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Chapter 9 A new paradigm for Internet research.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

After you complete your study of this chapter, you should be able to:

* Know how to search for information on the Internet.

* Understand how to collect data on the Internet.

* Know how to analyze the data you collect from the i Internet.

* Be familiar with the major measurements used in internet market research

9.1 DEFINING INTERNET RESEARCH

Internet research is, for the most part, no different from traditional research in that it is the process of seeking, collecting, and analyzing data to arrive at information that aids decision making. It is, however, different from traditional research since it uses different media and measurements that have been made possible by Internet technologies. Furthermore, Internet research differs from traditional research in that it deals more with dynamic information than with static information. It is fast paced, ever changing, and evolving.

9.2 INFORMATION SEARCH ON THE INTERNET

The Internet is a vast sea of information. It is hard to measure the scope and the depth of this wealth of information since countless people throughout the world contribute to it. To look for the information you want, you need to know where the data are stored and how to access them. As discussed in previous chapters, the Internet consists primarily of a variety of access protocols. These include e-mail, Mailing Lists, HTTP, and Usenet news. Many of these protocols have their own programs that allow you to search for and retrieve material made available by a specific protocol.

For this reason, the Internet is not really a library in which all available items are identified and can be retrieved by a single catalog. Rather, it is a network of libraries, each of which may require different IDs to allow access. For instance, many search engines and tools exist for different types of information needs.

There are a number of ways you can search for or gain information on the Internet:

* Conduct a search using a Web search engine

* Participate in an e-mail discussion group or Usenet newsgroup

* Use a known URL to directly access information

CONDUCT A SEARCH USING A WEB SEARCH ENGINE

Search engines share a common characteristic; that is, they all rely on some sort of search logic to find the information you request. One of the most commonly used search principles is Boolean logic, which refers to the logical relationship among search terms.

Boolean logic is a method of combining terms using "operators," such as AND, OR, and AND NOT. AND requires that all terms appear in a record, OR retrieves records with either term, and AND NOT excludes terms. For example, if you type "tourism and technology" into a search engine, it will return with all records in which both of the search terms are present. Therefore, the more terms or concepts you combine in a search with AND logic, the fewer records you will get. Table 9.1 shows the results of this search (using the Google search engine) as compared to the results of using either "tourism" or "technology," alone.

If you type "tourism or technology," the search engine will return with all the records in which at least one of the search terms is present. OR logic produces all the unique records containing one term, the other, or both. Therefore, the more terms or concepts you use in a search with OR logic, the more records you will get. If you are interested in synonymous terms or concepts, you can use OR logic to accomplish the search goal. Table 9.2 shows the outcomes of an OR search as compared with other methods.

If you want only information about tourism but avoid getting anything about technology, you can use Boolean NOT logic. By using NOT logic, you will retrieve only records in which "tourism" is present. NOT logic excludes records you do not want to see from your search results. Table 9.3 illustrates the results of such a search as compared to other types of searches.

There are many search engines in the Internet. The following are some of the more popular ones:

* About.com (www.about.com)

* AltaVista (www.altavista.com)

* Academic Info (www.academicinfo.net)

* Excite (www.excite.com)

* HotBot (http://hotbot.lycos.com)

* Google (www.google.com)

* Infomine (http://infomine.ucr.edu)

* Librarians' Index (www.lii.org)

* Northern Light (www.nlsearch.com)

* ProFusion (www.profusion.com)

* WebCrawler (www.webcrawler.com)

* Yahoo! (www.yahoo.com)

PARTICIPATE IN AN E-MAIL DISCUSSION GROUP OR USENET NEWSGROUP

An effective way to obtain information on any interest is to join an e-mail discussion group (Mailing List) or a Usenet newsgroup. When you subscribe to a list, your name and e-mail address are automatically added to the list. You will receive a standard letter of welcome via e-mail describing the list. From that time on, you will receive all mail postings sent to the list by its members. You may follow the discussions or join in on them. If you respond, you can send your response to the list, and all members of the list will receive it. As you know from previous chapters, you can sign off or unsubscribe from a list at any time. You can also get a listing of all the members of a list and their e-mail addresses.

