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Actionable advice on optimizing the customer lifecycle

What Should I Track? Part 1: The Basics

Using Woopra - April 4th, 2013 by Natalie Issa.

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There is one major question you need to answer first thing when implementing a customer analytics solution: what should I track?

Last week there was a post on Quora asking this very question and it’s the single most common item new customers ask us about at Woopra. Because the answer to this question will affect every part of your analytics system, it can often be the most daunting part of implementing a solution.

However, as with most things in life, if you start by simply understanding the basics, the rest will come much more easily.

Event Tracking

First of all, what can we track?

You can track any action that customers perform on your website or application, such as “sign up”, “play video”, or “click campaign”. Right out of the box, most tools will track some generic actions like page views and downloads. However, where you get the real value out of your system is by tracking custom events like those mentioned above and in the example screenshot below.

Custom Event Tracking

We can’t place enough emphasis on the importance of tracking custom events that are specifically important to your business. Knowing the right things to track sets the foundation for your entire customer analytics system and ensures that you will be able to answer your most pressing business questions.

For example, if you track the custom event “payment”, you will be able to generate reports analyzing payments, set payment as a goal in your funnel, use payments as a filter criteria for segmentation and much more.

Event Properties

To make tracking even more valuable, you can also send different properties with each event you track that essentially serve to describe that event. For example, you may want to track the event “purchase” and send the properties “amount” and “product category” with the event.

Sending properties with your events makes your reports, filtering, and customer profiles much richer. For example, by sending the properties “amount” and “product category” with the event “purchase” we are able to generate a report that looks like this:

Woopra E-Commerce Report

As you can see, this report groups the purchases made on an e-commerce site by product category. It shows the number of items purchased, number of customers, and amount generated for each product category.

Simply clicking on any of the three columns in the report will generate a chart reflecting those metrics. In the screenshot above, we’ve selected the “Amount” column so that we can see a chart of the monthly revenue generated for each product category.

None of this would be possible if we were not tracking the custom event “purchase” with properties “amount” and “product category”.

Events By Website Type

Every website or application will need to track different events based on their business needs, but some loose generalizations can often be made. Let’s take a look at a few different types of businesses to determine some general guidelines regarding what types of events and customer data each one should track.

E-commerce

  • Add to cart
  • Remove from cart
  • Purchase complete
  • Create account
  • Product Review

SaaS

  • Signup
  • Payment
  • Sent email
  • Support request

Lead-generating (e.g. insurance, real estate, dealership etc.)

  • Submit contact form
  • Performed search
  • Sent email

Gaming and wagering

  • Bet placed
  • Won/lost game
  • Ticket purchased

Over the course of this series, we will evaluate, in depth, the types of events you should be tracking for different types of website and applications. If you have any requests, let us know in the comments or send them to us at blog@woopra.com.

If you have any questions about event tracking, contact our support team for immediate assistance at support@woopra.com.

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