Use analytics reports to generate hypotheses: basic

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This article is part of The Optimization Methodology series.

Reporting and analytics provide key insights about your experiments to generate ideas for the next experiments you can do. They help you focus your experimentation on important opportunities.

Optimizely Experimentation integrates with many analytics platforms, such as Google Analytics, so you can track your visitors' behaviors.

When you are ready, use advanced reporting to see the friction points that visitors encounter and brainstorm ways to improve their experience. 

To help structure and focus your team's creative process, add key insights to your business intelligence report.

Know your customer

When analyzing your analytics data, connect your visitors’ site experience to your company goals. This helps you see who your customers are, what they expect, and how your business fits.

A goal tree can help you improve metrics that matter to your company with your experimentation program.

Connect program KPIs to key insights about your customers, then use your analytics data to learn more about how visitor behaviors drive your key metrics:

  • Where are your customers visiting from?

  • How did they find you?

  • Where on your site are they landing first?

  • What paths and features do they use the most?

Basic reports provide key insights about your different visitor segments, such as who they are and where they come from. Use this data to identify target audiences and consider ways to optimize your site experience for those segments. These reports also help you interpret the results you collect in Optimizely Experimentation.

Unique visitors

The number of unique visitors directly impacts how long it takes to run an experiment. Experimentation during traffic surges can help speed up optimization.

  • How many unique visitors enter your site at different intervals, such as a day, a week, or a month?

  • When do you see peaks and valleys in your traffic?

  • What kinds of seasonality do you see, and where is it generated?

Consider identifying the number of unique page visitors with key goals, such as purchase confirmation pageviews. If you see high traffic, you can run high-velocity experiments on the pages directly upstream in the funnel, such as the product details page. You can also run more subtle experiments on those pages and see the statistical significance.

If you experiment during traffic spikes, capture the whole conversion cycle in your experiment.

Compare the conversion rates for new and returning visitors. Is the rate for new visitors lower than expected? If these visitors are researching for a later purchase, consider offering social proof on the product details page to help lift visitor confidence and shorten the conversion cycle or highlighting the value propositions on the first page that visitors see.

Acquisitions

An acquisitions report shows you where visitors come from and what channels to optimize. Use the report to identify where visitors are coming from (your best traffic sources) and how the performance differs between channels.

For example, if you notice that a high percentage of direct traffic bounces from the page, you might hypothesize that visitors are coming directly to your site to look for new content and leave when they do not find any. You can then highlight new content and products on that page.

Device type

Segment your visitors by device type to investigate what your strongest performing audiences are. Note any differences between mobile devices, operating systems, or screen sizes and if these differences align with industry standards.

You can determine whether you optimize for the right actions per device type. If your desktop versus mobile conversation rate is lower than the industry standard, you have an opportunity for optimization by investigating pain points.

Geography

Segment your visitors by geography to identify trends in visitor behaviors and find opportunities to optimize for certain markets.

  • Where are your visitors located?

  • How does performance differ by city or country?

  • Which regions should you focus your optimization efforts on?

For example, if visitors in one geographic region spend more time on your site and have a lower bounce rate than visitors in other regions, use direct data such as the voice of the customer to find out why these different segments come to the site, what they do there, what they find valuable, and why they leave.