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LITA Forum 2012 Web Analytics Preconference


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Tabatha Farney

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LITA Forum 2012 Web Analytics Preconference

  1. 1. Wireless InfoNetwork: HyattMRPassword: 1205LITA
  2. 2. DEVELOPING A WEB ANALYTICS STRATEGYFOR YOUR LIBRARY:USING DATA TO MEASURE SUCCESSTabatha Farney & Nina McHaleLITA Forum 2012October 4-5Columbus, Ohio #lita2012wa
  3. 3. Our Agenda: Day 1• Introductions• WA Limitations and Caveats• Web analytics strategy: what is it, and how do I get one?• Core Concepts: • Basic Metrics • Goals, KPIs, and Conversions • Segmenting versus Filtering • Benchmarking • Event Tracking• Know thy WA tool• Homework Assignment
  4. 4. Our Agenda: Day 2• Re-welcome/homework follow-up• Understanding your Website: Taking Inventory• Converting Purpose into Analytics goals• Best practices: 5 (or probably more?) things to start doing TODAY (like, literally, we mean here, now, TODAY! Well, tomorrow if it’s still Thursday…)
  5. 5. Preconference Survey Results• 21 responses• 17 are using Google Analytics• 5 have an existing web site strategy; several others have one in the works• How often everyone checks analytics: • Never: 2 (and a lot of blanks…) • Once or twice a month: 9 • Once in a blue moon: 7• We’ll have a round robin session at the end of the second day to answer all of the questions you shared with us (and any others!)
  6. 6. Introductions• Meet your neighbor! Introduce yourself, and ask the following questions: • Name, position, POW • What are you currently doing with web analytics? • What would you like to be doing with web analytics?• Introduce your neighbor back to all of us
  7. 7. Web Analytics Strategy: I Want One!• Google Analytics, or AWStats, or Piwik—or use of any of these individual tools—is NOT a web analytics strategy.• A monthly or quarterly report of visits and page views sent to the director or the board is NOT a web analytics strategy. A web analytics strategy is the structured process of identifying and evaluating your key performance indicators on the basis of an organization’s objectives and website goals—the desired outcomes, or what you want people to do on the website.
  8. 8. •
  9. 9. Some WA Limitations and Caveats, 1/2• Avinash Kaushik: “It’s like reading tea leaves.”• Issues surrounding the use of IP addresses as identifiers: • Geographical location by ISPs (and DHCP) • Library/campus network architecture (also including DHCP) • Information about specific, individual users not available• Privacy: while most tools don’t collect personally identifying information (PII), it’s a good idea to have a policy and make a statement to your users about what you’re collecting.• Web analytics tools are designed with commercial sites in mind; we’ll hit library-specific pitfalls to watch out for throughout!
  10. 10. Some WA Limitations and Caveats, 2/2• Different analytics tools will use different terms to describe similar concepts (The Digital Analytics Association provides “official” non-proprietary definitions—see “More Info” slide.)• …but most importantly: Don’t shy away from these limitations! Understandthem and explain them to others and make the best effort to know what exactly web analytics can (and cannot) reveal about the use of your site(s).
  11. 11. Before we get started…• Log in to your web analytics tool, if you are able to access it, AND• Log in to this generic account Google Analytics account at • user ID: litawa2012 • Password: wamonkey
  12. 12. Core Concepts and Metrics• Visits vs. Unique Visits vs. Page Views• Visitor Types: New and Returning• User Technology• Geographic Data• Entry and Exit Pages• Referral Sources• Bounce Rate• Engagement Metrics
  13. 13. Visits• Visits are interactions on a website from an individual browser over a specified period of time.• Watch for typical patterns; what does a “normal” day or week look like for your library? • Are there typical heavy/light use days? • Do busy hours mirror busy hours of the physical library? • Is there an “after dinner” spike in evenings?• Physical library analogy: gate counts (more on this shortly…)
  14. 14. Visitors• Individuals who come to your web site(s) via a web browser.• As we discussed earlier, no personally identifying information is collected about visitors; data collected is largely anonymous.• Physical library analogy: people who activate your gate by passing through it. Source:
  15. 15. Unique Visitors• Unique visitors are visitors who are counted only once, regardless of how many times they access your website in a specific period of time.• To determine unique visitors, your web analytics tool tracks all your visitors by either tracking their IP address or installing a cookie on a visitor’s computer the first time that person visits your site.• Back to our gate count analogy: a person would be a unique visitor to a physical library if s/he were somehow “tagged” on arrival for the first time today, and NOT counted when re- entering on the same day.
