The ROI Revolution Blog

Time on Page and Time on Site – How Confident Are You?

May 29, 2008

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Ah, Average Time on Page and Average Time on Site – what strange metrics. They sound so simple, but as I hope to point out in this article, both must be treated with caution. Due to the way Time on Page/Site are measured, there is a certain amount of error that goes along with them. Fortunately, there’s a way to measure this error.

In the interest of getting to the point, I’ve provided two versions of this article. The first version is the short version. No proof, just the final answer. For those of you who demand proof (as I hope you do) – I’ve also provided the long version, with diagrams and Algebra and everything. Feel free to choose the version that suits you!

SHORT VERSION

Time on Page is more credible when a page has a lower Exit Rate, and Time on Site is more reliable when a source/medium/etc. has a lower Bounce Rate.

Confidence in Time on Page
Applies only to a page or group of pages

100% – Exit Rate

Example: The Exit % for my home page, /index.htm, is 30%, so confidence in Time on Page is 70%.

In other words, the Time on Page only applies to 70% of my home page views, and I know absolutely nothing about the other 30% – other than they all resulted in exits.

True Time on Site
Applies to any source, medium, campaign, keyword, ad, or user defined value

Average Time on Site / (1 – Bounce Rate)

Example: My AdWords traffic has a Bounce Rate of 40%, and Google Analytics has my Avg. Time on Site for AdWords as 00:01:00 (1 minute)

So:

True Time on Site is 1/(1-.40) = 1/.6 = 1.67 = 1m 40s

My True Time on Site is 1m 40s, which represents 60% of my AdWords traffic.

Also, the Time on Site is unknown for 40% of my AdWords traffic.

END OF SHORT VERSION

I don’t expect anyone to take my word for any of this, and I love to talk about these kinds of things, so I’ve provided a longer version for those that might be interested in how I came to the above conclusions.

Author Eric Peterson Coming to Cary, NC for Web Analytics Wednesday

May 16, 2008

Eric_T_Peterson - ONLINE.jpgWednesday, May 21st, 2008 at 6:00pm EST, Eric Peterson, the Chief Executive Officer & Principal Consultant at Web Analytics Demystified, Inc. will be presenting at SAS.

Eric is the author of Web Analytics Demystified, Web Site Measurement Hacks and The Big Book of Key Performance Indicators. He is a long-time member of the web analytics community and a frequent speaker who is often cited in articles about web analytics.

Eric will be here for our own Web Analytics Wednesday. He will be giving a presentation on The Future of Web Analytics and taking questions from the audience followed by food and drinks.

SAS Institute, Inc. has graciously agreed to sponsor this event! It will be located in the SAS Atrium Located in Building R on SAS Campus and beer, wine and light hors d’oeuvres will also be provided by SAS.

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The host of this event is none other than Richard Foley, the World Wide Product Manager at SAS, and Former President Web Analytics Association.

Join us. Register today if you live in the Research Triangle Park, NC area.

Directions:
Getting to Bldg R
Go through the main gate located near Umstead Hotel, take the 3rd right (just follow the signs).
Go over a bump and take the next Right into the main parking lot. (You are there)
Enter the tall white building and welcome to the SAS Campus Bldg R
(If you experience problems finding the building call Richard Foley at 919-624-7163)

Landing Page Magic: Top 3 Tips

May 14, 2008

As many of you know, your landing page is the page that visitors see after clicking on one of your ads, such as a Google AdWords ad.

This page could be part of your website or a special page you created just for this purpose.

Your landing pages are a core ingredient that can make or break the success of your advertising.

Why? Because your advertising doesn’t exist in a vacuum. On average visitors spend less than 10 seconds looking at a landing page to decide if they want to read more, or click that ‘back’ button and leave.

With the rallying cry “Landing Pages Forever!” behind us, we came up with 3 tips for stirring a little magic into your own landing pages.

1.) The Ad And Landing Page Should Match.

This may seem like common sense, but in reality you often don’t see this. If your ad holds out the tantalizing promise of 10% Off, make sure that same promise is reflected in the landing page headline and content.

When a visitor is searching for something, they know they have a whole page full of search results just one click away. If your ad-to-landing-page-progression doesn’t make sense to them they are just going to move on to the next result.

2.) Focus On Getting Your Visitors To Do 1 Thing

While I’m surfing the internet, I often see landing pages that go to either extreme – they don’t tell me to do anything, or they try to get me to do a million things. Both of these tactics are confusing and will water down the power of your landing page.

The key is to decide the one key action you want your visitors to take on this landing page, and then TELL them. Don’t make them guess or hunt around!

Your visitors aren’t stupid. Few people give 100% of their attention to reading your landing page. They’re also busy worrying if they left the coffee pot on this morning or that big report the boss wants them to finish by the end of the week. Your landing page has to make use of the narrow slice of attention you get and be crystal clear about what they should do.

3.) Include A Prominent Subscription Form Or Checkout Option

This ties in to #2. Once you have decided exactly what you want your visitors to do on your landing page, don’t make them click around on a massive treasure hunt to do it.

