When American carmaker Ford announced that it was replacing Firestone tires on all of its vehicles, consumers stampeded the corporate Web site in search of information that went beyond the typical product sheet. Over the following days and months, Ford and search partner Ask Jeeves not only fielded thousands of searches a day; they recorded and analyzed the queries on the fly in hopes of improving the service, a practice that continues today.
"The Ask Jeeves reports are used in two ways," according to Joyce Mueller, a consumer e-marketing manager at Ford. "First: to evaluate the site design and understand what content people are having trouble finding...Second: to learn what people are looking for. Currently, the majority of our searches are not for our main vehicles, but for other information such as the SVT (Special Vehicles Team). This helps us prioritize enhancements to the site."
In the field of customer intelligence, search analytics is poised to become a star. Examining search queries is now the preferred way for corporations to analyze Web site activity, to make sites more responsive and profitable. The method has all but replaced earlier techniques such as click-stream analysis, in which companies attempt to follow a visitor's journey from page to page.
News source: News.com