Experts in certain fields of interest start many of these Mailing Lists. People joining the list are those who share common interests. By joining these e-mail discussion lists, you can get up-to-date information about what is happening in your field of interest. In Chapter 3, we introduced a Mailing List called InfoTech Travel, where subscribers participate in discussion of all topics related to tourism information technology. To search for a discussion group, go to www.liszt.com or www.alabanza.com/kabacoff/Inter-Links/ listserv.html. Another specialized Mailing List is the GREEN-TRAVEL list, which is dedicated to sharing information about culturally and environmentally responsible or sustainable travel and tourism worldwide, including ecotourism and adventure travel. To sign up for this Mailing List, go to www.green-travel.com.

Usenet newsgroups provide another great place to look for information you need. These are bulletin board-like discussion forums where people post information and then read and respond to the information. These discussion forums also are often organized by interest and topic. The best place to go to search for newsgroups is http://groups.google.com, where you can find the following newsgroups:

* alt: Any conceivable topic

* biz: Business products, services, and reviews

* comp: Hardware, software, and consumer information

* humanities: Fine arts, literature, and philosophy

* misc: Employment, health, and much more

* rec: Games, hobbies, and sports

* sci: Applied and social science

* news: Information about Usenet news

* soc: Social issues and culture

* talk: Current issues and debates

USE A KNOWN URL TO DIRECTLY ACCESS INFORMATION

If you know the URL (Universal Resource Locator), the Web site address of an information source, you can type in the address bar of a browser and go directly to the source. Sometimes, you can click on a link even though you do not know the URL. Most browsers now offer the capability of using the major part of the URL to carry out the search. For instance, instead of typing "http://www.expedia.com" to go to the site, you can simply type "www.expedia.com" or simply "expedia.com" to go to the site.

Most established businesses have been able to use their company's name as their domain name or URL. In the early days of the Internet, domain registration was not regulated and was not subject to the same strict rule of registering a traditional business name or copyright. Many domain names were snapped up by people who hoped that large, wealthy corporations or some business that liked their registered domain names would pay big bucks to buy their domain names. Some did succeed in selling some of the domain names and got rich, but the government and Congress soon stepped in and outlawed this practice. Today, as long as you are not deliberately registering a domain name for profit, you are safe in registering any name you want as long as it is still available.

9.3 COLLECTING DATA ON THE INTERNET

Collecting data has been one of the most important but difficult steps in any type of research. Traditional data collection typically takes a long time to accomplish, and often the response rate is not high. The Internet offers an alternative for data collection that promises to be faster and more convenient and to yield a higher response rate. One area that Internet research can be applied to help you understand consumer behavior is in e-commerce. For instance, it is critical for e-commerce companies to be able to measure the traffic to their sites and identify visitor activities in order to determine and enhance the effectiveness of their sites.

[FIGURE 9-1 OMITTED]

One approach to data collection uses the servers log files (Figure 9.1) to get visitor information. A log file is created by a Web server, containing every request received by the server from every user. These log files typically are raw data and require extensive data manipulation and analysis in order to arrive at intelligent information. However, since it is inexpensive and fast, log file data collection and analysis is still widely used today, even though many software programs are available that do more sophisticated data collection and analysis.

Specialized data collection and analysis software can handle more sophisticated data and are capable of collecting and analyzing extensive, detailed traffic and visitor information directly from the browsers of individual users and delivering this information instantly in real time to site owners all over the world (Figure 9.2).

[FIGURE 9-2 OMITTED]

In a log file analysis, the Web visitor issues requests (typically by clicking the mouse) to view specific pages on a site. When the Web server receives these requests, it serves the requested pages back to the visitor. In the meantime, the Web server records each visitor's request in a chronological log file. In order to see and analyze these records, the Web site owner must use proprietary log file analysis software to extract useful information from these log files. The reports generated from the analysis can then be distributed to the parties concerned.

