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Using Your Site to Make Smart Business Decisions An Introduction to Web Analytics David Hoegerman November, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Using Your Site to Make Smart Business Decisions An Introduction to Web Analytics David Hoegerman November, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Using Your Site to Make Smart Business Decisions An Introduction to Web Analytics David Hoegerman November, 2009

2 Why Analytics? Better data allows us to make better decisions Testing site changes and direct marketing Eliminate or at least reduce guesswork

3 Key Points The Basics – Terms and Definitions – Page Tagging vs. Logfile Analysis Using Data Providers

4 Terms Standard Definitions (August 2007) Aggregate – Total site traffic. Segmented – A subset of the site traffic filtered in some way to gain greater analytical insight. Individual – Activity of a single Web visitor.

5 Terms: Hits Hits – A hit is any downloaded file. – Includes HTML page, images, other media, JavaScript, and CSS – In the early days of the web pages had few images and other types files, so “hits” was a reasonable metric. Amazon’s home page has – 84 images – 4 CSS files for formatting – The page file – A total of 89 hits of 1 page.

6 Terms: Page Page – an analyst definable unit of content. – Most web analytics tools allow the client to specify what types of files or requests qualify as a “page.” – Certain technologies including Flash, AJAX, media files, downloads, documents, and PDFs may or may not be counted vs.

7 Terms: Page Views & Visits Page Views – The number of times a page was viewed. Visit / Session – one or more page views by the same user – The session ends when the user has not taken another action (typically additional page views) on the site within a specified period.

8 Terms: Visitors Unique Visitors – The number of inferred individual people with activity consisting of one or more visits to a site. – Filtered for spiders and robots – Each individual is counted only once New Visitors – The number of Unique Visitors with a first-ever Visit to a site.

9 Terms: Visitors Repeat Visitors – The number of Unique Visitors with two or more Visits to a site during a period. Return Visitors – The number of Unique Visitors who Visit the site during a period and where the Unique Visitor also Visited the site prior to the period.

10 Terms: Page Types Entry Page – The first page of a visit. Landing Page – A page intended to identify the beginning of the user experience resulting from a defined marketing effort. Exit Page – The last page on a site accessed during a visit, signifying the end of a visit/session. Visit Duration – The length of time in a session. Calculation is typically the timestamp of the last activity in the session minus the timestamp of the first activity of the session.

11 Logfile Analysis Every time a user requests a file from a web server, the web server can record information about the request. ipdaterequeststatusbytesreferrerbrowser /Mar/2008:12:34:45/ http://www.google.com/search?q=auto+extendedMozilla/ /Mar/2008:12:34:45/files/auto_warranty.css http://www.extended-warranty.info/Mozilla/ /Mar/2008:12:34:46/images/car.gif http://www.extended-warranty.info/Mozilla/ /Mar/2008:12:34:46/images/extended_warranty_banner.jpg http://www.extended-warranty.info/Mozilla/ /Mar/2008:12:39:36/carwarranty/ http://www.extended-warranty.info/Mozilla/ /Mar/2008:12:39:37/images/wheels.gif http://www.extended-warranty.info/carwarranty/Mozilla/ /Mar/2008:12:42:22/autowarranty/ http://www.extended-warranty.info/carwarranty/Mozilla/ /Mar/2008:12:42:22/images/warrantydirect.gif http://www.extended-warranty.info/autowarranty/Mozilla/4.0

12 Logfile Analysis Manual Analysis – Log files are loaded into a database and analyzed. – Very time consuming Automated Reporting – Log files are analyzed and meaningful reports are generated.

13 Logfile Analysis Advantages Most web servers are already configured to produce logfiles, so the raw data may be already available. The web server reliably records every transaction it makes. The data is on the company's own servers, and is in a standard, rather than a proprietary, format. – Easy for a company to switch programs – Can use several different programs – Analyze historical data with a new program.

