Tracking Blogs [Inside Omniture SiteCatalyst]
I recently had a blog reader write to me and ask me if I would describe how I track the use of this blog using SiteCatalyst. Therefore, I will devote this post to sharing some of the things I look at related to blog usage. Hopefully, this will provide more context around many of the features I have described over the past year.
Tracking Blog Post Views
When I started this blog, naturally, the first thing I wanted to know was how many views each blog post received. While I could do this by looking at the page views that each page name received, I decided to take it a step further by defining a Blog Post View as a Success Event. This would allow me to see a pretty chart of Blog Post Views over time and set Alerts if I had the need. Setting this one Success Event allowed me to see the following graph:
However, this metric only indicates total Blog Post Views. It does not tell me which blog posts or even which blog itself contributes to these numbers so, by itself, it only provides part of the picture. Therefore, the next step was to add some Conversion Variables (eVars) to allow me to break down these Blog Post Views by Blog Name, Blog Author, etc… To do this, I had developers capture the following items in eVars each time a Blog Post was read (see SiteCatalyst Debugger below):
- Blog Name (eVar11)
- Blog Author (eVar13)
- Blog Post Title (eVar9)
- Blog Topic Area (eVar10)
- Time of Day (eVar5), Day of Week (eVar6), Weekday/Weekend (eVar7)
Once this was done, I could slice and dice the Blog Post Views metric to see the following reports:
Using Search Filters
Another thing I did to make my life easier was to make sure that all of my blog posts had the phrase “[Inside Omniture SiteCatalyst]” in the title. This allowed me to create a search filter (see below) that only shows my blog posts in the Blog Post Title report. After I ran the search filter, I added the resulting filtered report to a blog dashboard and could be assured that all of my [properly named] posts would appear there after being launched.
Another thing I wanted to see was what kind of an impact my blog was having over time. To see this, I created a 7-day moving average graph that plotted the trend of my blog. In the first graph below, you can see the raw number of Blog Post Views my blog received and in the second graph you can see the percentage of all Omniture blog post views for which my blog accounted. The moving average feature (found under trended link) allowed me to filter out some of the day-to-day “noise” and weekends to get a clearer picture on how my blog readership was progressing. I also added calendar events to provide the reader with some context related to traffic spikes.
One more thing you may have noticed in the Debugger report above is the use of the Counter eVar (see eVar12). As described in the past, a Counter eVar is a way to increase a counter for a particular user and to tie their current counter value (i.e. score) to a Success Event. In this case, I set a Counter eVar every time a user views a Blog Post. Therefore, if you had read three Omniture Blog Posts before reading this post, then the value in your cookie would now be four. This means that in my reports it would show one Blog Post View where the user had read four Blog Posts. This helps me determine if the people reading my posts are first-timers or regular readers. Keep in mind, however, that these numbers will always be skewed towards 1st time visitors due to different computer usage and cookie deletion, but they are still useful to see trends. Below you can see how orange, green, red and purple bars are slowing growing over time, indicating that I am beginning to get some repeat readers (yea!).
However, in order to see a higher-level view of these trends, I use SAINT Classifications to aggregate the Counter eVar values into more meaningful buckets (i.e. Two-Three Blog Posts Views, Six-Ten Blog Post Views, etc…) and create a report like this:
Finally, since we have the name of each blog being passed to an eVar already, why not pass the blog name to a Traffic Variable (sProp) as well? This will allow us to enable Pathing, which makes it easy to see how often visitors are going from one Omniture blog to another. For example, in the report below, you can see how often readers of my blog are visiting the blogs of my co-workers.
As you can see, only 13% of my blog readers are taking the time to visit other Omniture blogs. It looks like we have some work to do on cross-promotion or perhaps we need a re-design of our blog interface to encourage visitors to read more than one blog. This report can be used as a “before/after” for any design changes we make down the road to see if the new design improves blog “cross-sell.”
Wish List Items
Believe it or not, you aren’t the only ones who have to wait for developers! Below is a list of items I have on my wish list:
- Track the “tags” associated with each post using the Products Variable (which allows for multiple values)
- Track Comments Submitted as a Success Event
- Determine how often people are reading my blog posts off the Omniture website (i.e. RSS Reader, LinkedIn, etc…)
Have a question about anything related to Omniture SiteCatalyst? Is there something on your website that you would like to report on, but don’t know how? Do you have any tips or best practices you want to share? If so, please leave a comment here or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to answer it right here on the blog so everyone can learn! (Don’t worry – I won’t use your name or company name!). If you are on Twitter, you can follow me at http://twitter.com/Omni_man.