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We reviewed ClickTale earlier this year when they moved into a private beta. It's a pretty groovy testing app in the same category with TapeFailure and CrazyEgg. Mashable has a great overview of the updated product. I asked Tal Schwartz, ClickTale Founder, for an interview to learn more about ClickTale and he was kind enough to jump away from the launch madness to answer my questions and our chat log is provided below. His answer regarding Israeli startups is fascinating.
Allen: Can you provide a brief background about yourself?
Tal: I am a technology entrepreneur and educator. Over the past few years, I have founded, mentored and advised several Israeli and US-based startups. In addition, I teach entrepreneurship at the Technion, Israel's Institute of Technology. I enjoy learning new things, solving interesting problems, and working on projects that make a positive impact on people's lives.
Allen: What is ClickTale and where did the idea come from?
Tal: My co-founder and CTO, Arik Yavilevich, and I met at the Technion. Arik always wanted to understand what visitors were doing on his websites. He was frustrated by traditional web analytics that provide high level statistics and decided to find a better way to understand user behavior.
Arik and our R&D team developed our patent pending technology to give website owners the ability to watch movies of users' browsing sessions; every mouse movement, every click and every scrolling action can be recorded and watched as a movie. ClickTale also combines thousand of user sessions into meaningful reports of user behavior inside-the-webpage.
The ClickTale service is a continuous, worldwide, non-intrusive virtual usability lab and should be an indispensable part of every website and web application development cycle. By gaining a deeper understanding of visitor behavior, website owners can improve website usability, increase conversion rates, and easily discover errors and bugs.
Allen: How does the service work?
Allen: Is ClickTale a replacement for the analytics software I use today or a complement?
Tal: We designed ClickTale to complement existing web analytics packages. Since ClickTale typically records a random subset of your daily visitors, you would still want to use an analytics package to track all your visitors' aggregate behavior.
Allen: You released a new version of the app today. Can you give us an overview of the new features?
Tal: We just released our new generation of ClickTale Heatmaps which include Link Analytics. The new Link Analytics deliver information that is not available anywhere else about the way website visitors interact with links. This information is combined with the Scrolling Map overlay to provide a full graphical representation of visitor behavior inside the page.
Knowing the number of clicks each link generates is important, but combining that with how many people hovered over that link and you're talking abut a serious degree of data. Still, it doesn't end there. Link Analytics reports how many of those hovers eventually turn into clicks, how much time it took for a user to decide on a link, and more. Here are some of the new metrics you have access to:
- Clicks, we count the number of clicks and the percent of the total clicks on every link.
- Visitors who Clicked are the number of unique visitors who clicked on a link as well as the fraction of total visitors.
- Hovers over Links, the number of mouse hovers over a link. This tells how attractive a link is to the visitor, but not necessarily attractive enough for a click.
- Hovers to Clicks, is the portion of mouse hovers that eventually convert into mouse clicks.
- Hesitation is the average time from beginning of a mouse hover to the moment of the mouse click.
- Hover Time is the average time mouse hovers over a link, indicating visitor interest level.
- Time to Click is the average time between the moment a page has been loaded to the moment a link is clicked. You can now discover which links are most attractive by seeing the average time it takes to click on them.
- Hover Order ranks the links by the average order in which they were hovered-over by visitors. Shows which links attract the mouse first, second and so on.
To read more go to the ClickTale blog.
Allen: Any good stories to share of customers increasing revenue based on the changes they made from the ClickTale reports?
Tal: One of our customers, RestorationSOS.com, noticed within a few days of using ClickTale that there were many service requests made through their website than were never received by customer service reps. Seeing the recorded user requests and not receiving them, prompted an examination of the entire order processing system. The problem was narrowed down to a specific server and, as soon as that server was upgraded, service requests and revenues jumped by 35%. ClickTale turned out to be extremely valuable and had a huge impact on the bottom line of RestorationSOS.com.
