Wix: Building analytics dashboards for website owners using Google Cloud Platform
Israeli-based Wix provides a leading cloud-based web development platform with over 89 million registered users worldwide. Through free and premium subscriptions, Wix empowers millions of businesses, organizations and individuals to take their businesses, brands and workflow online. Site owners can choose from more than 500 templates or build a customized site using drag-and-drop tools that take advantage of underlying HTML 5 capabilities.
Wix wanted to offer its customers multi-purpose dashboards to track site metrics and test out how new designs affect the site’s financial performance. For example, an owner of a jewelry site could test whether using higher-resolution images leads to an increase in sales.
“Just offering a high-quality, simple-to-use website-building platform isn’t enough. We wanted to give our customers more powerful tools to help their businesses succeed. So we turned to Google Cloud Platform to build sophisticated dashboards so they could use analytics to find out how to design better sites and increase customer engagement and sales.”
— Gregory Bondar, Senior Director of Data Services, Wix
Delivering easy-to-use, powerful analytics dashboards
Wix created a set of requirements for how its dashboards should work — the types of data such as conversions and clickstreams that can be searched, how information should be displayed and technical needs for low latency and response times under 100 milliseconds. Wix originally used a managed hosting solution, but when that didn’t offer what it needed — multi-tenant support, data re-import and recovery, security isolation per project and cost-effective, flexible resource allocation — it turned to Google Cloud Platform.
Google App Engine collects data that is queued into Google Pub/Sub. In parallel, Google BigQuery warehouses the raw data for recovery and troubleshooting purposes. Google Cloud Dataflow, running in streaming mode, processes data from Google Pub/Sub so it can be made available to Wix customers. The Dataflow pipeline output is stored in Google Datastore. A proprietary query service, utilizing App Engine, helps deliver the dashboards to Wix users by various date intervals, filters and other analytic queries. With the combination of these tools, Wix creates unique dashboards for different vertical markets. For example, music sites have dashboards that can report on the most popular playlists and songs in the last hour, five hours, 24 hours and so on.
“With Google Cloud Platform, we can easily build dashboards for our customers and achieve better solution characteristics. And we can scale fast, so if we decide to build more vertical markets, we can do that quickly,” Bondar says.
Reducing costs, delivering better services
Wix creates and delivers the dashboards with Google Cloud Platform at less than 20 percent of the cost than if it had built them in-house, says Bondar. The savings are even greater because that doesn’t include the time savings for managing hardware and infrastructure. The dashboards are a key differentiator for Wix in a crowded website-creation market. Bondar says they help the company sign up new customers and better retain existing ones.
“The benefits of Google Cloud Platform go far beyond technical ones for us. It’s helped us provide our customers with a powerful business tool. That helps attract new business and keep our existing users as loyal customers,” Bondar says.