  16. 16. Which to Use: Visitors or Unique Visitors?• It depends: which metric you choose will depend on what you’re trying to accomplish with your data• Using “Unique Visitors” will likely give you a more accurate count of “How many people?” are using your site• Using “Visitors” will likely give you a higher count*• Example: If you chose ALL visitors as a base metric for conversions (more on those later!), you’ll get a more accurate picture of total web site use; however, if you’re concerned about success of individuals on given tasks, unique visitors would be a better bet. *Use for LibQUAL/board reports! ;)
  17. 17. Page Views• Commonly referred to as “hits”• The number of times that visitors access a single web page or online document on your site.• Analytics provides detailed information for every page that’s tracked on your site (more about what’s tracked later…)• This data is often the most-requested by non-IT colleagues and/or web content creators• The “Long tail” of library web site content: • Home page always the highest hit • Hours, databases, popular services, etc. in 2nd-5th place • There is generally a sharp drop—the “long tail”—thereafter
  18. 18. Visitor type: New and Returning• Visited are classified as “new” or “returning,” meaning, quite simply, whether they have been to your site before or not.• Neither new nor returning is more important or necessarily better than the other; however, this metric is still useful for tracking trends in use: • A high percentage of new visits indicates that a site is having a great deal of traffic driven to it, which is a positive. • A high rate of returning visitors also indicates that library users are loyal and frequently return to engage with web content, which is also desirable.• What are your new versus returning visitors numbers?
  19. 19. User Technology Information• Browser and Operating System: • Specific versions of browsers and OSs • Screen resolution, screen colors, Flash versions, and Java support• Network: • Services provider • Host name• What are your top three OSs and browsers? Compare to two years ago; what trends do you notice?
  20. 20. A Note about Mobile…• It’s complicated… • JavaScript support in mobile phone browsers historically spotty • Service provider issues: 100% of Blackberry users are in NYC?!• In October 2009, Google Analytics began providing two mobile- specific metrics: “Overview” (i.e., the number of visitors using mobile) and “Device.” What percent mobile are your users?• While this may seem limited, these metrics can be combined with others to yield a variety of useful information and reports about mobile use of your site• There are as yet no industry-specific guidelines about measuring and analyzing mobile use.
  21. 21. Geographic Data• This metric reports the physical location of your users. (Everyone you ever show this to will love it!)• Analytics tools determine geographical location for users by IP address. • Why is this problematic?• Libraries tend to have a regional cluster around a campus or within the city/county • Academics: Do you have remote campuses/overseas students? • Publics: Are there any interesting patterns across the city, county, or area you serve?
  22. 22. Entry and Exit Pages• Entry (or landing) and exit pages show how users move through the Internet, arriving at and then departing from library sites. • Entry=the first page a visitor comes to; • Exit=the last page a visitor is on before leaving your site.• Some notes about exit pages in a library web environment: • Again, library web sites are directories to other sources • While ecommerce sites might view exits as a failure, that’s not necessarily the case with library sites • We can gauge our success in directing our users to other library resources by tracking outbound links—more on this later!
  23. 23. Referral Sources• Shows you how your visitors became your visitors by reporting the URLs of the sites they were on when they clicked to enter your site• Typical referrers for libraries: • Catalog pages • Scheduling software (Evanced) • Subscribed content (article databases, Overdrive) • Parent institutions (college, municipality/county)• What are your top three referrers? Any surprises in the list?
