Web analytics package Woopra has finally left beta, with nearly 100,000 installs. The analytics package (see Inman News) is popular in the real estate industry for its real-time data and, the big clincher: a pop-up chat window that the Woopra user can send to someone browsing their Woopra-enabled site.

So when someone is browsing your site, you can see this in real-time via Woopra. Then you can pop a chat window up and ask them if you can help them or if they have questions, etc. More on this later …

Personally, I’m not that hot on real-time analytics data for most sites. When I’m speaking at events or with clients, one of the common questions is, "How often should I check my Web analytics?" and my answer is always, "As often as you intend to make changes to your Web site."

So if you’re going to make changes to your Web site constantly, then real-time analytics are great. If you’re only going to make changes to your Web site once every five years, then that’s how often you should check your analytics. I sincerely hope you’ll be making changes to your Web site more often than every five years, though.

There are, of course, a couple exceptions on the real-time analytics issue. Real-time analytics help you quickly identify when something is busted. For example, say you roll out a new search feature on your Web site but the code’s a little buggy. You may be able to see that something’s wrong by watching real-time users on your site via something like Woopra.

So in terms of analytics, I think Woopra is nice but a little bit of overkill for many real estate sites. The chat window feature, however, is worth a look. From the Woopra control center you can initiate a chat session with a site visitor, popping a chat window onto their screen.

The first time I heard about this I said to myself, "Self, that looks creepy and will freak site visitors right out." I gave it a try and sure enough, the first couple people I tried it on immediately left the site. But later, when talking with one of my Realtor clients, they explained it better to me: "So what if it chases off a few site visitors. If it helps me land one, then it’s worth it."

Using something like Woopra’s chat feature is a business decision and, like most business decisions, is worth testing. If you’re going to use the chat window, here are some things I recommend doing:

1. Know the value of a site visitor (financial value of Web leads that close, divided by the site’s unique visitors during a period of time).

2. Keep track of the value of site visitors contacted via the Woopra chat and calculate their value. …CONTINUED

3. When you use the Woopra chat, count the number of visitors that immediately abandon the site (not to be confused with those who keep browsing but ignore your chat window).

4. Take the value of the Woopra closers and subtract the value of a site visitor every time someone abandons your site after you initiate a chat with them.

You can make a more complicated formula if you like, but that should be good to get started. Of course, until you close a deal that started with a Woopra chat you’ll be running in the red. So if you’re going to try out this feature, be sure to determine ahead of time how many times you want to try to use the feature before you stop.

Otherwise, when you have a string of three or four people who abandon in a row, you might be discouraged and quit too soon. Or conversely, you’ll chase thousands away from your site just waiting for that one lucky close.

You’ll also want to test your approach with your initial message. In the experiments I’ve done using this, the visitors to the site initially believe the chat window is automated and a bot.

They don’t think they’re interacting with a human. So being human-like is important. Be easy with canned marketing phrases or standard calls to action with your initial chat-window message.

Those of you already using Woopra probably know what "end of beta" means: Someone’s got to start paying for the service. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Free gets you limited real-time data but no chat window.
  • $4.95 per month gets you limited real-time data and limited use of the chat feature.
  • $14.95 per month gets you the full collection of real-time data and full use of the chat feature.

There are some other differences, but these are the ones that I think most of you will be interested in. I’ve been kicking around running a study of how the live outbound chat feature works for real estate professionals.

If you’re using this tool and will track the usage as outlined earlier, let me know. I’ll plan to publish the results in a future column.

Gahlord Dewald is the president and janitor of Thoughtfaucet, a strategic creative services company in Burlington, Vt. He’s a frequent speaker on applying analytics and data to creative marketing endeavors.


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