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Client Success Story – Elsevier

Client Success Story – Elsevier

Unilytics assists multi-media publisher to optimize their website user experience, decrease development and operation costs, and reduce data complexity.

Organization: Elsevier
Industry: Publishing
Website:  www.elsevier.com
Digital Analytics Platform: Webtrends


Changes in the print publication industry have caused huge disruptions to print-based organizations like Elsevier Interactive Services (EIS). These disruptions can be largely attributed to the transition of many consumers from print publications to online content. In the face of increased competition from online media and declining revenue, EIS launched a prototype website designed to offer a new content experience via a new vehicle while maintaining high content standards and targeted relevance to a highly specialized audience.

Challenges – ensure efficient, intuitive, and responsive user experience

The EIS prototype website was designed to offer best-of-breed content and needed to ensure the user experience in interacting with this content was efficient, intuitive, and responsive. If the website proved successful, it would lay the groundwork for transitioning hundreds of magazines and related print material over to the EIS digital channel and ensure a substitute revenue stream for EIS.

Migration to Drupal CMS

In addition to the strategic purpose of the site, another challenge to EIS was the migration to the Drupal content management system (CMS). Instead of incurring the expense of migrating all content from the existing CMS platform to Drupal, EIS had to identify the most impactful and revenue-generating content for migration.

Overwhelming quantity of analytics data

EIS understood the value that web analytics plays in an effort like this and had invested significant time and effort into their web analytics implementation. Considerable custom tracking had been set up and executed, and a large number of built-in and custom reports had been configured and created in Webtrends On Demand. However, EIS management found that the quantity of data being generated was making tactical day-to-day decisions on site optimization cumbersome.

Solution – KPI analysis using KPI Karta® to reduce quantity of reports and focus on relevance of data

Unilytics completed an onsite review of EIS’ Webtrends implementation and led strategy meetings involving key players to uncover industry drivers, customer motivations and needs, and site optimization opportunities. Unilytics deployed its KPI Karta® methodology to derive the most impactful and critical Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on goals and objectives set by the EIS executive team.

In addition, a script audit was completed, and the Webtrends tracking script was upgraded to the most current version. Unilytics worked directly with the developers of the website to simplify their custom JavaScript and implement new features available in the latest version of the Webtrends tracking script.

The KPIs from the KPI Karta® workshop, along with findings from the script audit, and an extensive Webtrends administrative review and inventory, laid the groundwork for numerous new reports and the retirement of a large number of reports that were causing “noise” for web analysts making tactical decisions.

Results – reduced complexity, reduced costs, improved efficiency, enhanced user experience

“Implementation of the numerous recommendations presented by Unilytics has greatly reduced the quantity of data that web analysts must consume. This has markedly impacted their efficiency and has enabled them to analyze and report to key stakeholders on the most relevant data.”  – Claudia Vaughn, Product Manager, EIS.

Approximately 20 custom reports were retired as they did not align with business goals and objectives or any identified KPIs. A number of JavaScript customizations were also dropped reducing development complexity and associated long-term development costs, page view consumption (which reduces licensing costs), and activity capture processing time on visitor browsers resulting in a faster user experience.

Ms. Vaughn also reported that, “Working with Unilytics was great! Web analysts responsible for monitoring site performance and optimization recommendations can now focus their time on the core business goal of continually improving user experience and providing the best content available”.

In addition, EIS’ web analysts now have the capacity and framework to identify the best content for migration to Drupal, which was a key blocking task to initiating the actual migration.

Unilytics continues to support the EIS development team as they implement the JavaScript changes.

Additional recommendations

Unilytics also provided strategic digital marketing optimization recommendations to be implemented following EIS’ migration to Drupal:

  • Implementation of hierarchical campaign tracking to better classify and quantify the success of various campaign mechanisms, such as the Silverpop e-mail marketing solution EIS uses, onsite display ad tracking (which was responsible for a large percentage of the revenue generated by the site), and affiliate traffic;
  • Definition and implementation of standards for custom event and traffic variables/parameters;
  • Targeted tracking of content consumption to various audiences, including some highly specialized physician audiences that were key components of the site revenue model ;
  • Further content consumption tracking to facilitate activity-based content serving, which highlights key content based on how site visitors view, recommend, forward, and rate content;
  • Additional conversion tracking, such as case study completion, video starts/completes, visitor registration, referrals and recommendations sent/acted on, and an attribution model best suited for EIS’ business needs;
  • One-to-one visitor tracking to ensure visitor experience, preferences, and needs are identified and serviced and implementation of a whole suite of reports detailed to the level of individual site visitors for segmentation reporting and remarketing.

About Elsevier

As the world’s leading provider of science and health information, Elsevier serves more than 30 million scientists, students and health and information professionals worldwide. Elsevier employs more than 7,000 people in 24 countries and has a global community of 7,000 journal editors, 70,000 editorial board members, 300,000 reviewers and 600,000 authors.


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