The Acquisition-Behavior-Outcome Method of Mobile Analytics

November 9th, 2011 by

Last month we discussed our Top 5 Indicators for Mobile Analytics and gave you a general overview of the types of metrics you should be looking at when judging the performance of your mobile website. Today, we’d like to take things just a step further and dive into a key method of analytics reporting. This method, outlined last week in a highly recommended webinar by Google exec, Avinash Kaushik, will allow your analytics team to get a better understanding of your overall mobile success and how to optimize your site in certain areas to increase this success.

An Acquisition-Behavior-Outcome (A-B-O) report can be created in any of the top analytics providers and will deliver the full story of your website’s performance utilizing any number of different metrics. It takes into account the end to end journey of your visitors, from the time they land on your site to the time they leave or complete a specific task or goal. These three segments should be integral pieces in each and every single analytics report you create.

First, we’ll take a quick look at which metrics are involved within each segment of this method and then we’ll dive into how to use them to come up with significant conclusions.

AcquisitionWhat did you do to get people to come and how many came?

The acquisition segment of your report should include metrics that give you an idea of the nature of visitors you are getting. Metrics in this segment can include entrances, overall visits, unique visitors, new visitors, etc. This provides a basis point on which to measure the rest of your statistics.

BehaviorWhat happened after they landed?

The behavior segment of your report will include metrics that give you an idea of what your visitors are doing once they reach your site. Metrics in this segment should include things like bounces, pageviews, average time on page, or pages/visit. One of your goals is to stop people from leaving your site without doing anything at all—even if it is just one single click. Tracking behavior can let you know when and where these clicks are happening, or if they aren’t happening.

OutcomeWhat were the outcomes as a result?

Hopefully, after our last analytics post, you created certain goals for your visitors to complete, such as filling out a form, signing up for an email list or actually purchasing a good or service directly from the site. The outcome segment of your report, possibly the most important, will include metrics that tell you exactly how often these goals are being completed. Metrics in this segment should include things like goal completions, goal conversion rate, or per visit goal value.

Once you’ve chosen the important metrics for your site within each of these three segments, it’s time to put everything together and analyze them against a variety of filters: by mobile OS, device, landing page or even search keyword. This is where the real numbers begin to shine and optimization is possible.

Mobile OS or Devices – Breaking down your A-B-O metrics against mobile devices and/or operating system is important to determine which devices are performing the best and which are underperforming. This can assist your team’s decision making process in many directions. If you have a limited budget, you know to begin focusing your efforts on the top-performing devices in your outcome segment. If you have a large budget, you can drill down and figure out how to boost acquisition efforts for poor-performing devices. It can give you an idea of where your best customers are and where your marketing dollars should or shouldn’t go. Taking it even further, you can filter by screen resolution. This provides your team with performance information that tells whether your site is working properly on a specific screen size, for example a larger tablet.

Landing page via Mobile – Filtering you’re A-B-O data against landing pages viewed on mobile devices can provide you performance results based on specific content within your site. Maybe you notice that a certain page, whether it is content or ecommerce based, has a very low conversion rate. You can determine if this is a product issue or maybe a display issue. Going a step further you can determine the value of specific pages by looking at per visit goal value in your outcome segment.

Keywords via Mobile – Drilling down top performing search keywords will give you an idea of what your mobile users are searching for and how they are getting to your content. You can also adjust this on a paid versus organic list to determine the success of any paid search campaigns you are running. Figuring out what your visitors are interested in prior to reaching your site and whether or not they are converting goals is important in making website content decisions.

The beauty of using reports within your analytics provider is once you’ve taken the time to create it initially, it will always be ready to go again. Having the full story at the palm of your hands will allow your team to continuously make the right decisions to optimize your site in the right way. Without including the end to end picture that the Acquisition-Behavior-Outcome method of reporting provides, you will not have a clear picture of performance and will make poor decisions based on insufficient information.

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