Staring at spreadsheets full of raw data, pie charts and venn-diagrams is most people's idea of hell, but we relish the opportunity. We love numbers, and there are lots of them behind the decisions supporting our award winning digital solutions. The data we collect from our Ensemble ecommerce platform is the driving force behind our continual innovation. This site specific information allows us to accurately model how real users interact with our websites, and how they receive any changes. The colour of buttons, the position of elements, brand new features, browser support and much more are all directly informed by the numbers we collect, which is why we hold them in such high esteem.
Over the next few posts we are going to give you a peek behind the scenes so you can see some of the numbers that influence our decision making process. We have collated 12 months of data from some of our busiest ecommerce websites and are going to share it in bite sized chunks.
To maintain confidentiality we will not be revealing the names of the clients we have included in this study. All of the data shared has been collected anonymously and can not be used to identify any individual, group or business. The data spans a period from September 2014 to August 2015. The websites involved trade internationally and offer a wide variety of products.
Part 1 - Visitor Numbers & Demographics
The beauty in big numbers is in their interpretation. Measuring success is never as simple as counting visitors, although those numbers are still helpful in isolation. Knowing how many people use our products provides context to help answer broader questions. Do we have enough traffic to judge the success of new features? Is the website/app successfully targeting the correct demographic? Where are our customers coming from? Answers to these questions and more can help inform;
- The broad success of a website
- The implementation of new features
- The design of the site and marketing material
- The age, sex and location to best utilise for targeted marketing
- Where to best invest future development (e.g building additional traffic, improving bounce rate, implementing new features etc)
What do we use it all for
While we are still a little off Facebook's one billion users in a single day, our ensemble numbers give us plenty of data to work with. Over 3 million page views from 750K visitors provides the scope we need to successfully make and track decisions.
Variations in visitor numbers give a broad view of a website's performance. Bounce rates, total page views and time on site allow us to make observations regarding overall user engagement. This data not only enables us to plan changes, but react to how they are received. If a new feature is shown to be popular we can speed up its roll out across our network. Likewise if we see teething problems, we can take stock, analyse our solution and adjust course where necessary.
So we know how many people are using our sites, but who are they? While this shared information does not (and nor should it) allow us to identify individuals, we can infer a little about them. Identifying the gender and age range of our users allows us to ensure we are reaching the relevant target audience. If for example one of our sites was selling ladies lingerie, learning that the majority of visitors were 65+ year old males*, may indicate the site marketing is a little off course.
*If you are a 65+ year old man who is quite partial to a lace thong, that is awesome. Be happy and go nuts, there is nothing wrong with living outside society's imposed norms.
The combined gender mix is fairly evenly spread across all of our sites, however when we look at each industry in turn, some clear favorites emerged. Jewelry, food and drink, and artwork appear to be be more popular with the girls; the boys mostly favor clothing and electrical goods. Our age range data shows 25 - 55 year olds are typically the most active online users. Broadly speaking this is fairly accurate across most included industries, with only Art showing a spike in users 65+.
So what can we do with this all information? Well if you are a jeweller in the build up to Valentines Day, you could move your advertising to target men, providing a dedicated gift section on your website to gently remind the boys to buy something. Or for an electrical store, you could tone down the jargon and measure its effect on older audiences. With real visitor data informing your decisions, the possibilities are truly endless.
- Part 1 - Visitor Demographics
- Part 2 - Ecommerce Stats
- Part 3 - Technology break down
- Part 4 - Mobile is king?
- Part 5 - Context is everything
- Part 6 - All together now