My friend Lori works at the library. Every time someone asks her a question at work she has a button to press. This counter records how many questions Lori answers. This is an important metric to the library for it measures their service to the public. I asked “What is your most common question?”
Lori said the most common question was “Where’s the bathroom?” The other day some one came in with a very specific question which required quite a bit of research. Lori was with that patron for some time before their request was satisfied.
“Then you got to click it?” “Yes, then I did.”
“Not really the same click is it?” “No, it really isn’t.”
Not really the same click at all.
And that is where we are very fortunate with web site analytics. Customer data which was once very difficult, expensive, if not impossible can now be mined by analytic programs tracking website traffic. This level of data collection is not available in any other media on such a comprehensive level and for such a low cost.
We don’t have to rely on human counters to keep track of visitors. But as we see in the case of the library, to just look at the number of visitors or number of questions answered will never give us an accurate picture. Looking at data must always coincide with context.
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Website Optimizer gives us the opportunity to create different versions of our website pages and to test how they are received by actual visitors. There are many well documented design theories out there. If you want to move past theories and test your actual visitors going to your pages Website Optimizer is the tool with which to do it.
Color TheoryColor theories, which colors will appeal to your audience and have a specific affect or mood. As fascinating as color theory is, it can feel about as scientific as a horoscope. Cultural differences, variations of shades, and the ebb and flow of fashion can be influential in shaping a viewers perception of your color scheme.
Eyetracking Human testing has established that content with pictures of people appears more professional to viewers of websites. Eyetracking studies have collected results which indicate that viewers are drawn to the line of site of the person in the picture. If you want to highlight specific text or a call to action on your site it is recommended that you use pictures in which the person is looking towards that text or call to action.
Unlike print work, where you would choose your paper stock and give a final okay to the printer before production, in website design we do not have control over the final viewing. Different computer operating systems, different browsers, and even different levels of technical proficiency on the part of the viewer are variables we have no control over.
As we make changes to our website how can we be sure that the results from the changes are not due to seasonal changes, adword campaigns, social media posts or a variety of other variables? There are so many interacting variables.
Website Optimizer allows for a more truly scientific experiment. Visitors are randomly sent to the different versions of the same page and their activities can be tracked and data collected to make your design decisions based on the visitors’ actual response to your website and the actions you wish to encourage. No theory!
If you would like to look into staging a truly scientific experiment with your website design we would be glad to help.
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The above graph covers the period of December 1990 to March 2008.
According to the latest numbers from Pingdom.Com, “There are more than 162 million websites on the internet today. We have come a long way baby since that first World Wide Web site. Back in January of 1996 there were 100,000 websites, and if you go back to mid-1993 there were only a total of 130 sites! Not much need for Google in those days,”
Whether your YouTube video has 10 views or 10,000,000, people always want to know the same thing: who’s watching this? Where do viewers come from? How did they find my video?
Finally, Youtube has some answers. Today there are releasing YouTube Insight, a free tool that enables anyone with a YouTube account to view detailed statistics about the videos that they have uploaded. For example, uploaders can see how often their videos are viewed in different geographic regions, as well as how popular they are relative to all videos in that market over a given period of time. You can also delve deeper into the lifecycle of your videos, like how long it takes for a video to become popular, and what happens to video views as popularity peaks.
How does this help you? Well, using these metrics, you can increase your videos’ view counts and improve your popularity on the site. For instance, you might learn that your videos are most popular on Wednesdays, that you have a huge following in Spain, or that new videos that play off previous content become more popular more quickly. With this information, you can concentrate on creating compelling new content that appeals to your target audiences, and post these videos on days you know these viewers are on the site. (Maybe even post your next video in Spanish?) And for those of you who are also partners, the more popular a video is, the more advertising revenue it can generate.
Youtube will be making new features and additional information available fairly quickly — like a specific breakdown of how viewers discovered the video — so keep an eye out as they roll out new features. As for now, you can find currently available metrics by clicking under the “About this Video” button under “My account > Videos, Favorites, Playlists > Manage my Videos.” The YouTube Team