: Hitwise was named one of NY’s fastest growing technology companies by Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 Program in 2006. Is that rate of growth continuing?
A: We’re still growing, although not as fast as we were in 2006. We are not into that start-up growth mode. We are also trying to strike more of a balance between our top line revenue growth and our bottom line profitability, which is extremely important now as opposed to when you’re just starting up and trying to grab market share.