  24. 24. Bounce Rate• The percentage of visitors who “bounced” from, or left, the site after viewing only a single page or who stayed on your site for only a short period of time.• A good bounce rate, per Avinash Kaushik, is less than 35%• Library site bounce rates tend to be higher, partially because: • Labs/commons areas that have home pages set as default in web browsers can have a negative effect on bounce rates; • Library sites, unlike ecommerce sites, typically WANT to send users to other sites, like the catalog, databases, ebooks, electronic reserves.• What’s your bounce rate? How has it changed in the past year? If it has, can you think of reasons for the change?
  25. 25. Engagement Metrics• Engagement metrics attempt to provide insight into how far users are delving into your site• Pages Per Visit • The number of pages in your site viewed by a visitor during a single visit• Visit Duration/Time on Site • The length of time, typically expressed in minutes, that a visitor spends on your site for a visit.• While these are handy metrics, any serious qualitative inquiry about your site should include usability testing with users.
  26. 26. Goals in WA LingoGoal [gohl]noun1. The anticipate result or objective; often used in planning anddevelopment.2. A web analytics metric called a conversion. Conversion = A desired action on a site.
  27. 27. Conversion TypesConversions can be anything, but most tools focus on:1. URL Destination – Target end/exit page2. Visit Duration – Length of stay3. Pages per Visit – Site engagement4. Event – Target action on site
  28. 28. Macro or Micro Conversions? Macro Micro Conversions = Conversions = Measure the Measure the primary purpose secondary of the site. purposes of the site.
  29. 29. Conversion Rate Desired Action Total Visits or Unique Visits = conversion rate Conversion rates put desired actions in context! They show the percentage of how often the desired action occurs. Total Visits or Unique Visits Debate?  Most of the time your tool already decides for you.
  30. 30. Goal Reports Goal Reports = Conversion ReportsGoal Reports include:• Total number of conversions• Conversion rate• Assigned value amount (optional)• Abandonment rate• Funnel (only for URL Destination URLs)
  31. 31. Why Use Goal Reports? Your tool does the tracking! Unfortunately… • Not all tools come with Goal Reports • Goal Reports can be limiting – think outside the conversion box
  32. 32. What about KPIs? KPI = Key Performance IndicatorWhat do they do?Measure outcomes based on your site’s objectives/goalsHow do I implement them? Typically, you use conversion rates. So Goal Reports or however you track conversions. Remember KPIs will be unique to the site!
  33. 33. WA Advance Concepts: Segment or Filter?• Why do either? Helps focus on the data that really matters. Example: Removing staff computers or focusing on remote users.• How do they differ? • Filtering removes data from the collection process. • Segmentation removes unwanted data at the report level.
  34. 34. WA Advance Concepts: Benchmarking Benchmark = A measurement to compare changeWhy Use Benchmarks? • Gives you a target to reach • Helps identify reachable goalsTwo Types of Benchmarks • Internal - compare with previous internal data • External - compare with other similar websitesHow to set? • Internal - Use a comparable time range of data. • External -Exchange data with similar libraries or use an outside service (Alexa, Quantcast, Compete, Hitwise)
  35. 35. WA Advance Concepts: Event TrackingEvent = An action that does not generate a page view.Events include: • Interactions with Videos/Audio files Event Tracking is the process of having your WA tool track • Downloading documents (PDFs, anyone?) identified events. • Embedded widgets • Outbound Links • Many dynamic elementsDoes your tool track events? <img src=“image_name.jpg" alt=“description" onClick="_gaq.push([_trackEvent, • Need to track all your data! spotlight, click, Event]);"/>How to Track Events? • Typically have to add tracking code to the event
  36. 36. Break Time!
  37. 37. Activity! The Directions• Form groups of 3-4 members• Your group will assigned a scenario (coming on the next slide)To finish this activity, be prepared to:1. Come up with an answer the question/request for data2. Explain why/how your group came up with that conclusion
  38. 38. Activity!How would you answer these requests?1. Reference librarians ask: “Where should we implement a chat reference widget on the web site?”2. Communications/marketing asks: “Is our Facebook presence successful?”3. The library director asks: “What are the busiest hours on our web site?”4. The web developers ask: “We want to develop a mobile app. Which platform should we support?”5. The Web Team asks: “Which pages on the site are the poorest performing, and why?”
