What’s the difference between vertical and horizontal visit segments and why does it matter?There’s one thing worse than a crime and that’s a crime that serves no purpose even to the perpetrator. It bears repeating, again, that failing to analyze without segmenting is a crime (Thanks Avinash) and a waste of time serving no purpose. What’s the average salary of an NHL hockey player? I would think Sidney Crosby asks more pointed questions. Is “What’s your site’s Conversion Rate?” a meaningful question or just cocktail party chit-chat? Your bounce rate went up from 70 to 90% – what does that mean? It sounds bad but not if you are running the store, and the visits from elsewhere on the site to the store increased from 2% to 3% At the eMetrics Summit in Toronto this April, Jim Novo made the point (I’m paraphrasing) that being a good web analytics practitioner requires being a detective. This contours up images of the magnifying glass through which one views one’s metrics.
Looking closer for InsightPlacing the Conversion Rate under the magnifying glass by segmenting visits and looking at the Conversion Rate for Repeat Visits may be more relevant to you site. Perhaps Geo-location is more important. If you have a winter sports site in Vancouver, your traffic and bounce rate may increase as we get closer to the Olympics but the geographic source of the traffic will probably show visits from locations well outside of your marketing area. If one makes a change to one’s site and notices a drop in Conversion Rate, is one to conclude the change had a negative effect? If one were to look at Conversion Rate for only Repeat Visitors or by a Custom Segment (User Defined Value in GA) of Registered Users one may see changes in that focused Conversion Rate that is quite different to what may be an irrelevant site-wide average change.
Vertical vs. Horizontal SegmentationVertical refers to a hierarchy through which visitors are promoted. On the bottom are the casual visitors. They get promoted as they “achieve” our loftier goals:
- PDF Downloaders; followed by
- Newsletter Subscribers (which requires some greater level of commitment)
- Registered Users
- Quote Requestors
- 1st time Purchasers
- Repeat Purchasers
“Super setVar”John Henson of Lunametrics wrote the first post I know of on this concept and coined that phrase. Using a “supersetvar” is appropriate to satisfy the following requirements:
- Simultaneous Relevance
- Profiles have more than short-term relevance, lasting adequately beyond the visit in which any of the “sub-values” is set.
- Missing the visits in which a “sub-value” is set, should not significantly impact the metrics and trending.
Implementation ScenarioOne of the best suited requirements for SuperSetVars was a social networking site serving content, games, quizes, competitions and other such sticky enticements to increase pageviews and ad impressions. Visitor profiles, whether tracked or not, were made up of membership attributes such as age group and gender and by activities such as the content areas (sports, entertainment, quizzes, etc) visitors frequented, the number of groups they joined and the popularity of the groups they created. Although these were very dynamic attributes that would only be reflected in GA in subsequent visits, the longevity of visitors’ relationships with the site make that limitation insignificant in the trends over time. While other tools may have made implementation easier, their costs were prohibitive. Making the most of creative solutions became the solution of choice. The single value was made up of individual, unique mnemonics, each occupying its own position
- Gender: umf: (unknown/not disclosed, male, female)
- Age Group: 8, 9, 0-7 (18, 19, 20 … 26, 27+, based on date of birth. For non-registered visitors the position is left blank)
- Visitor Status: vrI (casual Visitor, Registered, Internal staff and content writers)
- Attachment: nfcph – None, Friend (was invited), Connected (has 5+ friends), Popular (10+ friends), Hub (20+ friends)
- Activities: xiQs referring to eXpanded profile, Invited a guest, took a Quiz, Sent an e-card
- u8rn|__Q_: Segment of Registered visitors of undisclosed gender claiming to 18 years old and who, as at the previous visit, had less than 5 friends and had taken a quiz
- u8rc|x_Q_s: A similar segment but who, as at the previous visit, had between 5 and 9 friends, expanded their profiles and sent an eCard