December 1, 2009
Lobster.com Case Study
How LOBSTER.COM Has Used HITSLINK Before, During and After the Re-launch of a Trusted, Old Website
PART 2 : Catch it While It’s Fresh!!! LOBSTER.COM Re-launches onto the Web
The new LOBSTER.COM is now live and open for business selling lobsters, clambakes, and lobster dinner gift certificates online - just in time for the 2009 holiday season. Launching a new site into a holiday season that started off with the hottest Cyber-Monday in history with a new shopping cart hosted on new servers is not for the faint of heart. However, with Hitslink’s real-time reports, the team at LOBSTER.COM was able to accelerate the pre-launch testing process and watch the minute-by-minute progress as the new site went live and propagated across the internet.
In this second part of the case study, we will look at some of the ways Lobster.com used HITSLINK in the launch process and how users are now interacting with the new, more extensive site. If you missed the first part of this HITSLINK case study, you can find it here: LOBSTER.COM Prepares to Shed Its Old Shell
SPECIAL NOTE…. To celebrate the successful launch LOBSTER.COM is offering special holiday savings to all Net Application newsletter readers on any order placed at LOBSTER.COM. See the conclusion of this case study for details.
Part 2: Catch it While It’s Fresh!!! LOBSTER.COM Re-launches onto the Web
It is exactly at that pressure point that we really came to appreciate HITSLINK’s real-time reporting. While other analytics tools have lag times ranging from 3-24 hours, HITSLINK reports website performance within seconds. With dozens of pre-launch checks to make before going live, HITSLINK shaved days, perhaps even weeks off the LOBSTER.COM re- launch just in time for Cyber-Monday!
Ready, Set, Launch!
Once a new site launches, of course, everyone wants to know early results. With LOBSTER.COM, the re-launch involved moving to a new server at the same time. While it does take up to 72 hours for DNS to propagate the new server address across the internet, at LOBSTER.COM, we were able to know instantly when the first visitors were seeing the new site.
Using the Hitslink Latest Page Views Report, which shows a listing of pages as they are visited, we could observe the precise moment a new site page was being viewed:
How is the Site Working?
Are Pages Working Correctly
We noticed two problems in this report. The first was a page that did not really exist on our page, the urlrewrite.asp page, which is a server-level correction. We investigated that problem and discovered it was a temporary problem during the DNS propagation and that it would correct itself as the propagation completed. The second, more interesting issue is the high percentage of reload on the default page. With this report, it became clear that the IT department needed to dig into the issue, which they did and resolved in short order by correcting some scripting issues not discovered before the launch.
Are Visitors Engaged by the Site?
So, in this case, we just wanted a quick, overall impression of how the site was engaging users. We took a look at the PAGE VIEWS report and it showed the following:
Clearly, visitors were taking a good long look at the site and visiting many pages. The folks at LOBSTER.COM took that as a good sign and the next logical question became, how are users navigating the site – what paths are they following?
Understanding How Visitors Are Navigating LOBSTER.COM
HITSLINK has a powerful set of tools and reports that all a website owner to understand user behavior on the site. In this part of the LOBSTER.COM Case Study, we will look at just 2 of those reports, and look at some of the more advanced ones in the next two case study installments.
The “Looking Over Your Shoulder” Report
In this case, we can see the result of a successful visit from a visitor who came in on a search query on Bing as shown in Figure 6 below. The search term indicated highly relevant buyer intent and clearly they found what they were looking for on LOBSTER.COM.
This sort of “session playback report” is really just like looking over someone’s shoulder as they are working with the site. A walk-through of a few users visits, successful and unsuccessful, has really helped our understanding of user behavior and has led us to develop ideas for navigation and site improvements at LOBSTER.
Another powerful usability report is the HITSLINK Navigation Report that shows the aggregated total of how users tend get from one page to another on your website. Combining this average of all visitors with the individual session reports is a powerful advantage and extremely cost-effective way to get do usability research on your own site - in real time!
Like the other two usability reports, this can confirm the larger, more site universal trends for page navigation. At LOBSTER.COM the most interesting indicator of this page is the strong tendency for shoppers for move towards simple, one-page checkouts.
Part 2 Wrap up and Special Offer from LOBSTER.COM
To see Part 1: LOBSTER.COM Prepares to Shed Its Old Shell
Part 3: “Dear Santa, Send Claws.”
Speaking of claws, visit LOBSTER.COM and save 10% on any LOBSTER.COM order. Send someone you love a succulent Maine Lobster dinner (or gift card) this season.
Discount Code: hitslink
About the Author:
Matt Van Wagner is a seasoned sales and marketing professional specializing in paid and local search engine marketing strategies in the United States and Canada. An award-winning speaker whose presentations are usually as entertaining as they are informative, Matt has been a popular speaker at SES, SMX and other search conferences. Matt is President and founder of Find Me Faster a search engine marketing firm based in Nashua, NH. He is a member of SEMNE (Search Engine Marketing New England), and SEMPO, the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization as a member and contributing courseware developer for the SEMPO Institute. Matt writes occasionally on internet, search engines and technology topics for IMedia, The NH Business Review and other publications and served as technical editor for Andrew Goodman's "Winning Results with Google AdWords" and Mona Elesseily's "Yahoo! Search Marketing Handbook." Matt is a graduate of St Lawrence University, Canton NY (BS Economics) with an M.B.A. from Rivier College, Nashua, NH.
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Australian and Canadian authorities have given the all clear to the proposed Microsoft and Yahoo! search deal.
Google holds a huge majority in Australia with over 93.57% usage market share (per netmarketshare.com) of Australians using Google.com or Google.com.au. This dominance would have made it easier for Australian regulators to approve the partnership because Bing and Yahoo! hold such a minor market share individually.
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In a joint statement, Yahoo/Microsoft said that they remain hopeful that an agreement will close in early 2010.
About the author:
Matt Elshaw is a marketing professional at ineedhits.com, an international search marketing firm. Matt's passion for online marketing began at university and has proved invaluable in steering product development and marketing initiatives at the company. Matt is a regular contributor to the ineedhits search marketing blog.
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