14 Logfile Analysis Advantages Logfiles contain information on visits from search engine spiders. Logfiles contain information on failed requests. Logfiles contain information on all file downloads including PDF files and images.

15 Page Tagging Javascript tracking code is inserted into the page. – Action is only tracked if code executes – Collects more information then standard log analysis

16 Page Tagging The JavaScript is automatically run every time the page is loaded. It is easier to add additional information to the JavaScript, which can then be collected by the remote server. – screen sizes – goods purchased

17 Page Tagging Page tagging can report on events which do not involve a request to the web server. – Interactions within flash movies – Javascript events The page tagging service manages the process of assigning cookies to visitors; with logfile analysis, the server has to be configured to do this. Page tagging is available to companies who do not run their own web servers.

18 Hybrid Methods Collect data through both logfiles and page tagging. – produce more accurate statistics – gains advantages of both methods

19 Problems with Cookies In 2008, some reports showed that about 3-4% of Internet users blocked cookies and over 20% deleted them at least once a month. Metrics dependent on the activities of a unique visitor over time, cannot be accurate. Cookies are used because IP addresses are not always unique to users and may be shared by large groups or proxies.

20 Using Data Better Data = Informed Decisions KPI (Key Performance Indicators) Goal / Conversion Tracking ROI analysis A / B Testing

21 KPI (Key Performance Indicators) What indicators are most important to your business? – First Time Visitors – Prior Visitors – Abandonment Rates – Transactions – Revenue – Page Views / Visitor

22 Goal / Conversion Tracking Every site should have goals of actions they want users to perform. – Make a purchase – Request for quote – Visit contact page Many analytics programs can track user defined goals and even shopping cart transactions.

23 A/B Testing Not sure which choice is the right one? Try both options and test to see which one is best. – Different versions of the same page – Times to send newsletters – Wording on ad copy

24 ROI Analysis Return on Investment – for every dollar in advertising, how much revenue is generated. Allows advertisers to – Fix or suspend underperforming avenues – Exploit top performers Take out the guess work

25 Fine Tuning Initial Conversion Rate of 1% A minor change to the site makes an extra 1 out of every 1,000 visitors convert Implement 10 of these changes and you’ve doubled your online business

26 Unique Landing Pages for Campaign Tracking You can set up unique landing pages for different advertising campaigns.

27 Robots All measures and metrics assume that they relate to an action by a human visitor. This is implied by the reference to unique visitor in most of the definitions. – The types of non-human “visitors” include robots, spiders and website crawlers that periodically scan or methodically download (scrape) content from a website. – Many identify themselves via the user agent in the HTTP request that allows the website to provide a different version of the content to aide search engines and content aggregators. – There are many that do not identify themselves and can be confused with human traffic. Each web analytic provider has various techniques for identifying and filtering this traffic.

28 Reporting Variations No two metrics packages will yield identical reports – Tracking method – Visit Duration – Setup and Configuration No system is 100% accurate – Use to analyze trends

29 Reporting Variations A customer added a coupon code to an sent out to registered users. – One system showed the coupon accounted for $2,700 in sales. – Another tracking system showed the campaign only resulted in $2,400 in sales. – The 2 nd system only tracked users who clicked a link in the to get to the site and not users who came to the site via search engines.

30 Error Tracking Most Hybrids and Log Analysis Packages have error reporting 404 : File Not Found 402 : Forbidden 500 : Server Error

31 AW Stats Free One of most common systems Very basic

32 Google Analytics Free Page Tagging Service Excellent ROI tracking

33 Urchin Hybrid Expensive Merges best of both worlds

34 In Summary Better information helps you manage your business Pick the system that is right for your needs Track KPI and ROI The best system is worthless if you never look at it

35 Questions CONTACT INFO: David Hoegerman Download Presentation at

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39 Supplemental Information I’ve included many slides showing examples of how some content is “optimized” for search engines. The process involves making minor revisions to content to ensure keywords are included and adding links to other pages within the text.

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