Make sure they can follow your instructions easily right on the landing page itself. Part of making something easy is making it prominent – don’t make the form tiny, or bury it all the way at the bottom of a 10-mile-long landing page.

ROI Revolution used the Google Website Optimizer Tools to set up an experiment for a client’s landing page. After intensive research in his field, his competition, and his ideal customer, we designed a Google Website Optimizer experiment where we tested 3 different headlines, 3 different images, and 4 different button text versions.

The best combination of the test variables resulted in an improvement of 221% over his original page.

Now the pay-per-click advertising he is bidding on to drive traffic to that landing page is 221% more effective than it was on the old landing page, and he doesn’t have to spend a dime more on his pay-per-click advertising for that sustainable increase.

Using Website Optimizer with Google Analytics NEW!!

May 12, 2008

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You may remember that back in April of ’07, I came up with a way to get your Google Website Optimizer multivariate experiment data to show up in Google Analytics. While useful, there were a few drawbacks that I’m sure some of you have noticed, and it wasn’t the easiest thing to implement. After getting a lot of great feedback from users, I’ve come up with a new script that has many advantages over the old method:

  • Uses easier implementation
  • Works with both ga.js and urchin.js (make sure you use the right instructions below for Step 2)
  • Includes error-handling so that a JavaScript error no longer occurs if an experiment is not yet running or is paused, stopped, or completed
  • Features automatic page name tracking – no more changing the Google Analytics code on the page
  • No longer replaces regular page reporting

As a refresher, the whole point of this integration is to allow you to make the most of your experiments. While Google Website Optimizer by itself can give you a quick look at which combination is best at improving conversion, it tells you nothing about transactions, revenue, micro-conversions, navigation, segmentation by source, and bounce rate. If you integrate Google Analytics into your Google Website Optimizer experiments, you will get much richer data, and be able to get a true idea of how your test is doing.

Again, this integration is designed for multivariate experiments only – you do not need to use any special tools to be able to get A/B test data from Google Analytics.

The first thing to do is find out if you are using ga.js or urchin.js. Depending on which version of the Google Analytics code you are using, you’ll want to use different instructions.

Segmenting by Source/Medium and other stories

May 9, 2008

segment by source/mediumUPDATE: This script has been superseded by the GAREnhancer. All future updates will be made to this new script.

Have you ever gone to segment the content detail of a page by source/medium, only to find that you can segment by source or medium, but not both? Well those days of frustration are over, thanks to a Greasemonkey script I wrote just the other day.

Not only that, but you will also be able to segment by transaction, adgroup, and referral path anytime a segmenting opportunity comes up. Now you can see exactly which transactions are attributed to each source, medium, source/medium, keyword, campaign, new or returning visitors, and more. I’m sure everyone can think of some good uses for this.

To expand your segmenting abilities, first download the latest greasemonkey firefox add-on. Then download my script right here. You should be able to just click and install it if you already have the Greasemonkey firefox add-on installed.

A couple notes here about the script:

1. If you segment by one of the fields, then try and segment by another field, you may find that your options are once again limited. To fix this, segment by “none” first and then you should get the additional fields back. UPDATE: This issue has been resolved as of 06/06/08. Just re-download the script.
2. You can also segment by Product, Product SKU, and Product Category, but this may not work as well as anticipated. If that’s the case, you can drill down into a product and segment by source/medium or whatever report you were looking at and see the data from the other direction.

If you’ve found this tool useful or if you have any suggestions for improvement, please leave a comment. Thanks!

UPDATE: I have a new script which adds a few additional fields to segment by, such as exit pages, page titles, browser and OS combined, and others. There are also some more obscure fields whose purpose is not obvious, so if you find one of them useful then let me know how you used it! Here’s the script.

Note that if you have both scripts enabled at the same time, the second script in the list will override the first. Also, this second script makes your segment drop down rather long, so you may just want to stick with the first. I felt I should provide it, though, for completeness.

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Google Analytics for Blogger in Private Beta

May 2, 2008

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On Wednesday, Google announced that there will be a new Google Analytics interface for Blogger.

Measure Map, which was acquired by Google in February of 2007, has already done quite a bit for Google Analytics, which had its interface completely revamped. It looks like now the team is applying some of its lessons from that experience over to the blogosphere.

Although Google Analytics is already available to everyone, as a blog writer it’s nice to have easy access to metrics that are tailored to your specific needs. Google seems to be addressing these needs with a new Google Analytics integration designed specifically for Blogger users.

According to Jeff Veen, Measure Map will be available ‘as an integrated feature of both Google Analytics and Blogger’. That sounds pretty exciting to those of us that are obsessed with our blog statistics. And if the integration is being designed by the same folks that brought us the new Google Analytics interface, that means it should be simple to navigate and extremely useful.

This new interface is now in private beta (which means you probably won’t notice it yet), but it looks like Google has plans to migrate all existing Measure Map users over to the new Google Analytics system. That means it could be a few months or even a year before it’s rolled out to everyone – there’s really no way to know at this stage. Since it’s in beta, there’s a good chance there will be some kinks to iron out.

So if you use Blogger for your blog, be sure to stay on the lookout for this neat new feature!

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