In the case of specialized online data collection software (Figure 9.2), the Web visitor issues requests to view specific pages on a site. When the Web server receives these requests, it serves the requested pages back to the users. When a page is displayed on a browser, a special HitBox code that the site owner has embedded in the page sends a variety of anonymous information about the page and user to WebSideStory (www.websidestory.com), where it is immediately integrated into the HitBox database for the site. Anyone who is authorized by the site owner can log on to the WebSideStory site and request HitBox audience information.

There are many other ways to collect data on the Web. The first way is to use cookies. A cookie is a message sent from a Web server to an online traveler's local computer and stored by the browser on his or her computer. When the online traveler visits the originating Web server next time, the cookie is sent back to the server, allowing it to respond to the online traveler according to the cookie's contents.

In other words, cookies are used by a Web server to collect information from a computer about its user--the online visitor. This cookie will be reactivated each time the visitor who uses the same computer revisits the same site (Deital et al. 2001). Although all browsers allow the visitor to disable the cookies from their browser, most people do not choose to do so since more Web sites require the visitor to turn the cookies function on before the visitor can access customized information. This is because cookies are used to provide customized Web pages according to a profile of the visitor's interests. When the visitor logs on to a customized Web site to fill in his or her name and other information, a cookie may be created on his or her computer that the Web server he or she is visiting will access to get to know the visitor and therefore provide the kind of contents and information the visitor wants. Some ad rotation software uses cookies to see which ad the user has just seen so that a different ad will be rotated into the next page view.

A second way to collect data is to ask online visitors to fill out a form about themselves in terms of their interests and other important demographic information. Many visitors will take the time to fill out these forms if they are assured of the security and privacy of their information and if incentives such as sweepstakes, coupons, or a promise of sending relevant information with an e-newsletter are offered for completing the forms. In previous chapters, we talked about the importance of using e-newsletters to communicate with customers. To send e-newsletters to your customers, you need to know about their interests and their e-mail addresses. You should place an e-newsletter invitation on your Web site for those visitors who care for your products and services. They will be asked to fill out the invitation form for the e-newsletter.

A third way to collect data is by searching the Internet for the specific information you are looking for. Data collected this way is called secondary data. Today, most competitors have their own Web sites that post a lot of information. By simply taking a look at the information provided on their sites, you can gain valuable information. There are also many not-for-profit as well as government agency sites that provide analytical and statistical data about specific products and services as well as specific industries. Compared to firsthand data collection, secondary data collection can be cheaper and less intrusive.

A final way to collect data is to use online survey instruments. Traditionally, surveys can be conducted by mail, face-to-face interviews, or telephone interviews. Many of these methods have the problem of being regarded as intrusive, time consuming, and costly. Internet surveys can be constructed in such a way that makes filling out the form both easier and less formidable.

Many commercial Web authoring programs come with such a capability. Microsoft Frontpage 2000, for instance, comes with a survey form wizard to guide the user in building a survey instrument. It also provides many options for the user to select the kind of format in which to store the data collected. For instance, the user can choose to store the data in text form, in HTML form, or in a database form. The user can export the database form to a spreadsheet or database program. If the user has installed the right Microsoft server extensions, the user can also do statistical analysis right away, providing instant analysis of the data collected.

Besides commercial Web authoring programs, there are many tourism consulting and research companies and organizations beginning to offer online survey research service. One of these companies is Ipsos-NPD (www.ipsos-npd.com). Some of the services it offers include the following:

* Web site evaluation

* Customer profiling

* Attitude and use testing (also called habits and practices)

* Customer satisfaction measurement, spanning a range of applications and experiences, including incentive reward programs, membership registration and log-in, customer service, purchase experience, community/ support group experience, and e-mail marketing programs

Another company, Thruport (www.adjuggler.com), provides online survey software called Demographica, a platform-independent, browser-based application for creating online surveys and polls. Demographica provides Web sales and marketing professionals with the ability to quickly and easily create surveys customized with their own questions, to manage accounts, and to schedule intervals for results to be e-mailed. Demographica is available either in an ASP model or for installation on a local server.

Other Internet research firms include some of the biggest names in media research. These companies provide services ranging from data collection and market analysis to online consumer behavior studies. Table 9.4 presents some of these companies.

