Scenario reports are useful to measure sequential processes. If you have a check-out process that requires four steps, you can see the step with the highest conversion and dropout rates. It is a very useful report for determining interface and process issues that impact moving customers from interest to purchase.
Scenario reports are designed to measure process steps.
It lets you find that requiring the middle name of their fourth grade teacher in step two is causing some drop out. Who would have guessed?!
However, many sites have processes that look more like:
Multiple paths with dynamic pages, optional side paths, different number of primary steps depending on product, visitor segment, day of the week, phase of the moon, … Admit it, you have (at least) one of these.
It’s enough to bring a scenario report to tears. Don’t get me started on the people trying to read the Path reports on this type of process and expecting useable information on a customer segment. What can you do?
Look at just a single sub-group of your entire data set. In other words, segment. Segment to find usable, actionable information. Data for a single segment is clearer than displaying every possible variation at once. Segmenting not only makes the data easier to understand but better targets the customers you are interested in.
One technique is use a scenario report as a dimension in a custom report. So what, isn’t it the same data? Well, you can put extra dimensions on the reports (campaign id, entry page, traffic source, etc.) for segmentation inside the report. You can also add report filters; for example, filter for only visits that include the “Step 1 Start” to see what visits from that entry point are doing.
Let’s look at an example. Here is an unfiltered Scenario Report showing the visits for a process similar to the second picture above:
|Step||Visits||Continuing to next step||Visits In||Visits Out||Step Conversion|
If we just compared Step 1 visits to Step 4 we would see a total conversion rate of about 8.5%. However, our steps show that we had an extra 2214 visitors come in from a different starting point at the second step. The step conversion rates are useless because of the new visitors at every step (some of which are visits returning from side paths). So how much did the 1437 visits on Step 1 really contribute to the final success rate? What is the drop off point for these visits? We can’t tell because they are getting lost in the crowd.
Let’s take the report above and use it in a report filtered for only visits that include “Step 1”. We have:
|Step||Visits||Continuing to next step||Step Conversion|
Only 0.3% of these visitors made it from Step 1 to Step 4. We get a reasonable conversion at Step 1-2 but few are making it to Step 3. Now we know the conversion and drop off points for this segment. Further research shows that most of this segment didn’t make it past the third grade so had no fourth grade teacher to remember. Ha!
Another useful technique is to lay the report on its side and use measurement landmarks. In our example, is knowing the visitor left Step 3 to look at your company info and then returned important? Maybe not, but the scenario report considers it leaving the sequence. You get an exit from the right and an entry from the left side of the report. By using measurement landmarks you can see visit flow without a scenario report.
Create a measure which counts visits to a specific step. Create measures for other steps. These are the landmarks, the checkpoints that the visitor passes on the way, sub-conversion points. Create a custom report using a dimension of your choice with the landmark measures to see how far different dimension segments make it in the process. Want to see if visits from organic search go farther than visits from social sites? Go ahead!
Webtrends Analytics is very flexible and powerful. If you want a report on the second process above, it will give it to you. Careful, though: Sometimes more data is not better data. Sometimes, just because you found a new and interesting fact doesn’t mean you need to share it with the nearest executive. But part of the power is letting you segment in ways that provide easy-to-understand numbers to see how visitors are using your site. Numbers that let you take actions to improve your marketing.