The problem with most web analytics is that they give you insight into numbers. You can see how many users are visiting your site, when they do so, and where they are coming from. But you don’t understand anything about them as people.
That’s where Frosmo, a Helsinki company originally founded as a tournament gaming company, could prove useful. Frosmo launched its Frosmo World casual game tournament business on Facebook last year. While doing that, it became intimately familiar with Facebook analytics. As Facebook expanded its reach to web sites this spring with its ubiquitous Like buttons, Frosmo saw an opportunity to deliver much better analytics.
Taking advantage of the fact that real people indicate whether they like a web site or not, Frosmo aggregates that information into useful analytics that companies can act upon. The company formally launched its Optimizer tool this month. It consists of a free analytics tool and a paid service that can be used to optimize the experience that return visitors have on your web site.
“We are now measuring people, not numbers,” said Mikael Gummerus, chief executive of Frosmo. “It’s like the social graph meets customer relationship management meets tactical selling tool.”
The analytics are useful because the Facebook Like buttons have access to the information that people put on their Facebook pages. You can thus aggregate the demographics of the people who Like your web site. You can determine their age, their occupations, their job titles, and how often they visit your web site. You can see what they look at and gather statistics on a daily basis that show what kind of audience your web site reaches. In turn, you can take that aggregate data and share it with potential web site advertisers.
But the heart of Frosmo’s Optimizer is the ability to engage with individual users. Now that you know who is visiting your web site, you can greet them by name every time they visit your page. Then you can steer them on a path that matches what their interests are, based on what you know about their past behavior. For instance, if someone has visited an e-commerce site 20 times and looked at the same car each time, the odds are good that user is getting ready to buy that car. The web site owner can then use that information to offer a discount on the car if they buy it right away. Each user can thus be individually optimized, Gummerus said.
It sounds pretty simple. But most companies are not doing this now. It’s fairly new because the Facebook Like buttons only started spreading to other web sites in March. Now, more than 2 million web sites are using them. Those web sites are collecting considerable numbers of fans who are giving them real world, not anonymous, information. If you can better identify those people, you can provide them with more relevant and personalized service, Gummerus said. And that will generate much more revenue.
For instance, you can understand who shares your web site data with the most people. You can see where users are making use of your site and identify the bottlenecks that keep them from spending money. You can zero in on those people and offer them more rewards for sharing your information with their friends. You can identify people whose behavior patterns suggest certain marketing offers. You can also figure out who among your users is the most influential when it comes to promoting your site or products. You can do that with very little cost. Frosmo calls this process Social Networking Logics.
Of course, there are still a lot of people who don’t use Facebook and who don’t click on Like buttons. Their behavior can’t be tracked so easily. But Gummerus thinks that the numbers of participants will grow over time. Customers already using Frosmo’s Optimizer include China’s RenRen social network, MTV Media, Kingnet, Yahoo, Sanook, Ekolay.net and a number of other companies. Frosmo still runs its game business, but Gummerus said the company may now make money from Optimizer.
Rivals include companies such as Google, Omniture and other analytics companies. Frosmo sees itself as offering a service that the others don’t at the moment. The company tracks visitors on a daily basis now. But it may start providing actionable data in real time in the future.
“We give companies information that they can use to take action,” Gummerus said.
Web site owners can get the same data from Facebook Like buttons that Frosmo collects. But the data won’t be packaged as neatly and the actions won’t be as easy to take. Frosmo argues its dashboard-like tools are the easiest for web site owners to create a unique path into a web site for every user.
“You know that companies like Amazon.com can do this,” Gummerus said. “Now, any site can do it. It’s a very pragmatic way to increase your sales.”
In games, Frosmo competes with the likes of Zynga, Playfish, Mindjolt and a host of casual game sites. Its investors include Riistos Silasmaa, a member of Nokia’s board. It raised 1.4 million euros from the Finnish government and has also raised two rounds of angel money.
Before founding Frosmo, Gummerus was managing director of E-Sports Nordic. But he spun Frosmo out of that company once he saw its potential.