9.4 ANALYZING DATA ON THE INTERNET

Analyzing data collected from the Internet is not that much different from analyzing data collected by traditional means. The principles underlying data analysis, such as reliability, statistical measurement, and sampling bias, still apply. However, there is no consensus so far regarding the criteria governing these principles. For example, how do we define a probability sample? The same visitor may log on to a Web site using different names and from different computers in different locations and take the survey more than once. The anonymous nature of the Internet makes it even more difficult to apply the results of the research to a general population.

Other issues concerning the analysis of data stem from the fact that the Internet is a unique medium. In secondary data online research, you need to be careful about the accuracy of the data collected from online sources since they can be published by anyone who knows how to publish on the Internet. In Chapter 2, we pointed out that anyone with an IP address can host a server and become an online publisher. Compared with traditional research, where the accuracy of data is a major concern, the issue becomes even more prominent in Internet research since publishing information on the Internet is much cheaper--sometimes it can be free--and easier.

There are many companies that provide statistical analysis data for the hospitality and tourism industry. Some of the companies are mentioned in the previous section. They include Jupiter Communications and Nielsen NetRatings. One company that also specializes in online customer behavior research and visitor statistics is StatMarket (http://statmarket.com), a division of the Internet market research firm WestSideStory (www.websidestory.com). Some of the main services StatMarket provides, besides offering online data analysis, include the following:

* Top referring search sites--From Yahoo to Excite and Lycos, it monitors all the top search sites. See what percentage of referrals each one is generating worldwide.

* Referring domains--See what the top referring sources of traffic to Web sites consist of, broken down by search sites, direct navigation/ bookmarks, and links from other sites.

* Visitor countries--See what countries have the most surfers on the Web per day.

* Top Internet Service Providers (ISPs)--Find out what percentage of surfers are connecting through each of the top ISPs.

* Loyalty index--What percentage of surfers visit a site for the first time every day? What about additional visits? They break it all down.

* Frequency index--What percentage of surfers visit a site once a month? Twice a month? This list details how often the average Web site worldwide is visited.

* Major visitor domains--Give a percentage breakdown of all the major domains of Web surfers worldwide, including how much traffic is coming from non-U.S. domains.

* Referring countries--See what percentages of non-U.S. Web surfers use the domain extension of the country they are in.

* Referring major domains--Learn which major domains are responsible for referring the most traffic to other sites.

* Day of week--Find out which days of the week are the most popular for Web surfing.

* Time zones--Which time zones are most wired? See a breakdown of each time zone by percentage.

* Rush hour--Review a list of which hours of the day generate the most surfer traffic, both locally and globally.

Many airlines, including Northwest and Alaska, are beginning to look at special software programs to help them to track their online visitors' behavior in the hope of increasing customer conversion rates and improving visitor satisfaction and loyalty (WebSideStory 2001). This trend will continue to spread into other sections of the hospitality and tourism industry since more companies are realizing that e-commerce has become a marketplace and that customer service and satisfaction are key to attract and keep customers.

9.5 MEASUREMENTS FOR E-MARKETING AND ONLINE CONSUMER BEHAVIOR

An important part of Internet research regards online consumer behavior and marketing and advertising effectiveness. The Internet has offered a whole new set of tools to measure these activities. Most of the terms discussed here are special terms used only in Internet marketing and advertising research. Table 9.5 lists and explains these terms.

Internet technology has opened up a new horizon for marketing research with its instant, interactive 24/7 capabilities. With increasing competition in the e-commerce marketplace, the need to understand online visitors and keep them as loyal customers is increasingly vital to the success of any e-commerce business. The old saying that if you build, they will come, has proved to be invalid in the e-commerce marketplace, as can be attested by the failure of so many dot-com e-commerce companies in the past few years.

There are other issues related to Internet research. These issues include but are not limited to privacy, copyright, ethics, and rights of individual online visitors. We will discuss these issues in Chapter 10 when we discuss the future of e-commerce.

