Now on it’s 3rd major release (v2.4), VITES™ started in 2001 as a simple end-to-end visitor tracking system, built when a client was trying to understand where their online marketing spend was going. The original system was just called End-to-End Tracker and worked by stamping the visitors PC with a unique code and their source when they arrived at the site for the first time, and then spewing this information out whenever the visitor sent information to the client.
The results were stunning (for 2001) and showed that 80% of the advertising spend was pretty poor indeed. Not surprisingly our client was over the moon with this new-found transparency and their business exploded when they invested in the right online advertising and had faith in the value of it. It was a real way to measure the actual return on advertising investment.
Born in the middle of 2003, this was the first time page content was linked to data recorded. It was clear that first time visitors to a website needed to be encouraged to return to generate revenue, and that returning visitors to the website needed to be treated differently to first timers. So a simple “tunneling system” was implemented that established where the visitor was in the sales cycle by understanding their previous activity on the website and also by interrogating the offline CRM system.
By doing this, VITES™ dropped people into the most appropriate tunnel and fed them tunnel specific content, imagery and, most importantly, applications.
Conversion rates rocketed. We had stumbled across a killer application for the web. In much the same way as Sergey Brin devised a method at Stanford University to “rank” sites in importance based on inbound links – which then became the basis for Google – we stumbled upon the link between recording and behaviour and predictive purchasing or behavioural targeting was born.
The original version was a killer. It doubled conversion rates overnight but it was very cumbersome to build sites around it and the clunky tunnels were flawed when it came to bookmarking and search engine maps. This needed addressing so a specification to improve the whole system was hastily put together in 2004 to meet these shortcomings.
This was a simpler beast to operate, more flexible, more powerful but still required hand cutting of the tunnels. We had tunnel vision!
A huge step in development was identified in late 2005 and the move to visitor profiles is set in stone. The whole system needed to be rewritten and was completed by the middle of 2006. This included a number of innovations including profiles, rules and confidence ratings (how confident the system is that a person fits a profile).
The latest platform is developed was the established LAMP platform and the task of rolling it out to the first handful of clients started.
Soon after VITES™ 2.x was launched it was realised that customers were coming up with great ways in which to use this tool. It became a very natural and easy tool to customise web content so sites could change at the weekend or overnight or when the call centre was busy or any other internal or external event.
Market leading online advertising companies became exposed to the technology and started sharing their data with VITES™ allowing it to make better decisions. We’ve only just scratched the surface with the VITES™ tool – there are a hundred or even a thousand more uses for it that we are yet to find.