Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Mining the Detailed Analysis Report for Blogging Treasure

The BlogPatrol Detailed Analysis of the Last 25 Visitors report can provide insight into the reading behavior of your blog audience. After recently simplifying the instructions for installing BlogPatrol on Blogger blogs, I wanted to find answers to questions such as:

  • Are new users trying the instructions?
  • Are users getting all the way through the instructions?
  • How long are users taking to complete the instructions?
  • Are any other patterns of behavior emerging from this data?
I've compiled a set of screen shots representing the two types of behavior (ideal and anomalous) recorded by BlogPatrol for the The Patrol Blog, namely the 5 pages comprising these instructions.
To illustrate, the screen shots are highlighted with green color on the start time and red color on the end time.

Screen shot 1 of 4: Representing the ideal scenario, two visitors went through the instructions in the intended manner from steps 1 through 5 in 2 minutes 52 seconds and 8 minutes 36 seconds, respectively.

Screen shot 2 of 4: Another sampling of the ideal scenario in action, two other visitors also went through the instructions in the intended manner from steps 1 through 5 in 3 minutes 58 seconds and 4 minutes 49 seconds, respectively.

Screen shot 3 of 4: In contrast to the first four visitors, this user had a much different experience with the installation instructions. The visitor spent a total of 48 minutes 16 seconds on the instructions.

A closer look shows that the visitor cycled through the steps three different times for the following durations:

  • Cycle #1: 3 minutes 34 seconds
  • Cycle #2: 9 minutes 41 seconds
  • Cycle #3: 4 minutes 52 seconds
It is possible that the visitor signed up for three separate BlogPatrol for three separate accounts, but this is unlikely. With each successful installation, the visitor would learn and remember at least some of the process which would be reflected in the instruction pages subsequently visited for the other installations. Our interpretation is that this user had a more difficult time using the instructions than the first four visitors.

Screen shot 4 of 4: The final visitor in our illustration also shows an anomalous use of the instructions. The first impression is that the user spent a lot of time on the site because so many pages were visited again and again. However, the total time spent in the visit was only 3 minutes 4 seconds.

We interpret this data to mean that visitor refreshed various pages multiple times as part of a very quick use of the instructions.

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