9.6 CONCLUSION

The Internet has provided a new paradigm for consumer as well as marketing research. It is a new paradigm since the markets and the players are different from traditional research. It is a new paradigm also because the measurements and methodologies involved are different from what they used to be. Just as retail checkout scanners help retailers understand shoppers better and manage their inventories more efficiently, Internet research tools enable hospitality and tourism companies feel the "pulse" of the online visitors' behavior faster and better, allowing them to respond and market to online visitors in an intelligent, customizable way.

As Internet technology changes, the tools available for Internet research will change, too. In the years to come, we will see new measurements and methodologies being developed to better serve the needs of online marketers and various research interests. In the meantime, issues will arise since Internet research is a brand-new field of study, and traditional concepts about research might not be readily adaptable to this new medium of communication and research.

KEY WORDS AND TERMS

Internet Research

Search Logic

Boolean Logic

URL

Log Files

Log Files Analysis Software

Cookies

Secondary Data

Web Authoring Programs

Demographica

SUMMARY

Internet research is the process of seeking, collecting, and analyzing online data to arrive at information that aids decision making. It deals more with dynamic information than with static information. It is fast paced, ever changing, and evolving. There are a number of ways to search or gain information on the Internet: (1) conduct a search using a Web search engine, (2) participate in an e-mail discussion group or Usenet newsgroup, and (3) use a known URL to directly access information.

Collecting data has been one of the most important but difficult steps in research. Traditional data collection typically takes a long time to accomplish, and often the response rate is not high. The Internet presents many tools for data collection. These include the use of log files, cookies, specialized data collection software, online surveys, e-newsletter subscriptions, and secondary data collection.

Data analysis can start from basic, simple log file analysis to specialized tracking software. Many large media companies are involved in analyzing data collected from the Internet. Other specialized research companies are also involved in producing software for online visitor data analysis and Web site traffic analysis. The ability to analyze these data has increased as the technology has become more sophisticated and powerful.

There are many specialized terms used in Internet marketing research. It is important to know the difference between these terms since each measures only one aspect of online visitor research. You need to be careful when interpreting the results of analysis when such terms are involved. Internet research is a vital part of any e-commerce business since increasing competition dictates that understanding the needs and behavior of online customers is the basis for a successful e-commerce enterprise.

Like traditional research, Internet research involves issues that concern privacy, rights of the individual, and other ethical issues. However, Internet research, because of its intrusive ability, makes these issues more important than ever and, in the meantime, brings other issues into focus. As a researcher, you need to pay attention to these issues.

WEB RESOURCES

* http://searchebusiness.techtarget.com

* www.hitboxenterprise.com

* www.positionresearch.com

* www.surveyagent.com

CASE STUDY: Major Airline Web Sites Take Flight with WebSideStory's Real-Time E-Business Intelligence Service (www.hitboxenterprise.com)

WebSideStory, Inc. (www.websidestory.com), the world's leading provider of outsourced e-business intelligence services, has helped the major airlines, Northwest and Alaska, integrate HitBox Enterprise (www.hitboxenterprise. com) into their online operations to help improve customer acquisition, retention, and conversion. Geared for sites with high volumes of traffic or sophisticated needs, HitBox Enterprise is a best-of-class e-business intelligence service that helps companies increase revenue and improve profitability by providing detailed information about online visitor behavior in real time. The service requires no hardware or software expenses and does not drain valuable information technology resources. Using HitBox Enterprise, the airlines are able to improve their return on marketing campaigns, improve customer loyalty, increase the effectiveness of affiliate relationships, and drive sales through enhanced site design and usability.

Alaska Airlines, the first U.S. carrier to sell tickets over the Internet, is using the service to streamline its online flight reservation process by pinpointing areas where customers have difficulty in the purchase path. The airline is also using the service to track the effectiveness of various online promotions in driving ticket sales.

"We take functionality and ease-of-use very seriously on our Web site," said Mark Guerette, director of Web content for Alaska Airlines. "HitBox Enterprise's clickstream analysis helps us in developing a better, more efficient site for our customers. We expect these changes to have an impact on our conversion ratios."

