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!

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