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    « Advancements in Mobile App Tracking [Or, the Mini-Me of Web 2.0] | Main | Greg Dowling joins Semphonic as Mobile Analytics Expert »

    November 30, 2009

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    Les

    Hi June - I had been waiting for this blog post. And then when you finally posted it, I didn't have time to read it - go figure.

    Well I made up for my lapse in timing by reading your article twice!

    This is an excellent perspective on Analytics. I like the approach - and cannot wait for your next BLOG entry on the topic!

    June Dershewitz

    Hi Les. Thanks for reading my blog! I can tell by checking out *your* blog ( http://www.websitestatistics.ca ) that you're just as passionate about web behavior data analysis as I am. If you wind up using the functional techniques in your own practice, I invite you to post about it and share your perspective. Cheers, June

    Trinadh

    excellent post..!

    Rudi Shumpert

    June,

    I enjoyed this post. I missed it when you first posted it. This approach really appeals to the coder in me. It's practical and makes a lot of sense.

    Now to go apply this to our site.

    -Rudi

    Nancy D

    June,

    I really enjoyed your Beyond Web Analytics (@BeyWebAnalytics) interview. Great post and I'll read the white paper too. This will help me focus my analysis work.

    -Nancy

    Shilo Jones

    Hey June, since Gary first wrote about Functionalism back in 2006 I guess as of the writing of the White Paper and now fast forward to 2010 and the number of times you've actually used Functionalism in practice, are you finding that the tools are catching up with the concept to make functional analysis easier?

    Specifically, we've been starting to make some progress on this type of work doing what we had called Page Type analysis and am now trying to brand as Functionalism on our team. What we've done is to group pages together to aggregate their collective data so we can try to improve the template as a whole for the site and/or have a benchmark to look at high and low performing pages withing a given template i.e. Product Detail Pages or Convincers.

    In Google Analytics the only way we could figure out how to do this was to create a separate profile and use regular expressions to classify the thousands of pages we have in to page classifications as you guys called them in the White Paper. It was nice that GA had the feature to allow this to happen, but a bit of a techy way to arrive at something that seems so fundamental to Web Analytics.

    Also, some of the calculations on the KPIs you've called out for specific classifications still need to be done outside of the tool itself. Is that the current state in your experience?

    Also, I'd be interested to hear maybe in future posts more experiences you've had in the field with Functionalism, the evolving KPI/classification landscape, where it seems to breakdown, etc.

    June Dershewitz

    Shilo, you've asked some *hard* questions! I'm going to answer your techie question here but I am also planning to do a follow-up post or two to address some of your additional requests (hands-on examples, the evolving landscape, where Functionalism breaks down, etc). Thanks for giving me fuel to continue writing on this topic.

    Okay, the techie question. If you have not yet read Adam Greco's post on page type pathing, you should definitely check it out: http://www.the-omni-man.com/sitecatalyst/adamgreco/2009/08/02/page-type-pathing/ His example is Omniture-specific, but it addresses some of the concerns that you've mentioned regarding the mass-classification of pages. In Omniture or GA or any other tool you could stuff page type into a custom variable - ideally passed directly from your CMS - and then segment or filter on that variable.

    Adam chose not to use the custom variable approach, and instead recommended using either SAINT classification in Discover or DB Vista rules in SiteCatalyst. Unfortunately I don't think GA has an equivalent (yet), so you might experiment with the custom-variable-from-CMS method. Alternatively, you could store the page type lookup in Excel and then use a GA Excel plug-in like Tatvic to generate refreshable reports.

    And finally, a word of caution: I've found that Functionalism works best as a focused analysis project rather than an ongoing monitoring system. If you're going to run Functionalism reports continuously on your site, make sure you have an analyst whose attention is devoted to interpreting the results, providing insights, and seeing the recommendations through to completion. Good luck!

    Shilo

    June, thanks for the follow-up post. I'll definitely check out Adam's post on page-type pathing, Tatvic and will certainly look forward to reading your future posts on the topic.

    Shilo

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