It’s People! Analytics is people! [VIDEO]

What Bouncy Bob, Lost Lucy, Methodical Mary and One-hit Juan will tell you about your business.

"It's people!" Detective Thorn declared in the 70's apocalypse flick Soylent Green.

The same can be said about analytics.

In the conversion lab, website analytics is a clinical tool, sterile in its collection of data on our visitors and their behaviors. It is capable of providing rafts of data and reams of reports over hundreds of metrics. And all of this is of little help to us in making business decisions.

I've given my analytics a more human face, and I think it will work for you as well.

In I use two metrics and two helpful Google Analytics features to capture the behavior of four characters that visit our sites.

Bouncy Bob will spend below average time on the site and will visit few pages during his visit.

Like Bob, Lost Lucy will spend little time on the site, but will hit a number of pages higher than the site's page-per-visit average. It's like she is lost and trying to find something relevant.

One-hit Juan spends a great deal of time on the site, but visits few pages. He lingers on some content before moving on.

Finally, Methodical Mary spends a great deal of time and visits many pages. This is typically considered a sign of high engagement.

When I apply these personalities to The Conversion Scientist blog, I find that:

  • Like most sites, Methodical Mary will drive the highest subscription rate. She's engaged, staying for a long time and seeing lots of pages. She is also seeing my offers to subscribe multiple times.
  • Lost Lucy's are, surprisingly, my second best visitor. She doesn't  convert at nearly the rate that Mary does, but perhaps she likes what she sees and wants to be reminded to come back when she has more time.
  • I would expect Bouncy Bob to have the worst conversion rate, but he beats Juan.
  • Juan visits an average of one page per visit, but stays for an average of more than ten minutes. What's going on here? I suspected that he was watching one of the many videos I post on the site. But when I look at the pages that Juan frequents, I find something different: they all have links to other sites that open in a new window. The time-on-site clock is ticking while Juan checks out another site!

Juan shows us one of the pitfalls of links to other sites. If you open links to other sites in a new window, it skews your analytics reporting, and doesn't seem to really help visitors come back to your site.

What can you learn from the people that you meet in your analytics?

It's people! Analytics is people!
  • Brian,

    It’s good to see you talking about these characters and the different ways they use the site. While it’s common to do this in some fields, it’s not something most web analysts think about. This approach makes it so much easier for management to grasp the meaning of the numbers.

    • Meta, your Twitter profile tells me that you’re use “predictive analytics” which tells me you know something of the ways of analytics. So, I’m thrilled that you found this helpful. It really is a great way to communicate with management, much as personas are. Thanks for commenting.