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Are you missing these tricks in Web analytics?

September 23rd, 2011

By Allan Maurer

Ted McDonald

Ted McDonald - Web Analyst, Verisign

One of the things Ted McDonald, Web Analyst for Verisign noticed at both his current and his last position, was the amount of junk traffic cluttering up reports with misinformation.

McDonald, who managed the web analytics program at Carfax before joining Verisign and managed web analytics at National Geograpic before that, will be discussing a few unusual tricks of the web analytics trade at the Digital East conference in Tysons Corner, VA, next Wednesday and Thursday (Sept. 28-29).

He is an expert at using Omniture products, like Discover and TestandTarget, and assessing the ROI of SEM and social media marketing efforts McDonald will be joined by dozens of experts, executives, and entrepreneurs in digital media, e-commerce, and the web world at the event.

Traffic that mucks up your data

One of the things he’ll discuss is how to detect that junk traffic and what to do about it.

At Verisign, he says, he has to deal with “A large number of people trying to hack us.” Seeing a lot of Eastern European traffic might be one clue that is happening, he notes.

Another problem he deals with is that of registrars hitting the site dozens of times a day. So to solve that and filter other traffic that isn’t relevant to the company’s consumer report, he looks at IP addresses and domain names.

He has triggers set up in the company’s web analytics program, Omniture, to alert him if a certain IP address is looking at the site’s Whois information a number of times a day and so on.

An allied problem to be on the watch for, says McDonald, is that for some reason, a number of site cruising bots – whatever they are – start visits on a site’s order confirmation page. That can seriously distort results if hits to the confirmation page are being used to count transactions. “It mucks up your data,” McDonald says.How

How many visits result in a transaction?

We asked if there are any metrics people should be looking at they might not be aware of. Mostly not, he says, but added, “There is one metric I like to look at that most analysts don’t: the impact of your pageviews on transactions. What you don’t know from a lot of standard reports – the top pages report, bounce rate, all of that – is of how many of the say 1,000 visits to a page resulted in a transaction five or six steps down?”

That is information that’s not readily apparent and “It’s something I look at that most folks don’t even know is an option,” he says.

McDonald says he’ll elaborate on these topics and others at the conference next week.

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One Response to “Are you missing these tricks in Web analytics?”

  1. PatrickC says:

    Analyzing the web traffic is important to correctly access how your company/site is doing. It is vital to filter out the “junk” visits that should not be counted as a legitimate visit.