Northwest Airlines is using HitBox Enterprise to analyze in real time the behavior patterns of visitors to both its online WorldPerks Mall, a shopping section of the site, and its WorldPerks Elite Program, a special area for frequent fliers. Based on visitor behavior information, Northwest is able to adjust promotions, improve usability, and better understand the needs of its visitors. This has resulted in an increase in sales, membership, and overall customer loyalty. The airline is also using the service to identify which affiliates drive the most traffic to its site and would be the best partners for joint promotions.

"The success of our online business comes down to our customers and how satisfied they are with our products and services," said Brian Ficek, manager of e-commerce for Northwest. "With its ease of use and detailed, real- time analysis, HitBox Enterprise makes it very easy to determine where we should focus our efforts."

"The smartest businesses understand the importance of knowing how visitors interact with their Web site," said Meyar Sheik, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for WebSideStory. "Our best-of-breed services can help any business immediately identify areas of opportunity and risk on their site."

SOURCE: WebSideStory, Inc.

QUESTIONS TO PONDER:

1. What can airlines benefit from using Hitbox?

2. How does the Alaska Airlines use Hitbox to help its business?

3. In what ways can Hitbox help Northwest Airlines?

4. Why do you think the airlines are paying for this kind of service?

REVIEW QUESTIONS

1. Is Internet research different from traditional research? If so, why? If not, give reasons.

2. List three ways to do research on the Internet.

3. How many types of search engines are there?

4. What can you do to increase the probability of being found and listed by search engines?

5. Describe how Boolean logic works.

6. What is a log file? How do you use a log file to do research?

7. How does proprietary log file analysis software work?

8. List at least three research companies, go to their Web sites, and provide a brief description of their services.

9. How do you look for secondary data on the Internet?

10. Why do consumers allow cookies to stay in their computers?

11. What do you think is the most important measurement tool in tracking the behavior of online visitors as well as tracking the effectiveness of online marketing?

REFERENCES

Deitel, H. M., P. J. Deitel, and K. Steinbuhler. (2001). E-Business and E-Commerce for Managers. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice Hall.

WebSideStory. (2001). www.websidestory.com.

Zongqing Zhou, PhD

Associate Professor

College of Hospitality and Tourism Management

Niagara University
TABLE 9.1
How Boolean Logic AND Works

SEARCH TERMS                RESULTS

"Tourism"                   4,800,000
"Technology"               43,300,000
"Tourism and technology"      618,000

TABLE 9.2
How Boolean Logic OR Works

SEARCH TERMS                  RESULTS

"Tourism"                     4,800,000
"Technology"                 43,300,000
"Tourism or technology"       4,150,000

TABLE 9.3
How Boolean Logic NOT Works

SEARCH TERMS                    RESULTS

"Tourism"                       4,800,000
"Technology"                   43,300,000
"Tourism not technology"          461,000

TABLE 9.4
Internet Media Research Companies

COMPANY                       WHAT THE COMPANY OFFERS

Jupiter Media Metrix:         Analyzes and measures the end-to-end
www.jmm.com                   impact of the Internet and new
                              technologies on commerce and marketing

Media Metrix:                 Provides demographic data about Web,
www.mediametrix.com           Internet, and online service usage as
                              well as computer hardware and software
                              trends. Merged with Relevant Knowledge

AMR Research:                 A Boston-based research firm that
www.amrresearch.com           provides information for the selection
                              of manufacturing software applications

ActivMedia Research:          Includes statistics and research
www.activmediaresearch.com    information from semiannual studies of
                              Web marketers as well as news and tips
                              from the Web marketing world

Nielsen/NetRatings:           Syndicated service that provides
www.nielsen-netratings.com    advertisers, site publishers, and media
                              planners with Internet audience
                              information

SRC: www.extendthereach.com   Provides demographic and market
                              analysis tools through custom Internet
                              and intranet applications

E-valuations Research:        Online market research facilities and
www.e-valuations.com          services

eMarketer: www.e-land.com     Provides statistics and demographic
                              data about Internet users, usage
                              patterns, advertising, e-commerce,
                              and market size, growth, and geography

MarketTools:                  Provides technology products and
www.markettools.com           consulting services for conducting
Jupiter Communications:       research online Research, consulting,
www.jup.com                   and publishing firm that specializes
                              in emerging consumer online and
                              interactive technologies

TABLE 9.5
Internet Marketing and Advertising Measurement Terminology

TERMINOLOGY                           EXPLANATION

Banner           A banner is really an ad in the traditional sense. It
                 is typically a graphic image or set of animated
                 images displayed on a Web site. Banners and other
                 special advertising that include an interactive
                 or visual element beyond the usual are known as rich
                 media.

