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Tracking interactions on site and what to plan


I come across many requests on vanity metrics, this is probably not surprising for many digital analytics folks.  Here let’s talk a little more about tracking interactions on site and what to plan for.

Traffic to site, a number of clicks to this links, video view, etc. Yes, all of those data are important if the goal is to widen the funnel, but at the end of the day, these traffic driving activities need to yield to an outcome.

Analysts or people who are in charge to connect the dots between data and business objectives/goals will need to plan to assure your analysis don’t end up reporting just on traffic, link clicks, video views, etc.

Here are my three step data tracking principles I follow to better set up a good website analytics practice.

1. Just implement the tracker to track the basics. Yes… just do it.

Yes, you have to go to this step to collect something, to begin with. This is the first step to acquiring visits, page views, link clicks, video views, conversions, etc.

Typically, you’ll work with engineers or implementation leads to make sure the site or the new site elements are tracked. Rather you report on those high-level figures or not are your call, but this is usually the first step most analytics practitioners will need to go through. Here is an example…

The marketing team is investing in generating video assets. All managements will want to see the number of views, so people in charge will stress hard to analyze what we have to get that data up and running when the data doesn’t exist.

You can see this step as answering that question, but another way to view this is really preparing the denominator of your conversion rates or articulate the size of the conversion opportunities in this segment. So the analytics team with engineers will implement video views by video title.

Now, managements are happy right? Think twice…

2. Set up the tracker to tie to an outcome or a conversion events

Now, a good analyst will work with an engineer to make sure not only the video view is tracked. He/her will ask the engineer to track video view completion event as well. Some will extend to track different points (i.e. 50% of video viewed), too. With this completion event, an analyst can answer X% of people who viewed the video actually completed watching the entire video.

Video views are such a vanity metric as you can have 100% of people visiting the page with video start watching the video and end up not watching all the way to the end. You can have 1 million views, but I’m sure managements will not be happy to have videos where 99% of people did not watch it all the way instead of closing it at 10% mark…

Conversion event could be something else, too. It could be ordered completions, a number of video shares, or a number of likes on people who viewed the video segment. Conversions could be any desirable outcomes.

Action Event Segment and Conversion Outcome

3. Make sure that outcomes can give you deeper segmentations and understand the value

At the end of the day, your management will need to digest that data and connect it to business objectives and goals. The common language many of these executives or managers speak is dollar value (or in some form of currency value).

All of those traffic, clicks, video views, how much incremental business value (or dollars) it is bringing for the company is what the analyst needs to set up themselves to succeed in a world full of meaningless data.

Another form of adding linking video interactions to value is segmenting the crap out of it, and tie it to visitor loyalty. So beyond clicks, video start, completion rates, you could analyze to see of those who watched the video, what percentage of them are coming back completing a conversion event (i.e. downloads, newsletter sign up, hit product page, share, etc.).

I’ve used video as an example, but it could be any other events that happen on a website. Here is a snapshot (below) of a particular segment that completed the action events (or micro outcomes), and showing how that particular segment performs on conversions comparing against another segment who aren’t engaged with the site and did not complete the action events.

This is very powerful stuff because you can now confidently recommend being aggressive in growing that particular segment, or ask more marketing dollars to promote your digital marketing program. What are your analytics planning tactics? I’d love to hear. Feel free to comment here or write on my Facebook page.

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Kris Twitter

As a data journalist, I enjoy curating and analyzing marketing trends, and data. The things that fascinate me the most are the transforming business landscape due to evolving marketing technologies.