July 31st, 2009
Trending up: Portland-based Webtrends acquires Seattle-based Widemile
Portland-based Webtrends—arguably the leading company focused on helping other companies figure out what people are doing on their Web sites—is having a renaissance of sorts. They’ve refreshed their executive team, re-engaged with the Portland tech startup community, and signed some impressive partnerships. Heck, they’ve even started a little controversy. But perhaps most impressive—especially in a time of low-cost or free Web analytics software—is the fact that they continue to build a successful Web analytics business.
How successful? Well, successful enough to engage in M&A activity. You see, they just picked up Seattle-based Widemile.
That’s pretty impressive. To paraphrase Monty Python, no one expects the Seattle acquisition. Especially by a company in Portland.
What’s Widemile do?
In this era of performance–based advertising, marketers need to leverage tools that take the guesswork out of marketing to make confident data–driven decisions that achieve better results, increase revenue, and improve return on marketing investment. Testing and optimization provides marketers with the insights to know not only what worked, but why it worked and what matters most to customers.
Wow. I’ve worked in marketing a long time and I’ve no idea what that means. Sounds like they track stuff and help you analyze how stuff works. Kind of like Webtrends.
Actually, Widemile has focused on multivariate testing. What that doesn’t help?
Okay. Multivariate testing is when you redesign and test components of your Web site on the fly. Maybe you run a new ad. Maybe you move a certain menu item to a different location. Maybe you serve up an entirely different Web page to people in a certain geographic region.
Long story short, it’s akin to supporting agile development for Web sites. Build it, try it, tweak it based on the results you see in Widemile.
Does that help? That’s okay. I still don’t really get it either. But my assumption is that this acquisition will give Webtrends a comprehensive view of the whole story—before and after, end to end. Design a property, test the components, release the components, track and analyze the components. Then test new components and pages and compare them to your historical record of previous activity. Kind of what you’d call a holistic approach.
Or maybe you wouldn’t call it that. I don’t mean to put words in your mouth.… I’m sorry. Where was I? Oh yeah. The acquisition.
According to Mike Rogoway at The Oregonian, the acquisition adds roughly two dozen employees to Webtrends. That brings their total employee count to more than 300.
What’s more, the acquisition gives Webtrends a Seattle office, which will likely make a nice base of operations for courting business in the Emerald City and over there in Redmond.
And this isn’t the only exciting news for Webtrends. Word around the campfire is that there’s also a big unveil in the near future for Webtrends. They promise to reveal what’s up on August 4.