Because right now my role is mostly in implementation, it sometimes feels like the world of analytics is nothing but figuring out how to report- either how to get the data in there or how to present it. I want to see some action!
I challenge you all to spend a mere 30 minutes in your tool of choice to find one- just ONE- actionable piece of data, and *here's the kicker*: actually take steps towards that action (even if it's just making a plan). I don't expect the action to only take 30 minutes, but you should definitely be able to find your piece of data and start a plan in that time.
Here are a few ideas that range from simple to ambitious to help you get started:
- Look at your Error Pages report and fix the most-clicked broken link. If needed, use a pathing report to find the page sending people to your error page. This is practically a freebie.
- Look at your top internal search keyword. Figure out a way to make content on that topic more easily findable from your homepage. Ask yourself: would this make a good internal promotion?
- Look at your top 5 highest-traffic landing pages, then see which is converting the least. Make a hypothesis about what could improve (compare to highest-converting page if you need ideas), then make a game plan to A/B test it.
- See which paid search keyword has the highest bounce rate. Hypothesize on how to make your landing page appeal to users clicking on that keyword more, or reword your keyword so it brings in more qualified traffic. Make an A/B test out of it.
- Think of the one thing on your site you wish users were doing more of. Now put it in a fall-out report. Find the point of highest abandonment. Hypothesize about why users are falling out. Test it.
- Find a low-performing call-to-action. Figure out a different way to present it: perhaps a different graphic or reworded text. Test it. (Are you noticing a "test it" theme, here?)
- Take your highest-performing campaign. Play with segments until you see who the campaign appeals to the most. Earmark that segment for more marketing efforts.
- Find a video with a high conversion rate. Feature it in an area with higher visibility.
- Look at your top Organic Search Terms. Do you see a lot of your brand name in there? Find a high-converting product page and focus some SEO efforts there so you can reach users looking for your products, not your brand.
If you reach the end of your 30 minutes with no action plan, don't give up. Spend some time finding a recent success or failure. What's trending up? What's trending down? Try segmenting the data different ways. Make some theories, then plan some tests. Not to sound like a broken record here, but you can't go awry with a well-executed test.
I'll happily take suggestions for more ideas, too. I'd love to make one huge long list of your ideas for actionable data.
Ready? Go team!
When you're done, please come back here and tell me how it went.
PS: If you can't find one piece of actionable data to move with, then either you need to revamp your implementation, or congratulate yourself on a perfect website and implementation. In which case, you have free time on your hands to volunteer at the Analysis Exchange!
This is post 3 in my series on quickwins.
Pathing Reports have been covered over and over. Adam Greco summed them up beautifully back in 2008. He has since contributed quite a few more gems about pathing, so I'll try not to reinvent the wheel here.
So what WILL I cover?
First: pathing reports. I know you have them. They're out of the box. Use them. Play with them. Pat their heads and tell them you love them. Take 30 minutes to just play around with each of them. Think about other variables you might want to see pathing for that would require nothing more than enabling pathing on an existing variable; common ones include Internal Search Terms, Site Sections, and Page Type.
Then take it a step further and do some minimal implementation to give you more pathing reports to love.
Note: To have pathing enabled for any prop, you must contact ClientCare.
Easy Pathing Reports you could get with one line of code
Campaign Landing Pages
With one pathing-enabled prop (propX in this example) and one snippet of code in the s_code.js, you can see where your campaign landing pages are leading people. The code looks like this (placed in the s_doPlugins section of your s_code, somewhere after your s.campaign variable):
This code says: if a campaign tracking code has been set, pre-append it to the pageName. Otherwise, just capture pageName. This can give you a report that looks like this, where the page on the far left is a campaign landing:
I can see of the 24 users who came in off a certain campaign yesterday, 5 exited my site, 2 immediately converted (in yellow), 2 moved on to another offer (hmmm, maybe I can use that in my next campaign), and 2 went on to find out more about my brand. If I were just looking at a campaigns report, I would see 4 Form Submits, and would assume the other 20 users were "unsuccessful", at least in the short term. But now I know that campaign met some other success, just not the success I had predicted.
You can also use this to build a great Fallout report if your campaigns lead to a multi-step process.
Internal Search Page Paths
By simply enabling pathing on your Internal Search prop, you can see the the series of keywords a user might go through in one visit (what, not tracking Internal Search? For shame! See how easy it is?). But let's face it, without context it's hard to know what to do with that data. Users could be searching, adding to cart, then searching some more and adding more to cart- which is fantastic! Or, they could be searching, and searching, and searching, then jumping off a cliff. Not so good. Which search terms are frequently revised without leading to success? In other words, what are users searching for but aren't finding?
With one line of code and one more pathing prop, you can take that a step further and see how often users search, think they found what they want, go to a piece of content, then end up searching again; this gives you actionable data about possible interface problems, ways to improve your search engine, or promote content.
Here comes the code. Let's say your internal search prop is propY and your new "Internal Search Page Pathing" prop (with pathing enabled) is propZ:
This could create a path like this for a user trying to find the right Wug for their home:
>product detail page
>Search: blue wugs
>product detail page
>Search: blue radioactive wugs
>product detail page
If this were just one user, this would be "so what?" information. But if a significant number of your users had searches like this, you could now know that your radioactive wugs might make a nice internal promotion- if users are looking for them, let them find them!
Internal Search Conversion Paths
A slightly different approach to the same idea- let's see how searches lead to conversions (this would also be a great case for using a cross-visit participation eVar).
This could show you a user path like this:
Search: red wugs > Search: red wug > Search: blue wug > Conversion:Purchase
Or, on the other hand, it could show a series of searches that did NOT lead to a conversion.
Search: red wugs > Search: red wug > Search: blue wug > Search: radioactive wugs > exited site
Note: None of the above custom pathing variables will make a ton of sense as a traditional traffic report, at least, not without some filters. But you can easily do a search on "Search:" to filter out the non-search pages.
Also, be aware of how many unique values you might be getting into any of these variables. If you have over 50,000 unique search terms combined with pagenames in a given month, it would have serious implications for any pathing reports.
If nothing else, I hope this post has gotten you thinking about new ways to use pathing reports. I don't think you have to look far to find value in them.
If you aren't tracking internal search, it better be because you simply don't have a business need for internal search, which should be super rare. In *95% of internal search engines, tracking internal search requires nothing more than grabbing a query parameter. For instance, do a search on my little site here on "wugs".
You'll note on the landing page, the URL shows a query string that includes my search term (in this case, "s", though many websites use "q").
It's pretty rare to find one that doesn't have the search term in some parameter or another. Go to your own internal search, see what (if any) query string is catching the keyword.
Now that I know the parameter (again, "s" in this case), I can add this line of code to my s_code's s_doPlugins section (assuming propX and eVarX has been enabled and set aside for Internal Search Terms):
ADDITION: After I posted this I realized there was one more bit I usually like to do. If you want to set internal search as a custom event, you can then add this code:
And voila! Short and sweet Internal Keywords reports.
Note: why use both a prop AND an eVar? This recent Omniture post explains it nicely.
*I'll admit that number is completely anecdotal