In May 2008, while working with CableOrganizer.com in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and writing for WebAnalyticsDemystified.com as a blogger, we developed a concept to understand how a user interacted with the digital purchasing process. We started by introducing our concepts through the blog and asking for participants in that discussion to avail themselves. At the time, there was not really much response, so we went about doing the research into the statistics associated with the definitions and have, for 8 years nearly, been dedicated to acquiring additional knowledge about that journey. Today, we still work to refine our method and help clients discover how THEIR users interact with the purpose of their digital presence.
For your enjoyment, and a re-introduction of the topic as it was originally conceived, here’s that blog post, in its entirety:
Thinking Outside of Out of the Box in Commercial Web Analytics
Settling for Packaged Metrics and Reports Can Be a Dangerous Game
By Daniel Shields (originally published on WebAnalyticsDemystified – May 2008)
If you were a kid once, and I suppose we all were, you may have learned that no single manufacturer of bikes got every part right. So, in order to improve the quality of the finished unit, you have to purchase and install superior components which lighten the bike, make it operate more efficiently, offer comfort or convenience to the skillful rider. In the end, you might have upgrades and customization over 30-35% of your bike. The same idea applies across the board for just about everything.
So, why then, settle for the factory state of your web analytics tool?
Looking around for people to discuss many of their calculated metrics can be difficult. Joseph and Eric and their ongoing banter on “Engagement” certainly merits its share of attention. This was the primary topic recently at the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit in San Francisco and a tremendous panel discussion between the aforementioned as well as Gary Angel from Semphonic and moderated by Robbin Steif from Lunametrics. Aside from the ubiquitous topic of Engagement, there is so little available on what to do to hammer stats together for better understanding. People seem to guard their special configurations very closely. A few resources, however, are making their way into the world.
Dustin Wallace is at least one resource whom appears to want to share. Dustin is, according to what information is available on his posts, a relatively new blogger working in analytics at Sun Microsystems. 2 of his 5 posts available discuss manipulating packaged metrics for a better understanding of performance indications. In these, he discusses a formula to help draw comparisons over particular time frames and goes in closer on Bounce Rate (he breaks these up into ‘Exit Rate’, ‘Soft Bounce’ and ‘Hard Bounce’ and lays out there craft and execution in Omniture SiteCatalyst).
Another guy, Vijay Bathula, is doing analytics for Hewlett-Packard, publishing a blog discussing ‘advanced web metrics‘ and trying to develop some interesting concepts. A particularly attractive metric which Vijay brings to light is what he calls ‘Time2Click’. He states:
“Time2Click is the metric that tells the average amount of time that was taken in order to click a link on a web page. This metric helps web masters and marketers on how much time at an average, visitors are taking for making a decision to click a link or button on the web page. This metric is simple to calculate and great use to optimize the call-to-action buttons, positioning, anchor text in the links and much more without using any other expensive Split-Testing or multivariate testing tools.“
This promotes a clever angle for thinking about testing and a great sense of what I’m trying to relay by posting here. Formal metrics a great for the purpose of executive reporting, however, when being used by the analyst, especially one involved in heavily process-oriented practice, thinking outside of the box means going beyond what comes in the box.
An Invitation to a Discussion and Pending Project to Build Collaborative Set of eCommerce Calculated Metrics
My work recently, and in the context of this highly charged discussion of engagement, has focused on trying to build a series of powerful calculated metrics to try to get a better understanding of how people are interacting with eCommerce websites. It has brought me to the point where I’m willing to assert that, with regard to online retailers, a series of operations and statistics can be gathered and placed into major commercial reporting interfaces to ad value to the suite as well as promote a more complete functional model of interaction.
Among these I have decided to research, study, and pursue defining the following:
- Appraisal – This is the behavior of seeking information on product queue for a potential purchase. These are broad strokes in navigation based on general term and phrase usage, non-transactional focus and
- Acceleration – The point where the brain begins to move from a general information processing state to a more focused channel. During acceleration, a subject should (ideally) only move toward action and curtail further lateral navigation.
- Impulse – Having collected and been presented with one or several points where a call-to-action or option to execute an objective occurs, the confidence and slightly adrenal motivation carries a subject through an action and transition to a state of risk assessment.
- Commitment – Acting on the information and the excited state of having executed a checkpoint in a system of obligation; this measurement should seek to imply reduced regressive states when continuing through to additional actionable areas and streamlined return to transactional navigation due to acquired trust and familiarity.
- Conviction – The completion of the desired final action. Conviction should be measured by the degree to which a subject does or does not participate in building trust by gathering information as to policies, security, examining financial options, and other potentially pertinent information associated with going forward with a purchase.
- Affirmation – Presumed to be existing in both a natural and provoked state, affirmation is post-transactional and is the return to the site with an abbreviated or non-existent appraisal process. The degree to which the initial experience was positive and powerful should, hypothetically shorten time to accelerate and kindle the impulse state.
I have spent a fair amount of time looking into how these particular points work into the process of making a decision to invest money in return for a product with a perceived value. My resources in being able to do this, at this time, are limited. For that reason, I would love to hear from anyone who is willing to allow me or our team to look at site metrics and frequencies to identify these points in their business model and help build support for a larger, more universal application of these proposed transcendent metrics.
Anyone who is interested, please comment or write to me directly using the contact information provided. Any company who submits for the ability to aggregate and scrutinize data will receive a complementary copy of the publication as well as promise that any sensitive data used in the studies will be protected by the appropriate legal instrument.