Occam's Razor by Avinash Kaushik, 15 Nov 2010
... What if I was given the login and password to someone's web analytics data and asked to "find something interesting?" How would I start the process of web data analysis right? Even without any knowledge of the company's goals or help from a stubborn HiPPO or clients who just want data pukes? Can I add any business value?
A real challenge!
It turns out, astonishingly, that even with all those barriers (no objectives or goals or cooperation or business guidance), you can spend a couple hours and do decent enough analysis, sourced from your experience, to deliver some minor data-gasms of insights.
Not quite the real intense ones that you might experience if all the foreplay had been done correctly (see the YWA post above), but still never say no to even minor orgasms right?
What to look for:
I am really looking for a balanced portfolio of traffic sources. Search, Referring Sites, Direct, Campaigns. Which one is strong? Which one is missing?
Based on my own humble experience the site on the left is what approximates the kind of "best practice" (note the quotes) you are looking for.
Around 40% to 50% Search is normal. If the number is too big (site on the right) it indicates an overexposure to search rankings and algorithm changes (not good at all). If it is too low you are simply leaving money on the table. And of the search traffic, you want a big portion to be Organic so you are not just "renting" traffic or suck at SEO.
20% or so Direct Traffic. If the web analytics tool is implemented right these are all your existing customers or people from offline campaigns. You want a healthy amount of both. If direct traffic is low, I worry if you are any good at customer service / retention (the latter is so often just an afterthought).