Impression       An impression is a measure of how many times an ad
                 is served on a sponsoring site. It is sometimes
                 referred toas an "ad view." In other words, if a
                 single ad appears on a Web page 100 times, when
                 the page arrives at the viewer's display, it has
                 100 impressions. Many Web sites charge advertisers
                 by number of impressions.

Click            A click, as its name suggests, means that a visitor
                 clicks on a displayed ad banner. It does not mean
                 that the visitor actually follows the click to
                 arrive at the advertised Web page; rather, it simply
                 means that the visitor actually clicks on the ad
                 banner.

Click stream     A click stream refers to a recorded path of pages a
                 visitor has clicked through. This is important
                 information since it can help Web site owners
                 understand how visitors are using their site and
                 which pages are getting the most use. It also
                 provides advertisers with valuable information
                 regarding how users get to the clients' pages, what
                 pages they visit, and how they order a product
                 or service.

Click-through    A click-through often is used interchangeably with
                 "click." However, by using the word "click-through,"
                 the sponsoring site wants to convey the idea that
                 the visitor not only clicks on the banner but also
                 follows through to the linked Web page. Many
                 advertisers want to pay only for click-throughs,
                 not just the click or impressions.

Click-through    The click-through rate measures the percentage of
rate             impressions that results in click-throughs. It is
                 important for advertisers to know how many visitors
                 actually click on their ad banners, even though ad
                 impressions have their own value in terms of
                 visibility and branding. A click-through rate
                 measures not only the number of the eyeballs of a
                 visitor (impressions) but also, to a certain degree,
                 how effective a banner is.

Conversion       Another term for "click-though." It measures a
                 visitor's completed action--that is, a visitor
                 clicking on a banner--which often is the goal of a
                 marketing campaign. A second use of conversion
                 refers to the "look-to-book ratios" in online
                 travel reservations.

CPM              A measurement used by ad agencies or site owners to
                 charge advertisers. CPM stands for "cost per
                 thousand" online ad impressions. The traditional
                 advertising industry uses the same measure; the
                 online advertising community simply borrows this
                 term. Note here that "M" has nothing to do with
                 "mega" or million. It is taken from the roman
                 numeral for "thousand."

Pay per lead     When an advertiser places a banner on a site and a
                 visitor clicks on the banner to complete what the
                 banner intends him or her to do, the advertiser
                 pays accordingly. An advertiser, for instance, will
                 pay for every visitor who clicks on a banner that
                 asks the visitor to sign up for a newsletter and
                 the visitor does.

ROI              Stands for "return on investment." It is a measure
                 of how successful an ad campaign is in terms of
                 what the returns, sales revenue, or fulfillment of
                 the ad campaign objectives were for the money
                 invested.

Run of           An ad network enables you to place your ad on all
network          its associated sites, giving you the power of
                 large-scale exposure. It is a selling point for the
                 ad network to advertisers. An ad placed in such an
                 ad network is commonly referred to as a
                 run-of-network ad.

Unique visitor   A unique visitor is someone who visits a Web site
                 with a unique IP address for the first time in one
                 day or a specified period of time. It is used to
                 investigate how many different visitors a site
                 has for that day or for a specified period of time.
                 A visitor with the same IP address who returns
                 within the same day is counted only once as a unique
                 visitor.

Hit              A hit is a record of a requested file from the
                 server. Requesting a single Web page can bring with
                 it a number of individual files (e.g., text,
                 graphics, or sound), thus several hits. A hit is
                 not a good indicator of actual use (number of
                 visitors) but is a good indicator of traffic flow
                 on a site.
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Author:Zhou, Zongqing
Publication:E-Commerce and Information Technology in Hospitality and Tourism
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Words:5753
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