There are many more stories. We already posted 4 case studies in our blog and a bunch more will be added in there near future. To read these go to: http://blog.clicktale.com/.
Allen: Who are your competitors?
Tal: We know of two companies that have some recording capabilities: TapeFailure and RobotReplay. As far as I know, neither provide heatmaps.
Allen: Do you have a monetization plan? If so, can you share some details? Are you funded?
Tal: We're offering a variety of pricing plans, the basic one- consisting of 100 recordings per week- continues to be free of charge. Other plans range from $19 to $99 per month and offer increased recordings and advanced features such as e-mail support, advanced search capabilities, a longer recording history, SSL encryption, and the ability to record HTTPS pages. More details are available at: http://www.clicktale.com/pricing.html.
Allen: What's coming in the next 3-6 months for ClickTale?
Tal: In the next 3-6 months we will continue to work hard to make ClickTale even better. We will add new and innovative reports that will provide our customers with additional insights and value. Stay tuned.
Allen: What's the Web market like in Israel?
Tal: There are many innovative Israeli Internet startups creating amazing products and services. The community is lively and meets regularly at large conferences, as well as at smaller gatherings.
Israel is a great place to start an Internet company because there are so many smart and creative people around. Here are some interesting facts:
- Israel has the highest number of scientists and engineers per capita in the world.
- Israel has the highest number of patents per capita in the world.
- Israel is blessed with the highest number of startups per capita in the world.
- There are more Israeli startups listed on the NASDAQ than any other country outside of North America.
I think you will be hearing about many more Internet startups coming out of Israel in the future.
Allen: Which RSS feeds are you reading these days?
Tal: Techcrunch, Paul Graham and Guy Kawasaki.
After the Gmail issues surfaced yesterday about mailboxes being deleted and so forth, I took a look at how long a Beta period Gmail has been in. Pick the right answer from the choices below:
- 6 months
- 3 days
- 12 hours
- 6 years
- over 30 months
The correct answer is over 30 months. So with a huge team of developers, designers and engineers, the product is still not ready for primetime? Or does it mean that they actually put it out in 2004 with no testing and are using this 3 year period for testing?
Look at Flickr. They are no longer in Beta, now they are in Gamma. WTF is Gamma.
Are these companies using the umbrella of the Latin language to cover their asses in case of an issue?
I am all for public testing for a number of reasons including: cost, feedback, generating buzz for product, etc. But how long is just too long?
I believe it is now time for the gift wrapping to come off the Gmail Beta box. Let's get it into production folks. Let's remove the Beta from the logo. Let's do it now. To help them, I am taking the Beta packaging off myself, I think 30 years has been long enough!
Having been in the web world since it began, I know that web professionals are always trying to perfect their craft. There are loads of web analytics tools which can provide reports of who went where, how, when. There are very expensive testing tools on the market. When I first heard about CrazyEgg, I had to check it out. I love optimizing a web site until my fingers bleed. Isn’t it our responsibility to get the best return on investment for our clients (whether external or ourselves)?
I really like what the CrazyEgg team is doing. They are providing a quick, easy-to-use, reliable way to test web pages. I wanted to find out more so I gave the CrazyEgg CEO, Hiten Shah a call. I hope he does not mind me saying this, but he has one of the best minds of anyone I have ever met. A great business mind to go along with the web side. I really enjoyed our conversation and hope you will get something out of it as well.
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Below is a partial text transcript of the audio interview. Please listen to the audio for the entire discussion.
Allen: Why don’t we start with a little background about who you are and where you are from.
Hiten: My name is Hiten Shah and I am one of the founders of CrazyEgg. We had an Internet marketing company that did SEO, Internet marketing and consulting. I started it about 4 years ago with my brother-in-law. We decided to create some web applications and CrazyEgg is one of the biggest so far.
Allen: What does CrazyEgg do and why the name CrazyEgg?
Hiten: CrazyEgg helps you visualize your visitors. What that means is that it gives you a clear understanding of where people are clicking on a web page with visual heatmap and visual overlay. It is mainly a testing platform that helps you improve your web site. And so we decided to use it for our heatmap, data visualization software called CrazyEgg.
