Metrics 101 at Velocity

The funny thing about monitoring is that there’s a ton of data to collect, but few people know where to start. A few months ago, Steve Souders, one of the co-chairs of Velocity, asked us if we’d teach a workshop to try and fix this.

It’s a reworking of many of the things we cover in the book, plus an attempt to explain the math and reporting in an accessible way. Here’s the slide deck.

Slides from performance and KPI webinar

We had a good discussion about performance and its impact on KPIs like analytics and conversion with Strangeloop this week. Here are the slides, available for download or viewing, on Slideshare.

Proof that speeding up websites improves online business

conversion rate and order valueDo faster web pages mean better business? Definitely. We’ve seen hard evidence from major web operators like Shopzilla, Google, and Microsoft. But what about other websites? How big an impact does performance optimization have on the business metrics of a typical media or e-commerce site?

Here’s some concrete data on how reducing latency changes the key metrics, such as bounce rate, pages per visit, conversion rate, and shopping cart amount. It’s a pretty detailed discussion, but it if you want to understand the ROI of improving web performance on your site, dig in. If you want to read this more easily, here’s a PDF.

[Read More]

An Open Letter To All TechCrunch50 2009 Startups: The TC Bump, What It Really Means and How To Navigate It

Disclaimer 1: All site-related data found in this post comes from  The company was kind enough to give us a “pro account” to help us research the O’Reilly book that we wrote called Complete Web Monitoring (thanks, you rock!).  However, did not sponsor this post (nor did any company, for that matter).  And yes, we know – numbers are simply estimates.

Disclaimer 2: I (Sean) worked for Akoha as Community Gardener while we launched at TechCrunch50 2008; but I’m now doing metrics, web analytics, performance, and social computing consulting.  The views found below are mine, and do not reflect those of Akoha in any way.  For the record, Akoha is awesome!

About us: This post was written by Sean Power with Alistair Croll.

Dear TechCrunch50 Startups,

Congratulations. You made the list. You’re finally launching, and that pent-up frustration of not being able to tell people about it for a month is almost at an end. Now, you have to live with a weekend of cold, hard fear that your demo will explode. You’ve got an interesting week ahead, and I know you’re short on sleep, so let me get to the point quickly.

You’re probably excited about the TC50 bump. I first saw the term used by Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital on the RedEye VC blog. The bump refers to the pounding your website is about to experience from TC50 attendees, readers, bloggers and their friends.  It’s not to be underestimated.  Here’s a glimpse at how the bump looked like for all TC50 startups in 2008.  If you squint a little, you’ll see Akoha somewhere in there!:

TechCrunch50 2008 - Unique Visitors - All Finalists - The TechCrunch Bump

This is an unprecedented influx of attention. It may be the single biggest traffic spike you’ll ever experience. Thousands of visitors will drive by your site, stay for a minute, and leave — never to return. After the bump, you’ll feel a tremendous rush of adrenaline, then deep, soul-sucking disillusionment as your traffic dwindles back to its former levels.

Don’t waste this opportunity. If you take the right steps, you can make the most of your fifteen minutes of fame.

[Read More]

DemoCamp Guelph

We’re doing a presentation that’s excerpted from the book at DemoCamp Guelph tonight. Should be an interesting conversation; we have an “exercise” planned. Sean can’t be here (he was at Podcamp and has to get real work done after a weekend of editing the 400+ figures in the text!) but will be joining on Twitter. If you have photos from the event, or questions for Sean, we’ll be using the #CWM hashtag (for Complete Web Monitoring, the title of the book.)

One of the projects we’ve been working on is trying to create a single, comprehensive overview of the Complete Web Monitoring process. Here’s where we’re at (and an early glimpse at a poster we’re working on.)

First of all, a complete monitoring strategy includes the many questions a web analyst needs to answer:

  • Web analytics (“what did they do?”)
  • Web Interaction Analytics (“how did they do it?”)
  • Voice of the Customer (“why did they do it?”)
  • Both synthetic and real user performance monitoring (“could they do it?”)
  • Community monitoring (“what are they saying?”, “who’s talking?”, and “where are they saying it?”

Any strategy also has to look at several different stages in monitoring:

  • Arrival (“I visited the site”)
  • Usage (“I played with it”)
  • Engagement (“I’m a part of it”)
  • Revenue (“I paid for it”)
  • Referrals (“I spread the word”)

If these look somewhat like Dave McClure’s Pirate Metrics, it’s because he’s awesome and we borrow heavily from his thinking on startup metrics. Anyway, this PDF is a work in progress of trying to align the big questions analysts need to answer with the various stages of visitor engagement. Once we sex it up a bit, we’ll make some posters.

I’ll put the DemoCamp slides up here shortly.

[Synthetic and Real User Monitoring] Knowing When Things Go Wrong

Uh oh.  Is the site is down?

Yahoo! site inaccessible

Yahoo! site inaccessible

Site downtime is rare these days, but it still happens, and when it does, thousands of people can be affected.  But how do you know that an entire web property is down, and that it’s not just down for you?  How can you figure out who’se affected by the outage?

[Read More]