In the runup to this year’s Sum­mit 2009 event, Omni­ture spon­sored a $25,000 Devel­oper Con­nec­tion Chal­lenge to encour­age cus­tomers to develop new appli­ca­tions built for the Omni­ture API’s. The win­ners of the Devel­oper Con­nec­tion chal­lenge were fea­tured at our Sum­mit 2009 API Break­out session.

The win­ner of the 2009 Devel­oper Con­nec­tion Cus­tomer Chal­lenge was Hila Strong, Busi­ness and Web Ana­lyst at Spark​.net. Hila and her coun­ter­part Jason Thomp­son, also from Spark​.net, devel­oped the “Breakeven App”, an appli­ca­tion designed to help web ana­lysts cal­cu­late the dol­lar value of vis­i­tors for any con­ver­sion event. It com­pares val­ues before and after a site change is imple­mented and then cal­cu­lates a con­ver­sion breakeven point. In other words, this app cal­cu­lates what the con­ver­sion rate SHOULD be at any given period for rev­enue to break even, or increase. With the Breakeven App you can ensure that your acqui­si­tion costs do not exceed rev­enue and can quickly be alerted when they do.

I recently asked Hila Strong about her expe­ri­ence with the Devel­oper Con­nec­tion chal­lenge and her take on the Omni­ture APIs.

1) What prompted the cre­ation of the Breakeven App?

When a site revi­sion or new fea­ture is pub­lished to one of our sites, we often look for a lift in con­ver­sion to mea­sure the suc­cess. Although that lift is a result of increased sales, it may not always mean an increase in revenue.

In our busi­ness, we could poten­tially increase con­ver­sion within the check­out process, but simul­ta­ne­ously result in a lower aver­age sell­ing price. It is key for us to always mea­sure con­ver­sion in terms of rev­enue.
More­over, in our par­tic­u­lar case, mem­bers are very sen­si­tive to any kind of change, and we can­not always per­form ran­dom A|B tests. So it becomes extremely impor­tant for us to prop­erly ana­lyze the impact to conversion.

I was inspired and became dri­ven to fig­ure out a sim­ple way to cal­cu­late a break-even point that will mea­sure where con­ver­sion should be… for rev­enue to break even or increase. To cal­cu­late what con­ver­sion should be, I would com­pare the value of the con­ver­sion event before and after the release of the site revi­sion or the mar­ket­ing cam­paign we are measuring.

When the release of the Omni­ture API was announced, I imme­di­ately saw an oppor­tu­nity to build an app that can do that cal­cu­la­tion on the fly for any con­ver­sion event defined on the site.

This app was meant to essen­tially place the break-even analy­sis at our fin­ger­tips, and allow us to slice the data using cus­tom seg­ments (like chan­nel and key­words) for addi­tional insight. I wanted to be able to pro­vide deeper analy­sis and more action­able results in a shorter amount of time.

2) Are you con­tin­u­ing devel­op­ment on your appli­ca­tion, if so what fea­tures do you expect to add to it?

We are cur­rently work­ing on Break Even 2.0 which will uti­lize the Dis­cover API to offer the fol­low­ing addi­tional functionality:

1. Seg­men­ta­tion of the reports by any pre-configured or cus­tom segment

2. User entry of the ‘Com­par­i­son Period’ (right now you can only com­pare to: 1 day, 7 days or 30 days prior)

3. Weekly trend­ing of the ‘Report­ing Period’ to reduce the noise of tem­po­ral changes

3) Are you con­sid­er­ing devel­op­ing any new applications?

Yes. We have already devel­oped and released the Twit­ter Ana­lyt­ics inte­gra­tion app this month, and have been using it for a cou­ple of weeks now to track brand related tweets. This app is doc­u­mented and pub­lished to the Omni­ture Devel­oper Code Gallery here and is com­pletely con­fig­urable to fit any client that wishes to add a Twit­ter ana­lyt­ics report­ing suite into their Site­Cat­a­lyst imple­men­ta­tion.
We are also in the process of scop­ing out 2 more apps for devel­op­ment, with one already in the research phase.

4) What new func­tion­al­ity would you like to see become avail­able as part of the Omni­ture APIs?

We would like to see an addi­tion of an “Omni­ture API Mar­ket­place”, some­thing sim­i­lar to the iPhone App Store. I would see this as an exten­sion of the cur­rent Code Gallery. The Mar­ket­place would allow devel­op­ers to offer Omni­ture approved appli­ca­tions, free or for a set price, to exist­ing Omni­ture cus­tomers. Omni­ture would take a cut, sim­i­lar to what Apple does, for each appli­ca­tion sold.

I believe that this approach would drive a frenzy of activ­ity in the devel­oper com­mu­nity and would ensure an ongo­ing stream of ground­break­ing appli­ca­tions built on Omniture’s technology.

Over 25 cus­tom appli­ca­tions have been sub­mit­ted to the Devel­oper Con­nec­tion code gallery since the release of the API’s last sum­mer. We’re excited to see what our devel­oper com­mu­nity has in store next. To stoke the fire a bit, we’re spon­sor­ing another $25,000 Devel­oper Con­nec­tion Chal­lenge for Omni­ture Part­ners that begins March 26th and will run through June 1st 2009. Win­ning part­ner appli­ca­tions will be announced June 15th and will receive broad recog­ni­tion in the Omni­ture com­mu­nity with joint press releases, pro­mo­tion of their appli­ca­tions to Omni­ture cus­tomers, and be fea­tured at Omni­ture Sum­mit 2010. Check back in June to see the winners!