  39. 39. Understanding Your WA Tool (The Day 1 Cool Down)
  40. 40. Know Thy WA Tool!• Three types of tools• Choosing the right tool• Beyond Google Analytics: Crazy Egg & Piwik• Finding documentation and getting help
  41. 41. Three Types of Web Analytic Tools• Log file analyzers• JavaScript taggers• Web beacons
  42. 42. Log File Analyzers• Software that is installed locally on the web server; it parses and analyzes all of the log files and presents the data in more intelligible reports• The “original” old school web stats method!• Examples: AWStats, Webalizer, FireStats• Pros: local installation=more control; a better choice for large/legacy websites that are not developed in a template or CMS• Cons: sometimes too much information; sometimes it’s not possible or practical to get this level of access to a web server, especially if your environment is shared; some products lacking in modern features
  43. 43. JavaScript Taggers• JavaScript tagging works by adding a small code snippet to pages on your web site which then relays data about site use to a reporting interface• Examples: Google Analytics, Piwik• Pros: can be hosted locally or remotely (GA); easily incorporated to sites using templates or content management systems (CMSs)• Cons: does not work well as a complete mobile tracking solution; special setup may be required for non-HTML documents (i.e., PDFs or image files)
  44. 44. Google Analytics’ JavaScript Snippet<script type="text/javascript”> var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push([_setAccount, UA-3631620-5]); _gaq.push([_trackPageview]); (function() { var ga = document.createElement(script); ga.type =text/javascript; ga.async = true; ga.src = (https: == document.location.protocol ? https://ssl :http://www) +; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(script)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })();</script>
  45. 45. Web Beacons• Web beacons work by placing a small, transparent 1-pixel image on the individual pages on your site• Many tools come with JavaScript and web beacon options• Examples: Omniture, Catalyst, Bango Analytics• Pros: great for mobile analytics or other situations where JavaScript tagging methods do not work• Cons: With the growth of JavaScript mobile browser support and analytics tools, they are not as popular anymore
  46. 46. Choosing the Right Tool• While Google Analytics has become a go-to due to ease of use and low cost, there are many other options!• The analytics police will not hunt you down if you use multiple tools on one or more of your sites.• An analytics tool that works well for one of your web sites might not work well for another.• Evaluate your needs: • How/where is the data stored? • Do you need to track outbound links? • Do the reporting features meet your needs? • What do you want to find out during usability testing?
  47. 47. Beyond GA: Crazy EggVendor: Crazy EggURL: www.crazyegg.comPricing: Free trials are available for thirty days, after whichmonthly subscription is required; basic, standard, plus, and proplans available, all under $100 per month.Hosting: Remote and/or vendor onlySupport: Help center, FAQ, email and phoneOpen source: NoType: JavaScript taggingFeatures and suggested uses for libraries: Heat map, scrollmap, overlay, and “confetti” reports, all highly useful forobserving user behavior during the redesign process & beyond
  48. 48. Beyond GA: PiwikVendor: OpenXURL: FreeHosting: Local onlySupport: Documentation, FAQs, blog, forumOpen source: YesType: JavaScript tagging (but requires local download for datastorage)Features and suggested uses for libraries: Touted as an open-source response to Google Analytics; provides general-purposewebsite data tracking and reporting; mobile app available
  49. 49. Getting Help-Google it!• Official (and non-official) product documentation• Blogs• Ticketing/Bug tracking resources• FAQs/Tutorials
  50. 50. Homework Assignment How do you define“success” for your website?
  52. 52. Homework Follow Up How do you define“success” for your website?
