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Tuesday, May. 29, 2007 at 8:11 pm

Web Analysis With A Single Report

By Bryan Eisenberg
May 29th, 2007

simplelife.jpgIn the spirit of warm longer days and a simpler life, a simple meme. If none of the current web analytics tools existed (zero, nada), so you had no preconceived notions, and had unlimited resources (please be creative) to build out just one web analytics report, what would it be?

The report can be multi-dimensional but it has to be just one report that gives you a ton of insight. I could do a lot with a report that provides you with single access (bounce rate) and conversions by referrer source. This report would tell me where the scent was broken in my marketing. I would then spend my time optimizing source/landing page to refine the scent trail so that more people would convert along the way.

What dream report would you build? Why would it be this report and what would you do with it? Do any of the vendors currently have this report just the way you want it?

I wonder what these smart folks would build (and keep the meme going in case the vendors are paying attention):

Eric Peterson
Jim Novo
Avinash Kaushik – I wonder if it be this?
Jacques Warren
Robbin Steif
René Dechamps Otamendi
Marshall Sponder

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Comments (14)

  1. things I would like to see in analytics would be rankings in search engines against their search volumes and revenue – would save me having to cross reference position against income and would allow me to make my marketing plans more efficent. So if term a generated 3000 hits per month at number two in a search engine and another generated 1200 at position 12 I could put effort into improving the ranking of the latter term as the benefit to the business is liekly to be far greater.

  2. I’d like something with traffic, vs. leads, vs. deals closed (dollars in the door) with an overlay that shows marketing events (online and offline).

    Disclaimer: This is what I’m building at HubSpot (, so I have a bit of a biased opinion.

  3. Gosh, Bryan, I wish you hadn’t made any association between me and the adjective “smart”! I got to say something deep now…

    Allow me a little introduction here: behavioral analysis (or clickstream analysis) looks at what people do on a web site. There’s a truckload of good information in those reports, and it is our job to cross-reference those numbers in order to tell the site’s story. Many gold nuggets can be found doing that, and I will keep on doing it for years to come (and testing, and CI, and eco-system analysis). However, one of the biggest hurdles is that behavioral data is mostly anonymous most of the time (aren’t personas a great way to give a “face” to those anonymous visitors?). We try to figure out what the heck all those visitors wanted to do and ended up doing (or not doing!).

    But you’re asking for one report. If I had only one report that told me who those visitors are, what they wanted to do, and whether they succeeded or not, I would say that I would have quite rich information I could use immediately to extract the gem from the rough. Yes, it would probably be an attitudinal analysis,and yes, you recognized Avinash’s 3 magic questions.

    Again, you asked for one report. Of course, it would not be enough, far from it; but if I could get solid and reliable answers to those questions, I would go far quickly. Then the rest (the other methodologies, and report types) would come into play, and help me optimize what I discovered needed to be.

  4. My one report would be an action item list sorted in order of the best prospective gains. The analytics software would need to be smart enough to figure out what these action items are and which items are likely to create the biggest positive impact.

    Needless to say, I don’t expect this report to exist any time in the near future.

  5. Bryan: You are absolutely right on with what my one report would be (in fact I had already decided that after reading the first few lines of your post and then was delighted that you had a direct link to it! :) ).

    There are lots of reports that *I* might want but what I find most Site Owners / Decision Makers are sorely lacking is a understanding of why “Visitors” come to their sites and what “Visitors” are unable to understand. If you don’t know that how do you do the little Scent thing that you always talk about!

    Once you have Primary Purpose, Task Completion Rate and Why Not nailed down you / I / others can grow over time to get more and different data in our quest for Nirvana.

    Great post, and very nice comments from Michael, Dharmesh, Jacques and Ben.


  6. Hi Bryan,

    Mmm, tough question ;-)

    I was wondering yesterday what could I reply to this question. And I guess that it depends, it depends a lot what kind of business you’re in. So I’m going to answer based on my own business. What report as CEO of OX2 would I like to have if I only could choose one…

    I would go for a report that would show me what companies have come to my website, what pages (or pieces of content, choose your favorite) have they viewed (with the time spent on each page please) and from which source they got in the first hand into my website.

    As I’m in a B2B services business model, my online goal is lead generation. I think that this is what I could the most use in order to increase my revenue an then being able to add other reports ;-)

    I’m not interested in visits or page views in general as most of the visits I get to my websites are not actual prospects, so an increase of these may just mean that I got my company listed in a student forum regarding an internship (not where I want to spend my money and focus ;-) ).

    Based on this report, I will be able to see which companies are interested in my service, what specific services and based on that I can redirect my sales activities. With a little bit of time, I will be able to see which companies have really converted (signed a contract with us) and thus judge which content is most valuable as well as sources of traffic (even if without apondering of all sources for a single visitor returning several times this will be a bit biased).

    So in a nutshell, thanks to this report I’ll be able to:

    - Know who’s going to contact me in the future (and thus prepare myself)
    - Know which pages/contents are most viewed by my target audience
    - Know which channel is bringing me the most visitors (SEO? SEM? Partners? Press?)
    - See who is really interested in my services (several visits from a company in a short period of time)
    - And I can even see what my competitors are looking at ;-)

    It might not be the best report for everyone, but I think that it will be my ideal report if I could only choose one ;-) And this report exists in many Web Analytics tools out there.

    Here are my 2 euro cents.

  7. Hi Bryan

    I have thought about this for a few years and have come up with what I would consider the ultimate single web analytics report.

    Can I post it somewhere for you to see?

    Is there an upload option here??

    Marcos Richardson

  8. Bryan,

    Now that I’m officially a small business owner looking for leads for my consulting business, if you only give me a single report I’m going to track engagement. I want to know down to the level of the individual (if possible) or at least the corporate domain who is most active on my site based on my measure of “visitor engagement” (which you can read all about here:

    Then I can build all kinds of useful KPIs like:

    * Pct highly engaged visitors
    * Pct highly engaged visitors in target domains
    * Pct highly engaged visitors downloading documents
    * Etc.

    Now my only problem with all this is that Jim MacIntyre hasn’t renewed my Visual Site license yet (despite promises to do so!) and so I am woefully without any mechanism to do all of this! I look and look and look in Google Analytics for “visitor engagement” but I cannot seem to find it ;-)

    Eric T. Peterson

  9. Web Analytics with a single report…

    Bryan Eisenberg wrote a post about what the ideal single web analytics report might be and tagged me.That's a hard question to answer because there's so much ad-hoc work that has be done, more often than not, that it's difficult……

  10. I set up this custom report (or as close as I can get to it) for every project:

    % Single Page Access
    % Conversion to Goal(s)
    Consumption / Frequency / Current Value
    Engagement / Recency / Potential Value

    by Traffic Source and / or Entry Page

    I can think of much better ways to *analyze* this info than are currently provided but that’s another story…nirvana would be to select Traffic Source then one or two other params and get a Consumption / Engagement Grid:

    Providing a consistent platform for value measurement across any media or action would greatly facilitate multi-channel analysis and intergration.

  11. Following on from my above post, here is the link to The Ultimate Analytics Report.


    Marcos Richardson

  12. [...] What metrics do you look at on a regular basis? What acitonable insight does this data give you? What if you only had one report? What would you choose? [...]

  13. [...] written about the fundamentals when asked about web analysis with a single report. And please, look at our digital sales calculators, which were based on getting insights from your [...]

  14. page rank simulator i.e. if you do this your result will be this

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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