For Algolia, 2018 has brought more than the usual fast-paced development and innovation. We’ve seen a continued trend of change in how businesses view search and discovery: not a vehicle for transactional, one-time online interactions, but a part of a new generation of inspirational, personalized experiences that keep users engaged and coming back for more.
Forrester told us that “digital business leaders in healthcare, retail, financial services, and other industries must master the market forces and options for site search—or jeopardize the projected ROI of their investments in these high-priority, emerging business areas.” In Internet Retailer’s first-ever survey on site search and KPIs, 88% of respondents indicated that advancing their product search and discovery strategy is important. Most importantly, it’s the feedback we get from our customers: search and discovery must accelerate user engagement and improve KPIs.
As we enter the New Year, here is a roundup of how Algolia is responding to these market developments and customer feedback.
2018: a year of more impactful releases
What we heard loud and clear is that we need better clarity in highlighting the value we create for businesses as a whole. Our development in 2018 (a quick summary of our company momentum here) was largely focused on that feedback. It is the year we built a series of tools that augment the capabilities of our core API, aiming to become a comprehensive suite of solutions that offer possibilities to customize, combine, and optimize for specific and exact business needs.
We worked on features that would have direct impact on business KPIs such as conversion rates in e-commerce or time on site in media. In 2018, we released A/B testing and Click and conversion analytics: features that, for the first time ever, let businesses understand and measure the impact of changes in their search strategy to key performance indicators. We also launched a new version of Personalization, which solves the issue of a “one size fits all” approach by dynamically displaying content and objects a user is more likely to be interested in based on prior behavior.
We heard from advanced organizations that their user-facing content often lies in various systems managed by different teams, adding complexity and cost to projects relying on such content, including site search and discovery. This is why we launched the Algolia Custom Crawler, removing the need for complex and costly internal project management, and accelerating time to value. Customers like LegalZoom have already benefited from this solution.
“We realized that search should be a core competence of the LegalZoom enterprise, and we see Algolia
as a revenue generating product.”
Mrinal Murari, Tools team lead / Senior software engineer
Staying focused on our end-users, we redesigned our dashboard, both modernizing the UI and improving findability based on user feedback. Our new documentation is focused on use cases rather than just features: we are proud of finding a completely new way to architecture the information and making it much easier to discover.
As a result, our momentum continues to accelerate with more than 2,500 new customers joining us, amongst them L’Occitane en Provence, World Wildlife Fund, Amplitude Analytics, PayPal, PubNub, and Rent the Runway. With their help, we learned a lot about how to approach key business topics.
2019: architecting the future of digital businesses
We will continue to provide ultra-relevant, reliable and fast search and discovery experiences, and tailor our product to our customers’ particular business needs. At the same time, we want to help companies realize the larger benefit of integrating search into their business strategy.
What does this mean for our product in 2019? As our customers’ needs evolve, Algolia will help provide inspirational, personalized experiences that not only meet but also anticipate user needs. We will focus our efforts around the following three areas:
1) A unique approach to AI in search
AI (artificial intelligence) is great for automating a very specific and complex problem such as search. Being a hosted search solution with more than 6,500 customers in production whose configurations we can learn from, we are in a very unique position to solve this problem. We are building the AI that will proactively help every customer get smarter search by leveraging anonymous aggregated information from our various product configurations.
But AI is not a silver bullet, nor a perfect system. We use it only with “white box approaches” where we can give transparency and control of results to our users, and let them manually override specific elements. This approach is critical for complex issues like relevance.
2) Conversational search
We have seen in the last ten years a massive evolution in the way people search. The latest big shift is conversational search, which we have have already worked on with some assistant use cases, and helped our customers add voice to their mobile presence.
3) Continue building the most intuitive search technology in the market
In addition to our strong focus on the developer experience, we are expanding our dashboard to make sure all business users—product managers, e-commerce merchandisers, media content managers, etc.—have the information they need at their fingertips.
We are always working to identify and remove any and all end-user frustrations. With the advent of voice search, we envision the future where end-user frustrations with search will disappear, as the technology becomes more invisible and intuitive.
New packaging & pricing
Our pricing in 2018 focused on the underlying hosted search API infrastructure, which didn’t directly tie to the results we delivered to our customers. Now, we are excited to launch new packages that better tie to customers’ needs and the value we provide by more closely aligning the price you pay with your search volume.
Our new developer plans help to get projects off the ground starting with Community at no cost, as well as our paid Starter and Pro plans which provide volume discounts as you scale. Our Enterprise plans have the highest levels of functionality, security and support to scale with you over the lifecycle of your journey with added features & functionality. With these new pricing packages, Algolia can match any level of growth your organization achieves.
If you’re a current Algolia customer and are happy with your plan, that’s great! You can remain on your existing plan indefinitely. We support the commitment we made when you first signed up for our service, and will let you decide what works best for you moving forward.
We see this rethinking of our plans as the next evolution of our product: one that better delivers value to your users and your company.
Our attention to communication, detail and feedback remains: talk to your product specialist, email us at email@example.com, and stay tuned for more exciting developments in the new year.