  53. 53. Understanding Your Website
  54. 54. The Triforce of Understanding Your Site Users Site’s Purpose Organization Content Goals
  55. 55. Where to Start?Take Inventory of your Website Identify the website and any related sites Locate any related goals or strategic plan to site Understand the site’s user groups Do a content audit Determine the purpose of the site (primary and secondary)
  56. 56. Inventory Process: ID the Related Sites Example of related sites: • Library catalog • Databases • Journal Search (Serials Solutions) • Prospector (cooperative library catalog) • ILLiad • LibGuides • Facebook • Flickr • University’s website
  57. 57. Inventory Process: Content Audit Inventory of webpages + evaluation = Content Audit
  58. 58. Approaching a Content Audit• Create a list of content - all the webpages, documents, and media (such as videos or audio files) Most accurate count of content comes directly from the web server• Decide how you want to evaluate the content Most measure basic usage of the page, but other factors you may want to look at are: • Last update to the content • Time on page • Recent usage of the content • Landing page or not • Bounce rate • Assigned content creator
  59. 59. Content Audit Example Section of a Content Audit Content Report : Aug. 2011 - July 2012 Page Pageviews % of Total Usage # of pages Library Homepage 366,946 51% 1 Subject Database pages 117,893 16% 33 Database Index 41,372 6% 21 Databases A-Z pages 17,676 2% 22 Guides (index) 17,403 2% 1 VPN Page 15,515 2% 1 Library Hours 10,167 1% 1 Find (index) 6,381 1% 1 Colorado Statute page 5,511 1% 1
  60. 60. Inventory Process: Site UsersList your site’s intended users groups: • Students? • Faculty? • Teenagers? • Adults? Tip! Many WA tools collect • Parents? and report some demographic data. • Local community members? Or consider surveying • Non-English speaking? your population. • Mobile users?
  61. 61. Inventory Process: Related Goals/PlansSearch for existing planning documents:• Mission/Vision Statements• Strategic Plans• Organizational Goals Example:“The Library enhances our users ability to access information and developcritical research skills by creating…virtual pathways for them to interact withLibrary resources and staff at the most opportune times in their learningprocesses.” – Kraemer Family Library’s Mission Statement
  62. 62. Inventory Process: Purpose of Site Why does that website exist? This defines your website’s success. Primary Purpose Secondary Purpose  Main reason the website  Additional, but was made supported, uses of the site  1 per site  Can have more than 1
  63. 63. Finding a PurposeI want my users to…• To find the necessary information resources quickly and efficiently.
  64. 64. Finding a Purpose con’tIt would be awesome if my users could…• Find basic information about the library and library services• Connect with a reference librarian.• Discover library events and related library news.• Renew their books online.• Etc.
  65. 65. Inventory Process Wrap-Up• Be prepared to repeat this process with all your web presences• Keep this process simple, but practical• Be prepared to share• Document and retain for future
  66. 66. Activity: Creating an Inventory for your Site
  67. 67. Break Time!
  68. 68. Converting Purpose into Website Goals
  69. 69. Goal Writing 101: SMART Goals*S – Specific Be clear and exact in what you wantM – Measurable Set the benchmarkA – Achievable Be realistic; you already know the site’s current performanceR – Result Based *Based on George Doran’s “There’s a Outcome is relevant and necessary S.M.A.R.T Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives” published inT – Timed Management Review in 1971. Setting a target date
  70. 70. Break It Down… SMART Goal = Objective and KPI Objective: Should be specific and relevant to the website’s purpose. • Typically, have at least one objective for each identified purpose. KPI: Measures the specific goal to show if the site is successful in meeting this goal or not. • Objectives can have multiple KPIs.
  71. 71. Objective WritingPrimary Purpose: To find the necessary information resourcesquickly and efficiently. Potential Objectives Objective 1: Connect a majority of users that access the library’s databases in quick and efficient manner. Objective 2: Users can easily find the library catalog. Tip: Focus on the major resources or prioritize the ones you want to analyze.
  72. 72. Developing KPIsObjective 1: Connect a majority of users that access thelibrary’s databases in quick and efficient manner. KPI 1. 60% or more of the users that accessed a library database did so in three or fewer clicks on the site. KPI 2. Over half the visitors are able to find a library database in less than minute from entering the site.
