Badgeville’s Simple Framework for Behavior Analytics
In my last post, I covered Badgevilleâ€™s five key analytics principles:
- Keep things simple
- Store as much raw data as possible
- Donâ€™t separate analytics into internal and client facing
- Stay flexible, learn and adjust as you go
- Never build black box, canned solutions
We believe in getting the basics right before we evolve complexity. What does that mean in terms of building the right data processing and visualization engine? It means identifying what’s most important and focusing on it. How? By talking to everyone involved, both internally and externally.
Analytics is empty without the proper consumer. It’s not about recording and measuring everything and producing numerous and complicated reports and dashboards. It’s about narrowing in on what really drives the business and surfacing it in the best, most easily digestible way possible. And what’s important varies by business unit and each individual client. One may be interested in getting more users to visit the site and load multiple pages, or getting core users to return regularly, or to tweet about what they saw to all of their followers, or to buy something from a sponsor. These various scenarios fall into different categories and require different approaches.
So let’s start with the basics and lay out a simple framework for the different types of metrics that most modern web destinations should be paying attention to:
- User acquisition and “accounting”
This is the 10K feet overview of your product: how many users do you have? Are you growing? Are you getting new users or reengaging the old? What’s the demographic breakdown? Are you affected by daily/weekly/seasonal trends?
- User retention
Simply put, do you keep the users you bring in? For how long? Are certain cohorts retaining better than others? Are their times when you are significantly more or less successful?
- User Engagement
This is our bread and butter. What are your users doing? How often? Is their experience rich or stale? Are they progressing? Are certain activities performed much more (or less) than others? Are your users spreading the word?
(Most would probably add “conversion” to the list, but I’d say that’s a subset of #3, being just one more activity in a chain of events. There’s also the can of worms that is “social” data beyond simple broadcasting, but we’ll leave that discussion for another day.)
Armed with even this simple template, we could go ahead and implement 100 different metrics, combining them all in a very sophisticated graphical front end with endless buttons and drop-downs. We could populate pages and pages of dashboards and throw them at our clients. But that’s not what we do. That’s not who we want to be.
We want to do things that matter for YOU. What problem are you trying to solve right now? Getting more users? Keeping more users? Converting more users? Are you just starting to grow, or are you a mature site that wants to reinvent itself? Are you running aggressive marketing campaigns, or are you building long-term loyalty? Understanding where you are in your product’s lifecycle allows us to figure out what you need the most. And we always keep in mind that situations are ever evolving, and it’s important to maintain the ability to adjust to change.