A new real-time web analytics platform Spinnakr is launching out of its closed beta today, accompanied by a seed round of just under a million from Andreessen Horowitz, 500 Startups, Point Nine Capital, Sand Hill Angels, and others. Though analytics is already a crowded space, Spinnakr’s product is offering something different – it’s bringing the intelligence of a data scientist to all web publishers, while also offering tools allowing its customers to immediately take action on the insight provided.
Spinnakr was founded a year and a half ago by former college debate rivals, Adam Bonnifield and Michael Mayernick. The two had built some of the first online targeting systems used in politics, including fundraising tool Giv.to, which helped them raise millions for political campaigns over the years.
Deciding to get out of politics for what they believed were even bigger opportunities in data analysis, the two decided to focus on how they could use their expertise to build a new kind of web analytics service.
“If you look at the way analytics products are built…they’re built for people who want to do data analysis,” explains Bonnifield. “Even Google Analytics is even too complicated for the average person to get value out of,” he adds. “There’s always been this assumption that you need to ask a human being to sit between the customer of the data and the data itself, and do all this analysis on it to understand it. So we thought, what if we tried to build a system that would just automate all that analysis?”
With Spinnakr, they did.
The web analytics product provides the insights and the recommendations, and it even enables you to take action to respond to its suggestions based on trends it’s spotting. Like other real-time web analytics systems, Spinnakr can help spot things like traffic spike, search queries leading users to the site, and other important events that even human eyes might miss.
However, instead of putting these into a dashboard that others have to sit and watch to glean an understanding of what’s happening on the site, Spinnakr’s “insight engines” track events, rank them by importance, then drop the data into a feed that looks something like a news feed. Plus, if the trend or event the system spots is urgent, it can alert customers via email or through notifications in a web browser extension.
Then there’s the really clever bit — Spinnakr also helps customers take action on its recommendations. Using the same bit of code that helps it with the web analytics and tracking, the system also lets customers immediately manipulate the content on their website to address the event or trends, even catering to a specific kind of searcher with a custom message.
You may have seen things like this before — like when a blog greets visitors with a “welcome Google Searcher!” message, for example. But Bonnifield explains that Spinnakr’s system is platform-agnostic (while those other messages are often crafted via WordPress plugins), and it can also do much more.
“It’s quite sophisticated,” he says. “Not only can it drop in messaging along the top, it can also let you choose headlines or place content into the body of the website. And all of that can be controlled easily with our visual editor.”
The system can target anything you want, whether it’s changes in visitor loyalty or the geolocation of visitors. It can spot an influx of job seekers for example, those being directed from a particular traffic source or site, or any other specific info you indicate. It also leverages the trends across its network of users (currently 150 million visitors) to generalize conclusions more quickly.
Spinnakr has been running a closed beta over the past six months with some 200 companies, ranging from small startups and blogs to large content sites, including music.com, for instance. Its waiting list, in the meantime, has grown to around 3,500. Today, those users will begin to be let in along with any others who sign up. Pricing is still being tweaked, but the company is offering a free level of service to entice users to give them a chance, then will charge on a monthly basis by number of visitors.
With the new funding, Spinnakr is growing its now six-person team and further developing the product, though Bonnifield didn’t want to delve into specifics on the latter. What he would speak to, more broadly, are other things he expects the company to launch sometime later this year.
“Right now, people still think of the website as a dead, static document – as this thing that just sits there. And then they use tools like Facebook and Twitter and other platforms to do their connecting with their audience. We see that changing,” he says. “We see a rebirth of the website to be more contextual, more fluid, and more conversational. The other things we’re working on are an extension of what we’ve already built…where you’re thinking of the website as a community and less as a document.”