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FullStory, a customer experience analytics company, today announced it has closed a $103 million series D round led by Permira, Kleiner Perkins, GV, Salesforce Ventures, and others. The startup says the new capital, which brings its valuation to $1.8 billion and total funding to $170 million, will be used to expand its business internationally and enhance its digital experience observability platform.
Dead links, unsubmittable forms, failed scheduling tools, rejected vouchers, and other flaws, bugs, and glitches can litter companies’ websites. Not only do these present barriers to shopping, working, banking, and travel, they can lead to overwhelmed customer service teams, staff shortages, and hours-long wait times. That’s key, considering 89% of consumers are more likely to make another purchase after a positive customer service experience than a negative one, according to Salesforce.
FullStory, which was founded in 2014, aims to help companies build better experiences across web and mobile channels by providing analytics and insights to product, customer success, engineering, and marketing teams. It’s the brainchild of students at the Georgia Institute of Technology who teamed up in the 2000s at a DevOps startup (later acquired by Google) and became the founding members of the Google Atlanta office.
“[The students built a] platform that was originally conceived as a marketing collaboration tool. When the original idea didn’t pan out, the team created an analytics tool to understand why the product wasn’t resonating, [which became FullStory],” FullStory CEO Scott Voigt told VentureBeat via email. “They knew the answers to their product value prop questions were resident in their app’s data. But it was clear that existing paradigms for data collection and analysis were deeply flawed. Event instrumentation, required by every analytics solution on the market, meant that users needed the foresight to identify something as an important moment, tag it, and analyze it. That resulted in endless blind spots, as product managers and designers realized over and over they’d forgotten to tag something they’d never thought users would interact with.”
Leaving their original idea behind, FullStory’s Atlanta, Georgia-based team set its sights on developing a new approach to customer experience analytics. Instead of relying on predetermined events and tagging, they built a platform that collects, structures, and analyzes digital experience data and uses machine learning to glean insights into behaviors.
“FullStory is the only company to taglessly collect, structure, and analyze the most comprehensive digital experience data. This is a foundational advantage, and this is where we unlock value for the [market] category,” Voigt said. “The FullStory platform makes it extremely easy to ingest instrumented event data for a company … But the platform goes far beyond traditional analytics to also capture all unstructured data that companies simply couldn’t collect before. This includes the full context of the visit, as well as every interaction on the site.”
FullStory tracks heuristics and signals like highlights, scroll depths, pinch-to-zoom frequency, and “copy and paste,” which provides a way to understand if a person is comparison shopping or looking up a term in search. The platform can combine groups of similar user interface states across sessions to learn and build a model of the various pages and screens of a website. It can also search through a range of possible “friction events” to see how often they correlate with a failure to convert, applying statistical modeling techniques and logic to estimate how many lost conversions might have been recovered if the friction had been avoided.
“FullStory uses big data infrastructure to … assist with automatic suggestions and contextual comparisons, visualizations, and communications,” Voigt explained. “Once issues are diagnosed, saved reports and automated alerts allow teams to track progress, monitor future incidents, and continually learn and optimize together. Clients can also automatically pull FullStory’s enriched data into their own data science research and analytics — e.g., via API call or webhook — to create rich insights that inject customer empathy into new processes and operations.”
The pandemic — and companies’ subsequent embrace of digital experiences — has been a boon for FullStory, which had its best quarter ever in Q2 2021, with a record number of seven-figure deals and 70% year-over-year annual recurring revenue growth. Despite competition from startups like Decibel and Glassbox, the company, which has over 300 employees, now serves more than 3,000 clients, including Omni Hotels, Financial Times, Peloton, Fidelity, and JetBlue.
Voigt says a home improvement customer used data from FullStory to identify a spike in the sale of garage mats early in the pandemic. A deeper analysis revealed that the same shoppers were buying other equipment consistent with building home gyms. Based on this, the company updated its merchandising and marketing materials to capitalize on the trend.
“The influx of new digital customers and new patterns of behavior requires brands to intimately understand the nuances of their customers’ behavior, including the blind spots, frustrations, and stumbles they experience on their digital journey. These nuances lie outside the reach of traditional analytics solutions and can only be effectively addressed by a joint effort across enterprise functions,” Voigt added. “Overall, companies’ increased focus on the importance of digital experience intelligence has been a tailwind … FullStory will analyze more than 15 billion user sessions in 2021, [which] includes analysis of nearly 1 trillion interactions, like clicks, navigations, highlights, scrolls, and frustration signals.”
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