We came up with the name very randomly some years ago because we wanted to start a web design company several years ago but that never happened.
Allen: I have seen a lot of press and a lot of it talks about CrazyEgg as an analytics tool. Do you consider CrazyEgg an analytics tool?
Hiten: I do not consider CrazyEgg a web analytics tool. I think of it as a testing platform to help people improve their web site.
Allen: What is your role with CrazyEgg?
Hiten: We wear many hats here. My official title is CEO but that does not go far in a startup. I usually take care of all of the support and product development.
Allen: What is the value proposition for CrazyEgg?
Hiten: People should signup for CrazyEgg because they want to improve the design, layout and content of their web site. And they want to make people convert into buyers or any kind of goal on your web site, CrazyEgg can help you get there.
Allen: In the CrazyBlog there was a mention of 5 million tracked clicks – how cool is that? Is this the kind of number you were expecting?
Hiten: We are already past 5 million and are at about 7.5 million as of today. We wanted to get it out there and we knew the pain we had. We are very happy with the results so far!
Allen: How many signups have you had since the launch? What’s the feedback been like?
Hiten: We have 30,000 users and have had lots of great feedback so far. Lots of feature requests and ways to improve. Lots of people submitting bugs which is exactly what we need and we have been working fast to fix the bugs and add the features that people are looking for.
Allen: Who are the CrazyEgg competitors?
Hiten: That is a very tough question because I consider CrazyEgg a testing platform rather than a web analytics. Many people would consider any web analytics software a competitor even though I do not. We want to provide something different than everyone else.
Allen: Whats the makeup of the CrazyEgg team?
Hiten Shah: There are 3 of us on the business end and we have 2 full-time programmers and we had a design firm create all of our design and UI stuff.
Allen: We must talk about the technology behind CrazyEgg – what is it that makes those maps and charts so cool?
Allen: Alright… I love web analytics, it is something that started with my auditing background – and I wonder if I there is any thought around combining CrazyEgg with any of the stats programs currently available?
Hiten: I think that is a good possibility which we would have to see how people react and how it fits into the picture. We do collect a lot of things that web analytics collects and we will be adding more features to show more data than we currently show.
Allen: Any thought about adding some filters? For example, when I hit the test page as the owner, my clicks and visit should not be recorded. I think this is a big bug in the application.
Hiten: We are hoping to have a feature (ip blocking) within the next few months so that the data does not show up in your reports. It is in the works!
Allen: Any thoughts on adding an agency package – so I could add say all of my clients to one master account?
Hiten: We are planning on something like that in the longer-term six months so agencies can log in and see their clients results. That is definitely in the works as well, great idea!
Allen: Apart from CrazyEgg what other web apps do you like?
Hiten: Very interesting question – I like things on my desktop more than on the web. Overall I like the web apps that entertain me and I like delicious, youtube and digg for the entertainment value.
Allen: So you mention YouTube – what do you think of the deal with Google purchasing them?
Hiten: Someone was going to buy YouTube – I think it was great – they made a great name for themselves and when people think of video online, they think of YouTube. It was almost a nobrainer that someone was going to buy them.
Allen: Where does CrazyEgg go from here?
Hiten: I see CrazyEgg going to a place I can’t even imagine right now. We want to make sure that people can easily test things on their web site and are constantly making improvements. More people are on the Internet today and it is important to constantly improve things on your web site and that you are converting visitors a lot better than before. So we want to provide a testing platform to easily do these things and easily understand what is going on with their web pages.
I expect the Internet to be everywhere like a road you are traveling down, maybe even plugged into your brain and I am excited to be a part of it.
Well we have reached the end of our interview with Hiten. Thanks to Hiten for participating and to you for reading and listening. CrazyEgg has a very bright future ahead of it!
If you would like to participate in a conversation on CenterNetworks, or if you have any comments or questions, let me know.