  73. 73. Power of Conversions KPI 1. 60% or more of the users that accessed a library database did so in three or fewer clicks on the site. Goal Type: URL Destination or Event + Advanced Segment: 3 clicks or less = Answer!
  74. 74. Power of Conversions con’t KPI 2. Over half the visitors are able to find a library database in less than minute from entering the site. Goal Type: URL Destination or Event + Advanced Segment: 3 clicks or less = Answer!
  75. 75. Another ExampleSecondary Purpose: Connect with a reference librarian. Objective 1: Increase visitor use of online reference services. KPI 1: Increase the number of online chats by 10% in the Fall 2012 semester. KPI 2: Increase the number of submitted email reference forms by 5% in the Fall 2012 semester.
  76. 76. Objectives and KPI Dos and Don’ts DO DON’TEnsure each identified  Go overboard on the object purpose should have at least and KPI creation one objective and KPI  Focus on minute details – Make objectives and KPIs objectives should always tie relevant to the library into the library’s “big picture” Use conversions (Goal Report  Forget to segment reports as feature) necessary
  77. 77. Activity: Creating an Objective and KPIs
  78. 78. 5 Things to Start Doing NOW• Sharing is caring: educate your colleagues• When to pull and analyze data: set a schedule• Test, analyze, edit, repeat: usability and analytics• Measure ALL of your content: segmenting user groups, tracking outbound links,• Monitor ALL of your users
  79. 79. Sharing is Caring• Don’t wait to be asked for statistics; launch a WA education campaign at your library!• Who needs/would benefit from access, and to what? (Do they know that they can have it? Can you customize access to something that would be helpful for them?)• Contact different departments, committees, working groups, etc., and: • Show ‘em what your tool can do, and then ask them what they’d like to know to help them perform their own job duties • Set up automated reporting features to deliver them exactly the numbers they need, when they need it
  80. 80. Data Sharing Best Practices• Keep it simple: approach it at their level• Keep it clean: overly complicated charts are not the way to go• Put data into context: what does 10,000 visits really mean? Is that number good or bad?• Suggest actions based on the data: move them past the “so what?”• Be prepared to promote your WA cause!
  81. 81. Establishing a Schedule• Don’t be a setter-and-forgetter! Put a reminder in Outlook!• Actively report out on a regular basis: • Monthly: Report out on an IT/departmental level (including content providers in other departments) a given set of metrics • Quarterly: Report out on general trends that would be of interest across the entire range of staff on an organizational level• Some specific activities might require checking at different intervals: • Check on your goals at least quarterly • Check custom reports like 404 errors more regularly
  82. 82. Test, Analyze, Edit, Repeat• Make specific goals/KPIs to monitor for major changes to the website.• Benchmark and compare data from before and after the changes.• During major usability/redevelopment projects, use specialized tools that track user behavior to make sure that the changes you’re making provide a positive user experience.
  83. 83. Measure ALL of Your Web Content• If your web analytics tools doesn’t track outbound links out-of- the-box (Google Analytics doesn’t!) set up outbound tracking on your other library resources • Example: how are users getting to your subscription article databases?• Make sure you’re gathering data from all web presences: the OPAC, LibGuides, blogs, etc.• Multi-site tracking: cross-domain
  84. 84. Monitor ALL of Your Users• Keep an eye on mobile trends • Set up a “top mobile content” report• Segment/filter different groups: • On campus versus off campus use • Staff versus public use
  85. 85. Q&A, Wrap-Up
  86. 86. More Info…• Avinash Kaushik: • Web Analytics: An Hour a Day • Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability and Science of Customer Centricity• Digital Analytics Association:• GA Conversion University (tutorials)• Kate Marek: Web Analytics in the Library, ALA TechSource• Coming soon! Farney & McHale, LITA Guide: Web Analytics Strategies for Information Professionals
  87. 87. Contact Info Tabatha Farney Nina McHaleAssistant Professor, Web Assistant Systems Services Librarian Administrator University of Colorado Arapahoe Library District Colorado Springs @ninermac