As e-commerce players’ relationship with consumers continues to evolve at every level, from web design to after-sales service, a US startup has come up with a tracking system that purports to register all the details of an individual browsing session on a website.

FullStory Tracks a User’s Website Browsing Session in Real Time

Tools for tracking website visitors’ behaviour draw on a mass of aggregated data at macro level. Google Analytics and traditional hosts offer a suite of tools to help understand the way users interact with the interface – time spent on each page, bounce rate, preference for a particular type of button, etc. Now Atlanta, Georgia-based FullStory has taken online customer insight to the next level, purporting to track a consumer’s entire journey on a given website. The FullStory approach captures data in a far more active way than for example Google Analytics. The basic aim is to help both customer service people and web interface designers obtain a clearer picture of how site visitors try out new functionality and understand the hitches users may face when trying to subscribe to services.

Moving from aggregated analysis to individual tracking

Google Analytics gathers macro data on website user traffic but cannot identify the path followed by an individual user. FullStory on the other hand tracks the path followed by the mouse pointer, registering exact clicks locations and which pages are downloaded, essentially tracing a person’s browsing journey one step at a time. Basically, webmasters can then replay any given visitor’s session on the site. The company founders have published a data privacy charter, which promises to alert every site visitor and give him/her the option of refusing to have his/her paths tracked.  They are selling FullStory as an essential complement to the range of available customer support services such as San Francisco-based Zendesk’s products. They claim that a user’s requests can deciphered faster, enabling site engineers to boost their responsiveness.

Dream tool for application designers

The core FullStory team is a group of IT people who were recruited by Google when the Mountain View giant bought their startup Innuvo in 2005. Before launching FullStory, the company’s three founders took part in the development of the Google Web Toolkit, which comprises a collection of useful tools for enhancing website performance. They are still not entirely divorced from the Google ecosystem as they have just raised $1.2 million from Google Ventures. FullStory is now already working on a mobile app version. The next step will be to make it easy to integrate their script into native programmes so that people can access their service.

By Simon Guigue